All you need to know to conquer Fansipan Mountain
Fansipan Mountain Travel Guide 2019-2020: What to do, When to visit and more…
breathtaking experience awaits at the top of Mt. Fansipan, the highest peak not only in Vietnam but also in the entire Indochina, at 3,143m above the sea level. Jaw-dropping views of swirling clouds and forested slopes from the top of Fansipan make this adventure a must-do on any Sapa tour. Once you finish the journey conquering the roof of Indochina, it will bring countless interesting and precious experiences in life.
How long does it take to climb Fansipan?
Depends on your own fitness status and travel expectation, it often takes a day, or two of hard trekking to reach the summit. However, there is more than one way to get there. Aside from trekking along through some popular as well as hidden trails in one or a few days, a traveler can also sign up for cable car ride that carries passengers from the foot to the top of Fansipan, and vice verse, just within 15 minutes. Every option counts, yet the effort of climbing is also highly worthwhile.
The easy route: You may begin from Tram Ton with a long-distance of 11km. It takes about 7 hours to reach the summit at a normal pace and is mostly used by tourists. We recommend you to take this path to enjoy your trekking. Thankfully, this journey can be done in just one day!
The medium route: Your trekking will start from San Sa Village across Ban Sin Chai Village with a long-distance of 15km. It takes about 12 hours to get to the final destination. The journey is quite challenging and difficult where you must even scramble. We don’t recommend you to riskily take this way since there were several cases of the missing report.
The difficult route: The beginning point is at Cat Cat village. To reach the peak, it can take about 18 hours with the long-distance of 20km. This route is the most challenging and daunting. We insist you not to riskily take this way since there was the tragic accident of a British trekker in 2016.
II. How to trek Fansipan in a day?
For those who are the type of DIY, we often suggest an itinerary that starts with the trekking from Tram Ton Pass to the top Fansipan, then returning by cable car. This journey can be done in a day. Now let’s see how the route is drawn.
About 9km away from Sapa town, starting at about 1,850m above the sea level, this trail begins at the national park entrance near the Tram Ton, which is Vietnam’s highest mountain pass. The distance to the summit is about 11km from here and the trail runs in an overall north-south direction, although it twists and turns quite a lot along the way. The total altitude gain is a little more than you’d expect because the final stretch of the trail is quite undulating.
Fortunately, the trek difficulty from this point is at a basic level, there is no rough condition that requires ropes or technical climbing skills. Also, this road is the most-connected, not too steep, consistent with the first-time travelers climbing and rare physical exercise. Trails are mostly flat trails created by indigenous people frequently in the long forest for cultivation.
There are two camps on the entire way: base camp at 2,200m and high camp at 2,800m. It may take about 2,5 hours with some short breaks along the way to the base camp. This part of the trail is fairly easy, not very tough or steep. There are some long ascents which take from 30-45 minutes and three short descents from 5-15 minutes. You can have lunch and take a rest while stopping at the base camp.
The afternoon trek gets a lot tougher as the trail winds its way up the steep mountainside through bamboo forest mostly uphill for nearly 4 hours. There are 4 tough ascents that take from 15-40 minutes. However, the rest of the trail is a combination of easy descents and even and gradual ascents. Finally, a series of stairs or a funicular rail will take you the final leg to the top of Fansipan. From here, you’ll have the rewarding, unbelievable sight of cloud-covered peaks stretching all the way to the horizon. The highest point is a favorite spot for selfies, but you can walk the entire platform for 360-degree vistas. The cloud formations at the top of Fansipan change every few seconds, revealing new shapes and scenes as the earth meets the sky. An amazing scene to watch!
But the most appreciated part is you can take the experience to overcome yourself, break your limits and discover the ability in you that may not have been acknowledged before.
PM: A return trip from Fansipan by cable car
Officially launched in February 2016, Fansipan cable car is a convenient vehicle to reach the roof of Fansipan in only 15 minutes, instead of a long day trekking, with a fare of $25. But for our journey, booking the cable car on the way back sounds more reasonable since we have enjoyed the trek to the summit and now are a bit (or a lot) exhausted. But to be sure, experiencing cable car does give you unforgettable memories as well.
Once you leave the station, you’ll immediately start to float high above the rocky cliffs below. From the cabin, the huge windows let you take in the sights all around of poetic Sa Pa town, gorgeous scenery and spectacular terrace fields, as you ascend gradually to this towering tip above the clouds.
II. What to prepare before conquering Fansipan?
2. Fitness: Not as your daily exercise at home, Fansipan climbing is challenging which requires a perfect physicality and mentality, and should not be suitable for those who have heart disease and high blood pressure. Remember, the stronger your spirit and willpower are the more chances of success you have.
Tips: If you feel tired, it is best to breathe in via nose and breathe out via mouth.
3. Travel rations: For eating, you should only choose food that easy-to-bring but rich-energy like cheese, bread, chocolate, boiled eggs, etc. For drinking, 3, or 4 bottles of water, of course. Preparing some fruits (orange, mango…) is also a good idea as you will need vitamins as well.
4. Travel wears: There is nothing wiser than bringing soft and light clothes that make you comfortable during the trip. Don’t forget to prepare some sweaters and a thick jacket since the weather can become cold in the evening. Also, it is better to select shoes that are particularly designed for trekking. In fact, their friction can help you avoid falling off during the hike. Furthermore, your shoes should also be waterproof as there may be a little rain or streams on the road.
5. Travel gears: Certainly, backpacks are indispensable during the journey, but only you should carry a light backpack that weighs less than 5kg. This helps you move easily and conveniently. Furthermore, the backpack should also have strong straps that tightly tie with the chest and belly. However, never forget these items in your backpack: flashlight, phone, camera, raincoat, rope, medicine, map, binoculars, backup charger, and multifunction knife.
Besides, you may experience one or two nights while climbing to the top of Fansipan. Thus, make sure to bring sleeping bags and tents with you to have a deep sleep and regain energy after a long day of hiking!
6. Registration: Visitors must register through tour operators have contracts Fansipan mountain climbing tours with Hoang Lien National Park. These companies are responsible for preparing the registration procedure information related to district interdisciplinary organization, buy tickets and pay other fees following the law, fuel, and environmental regulation of the Hoang Lien National Park.
- Never go alone, and never lose sign of your team/ partner. It is advisable to take notice of some realizable signs on the path so as to avoid straying. When being tired, you should ask others to take a pause before proceeding.
- Be careful and avoid reaching under rocks or moving grassy areas because these places probably are home to snakes and scorpions.
- Protect the forest and the environment. Never throw off litter on the road.
- Stay positive. You may feel exhausted and even want to give up during the climbing, but instead of quitting, let’s think about the moment of victory when you reach the peak of Fansipan mountain gloriously.
September-November / March-May: stable weather, dry sunny days, cold nights. Suitable for picnics and homestay.
April-May: is the time of transplanting rice on terraced fields, and also the flowering season. If you want to have great photos, travel to Fansipan Mountain at this time.
September-October: is the rice crop season with golden scenery across the hills. With fresh and pleasant air, you can make long-distance trips.
December-February: it is very cold, ice can be found and sometimes it snows. This is also the bloom season of peach blossoms. However, traveling through the villages may be more or less difficult.
For the most ideal conditions, make the Fansipan climb in spring (March, April) or autumn (September, October), as the temperatures are fairly mild. Beware of heavy rains that obstruct the jaunt in summer (May to August), and coldness that slows you down (and event cause some risks) in winter (November to January).
According to many tourists’ experiences, early March is the best time to make it when the flowers all flourish and the climbers may behold the carpets of brilliant blossoms, violets, orchids, and rhododendrons.
Note: Although the weather is not a big obstacle for you, due to the characteristics of the rugged terrain and different natural conditions, you should consult with the advice from a professional Fansipan trekking agency.
Reference: How to get to Sapa from Hanoi
Being more than 300km far away from Hanoi, Sapa can be reached by the following vehicles:
Train: With about 8 hours of traveling, the train is the most taken way many people choose to get to Sapa because it is safe and affordable. Fares range from $ 6- $ 12, depending on the facilities you prefer. However, the downside of taking the train is that it will not go straight to Sapa town but just stop at Lao Cai Station, which is 40km away from Sapa. You will need another forward bus.
Bus: With the same travel time, at a cost of about $12, you will go straight to Sapa town without the need for intermediaries (but in the rainy season can be hindered by many folding passes. rapid from Lao Cai to Sapa).
In addition, you can rent a motorbike to drive yourself from Hanoi to Sapa. Although renting a motorbike is not a big deal, but we do not encourage you to do this, especially when you first come to Vietnam. Ensure your safety first.