Fansipan is the highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula hence its nickname “the Roof of Indochina”. Its height is 3143 meters, which is about 1500 meters above Sapa. It’s a very popular tourist destination from people around the world. Most of the tourists are from all parts of Vietnam, but I also met some Polish people there.
There is a cable car that goes to the summit from Sapa. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the peak, but we spent at least 30 minutes at the station waiting for the car as there were so many people that day. The cable car is a pretty recent addition. In fact, prior to 2016 the only way up was to climb. People still hike up that mountain. Local guides provide hiking tours that range from 1-3 days in total. I am not a climber or an avid hiker. I walk when I have to, so the cable car was my prefered method of reaching the summit of Fansipan.
It takes 20 minutes in the cable car. It costs 700,000 vnd for a return trip. The cable car takes off in Sapa, but it’s a bit out of town, so a taxi trip may be necessary. Add 100k vnd to the total. Also, for those who don’t want to walk up 600 steps to the peak, there is a tram that goes from the cable car station at the top to just below the peak of Fansipan. I think the cost was 150k each way. To get up it may be useful to take the tram, but if we took the tram down, we would have missed out on some spectacular views along the way.
A few things to consider before that trip is the weather and the time. If it rains, it’s not worth going. The clouds will obstruct the view and it’s just not worth the effort or money. Also, the time of the trip is very important. Early morning is best as the sky is the clearest then. After midday, it very often becomes very cloudy and the view is gone. The view is of the valley about 2000m below, with the terrace rice fields. Quite spectacular. Another thing is, the temperature at the top of Fansipan is about 10 degrees lower than in Sapa, so a jacket may be a good idea. Just in case.
Some pictures from the trip to Fansipan mountain near Sapa.