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How to visit Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indochina

The Fansipan is one of the most amazing places to visit in Vietnam. It is the highest mountain in Indochina at 3,142 meters high.

For many, Sapa is a destination that they avoid due to the number of hours of travel between Hanoi and Sapa. They choose other areas of rice fields such as Ninh Binh to get to know the most rural essence of the country. After several trips and a lot of time spent touring Vietnam, for me Sapa is an essential that you should not leave out of your Vietnam itinerary. And the visit to Fansipan is a must.

You can visit the Fansipan using the cable car or trekking. In this post I tell you how to visit the Fansipan, useful tips, what to see at the peak of the Fansipan (You will be surprised!) and I add some links to more destinations in Sapa that you should know.


Fansipan is the highest mountain in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) at 3,142 meters high.

Bordering China, Fansipan Peak has been considered a sacred place since ancient times for the cultures that have inhabited this area of ​​northern Vietnam for centuries. Nowadays, thanks to mountain tourism and trekking lovers, the ascent to Fansipan has become one of the biggest attractions in Vietnam. It is a hard trek, so if you are not much of a long-distance walker, you can ascend Fansipan with a cable car that was inaugurated in 2016.

Trekking to Fansipan Peak

If your intention is to trek to Fansipan Peak, you must bear in mind that it is not an easy route. There is the less aggressive option that is to do the route in 2 days, 1 night.

Either of the two options is always done with a local guide. And although there is a marked route that you could do on your own, I do not recommend it. They are very leafy, wet roads, sometimes very muddy and without coverage. In case of getting lost, you would be in the middle of the jungle of northern Vietnam, unable to be seen from the air.

If you decide on the option of two days, one night, the route is divided into two days. You leave in the morning and arrive at the so-called Camp 2 in the middle of the afternoon. Where you can rest, eat and where you camp. The next day the trek begins at night, at 3:00 am in order to reach the top of Fansipan at dawn. After a stop to visit the entire enclosure, temples, eat and enjoy the views, the descent begins, arriving in Sapa at night.

Throughout the journey you can enjoy nature, incredible views, rice fields, small waterfalls, tea plantations...

It is a very hard excursion and you must take into account the weather. Although the weather in Vietnam is usually linear, in Sapa it is cool and humid. As you ascend to the peak, the cold and humidity intensify much more.

You must bear in mind that you must go well equipped, with a change of clothes, a thick sweater, raincoat, sun protection, trekking shoes and spare shoes, water, energy bars, petroleum jelly for shoes, light camping material, mini first aid kit…

Go up to Fansipan Peak by Cable Car

To do the trekking to the Fansipan peak you must have a very good physical shape and also time, since it requires two full days.

Therefore, thanks to the cable car, since 2016, it is possible to enjoy this wonder in a much more comfortable way. I have done both options, the first when the cable car did not yet exist and the cable car ascent on my last trip to the country. And although I am a lover of trekking, I advise you to go up with the cable car, despite being a not very economical option.

Known as the Sun World Fansipan Legend, the cable car was opened in 2016. Since its opening, the number of people visiting Sapa has multiplied. With a level of 1,400 meters, the cable car covers the journey in just 15 minutes from Muong Hoa Station to Fansipan Station. Once you reach the top you must finish the path to the top walking and climbing a lot of stairs. Don't worry! Because if you don't want to walk up this last section, you have an option to go up with a small train, in stages.

The views from the cable car are incredible, you will see rice fields, mountains, valleys, villages, waterfalls nestled in the mountains...

The Fansipan Cable Car operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day of the week at 15-minute intervals. You can buy the ticket online quickly and with discounts.

How to go from Sapa to Fansipan cable car station

You can go on your own to the cable car station and buy the ticket right there. The drive from the center of Sapa is about 15 minutes by car. A taxi will cost you about 400,000 VND approx. one way (per car).

There is also the possibility of arriving by train. From the train station to Moung Hoa. It is a very short journey of about 5 minutes, but it is more expensive than the taxi option. It costs 200,000 VND one way (per person). If you decide on this option you should bear in mind that the trains operate every 15 minutes.

You can rent motorbikes in Sapa for very little. I have literally rented a motorcycle in the northern area for about 2.50 euros a day. This process is usually done in hotels and lodgings. And there is always someone who knows someone who has a motorcycle that they rent... it may seem somewhat unreliable, but it is a practice that applies to the whole country and yes, I have used motorcycle rental throughout Vietnam.


Once you get to the top, either by cable car or trekking, the first thing that catches your eye is the impressive construction. I didn't expect it at all. You will have to climb a few stairs, until you reach the first temple.

For the following phases of the complex you can go up with a small train and for other areas you will have to walk and go up and down stairs (a lot) but it is absolutely worth it.

There are beautiful temples like Thanh Phong Thien or Temple of Heaven, look at every detail. You will find dragons, bells, small windows, wood carvings...

There is also a huge 21 meter tall Buddha statue called Amitabha Buddha, made of bronze and being the largest Buddha statue in Vietnam.

The Kim Son Thang Pagoda impresses with its beauty and its height of 12 meters. You'll also see the ancient remains of the Fai Hong Chung Watchtower, a fortified bell tower dating back to the 16th century, used as a lookout post to warn of possible invasions from China.

Along the route there are many statues, temples, altars... It is worth visiting every corner of the complex.

And don't forget to reach the top. Where will you have to queue to take a photo with the name of Fansipan and the altitude (even if you travel in low season) and even so there will always be someone who appears in your photo hehe. There is usually a lot of fog here, so the views are usually worse than in the lower areas of the complex.



I hope you enjoy your trip to Vietnam very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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