A Guide to Hiking Vietnam’s Tallest Mountain, Fansipan

A Guide to Hiking Vietnam’s Tallest Mountain, Fansipan

If hiking is something you enjoy, then a hike up the tallest mountain in Vietnam is definitely right up your alley. Fansipan, also called the Rooftop of Indo-China, is the tallest mountain in Vietnam with a total height of 3143 meters above sea level. One great thing about this mountain is that you do not need to be a skilled climber or even need heavy hiking equipment to climb it. However, nowadays, hiking up to Fansipan is not as popular. Most people use the cable car to reach the summit. But if you are an adventurous spirit, you can still hike up the mountain.

Hiking Mt. Fansipan 

How to get to Fansipan

Fansipan is located within the Hoang Lien National Park in Sapa. To get to Sapa, you can take either the train, bus, or rent a car.

By train

The train is the most popular method of traveling to Sapa and Fansipan. You can take a train from any city in Vietnam. The closest train station to Fansipan is in Lao Cai city. After reaching Lao Cai, you can take a bus or taxi to Sapa which will take you around 1 hour.                                             

By bus

If you don’t want to travel by train, you can opt for buses. Several bus companies have daily overnight bus rides to Sapa. You can book a bus to Sapa here.

By car

You can also rent a car and travel on your own to Sapa. An upside for traveling by car means that you can take your own time and stop at all the scenic routes.

View from Mt. Fansipan
View from Mt. Fansipan

Check out this blog to read about the best places to visit in Sapa.

The best time to hike Fansipan

Even though Fansipan is stunning in all the different seasons, the best time to hike Fansipan is during the dry months of March to April and the winter months of October to November. March and April are when the beautiful and colorful Do Quyen flower blooms. The winter months of October to November can get quite cold with temperatures dropping to the single digits but the scenery during these months is just as stunning as March and April.

Fansipan hiking trails

There are 3 different hiking trails in Fansipan. 

Tram Ton Trail

The Tam Tron Trail is the easiest and most tourist-friendly hiking trail in Fansipan. The trail starts at the park entrance near the Tram Ton Pass, hence the name. The entire trail path is roughly paved over so that it is easier to walk on. This hike is great for people who are not used to hiking. It will usually take around 2 days to reach the summit. The first day of the hike ends after reaching the base camp at 2800 meters where you camp out. The second day is spent climbing to the summit in the morning and back to Sapa by evening.

Temple at Mt. Fansipan
Temple at Mt. Fansipan

Sin Chai Trail

Though the Sin Chai Trail is the shortest hike, it is the most dangerous among the three hiking trails. The trail starts 5km away from Sapa at Sin Chai Village. It requires a decent amount of climbing skills to conquer this path. Some parts of this trail are quite steep and overgrown with weeds which you have to cut through to get a move on. It will take around 8 hours to reach the summit without a break from walking. But it is highly recommended to do an overnight trek to get enough rest before descending.

Cat Cat Trail

The Cat Cat Trail is the longest among the 3 Fansipan trails. The trail starts from Cat Cat Village, a beautiful village 3 km away from Sapa, and usually takes a total of 2 days to complete. Though the trek is long, it is considered by many to be the most scenic hike compared to the other two trails. 

View from just below the summit of Mt. Fansipan
View from just below the summit of Mt. Fansipan

General advice for hiking Fansipan

  • The hike up Fansipan will take at least 1 day if you are ambitious. Most likely it will take 2 days to complete the hike. If you are interested in completing the hike in 1 day, the best thing for you is to do an early morning hike from the tram Ton Trail to reach the summit. After reaching the summit you can take the cable car back down.
  • You will need permission from officials at the Centre for Ecotourism and Environmental Education in Sapa and a guide to hike up the mountain. Though there has been evidence of some people who have hiked up the mountain without a permit, it is discouraged to do so.
  • Get a detailed weather forecast before you start the hike. Fansipan is known for its temperamental weather which can change within minutes. Avoid hiking from May to September as it can get quite hot and humid with heavy rainfall.
  • Remember to pack a rain jacket, plenty of sunscreens, water, food or snacks, and a headlamp. You should also pack a trash bag to collect all your trash and throw it when you reach your hotel as well as a simple first-aid kit in case of any small cuts or bruises.

So there you have it, our quick and easy guide to conquering Fansipan. If you are interested in the hike, you can reach out to BDATrip, your one-stop shop for all your Vietnam travel needs. 

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