Are you tired of lying on the beach all day long or do you just want to get your blood pumping? Travel up north and visit Mount Fansipan, the tallest mountain in Vietnam. Mount Fansipan in Sapa offer visitors some of the most stunning views in Vietnam. Here you can hike with both locals and travelers, trek to unbelievable sites together (or alone, with a guide) and enjoy an unforgettable view on top of the mountain.
How do you get there?
This all depends on where you are in Vietnam, but if you’re in Hanoi, you can reach Sapa easily. There are four means of transportation you can choose from: train, bus, private car/bus or rent your own motorbike. If you’re feeling adventurous, you should definitely look into renting a motorbike. This way you can stop in various places and decide where to go and when.
When is the best time to go?
As they say, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes. However, in this case you might want to check the weather before you go on a hike in Sapa. If it’s cloudy and rainy for example, you won’t get to see the spectacular views on top of the mountain. So if you can, avoid the rainy season in Vietnam. The best months to trek are usually between October and April, when the weather’s mild and nice. The winter months are quite cold, but if you bring the right clothes with you, you should definitely hike to Fansipan.
Choose the right trek
Trekking is challenging so choose the level that you know you can complete. There are 1-4 day treks, but only do the 1 day trek if you are in really good shape and don’t mind waking up early. Remember that trekking is also a fun experience where you have the chance to meet other travelers and connect. You will also have more time to take in your environment and acclimate to the altitude change. There are also 3 trails you can take to reach the summit: Tram Ton, Cat Cat and Sin Chai – all with different levels of difficulty and distance.
If you by chance can’t hike or don’t want to, but still want to admire the view from the top, you can take a cable car up. This is quite the adventure as well, where you will be swept over Muong Hoa Valley, through clouds and Hoang Lien Son Range, and finally reach your destination. Note that you will have to walk approximately 600 stairs to the very peak after you have left the cable car. And if you by chance want to both hike and go on the cable car, you can combine it by hiking up and taking the car down. This way you will get the best of both worlds!
What to bring for the hike
The best way to pack is light. Remember to bring the most necessary things such as good hiking/trekking shoes, rain jacket, warmer clothes, extra pair of dry socks, sunscreen, medicines, toiletries and snacks. But skip the unnecessary stuff that you don’t really need. Thinking about bringing that heavy Shantaram book with you? Don’t. Though a book is certainly always a good idea to bring, skip it for the hike! It will just make your backpack heavier.
And finally… Remember to enjoy!
Conquering Mount Fansipan is supposed to be a fun activity. Try not to rush it, rather enjoy it, befriend some locals, get to know the ethnic people who lives in the mountains, stop and look at the many colorful flora and faunas on your path and don’t forget to admire the landscape and beauty surrounding you.
Pssst… There’s just one very important thing you have to do before you start your trip to Vietnam and that is to get a visa. You can get it online very easily. All you have to do is get on your computer and apply for a “Visa on Arrival”. The visa usually arrives within a few days only, and you can even get an “Emergency Visa” which comes even faster. If you live nearby the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate, you can also apply for your visa there. Note that you cannot apply for a Visa on Arrival if you are not planning on getting to Vietnam by air.