Peak attention at Indochina"s highest point

Mountain see to competitor the Alps provides Fansipan a trek come remember in Vietnam


raising the red flag: The optimal of Fansipan featuring a Vietnamese flag, height left.

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Standing atop Fansipan mountain, i feel on height of the human being -- i m sorry is to be expected, since they contact this summit the Roof that Indochina.

Standing 3,143 metres tall, Fansipan is the premier tourist destination in the highlands that northwest Vietnam"s Lao Cai province. As component of the Hoang Lien Son hill range, Fansipan boasts numerous endemic types of flora and fauna.

Sapa town, at the foot the Fansipan, is renowned because that its magnificent mountain views, with peaks looming out of the mist and also the rice terraces of the Muong Hoa Valle.

From the town, ns took a 6km cable vehicle ride to with an altitude of 2,800 metres in just 20 minutes. About the cable automobile station, you can visit several pagodas and also take a break for part photo opportunities before continuing on come the summit. To with the top, you deserve to either board a tram or walk up 600 steps.

While we rode the cable car, many tourists snapped far at the beautiful scenery outside, v or without themselves in the framework for selfies, to it is in plastered all over social media. Others kept their phones in your pockets and also preferred to clock the stunning landscape with their very own eyes, trying come memorise every detail.

The views were amazing also though there to be a the majority of cloud cover throughout the mountains and also the weather was quite cold, foggy and rainy. Yet these clouds only included to mine impressions as the cable automobile climbed higher. We entered the clouds and then climbed above them -- a spectacular moment that left me feeling as though i was flying like a bird.

The drive is activate by Fansipan Sapa Cable vehicle resort, which opened in February critical year. Nguyen Xuan Chien, director of service of Fansipan Legend, which oversees the resort, said around 3,000 people have ridden the cable car in this time, back most have actually been domestic tourists.

Mr Chien, who accompanied a team of seven reporters indigenous the Thai Journalists association on the cable car ride, claimed he wishes many much more foreign tourist will take trip to Sapa and Fansipan, particularly people from other countries in the an ar who might not realise such scenery exists in southeast Asia.

"You don"t should go come the Alps in Switzerland or other mountains in any kind of other nations in Europe to see their high mountains," that said.


higher ground: travellers crowded approximately Fansipan"s summit, nicknamed the Roof of Indochina, above. PHOTOS: ANUCHA CHAROENPO


"Here in Vietnam we have actually Fansipan peak, the Roof of Indochina, because that you and other visitors approximately the civilization to visit and explore its beauty.

But the an innovation in the cable car is of europe standard. "We have imported 33 cable cars from Switzerland and also each includes a maximum of 30 people at a time," mr Chien said. "We spent around two years creating this cable automobile project. We have actually a great maintenance system. We pay an ext attention to ride safety."

Phan Quang Hung, commissioner of the executive plank of the Vietnam Journalists Association and also chairman that the Lao Cai Journalists Association, agreed.

Mr Hung, who likewise joined our group, said he also wants to see more Thai human being visit Sapa and Fansipan.

He discussed that doing so is a many cheaper than going come Europe and also at the very same time friend can uncover spectacular organic beauty to competitor the scene in some European countries.

"In current years, there has actually been eye in Sapa in winter," that said.

"If you have actually an chance to travel to this picturesque city on this occasion, you will absolutely see quite a romantic step here. The whole town will be extended in white."

Mr Chien claimed tourists can travel to Sapa town and also the Fansipan optimal all year round, yet said the many beautiful scenes have the right to be discovered during August and September. At this time, the rice fields take ~ above a clear yellow and gold colour as the crop is all set to be harvested. Tourists will also see plenty of farmers tough at occupational in the rice fields, make the view with the cable car home window even much more beautiful, he said.

Before we reached the cable automobile station, mr Chien called me and other tourists that the air at the peak would be thinner, and also warned united state we would need to take continuous breaks come ensure our brain gets sufficient oxygen.

It to be true. When I gained off the cable car, I had actually to walk gradually to permit time because that my human body to adjust. Yet the check out was certainly worth it.


keeping tradition: A Hmong mrs in Cat Cat village. Tourism promotion has readily available villagers a fresh source of revenue.


Besides the herbal surroundings, I found a few temples in ~ the optimal of the mountain. The resort has actually put increase maps to suggest walking routes for visitors. The will is also building a big Buddha, the statue that the Bodhisattva Guanyin and also a large bell tower in ~ the summit. Mr Chien said these will open up to tourists following year.

Following grandfather Chien, i spent virtually two hours on the top of the mountain, enjoying as lot of the new air together I could. I walked approximately the abovementioned under-construction website -- noting that this required a many footwork and as such, the route might not be suitable for the elderly.

But if you get worn down or cold, you deserve to stop off at one of the tea carts marketing tea with cinnamon, the sweet-smelling and health-giving spice that adds gentle heat.

After half a day scaling and exploring the optimal of Fansipan, we delighted in a good lunch at the resort, which offered signature Vietnamese dishes. We then relocated on to Cat Cat village, home to the black color Hmong ethnic minority of north Vietnam. We checked out Cat Cat waterfall and dropped in top top a family members of Hmong people to learn about their society and customs. Castle treated united state to a traditional dance performance, after which us spent about an hour trekking with the rough terrain surrounding their village.

A Hmong seller said her village opened to tourist in 2010 to create a resource of revenue because that the neighborhood people. The town is renowned for its herbal beauty.

"There are both pros and cons to the tourism promo policy," she said. ", a the majority of Hmong children do not desire to walk to schools since they desire to assist their parents market souvenirs and also food and also drink come tourists. They reap meeting them.


mists that time: Some temples at Fansipan peak. A Buddha statue and a bell tower are additionally being developed at the summit.


"On the plus next of the tourism promo policy, it can really aid us earn a living. I have the right to save money to build a shop here."

Admission to the town costs 40,000 dong, or practically 60 baht. Us went there by tiny taxis because it was rainy and also foggy, which expected bigger car would discover it difficult to navigate the little and rough roadways leading there.

As because that the cable car, each ticket costs 700,000 dong, or around 1,000 baht. This might sound a bit pricey, yet for me it was worth the expense.

After all, together Mr Chien said: "This is a must-do activity in Sapa, riding the cable car.

"If you"d rather trek come the peak, you will spend around two days. Would you choose to try?"

For now, sooner or later was enough. Back in our hotel in Sapa, few of us went for well-earned massages ~ so lot time invested walking at high altitude. Because that me, a fresh pineapple juice ordered at the hotel bar to be a perfect refresher. N

The 7 Thai journalists, consisting of myself, were invite to visit Vietnam under a Memorandum that Understanding in between the Thai Journalists Association and also Vietnam Journalists Association, under their Media Exchange Programme 2017. The programme is aimed at help promote media relations and constructive coverage in their news media for this reason that world of the two countries will have actually correct understanding in regards to social, economic, politics and cultural matters.

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green scenes: Cat Cat village, home to the black Hmong decimal in north Vietnam. The village, renowned for its organic beauty, started welcoming visitors in 2010.