Climbing to the top of Fansipan mountain by oneself
Conquering Fansipan Mountain, located nine kilometers from Sapa, is not as easy as some may say. It requires of would be conquerors great strength and resilience for trekking, as well as a willingness to take risks.
However, the climb is not too hard and independent tourists may try it by themselves, as I saw two Thai men do earlier this year during my trip up to the Roof of Indochina.
It was strong determination that helped the Thai travelers Wuttisak Muangma Tong and Nuttakarin Wongwiwat reach the peak of Fansipan (tours go Fansipan), at 3,143 meters above the sea level, on their second attempt.
Tong told the Daily after stepping on the top of Fansipan that they had to abandon their plan to conquer the mountain last year due to much fog. However, they came back this year to make their dream come true. “We felt relaxed and happy when we reached the Roof of Indochina,” Tong said after he cried out his great joy.
The success of Tong and Wongwiwat was more meaningful because they hiked up the peak alone, without counting on any assistance from a local ethnic guide as other foreign tourists and even Vietnamese adventurers often do. It took the Thai men two days to complete their hard trip, during which they ate and drank what they had brought along with them.
Do you dare to make your own trip up the Fansipan Mount? Give it a try and you will have an opportunity to test your strength and will, and to take great pride in being named on a short list of successful Fansipan climbers.
Vietnam Television (VTV) recently interviewed a Japanese man of over 70 years old who conquered the Fansipan, and a 62-year-old Vietnamese-Australian trekker Tran Thanh Han who followed and achieved success. If these old men can crack the hard nut, why not you?
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” as a well-known saying has put it, and this applies to the climb to the summit of Fansipan. It takes at least two days for amateur adventurers to complete the more than 20-kilometer-long climb up and down from the Ton Station at the height of 1,950 meters, which is accessible by car and motorcycle.
You’ll need to buy tickets at about VND40,000 (more than US$2) per day to visit Hoang Lien National Park, in the mountainous province of Lao Cai, where the Fansipan is located, and you can ask the rangers there for instructions and advice before the climb.
Then, you will spend about eight hours tracing the path up, and sometimes down, to the cottages located at 2,800 meters high above the sea level, where you can cook dinner from what you bring and stay overnight.
It is very cold at the cottages at night and in the early morning even though it is not winter now, so remember to bring a sleeping bag that is as light as possible but can keep you warm. The Thai men told me that they were able to sleep because they had very good sleeping bags.
It is a good idea to head for the peak before the sun rises high the next morning so that you will not lose as much strength and water running down as sweat. It takes about three hours to get through the forests of small bamboo to the peak, and the steep, abrupt slopes up and down this path section will really put your durability and will to the test. H’Mong guides say several have failed to complete this section.
But never let the failure of others put off your determination; keep going ahead until you see the Vietnamese flag topped on the stone stele on which the words Fansipan and the Roof of Indochina, and the number 3,143 are carved. That’s the peak of Fansipan.
Besides the feelings of pride and glory, you can take pictures of the astonishing scenery of ranges of tree-covered and rock mountains, and, on the sunny days, the little town of Sapa nestled amidst hills in the far distance.
Masses of cloud and mist and strong winds will greet you on the other days if you are not lucky. Do not miss any chance to take pictures from different directions because this might be an once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The trip back is easy but you have to exert your last effort to overcome exhaustion and forests if you do not want to experience a second sleepless night in the national park. Do not worry about getting lost in the forest as direction signs are available along the way.
It is recommended to trek up Fansipan with a friend or companion as their company will make the trip seem shorter and give assistance in case of incidents. A light pack is important to contain food, water, necessary medicine, a warm and rain-proof jacket and to protect your back if you fall down. A pair of light but sturdy shoes is among what you need to bring with you along the trek.
If you cannot manage your own trip to the peak of Fansipan, ask tour operators in Sapa to help you with a package trip costing VND1.4mil to VND2mil depending on the number of participants.
Climbing to the top of Fansipan by oneself (26/05/07)
Vietnam apricot wine vintners seek trademarks (25/05/07)
Nha Trang cyclo travel to add color to sea festival (25/05/07)
Ho Chi Minh City offers tourism training courses (24/05/07)
Vietnam local travel means rapid changes for industry (23/05/07)
Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide to build two hotels in Halong Bay (22/05/07)
Travel to Muong ethnic people’s region by motorcycle (22/05/07)
Thailand, Vietnam blaze travel trail (21/05/07)
Foreign tourists travel to Vietnam (20/05/07)
Travel to Thi Tuong: picturesque lagoon in the heart of green fields (20/05/07)
Hanoi travel maps for tourists (19/05/07)
Natural feelings on Orchid Stream Island in Vietnam (18/05/07)
MICE Club to promote destination Vietnam (17/05/07)
Italian cruiser ships in 1,200 tourists travel to Ho Chi Minh City (16/05/07)
Vietnam highlands: travel to Nha Trang and Dalat (16/05/07)
Bac Ha culture festival: Mountain district to advertise its wares (15/05/07)
Travel to Binh Dinh Vietnam (14/05/07)
Hanoi licencing tourist cyclos halted (14/05/07)