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Fansipan Mountain

Fansipan is a mountain belonging to Hoang Lien mountain range and it is also the highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula (including of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). Located in Lao Cai province, 9 km southwest of Sapa in the Hoang Lien Son moutain range, it is shared between Tam Duong district of Lai Chau and Sapa town of Lao Cai. The height of this mountain is 3143 meters.


The origin of the name Fanxipan is unclear. The most accepted theory is that it evolved from Hua Xi Pan – the name that the locals called the mountain based on its shape. It has also been suggested that the name could have derived from Phan Van Son, a geographic officer in the Nguyen dynasty who helped French to map the area and define the border with China in 1905. Due to the inaccurate local pronunciation, the name generally evolved into Phan Xi Pang.

Fansipan was formed around 250-260 million years ago between the Permian period in the Paleozoic  era and the Triassic period in the Mesozoic era. The Himalayan orogeny since Late Mesozoic has further uplifted Fansipan and Hoang Lien Son mountain range and created Red River Delta to the east. The peak is often obscured by clouds and is occassionally dusted by snow. The summit can be accessible year round by hiking to anyone who is in good shape and properly equipped. The journey usually takes one or two days to the peak and back. Nowadays, travellers can reach the peak by taking a cable car for dozens of minutes. For the hikers, the terrain is actually rough and adverse weather is frequent. Despite the short distance, the round trip usually takes 2 to 3 days, some fit and experienced hikers can make it in one day.


The hike is started from Tram Ton at 1900 meters to 2200 meters. You will not see any more villages, just the forest, striking mountain vistas and perhaps some local wildlife like monkeys, goats and birds. No ropes or technical climbing skills are needed, just endurance. You need to be self – sufficient. And you need also an experienced tour guide and a strong porter who carries your gear. Some travellers ask the question if they can hike alone to the peak ? it is impossible, they need a guide to avoid being lost in the forest. Fansipan’s summit is accessible year round but the best time is from mid October till mid December and again in March when the wild flowers are in blossom.


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