Fansipan Mountain or Phan Xi Păng in Vietnamese is the place that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Sapa, the famous town in northern Vietnam. Fansipan Mountain is often called "The roof of Indochina" as with the height of 3,143 meters (10,312 feet) above sea level, Fansipan Mountain is the highest peak in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos combined.
In the past, the only option to get to the summit of the mountain was by trekking and it could take 2-3 days to make all the way to the top. But nowadays, thanks to the Sunworld Fansipan Legend cable car system, tourists can easily take a cable car and enjoy a 15-20 minutes ride to the top of Fansipan.
Location of Fansipan Mountain
Fansipan Mountain is the highest mountain in Vietnam and Indochina peninsula, located in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The mountain is located about 9 kilometers southwest of Sapa.
Conquer Fansipan Peak by trekking or taking a cable car?
As it was already mentioned, in the past, tourists visiting Sapa were only able to conquer Fansipan Peak on foot. Since February 2016, the cable car of Sunworld Fansipan Legend was launched, helping many tourists to visit Fansipan Mountain more easily, as instead of trekking for 2-3 days to the top, you can now get there in just 15-20 minutes by the cable car. The best way for conquering Fansipan Peak depends on your liking and physical abilities.
Fansipan Mountain Trekking
Trekking to the top of Fansipan Mountain is still a good way to conquer the peak for many travelers, especially those who love adventures and challenges. This mountain path tests strength and endurance very well. Trekking to the top may take from 1 day to 3 days, depending on the chosen route. During the trip, you will meet other travelers and locals, encounter various plants and wildlife such as birds, bears, monkeys, chamois in the midst of lush forests, and will get a chance to stay in a simple cabin or tent on the mountain. This is an amazing experience of a lifetime that you cannot find anywhere else.
If you want to conquer Fansipan Peak by trekking, we would recommend having a local guide for safety reasons. You can join 2D1N Fansipan Mountain Trek with Camping from Sapa and experience an interesting trekking tour with other adventurers and English speaking guide.
Fansipan Cable Car
If you don't have time or are not fit enough for such a long trek, the modern cable car is there ready transfer you to the top of the highest mountain in Vietnam. Traveling this way is very easy and comfortable. It takes only 15-20 minutes to reach the Fansipan Peak at an altitude of 3143 meters.
How to Get to Fansipan Peak
To make it clear about how to go up to the top of the Fansipan Mountain by a cable car, let's start the journey from Sapa town. Traveling from Sapa town to Fansipan Mountain Peak by a cable car consists of 3 parts.
1.Traveling to Sapa Cable Car Station
The first destination you need to reach is Sapa Cable Car Station, also known as Hoang Lien station. The station is located in a touristy place called Sunworld Fansipan Legend, which is about 3 km away from the center of Sapa town.
There are several ways to travel from Sapa town to Sapa Cable Car Station:
Taking a taxi is a convenient way for getting to Sapa Cable Car Station because you can start your journey from your any hotel you are staying at. The trip by a taxi from Sapa town to Sapa Cable Car Station can take 10-15 minutes and the taxi fare for such a ride should be around 40,000-100,000 VND.
Another convenient way for getting there that we would recommend is taking the Muong Hoa Monorail. This mountain train runs on an approximately 2 kilometers long rail connecting the center of Sapa town with Sapa Cable Car Station.
The train departs from Sun Plaza shopping mall in the heart of Sapa and it takes only 5 minutes to get to the cable car station. This mountain railway is one of the most beautiful and impressive routes in Vietnam because the train runs through several tunnels and bridges, giving a different view. You can also see the beauty of the Muong Hoa Valley and hill tribe villages.
If you are traveling on a budget or just want to explore Sapa on foot, you can easily walk to Sapa Cable Car Station. There are many signs along the way so you shouldn't get lost.
You can start walking from the town center, around the Stone Church, get to Thac Bac Crossroad, then turn left onto Nguyen Chi Thanh Street and walk directly to Fansipan Legend for around 1.7 km.
2. Traveling to Fansipan Cable Car Station
From Sapa Cable Car Station you need to reach the next destination which is Fansipan Cable Car Station. The distance between 2 stations is 1,400 meters. Each cable car can accommodate about 30-35 passengers. The capacity of the whole cable car system is about 2,000 passengers per hour. Fansipan Cable Car Station is situated very close to the top of Fansipan at a height of 3000 meters above sea level. Traveling between these two stations takes only 15 minutes.
During the cable car trip, the more you go up, the more beautiful view you will see (if it will not be foggy, though). You will definitely enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range and the Muong Hoa Valley.
3. Traveling to Fansipan Peak
After reaching Fansipan Cable Car Station, there are 2 ways to get to the top of the Fanipan Mountain:
- You can climb up 600 steps, which normally takes about 20-30 minutes. This is an option for people who have good health and travel when the weather conditions are good.
- You can take the Fansipan Monorail from Do Quyen Station near Ha Pagoda to reach Fansipan Peak, which is in a distance of 230 Meters at an altitude of 100 meters. This mountain train can carry a maximum of 60 passengers and takes only 2 minutes trip. This is a good option for elderly or during the bad weather.
Sun World Fansipan Legend Cable Car ticket prices in 2020 are as follows.
- Adults – 750,000 VND per person
- Children (1 - 1.4 m high) - 550,000 VND per person
- Children (under 1 m high) - free
Muong Hoa Moutain Train/Monorail:
- Monorail ticket for the way up - 70,000 VND per person
- Monorail ticket for the way down - 80,000 VND per person
Fansipan Mountain Train/Monorail:
- Monorail ticket - 100,000 VND per person
We would recommend buying combo tickets of cable car and monorail as normally discounts are offered. Going all the way up by trains is the most convenient way to get to the peak as many people might have difficulties climbing up stairs at high altitude so.
Where to buy tickets?
You can buy tickets in many places. If traveling during the low season, tickets can be purchased directly at Sun Plaza (opposite Stone Church) in Sapa town or at the cable car station. However, when traveling in a large group or during high season, you should book tickets in advance.
The best way is to book Fansipan cable car tickets online (definitely cheaper!) that can be conveniently done here: Sunworld Fansipan Legend Admission Ticket. Combo tickets are also available.
Cable Car Operating Hours
Fansipan cable car is operating daily from 7:30 to 17:30
Many people want to experience the sunrise or sunset here but the business hours are not favorable. The ideal time to visit Fansipan Mountain by cable car is at midday or early afternoon as at that time of the day the temperatures are higher as well as the chances of the clear sky to see the scenic view.
Accommodation at Fansipan Mountain
Currently, there are no hotels on the top of Fansipan Mountain for traveller to stay overnight. The closest area to stay near Fansipan Mountain is Sapa town.
If you are looking for an accommodation that would let you to travel to Fansipan Mountain easily, you can find a hotel near the Sun Plaza Building where the monorail station is located. The best hotels near Sun Plaza are as follows:
How to travel from Hanoi to Fansipan Mountain
Other ways of traveling from Hanoi to Sapa are briefly described here: How to travel from Hanoi to Sapa.
Other tours in Sapa
If you are looking for a tour in Sapa that includes visiting Fansipan Mountain and other activities, we would recommend joining this 2D1N Sapa Cat Cat Village Tour and Trekking with Fansipan Legend Cable Car Ride. During this tour you will get a chance to visit the main attractions of Sapa, including Cat Cat Village, where the Black H’mong tribe thrives, and Fansipan Mountain Peak with spectacular panoramic views of Hoang Lien Son mountains. The tour is worthwhile.
Best Time to Visit Fansipan Mountain
Fansipan is always beautiful and it is different in each season which attracts many tourists.
November - February
During this time, Sapa is cold, cloudy and foggy. The temperature sometimes drops below 0 degrees. At this time of the year you shouldn’t have a high hope for clear skies and sunny weather so the trip by the cable car to the top of Fansipan Mountain can be less thrilling. However, during this time only few tourists are visiting the area so it’s more peaceful.
March - May
During this time of the year, the temperature in Sapa is getting higher. At the beginning of spring it is still cold but the sky gets brighter. During these months you will get a chance to see the overlapping rice fields all the way to the horizon and thousands of blooming flowers. Expect spectacular views from above if you will be visiting on a sunny day.
June - August
Summertime is the high season in Sapa so a lot of tourists can be expected there. During this time you will get a chance to experience the wonderful scenery of Sapa as the whole valley seems to be colored. The weather is usually quite hot and humid. Fansipan Mountain also attracts large crowds of visitors so cable car tickets should be booked in advance.
September - October
This is another good time to come to Sapa as it brings stable weather. The weather is not as hot and humid as in the summer, with sunny days but cold nights. It is the ripe rice season so you get a chance to enjoy beautiful views of the rice terraces turning from green to golden across the hills. Many photographers love to go to Sapa during this season for the best photo journey.
More Tips for Traveling to Fansipan Mountain
- People who have problems with the respiratory system, heart disease or are afraid of heights should not get on the cable car. Fansipan Mountain is higher than 3,000 meters so the top of it has high humidity with less air. There is a chance of low blood pressure and shortness of breath. Lack of oxygen may be harmful to health.
- You need to have a good rest to allow the body to adjust to the temperature and climate.
- The stairs to the top of Fansipan Mountain are high and steep so you should walk up slowly and make breaks along the way.
- If you are planning to trek to Fanshipan Mountain, you should have a proper insurance.
- Trekking to Fansipan Mountain independently is possible, but it's recommended to hire a local guide for safety and preventing of getting lost.
- You need to wear warm clothing no matter what time of the year you travel because the temperature on the mountain peak is much lower than in the town.
- The weather in Sapa is unpredictable so carrying a rain coat might be a good idea.
- If you want to save money, better bring a bottle of water and snacks because the food in the restaurant at the cable car station is quite expensive.
- Avoid bringing too large items because the staff will not allow you to take them to the cable car.