| Fansipan overviews:
Fansipan is Vietnam's highest peak located in the far north just outside of Sapa. Fansipan a very steep mountain that gets a lot of moisture. Those looking to climb it should be in good shape and prepared to to have muddy wet feet The scenery is incredible remember to bring a camera.
For most of Vietnam having a rain coat is a little excessive because it is so warm. On the mountain having a rain coat is not a bad idea especially at night. The trails around Sapa are a lot of fun. You will get the chance to go through some minority vilages if you have the time to explore.
The people in Sapa are extremely nice. Be aware of the children on the street, before you know it you will have hats and bracelets and rugs all over you. Explore the restraunts that are not on the main strip, you will get great food at a fraction of the cost. Hanoi beer is available in local restraunts for around 30 cents a liter. Down from Hotel in Sapa there is a little old man that serves plum wine and plays board games, I suggest paying him a visit. The food there is great!
Increasing numbers of travellers, foreign and domestic, are seeking to conquer Mt Fansipan, the highest peak in Viet Nam, popularly known as the “Roof of Indochina”.
“Climbing Fansipan is the most appealing and adventurous tourist attraction in Viet Nam because you can really enjoy nature there,” said Le Hong Quang from Ha Noi, who has climbed the mountain several times.
“You can admire the beautiful mountains with forests and flowers all around and get a chance to challenge yourself physically by climbing the heights. It’s a really powerful experience,” Quang said.
In the first half of April alone, the 3,143m-tall mountain in the northwest of the country near Sa Pa welcomed over 250 climbers, 70 per cent of the total to have visited so far this year.
In 2007, about 2,200 visitors came to the mountain.Quang, whose latest climb of Fansipan took place in February during the coldest weather in a decade, said it took about two months to prepare for the trip.
“To make the trip successful, apart from strong determination and a good backpack, climbers must also check their stamina. This means they should practise by climbing other, smaller mountains such as Ba Vi or Tam Dao,” Quang said.
Vietnamese climbers often choose long holidays to take the trip to Fansipan, especially the period from Tet to the end of May, which includes the big national holidays of Liberation Day (April 30) and Labour Day (May 1).
Experienced climbers say it takes about two or three days to reach the peak following the shortest route. They pay attention the safest way and try to pick the time with the best weather and lowest rainfall, typically between February and April when flowers bloom and hikers have a chance to see the beauty of the Sa Pa region.
Those who start from Ha Noi can take a train to Lao Cai Province then reach Sa Pa by motorbike.
There are three routes to the mountain. One is from Tram Ton, the others from the villages of Sin Chai and Cat Cat.
The first route is a more gradual climb because it has been selected for tourists. The trip can be made in a day.
The route from Sin Chai is shorter but more adventurous, requiring climbers to sometimes use ropes or other special facilities for climbing.
The route from Cat Cat is the longest, but mixes some challenging climbs with great scenery. After one day of climbing, there’s a break at 2,200m above sea level. Climbers can have a meal cooked by a Mong porter and camp, followed by a second camp at 2,700m before reaching the peak on the third day.
Most climbers chose a tour from Sa Pa at a cost of about VND1.5 million excluding train fare from Ha Noi, and tours should be booked a month in advance.
This year, those who make it to the top will see a new plaque at the peak, placed there in February 2007 by Vietnamese and foreign climbers from the First Fansipan International Climbing Tournament.
The old plaque was first set up by a group of Vietnamese and Russian climbers in 1984. It was first replaced in 2003 when Sa Pa township celebrated its 100th anniversary, but this plaque was heavily vandalised and damaged by severe weather, said Hoang Lien Son National Park director Nguyen Quoc Tri, necessitating its replacement last year.