Climbing Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

A Guide to Climbing Mount Fansipan Independently

First published August 2018 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

This post was last updated 5 years ago. Please check the comments section for possible updates, or read more on my Updates & Accuracy page.


Fansipan (or Phan Xi Păng in Vietnamese) is the highest mountain in Indochina. At 3,143m (10,312ft) it’s a real mountain, but can be climbed without any specialist equipment or guides or porters. Located near the former French colonial hill station of Sapa, Fansipan is part of Vietnam’s Hoang Lien Son Range, which is essentially the southeastern-most extent of the same continental collision that formed the Himalayas. The ascent of Mount Fansipan can be made comfortably in one day if you are in reasonably good physical condition. And, now that the new and controversial cable car to the summit has opened, it’s possible to make the return trip to Sapa on the same day. It’s not necessary to hire a guide for the hike, but obviously you must be extremely careful and plan sensibly before setting out. The ascent takes between 6-8 hours depending on your pace, and the views are stupendous. But Sapa’s bleak climate means that Fanispan and the surrounding mountains are often hidden behind a grey, lingering mist that refuses to lift for days at a time. Even so, it’s still a challenging, rewarding, exciting, and beautiful trek. Below is my guide to climbing Fansipan independently.

Climbing Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

The Roof of Indochina: it’s possible to climb Mt. Fansipan independently, without a guide, in one day

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There are several trails to reach the summit of Mount Fansipan, known romantically as the ‘Roof of Indochina’. However, only one is easy enough (and safe enough) to follow independently, without a guide. This is the trail that begins at the entrance to Thác Tình Yêu (Love Waterfall), 15km west of Sapa on road QL4D. Known as the Tram Ton Pass trail, it’s fairly easy to follow and, despite local opinions to the contrary, can comfortably be climbed in one day, without a guide. However, it’s still essential to prepare and climb responsibly and safely. In this guide, I’ve tried to include as much information as I can so that other climbers who want to make the ascent independently may do so. However, please note that although all the information in this guide is accurate at the time of writing, I can’t guarantee that things won’t change in the near future.

Click an item below to read more about it:



Mount Fansipan & Environs

View in a LARGER MAP

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Time, Distance & Duration:

According to the signs at the trailhead, the one-way trek from the starting point of the Tram Ton Pass trail (at the entrance to Love Waterfall) to the summit of Mount Fansipan is 11.2km. We made the ascent in 6 to 6.5 hours. We climbed at a leisurely pace with regular short breaks, either to rest or to hydrate and have a snack, or to take photos and admire the views. We left our hotel in Sapa at a reasonable hour in the morning, after breakfast, sometime around 7.30am. The taxi ride to the trailhead takes 10-20 minutes, so we were on the trail by roughly 8.00am. We reached the summit after lunchtime, approximately 2.15pm. You could potentially make the ascent in under 6 hours if you’re very fit, don’t stop often, and have perfect trekking conditions. However, I would imagine that for most people of average fitness who simply want to successfully scale the highest mountain in Indochina and enjoy the walk, the views, and the experience (rather than treat it as an athletic contest), a general estimation would be anywhere from 6-9 hours. But there are other factors to consider: weather conditions might slow you down; perhaps you will get cramp and need an extended rest; maybe part of the trail is obstructed by a large branch or landslide. This is why you should leave fairly early in the morning, so that even if you encounter any unforeseen circumstances, you will still have time to reach the summit before nightfall. Note that, if you do run out of daylight hours, there are two permanent camps along the trail to the summit, one at 2,200m, the other at 2,800m.

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Climbing Fanispan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

The hike on the Tram Ton Pass trail is 11.2km: it can be completed in one day if you start in the morning

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Fitness & Endurance:

Climbing Mount Fansipan in one day via the Tram Ton Pass trail is something that most people in reasonably good shape can do. However, it does require a significant physical effort and, because of the altitude, breathing difficulties caused by lack of oxygen make the climb even more of a challenge. When I made the ascent I was 34 years old and in pretty good physical condition. I was with my dad and uncle, who were 73 and 69 respectively, both of whom take daily exercise in the form of long-distance swimming and running. I found the ascent challenging but by no means exhausting. However, I do take regular, strenuous exercise. I also think that my concern for my dad and uncle’s physical well-being on the trek kept me focused on their efforts rather than my own. My dad and uncle both made the ascent without incident, but they both agreed it was one of the toughest physical pursuits they can remember undertaking. We encountered around a dozen other climbers on the trail (all with guides), most of whom were younger than us and had taken two days for the ascent, spending one night at one of the base camps. However, the other climbers appeared to be mostly of average fitness and had not had any trouble making the ascent. They seemed to be in good spirits and while they had found the climb challenging, they were not exhausted. The first half of the trail is well-marked and of moderate steepness, but the second half is rocky and very steep at times, involving metal ladder and peg-ladder climbs. Particularly grueling is the last couple of hours, when several steep ascents immediately descend again, which can be very demoralizing, especially as the air is getting thinner and your body more tired.

Climbing Fanispan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

Although strenuous, the climb can be completed by most people in reasonably good physical condition

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Supplies & Equipment:

Although you don’t need any specialist equipment to climb Mount Fansipan, you still need to carefully consider what to wear for the trek and what to bring with you. The unpredictable mountain weather means that conditions can be very hot and very cold on the same day. In general, temperatures around Mount Fansipan and Sapa are significantly cooler than lowland Vietnam. Daytime temperatures can be mild to warm (15-25°C) during the summer months, or cool to cold (5-10°C) during the winter. On the summit it can reach freezing, and the added wind chill factor can make it feel even colder. However, the physical exertion of the climb will make you feel stuffy and hot. Therefore, it’s best to dress in light but warm and windproof clothing, with the option to strip off one layer if you get too hot. For example, we wore a T-shirt, sweater, and thin waterproof at the beginning of the climb, when the morning temperatures were cool and our bodies had not warmed up. During the middle of the trek, with the difficulty and temperature increasing, we stripped off a layer. But as the clouds descended, the wind picked up, and a light rain began to fall near the summit, we re-clothed for full protection.

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Climbing Fanispan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

No specialist climbing equipment is necessary, but good shoes & sensible clothing are important

For footwear, standard hiking shoes are perfect, but decent trainers are also fine. I made the climb in my Adidas Barricade tennis shoes, which are fairly hardy trainers. (Many of the guides we met were wearing flip-flops for the climb, and the Vietnamese young women in their group were wearing plastic bags over their shoes to keep them dry and clean, which would also make them treacherously slick.)

Take a small backpack with some food and drink supplies, and remember to leave room for your clothes for when you get too hot. There are no shops or kiosks on the trail, although you could potentially stop at one of the two camps if you needed to. The most important thing to bring is water, lots of it. Dehydration leads to cramp and that can be extremely dangerous on a mountain. We took three litres of water each (two 1.5 litre bottles in each of our backpacks). For food, we stocked up on local milk candy bars (bánh sữa) and Vietnamese energy bars, called lương khô, which are like army rations: compact and full of energy. At the summit there are all sorts of dining and drinking options, so you can look forward to a hot coffee and a burger when you get to the top. My dad took his trekking poles which he’d brought with him from the U.K, but you might be able to find them in the stores in Sapa somewhere, too.

Climbing Fanispan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

Take a small backpack with some warm clothes, food & lots of water for the climb

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Safety & Permission:

Although Mount Fansipan can be climbed independently, without requiring any specialist equipment, climbing abilities, or permission, it is still vital that you treat the ascent seriously by preparing sensibly and climbing responsibly. There have been deaths on the mountain in recent years, including foreign tourists attempting the ascent without a guide. Like any high mountain, Fansipan can be dangerous, and the risks of climbing alone, without a guide, should not be underestimated.

The trail is well-marked for most of the ascent and is fairly easy to follow. However, when the clouds descend on the mountain, visibility can be very bad, leading to difficulty finding your way. In damp conditions, the rocks can become very slippery. Tread carefully because even a minor slip can lead to an injury, and even something as small as a sprained ankle can cause big problems when on a cold, wet mountainside with no help. It should go without saying that straying from the trail, or climbing boulders and cliff faces without proper equipment, is an extremely bad idea.

Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

The dangers of climbing Mt. Fansipan, especially without a guide, should not be underestimated

It’s essential to stay hydrated. Bring lots of water with you. The climb is strenuous so you will be perspiring all the time, even if it doesn’t feel like it because of the cool weather conditions. Dehydration leads to cramp, which can be a major hindrance, forcing you to stay static for hours at a time. Cramp may not sound serious, but if your legs cramp at 10,000ft as a storm is blowing in and the daylight is fading, your situation can suddenly become very grave. Make sure you bring some warm clothing. The mountain can get very cold, even in the summer months. If you get stuck on the mountain in freezing temperatures, hypothermia is a serious possibility.

If possible, don’t climb alone. Go with a companion or a small group. If something happens to one of you, the other can get help. Bring your mobile phone. There’s a phone signal for most of the ascent. Make sure you have a local SIM card with plenty of credit. It’s best to get a Viettel SIM, because they tend to have the widest coverage in the mountains. Make sure your battery is fully charged, or even better, bring a USB battery pack so you can recharge your phone on the climb. Take a small flashlight in case it gets dark.

Climb Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

Climb carefully & responsibly, because even a minor incident can become very serious on a mountain

When it comes to permission, before the ascent I’d read all sorts of stories about independent climbers not being allowed on the mountain, being turned back or even fined by national park authorities. In reality, however, we didn’t encounter any authorities on the climb, no tickets or permission papers were asked for, and none of the official guides we passed and spoke with mentioned anything at all about it. No doubt, one of the reasons the authorities and tourist agencies in Sapa say it’s not possible to climb Fansipan independently is because, if such a climber were to have an accident, it would not only be a personal tragedy, it would give the mountain and the national park bad press and a bad name. This seems reasonable to me. However, part of discouraging independent climbers is also likely to do with money. A guided climb can cost upwards of $100. And yet, we met a number of guides and their groups who didn’t appear to have safety in mind: they were climbing with flip-flops or, in some cases, with plastic bags over their shoes so as not to get them wet or dirty, thus increasing the chances of a nasty slip or fall because of the lack of traction. Unless things have changed by the time you read this, it certainly is possible to climb Fansipan independently, without a guide and without needing to get permission. However, if you do climb independently, have some respect for the mountain and for the independent climbers who will follow in your footsteps: don’t be reckless; climb responsibly and safely. If your negligence leads to an accident on the mountain, you give other independent climbers a bad name, and the authorities the perfect excuse to ban independent climbers in the future.

The hiking rail up Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

On our climb, we weren’t asked for tickets or any kind of permission to scale the mountain independently

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Weather & When to Go:

As with most high mountains, weather on Fansipan is very unpredictable and subject to change within minutes all year round. In the morning, the summit might be perfectly visible from Sapa, gleaming in the fresh highland light; but by the time you reach the trailhead, just 15 minutes later, thick cloud might have descended on the lower slopes, and a drifting rain set in above the forests. Likewise, the temperatures fluctuate from hour to hour. Perhaps hiking through the dense forests on the lower slopes, humidity and heat will force you to strip off your layers; but as soon as you emerge from the foliage onto an exposed, treeless ridge, the wind ripping in from the north, you’ll be chilled to the bone and reaching for your jacket. Most people agree that the best times of year for climbing Fansipan are spring (March, April) and autumn (September, October). During these months there’s a good chance that the sun will shine for at least some portions of the climb and temperatures are fairly mild. On our climb, for example, we had beautiful weather in the morning, but the higher we ascended the more the weather closed in, and for the last third of the climb we could hardly see 10 metres ahead of us, including at the summit.

Misty, cloudy weather over Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

Conditions can change quickly on the mountain: in general, spring & summer months are best

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Getting to the Trailhead:

Sapa is the base from which to plan and start your ascent of Mount Fansipan. From the hotels, hostels and homestays in and around Sapa, it’s a 10-20 minute journey by taxi to the trailhead at the top of the Tram Ton Pass (also known as O Quy Ho Pass). Ask your taxi to take you to Thác Tình Yêu (Love Waterfall), which is 15km west of Sapa on road QL4D. The car park and entrance to Love Waterfall is on your left (if you’re approaching from Sapa) just at the top of a mountain pass, which is in turn the beginning of the Tram Ton Pass, wiggling its way around the mountains to the west of Love Waterfall. By the roadside opposite the entrance to Love Waterfall, a large billboard titled ‘Hoang Lien Son National Park’ has a rudimentary map of the three trails leading to the summit of Mount Fansipan, including the camp sites. The one that begins at Love Waterfall (the Tram Ton Pass trail) is the furthest to the right on this map. However, there’s very little detail. From the car park at Love Waterfall, walk under the entrance arch (with the words ‘Suối Vàng-Thác Tình Yêu’) and bear left, opposite the ticket kiosk for the waterfall. There’s a little noticeboard titled ‘Rules for Conquering Fansipan Summit’, at the bottom of which is a casual arrow announcing ‘Fansipan Summit 11.2km’. (Note: when we made the ascent, there was no one at the entrance, or anywhere else for that matter, who asked us to buy tickets for the trail.)

A taxi is the easiest way to get to the trailhead at Love Waterfall. There are lots of taxis in Sapa and the fare is only around $10 (200,000vnd). However, you could also arrange a motorbike taxi from Sapa (which would be cheaper), or a minivan (if there’s a group of you) which can be arranged through your hotel, or even self-drive there on a rented motorbike, but then, of course, you’d have to return to the trailhead after the climb in order to pick up your bike again.

The hiking trail up Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

The Tram Ton Pass trailhead is at the entrance to ‘Love Waterfall’, 15km west of Sapa

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The Climb & Ascent:

From the trailhead, the pathway immediately plunges into brush and forest. The trail is good: paved at first, with large stepping stones over cold mountain streams. Some of the trees, bushes and flowers are labeled. The canopy is thick but light shines through the branches, illuminating patches of the forest floor, thick with roots and fallen leaves. The first hour or so is peaceful, quiet, gentle and pretty – it reminded me of walking in the Welsh landscape on a damp but bright spring day.

The hiking trail up Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

The early stages of the climb are gentle & well-marked, passing through forests & over streams

The Tram Ton Pass trail to the Fansipan summit is undulating: it rises steeply and then falls. This can be dispiriting, because each time you expend effort to ascend a steep section, the pathway immediately descends half the height you just gained. Thus, it feels like two steps forward, one step back. A couple of hours into the climb, the forest gradually fades: going from a thick, gnarly canopy, to a spindly, thin covering with bald patches, until it disappears altogether, leaving you hiking along the top of an exposed ridge. Although open to the elements, the views back over the forested valleys and mountains are wonderful.

Climbing Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

The forest cover disappears as you climb higher, and the trail is largely a dirt path & stone steps

The middle section of the climb involves increasingly steep hikes along a clearly marked but deteriorating dirt trail. From the first campsite at 2,200m (there are two on the climb, both of which consist of corrugated iron roofed huts), the going gets tougher. The trail is steep, slippery and rutted; grooved by rivulets of rain water running down the mountainside. The air gets thinner, breathing becomes more difficult, the wind picks up and the temperature plummets. There are expansive views east over Sapa and west over Lai Chau, but during our ascent this was when the clouds drew a curtain of grey over the mountain, and although we could feel the gaping landscapes below us, we couldn’t see much at all.

Climbing Fansipan mountain independently, without a guide, Vietnam

Some sections are very steep & require a bit of scrambling & ladder climbing to ascend

Before reaching the second campsite (at 2,800m), there are a couple of major ascents which climb in altitude very rapidly. Parts of this section are so steep and rocky that metal rails, fixed ladders, and peg-ladders have been installed to help climbers get up. These can be quite tricky, especially if it’s wet. There are a few big and dangerous drops close to the ladders, so it’s essential to climb cautiously. This is also the point at which, if you suffer from vertigo, the steep slopes, sharp drops, and sensation of being very high up may start to affect you. A variety of bamboo grows on the mountainside here, known as ‘Dwarf Bamboo’. As the named suggests, it’s short and stocky but has delicate leaves and stems, unlike the large, towering clumps of bamboo you get in lowland Vietnam. Also, several kinds of rhododendron bushes that like high altitude are scattered around the trail, their pink, purple and violet flowers brightening the grey weather conditions.

Wild flowers on Fansipan mountain, Vietnam

As well of large trees & gaping valleys, colourful wildflowers & ‘dwarf bamboo’ grow on the mountainside

The last climb, from the second campsite to the summit, is tough. It starts out gentle, and then descends. You pay for this later when the gradient gets very steep, including a peg-ladder up a sheer rock face. There’s a dramatic moment when a giant escarpment reveals itself, plunging down into the cloudy abyss below. For me, this was the first time on the climb that I had the sensation of being near the peak of a big mountain. It suddenly struck me that we were now higher than any other natural formation in this southeastern corner of the Asian continent. Strangely, this was also the moment when we heard, and then saw, the cable car emerging from the mist above us. Then came the sound of clanking hammers working on the construction site that sprawls around the peak. In fact, there was plenty of construction debris strewn around the trail as we got nearer the summit, presumably discarded from the building site. This made us think we were near the top, but the climb dragged on, winding around the various developments: pagodas, a giant seated Buddha, restaurants, viewing platforms, shops. When we finally reached the grand, wide staircases leading to the summit, the weather had closed in to the point that the pylons marking the peak were hardly visible. We weren’t rewarded with fine views over the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, but I’m sure they are absolutely spectacular in clear weather. However, this didn’t take anything away from our own sense of achievement at having made the climb and enjoyed it.

Fanispan mountain summit, Vietnam

The last section of the ascent is the most tiring, but at the summit you can wave the Vietnamese flag

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At the Summit:

Only a few years ago, the summit of Mt. Fansipan was what mountain peaks should be: wild, windswept, and isolated; just you are your fellow climbers standing alone, seemingly on top of the world, with nothing but nature surrounding you. And all this was gained through your own physical effort; the views over endless ridges and peaks poking above the clouds your reward for the climb. These days, however, things are very different indeed. In 2016, a cable car to the summit of Fansipan opened, thus transforming the ‘Roof of Indochina’ forever (more about the cable car below). After climbing for over 6 hours through forests, along streams, over giant, moss-fleeced boulders, and into the clouds without encountering more than a dozen people along the way, it comes as quite a shock when, within sight of the summit, the silence is broken by the purr of the cable car, the clank-clank of construction work, the nasal tones of announcements over public address systems, and the silhouettes in the mist of what appears to be a city in the sky. This is the reality of Fanispan’s summit today: a commercial toy town of fast food stands, souvenir shops, photography booths, tourist transportation systems, grand staircases, wooden decks and plank walkways, Vietnamese flags, summit pylons, and a sprawling Buddhist temple complex, including a giant seated Buddha presiding over the scene.

Statue of seated Buddha, Fansipan mountain summit, Vietnam

The summit of Mt. Fansipan is a bit of a tourist trap these days: there are temples & souvenir shops

It’s jarring, impressive, unsettling, convenient, and confusing. In the thin air, hungry and tired after the climb, I felt a kind of culture shock on arriving at this fairground of a mountaintop. We were grateful for the hot food at the restaurant and the good, strong, hot coffee, and we gladly grabbed the Vietnamese flags, provided at the summit, and waved them above our heads next to the pylons. And we were relieved at the attractive (too attractive to resist) option of taking the cable car down the mountain, back to Sapa. We would have enjoyed the views, too, were it not for a thick fog. To some extent, at least, the structures built on and around the summit are in fairly good taste and make an impressive visual impact. The imperial-style gates that appear to lead into a kingdom beyond the clouds for example, or the mysterious silhouette of the giant Buddha waxing and waning in the mist, seemingly levitating above the material world. It was odd to see the crowds of people there, most of whom were dressed in their best, shiniest winter clothes so as to look good in all the portraits they were having taken at the summit. For Vietnamese, it’s becoming a national pilgrimage to take the cable car to the top of Fansipan, the highest point of their nation. We saw octogenarians and toddlers at the summit, neither of whom would be there were it not for the cable car. Even so, it left me feeling conflicted. I was glad we’d hiked up rather than taken the cable car. It made us feel we deserved the views (if we could have seen them), and the food, and the coffee, and the cuddly toys, and the ‘I Conquered Fansipan’ T-shirts…..

Tour groups at Fansipan mountain summit, Vietnam

Since the cable car opened in 2016, thousands of people visit the Roof of Indochina each day

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The Cable Car & the Descent:

If you really wanted to, you could hike back down the mountain the same way you came up, but it would be very tough and inadvisable to attempt to do this on the same day as the ascent. Another option is to descend on one of the two other Fansipan trails, but these are supposed to be more challenging and longer treks, and I can’t vouch for doing either of these trails independently. For us, it was all about the ascent, and we never had any intention of hiking back down: we always planned on taking the cable car back from the summit. Arriving at the peak around 2pm, we stayed for an hour or two, and left on the cable car around 4pm, thus arriving back at our hotel in Sapa before sunset, at around 5:30pm. This worked out perfectly for us, and it was a very satisfying, fulfilling way to spend a day. 

The Fansipan mountain summit cable car, Vietnam

The cable car is a convenient option for climbers who want to get back to Sapa in one day

The cable car is a spectacular ride, passing high above the forested valley, in and out of the clouds, going from alpine forests near the top to terraced rice paddies near the bottom. The ride only takes about 15 minutes, even though it’s over 6km long and has an elevation gain of over 1,400m. It’s a smooth, beautiful ride, the cars are large, bright, comfortable and clean, and they operate constantly from 7am to 6pm. There’s even a train running from the cable car station at the bottom into Sapa town, or you can easily take a taxi. However, ticket prices for the cable car are high: 700,000vnd ($30) one-way for adults.

The Fansipan mountain summit cable car, Vietnam

The cable car is a very scenic & comfortable ride, but it is quite expensive ($30 one way)

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Leave a Comment

Questions, updates and trip reports are all welcome. However, please keep comments polite and on-topic. See commenting etiquette for details.

  1. Forrest Lindsay says:
    March 30, 2024 at 5:52 PM

    Hello. I am currently in Sa Pa attempting to climb the path which is supposedly able to be done without a guide. I was stopped by park authorities who say that you cannot climb mountain at all without a guide. I tried to talk to them about it and they will not let me climb it.

    1. Tom says:
      March 31, 2024 at 1:06 AM

      Hi Forrest,

      OK, thanks. Yes, the issue of climbing independently without a guide is discussed in the information on this page above and in the comments below.



  2. James says:
    March 30, 2024 at 1:44 AM

    I also contacted Minh like the others and highly recommend him.

  3. Jo K. says:
    March 8, 2024 at 12:14 PM

    I did the climb in the beginning from february 2024, with guide Chung. The cable car was in maintenance.
    The first day up to the summit and down till basecamp 2. It took 6 hours included a 30 minutes break in basecamp 1 and 10 minutes in basecamp 2. Nex day down 3 a 3,5 hours. I am 65 years old.
    The best was the maintenance from the cable car, no tourists on the summit, only we two. Th summit was completely in the clouds, which gave the place something mystique.

  4. Gavin M says:
    February 23, 2024 at 3:46 AM

    Just returned successfully from Fansipan and figured I’d comment an update too:
    Without any knowledge of how it “was”, I’d be inclined to suggest not trying this independently either. Normally I’m all for independent hiking and find it frustrating to pay, but I think you’d find it difficult to get away without being asked about your papers. Twice before leaving the ranger station (I was briefly separated from my guide) I was asked twice about showing my papers, and they were quite adamant. Plus the two camps are staffed, there is night security at the summit and there’s a good amount of guided foot traffic where the guides all know each other. You could try at night but it would just be unenjoyable being worried about being caught and fined. As well, it’s a reasonable rate for the service and you’re supporting a local and their family.
    As far as the hike, it’s a great time and a good adventure to do in Sa Pa. We met lots of people from around the world and our guide was really enjoyable to hangout with, plus an excellent hot pot dinner on a cold night.
    We used Minh, as others have below (where you can get his contact to book) and I would also vouch very positively about him. Easy to get along with, knowledgeable, smart and a really fun guy. Really professional and had us well taken care of, he deserved his rate. It’s a beautiful mountain and the experience of being at the summit before the crowds was eerie and special.

    1. Tom says:
      February 23, 2024 at 10:02 AM

      Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the hike with a guide.

      Yes, in order to do the climb independently, you’d need to begin the climb early in the morning, at about sunrise, but not while it’s still dark, and you’d need to complete the climb in one day, not stay overnight on the upper slopes in order to see the sunrise at the summit the next morning, as the guided tours do.



  5. Andrea says:
    January 25, 2024 at 9:57 AM

    Hello Tom and thank you for the great and detailed guide!

    I went up with a friend, and as well, due to likelihood of a high fine (5 million dongs), with a guide. We are relatively fit and with a good pace and few breaks we could do the hike both ways in about 7.5 hours ( the cable car was under repair during our stay in Sapa).

    Concerning the difficulty, beside being tiring, there aren’t really dangerous or technical parts. The improvement of the trail seems ongoing based on what we were told by the guide.

    We actually found our guide here by reading the comments. I can safely recommend Minh (+84 868 139 467). He has been truly fun to hang out with and very dependable. By contacting him directly and bypassing the agencies, you definitely get a better price too! Still not cheap, but for me worth it for the peace of mind of not having to worry about potential fines.

    Enjoy the hike, the scenery is truly stunning!

    1. Tom says:
      January 28, 2024 at 10:02 AM

      Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for the trip report. I’m glad you enjoyed the climb and found your guide helpful and fun.



  6. Stefan says:
    August 8, 2023 at 3:08 PM

    Thanks for your guide Tom, great info and really inspired me to get on the hike.
    The hike to Fansipan is fantastic! Most of the tricky parts of the track are now greatly improved and plenty of rails and supports are available. Reached the summit on July 31st 2023 in about 6 hours (from the parking lot) with generous breaks for water and photos. Then took the cable car down ($30 per person). Getting down from the top is definitely doable in one day, just didn’t want to push it too much – should take around 4 hours.

    1. Tom says:
      August 10, 2023 at 4:32 AM

      Hi Stefan,

      Thank you for your trip report and updates. I’m glad you enjoyed the hike.



  7. Simon says:
    June 20, 2023 at 7:19 AM

    Thanks for your amazing as always guide Tom! Your Ho Chi Minh road guide was extremely helpful as well.

    As of today, the climb was a bit easier compared to your photo’s. There are metal ladders and metal stairs now at some difficult spots. I didn’t see any of the difficult situations like the photo under the part “Fitness & Endurance”. I’m a 22 year old moderate fit male and made it in 5.5 hours with a big lunch stop and smaller water breaks. I think most people would be able to take this hike, especially because rangers improve the hike every year and make it easier. I have a lot of respect for you, but especially your uncle and your dad at that age! My dad would never 🙂

    Warning for people going alone: because I was going on my own and dont have much if any mountain hiking experience, i hired a guide. He told me that if the rangers catch you, you have to pay a 5 million dong fine and need to turn back. They usually hang out at the base camps and occasionally hike up or down. They know how many people are supposed to do the hike and you might stand out if they see you.

    1. Tom says:
      June 20, 2023 at 11:17 AM

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the updates – good to hear the ‘difficult’ parts of the climb have been made easier with the new infrastructure.

      That’s interesting about the potential fine for not going with, and paying for, a guide. I think there are many reasons for the insistence of making a guide mandatory: some of which I agree with; some I don’t.



  8. Nikki says:
    May 7, 2023 at 3:21 PM

    We based pretty much all of our planning on this review and it was perfect 🙂 Thank you so much! The key of getting past the rangers is to get up really early. If you want to be on the safe side, be at the entrance by morning dawn, maybe even ask the taxi to drop you off a short distance before Thác Tình Yêu (Love Waterfall) in order to draw as little attention to you as possible. With that you won’t have any trouble and enough light to start hiking. Have fun and stay safe!

    1. Tom says:
      May 8, 2023 at 6:18 AM


      Thanks for your trip report. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the hike and started nice and early in order to avoid any problems 🙂



  9. Marcus says:
    February 20, 2023 at 6:09 AM

    Hi Tom,
    Great review! Everything you described about the climb was on point. I did the same – hike up, cable car down approach with the only variation being a night on the FREEZING camp before a sunrise summit. Would highly recommend.

    For anyone looking for a guided hike, would suggest engaging locals instead of booking through websites as their rates are much better, and you know your fees are going directly to the locals. Our guide Minh was an excellent cook, and doubled as a porter during some tough parts of the climb. He also helped with arranging transport from Hanoi into Sapa, then the trailhead, and back to Hanoi. Highly recommend (Minh: +84868139467).

    Most travelers I assume would be coming from Hanoi. Would suggest catching the overnight bus from Hanoi’s Old Quarter into Sapa center that departs between 9-10pm. Private cars may not necessarily be more comfortable or faster as they tend to be quite cramped in the rear, and highway speeds are limited to 80km. Private drivers aren’t inclined to speed due to the hefty fines (although the roads are clear most of the time), but organised bus companies seem to not care. The only caveat to this is that the bus would arrive in Sapa around 3-4am, so you may need to find short term accommodations. I managed to scrounge up a decent room not too far from the bus station for only 200,000 VND, and it came with 2 queen beds and a hot shower.

    Overall a very fulfilling climb. Thanks for the guide Tom!

    1. Tom says:
      February 24, 2023 at 3:18 AM

      Hi Marcus,

      Glad you enjoyed the climb, even in the cold temperatures! Thanks for the feedback.



    January 31, 2023 at 7:19 AM

    thank you for sharing the good experiences

  11. Dragos says:
    December 12, 2022 at 10:26 AM

    Hi Tom.

    What about Fansipan permits? We do not need either guides.



    1. Tom says:
      December 14, 2022 at 10:21 AM

      Hi Dragos,

      Please read the details on this page above for more information about needing guides etc. And you can also read the other comments below.



  12. Pujo says:
    December 12, 2022 at 9:15 AM

    Hello Tom, this is an excellent primer on what to expect on the climb. Thank you for the meticulous and objective account of your experience. I am going to be in SaPa in the first week of January 2023 and hoping to climb the mountain with my teenager so or solo. What can I expect in terms of the weather in January? I have noted that some websites have mentioned possibility of snow and frost, temperatures below 10C and potentially rain. Is it uncommon for tourists to climb the mountain this time of the year? I am inclined to take a guide for good measure.

    1. Tom says:
      December 14, 2022 at 10:18 AM

      Hi Pujo,

      Yes, it will likely be quite cold at that time of year – probably frost in the mornings, maybe even light snow on the mountain. The biggest risk in any weather is slipping on the pathway, or, in very misty conditions, losing the path. If you do want a guide, you might try contacting Ethos in Sapa.

      Not that many people climb the mountain at any time of year now that the cable car is open. But those that do usually go in small groups.



  13. Duva P says:
    November 21, 2022 at 2:29 AM

    Hi Tom,

    Read this blog post, which was fantastic for information on the climb (and also other posts about Sa Pa and Vietnam!). We ended up taking a guide with us, noted below with comment from Markus. Thanks Markus!
    Anyone interested in climbing, this blog post is probably one of the best and most honest posts about hiking Fansipan that you can find on the web.
    Our guide Minh was excellent ( and can highly recommend him.

    From our personal experience, a single day hike is possible but very challenging for those not used to hiking/altitude. We opted for two-day hike for the experience. We stopped and camped at ~2800m, where a home cooked meal was prepared by Minh and other locals before we climbed to the summit the following day, reaching the top for sunrise. If you plan to go, try to reach the peak before/after the cable car times as it floods with tourists.

    Thanks again Tom.

    1. Tom says:
      November 21, 2022 at 6:45 AM

      Hi Duva,

      Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your experience on the hike with a guide. I’m glad you enjoyed it.



    2. Minh says:
      January 3, 2023 at 9:27 PM

      Thank you so much Duva, hope services you in next trip.

    3. Myrna says:
      November 17, 2023 at 2:49 PM


      So cool that you did it!
      Was wondering what a normal price(range) is for a guided 1day climb?

      Thanks in advance for replying 🙂

      1. Tom says:
        November 19, 2023 at 4:29 AM

        Hi Myrna,

        Guides usually charge between $70-$150 for the trip and most take a day and a night for the climb.



  14. Anna says:
    November 15, 2022 at 7:26 AM

    Hi Tom,

    I am thinking of doing this walk next week! I wonder if hiring a motorcycle to get to the trailhead will be more suitable for me, then if I meet a guard I can get back into town without being stranded by a taxi.

    Can you tell me if you think it would be safe to leave a hire bike/ scooter at the trailhead? Is the road to the trailhead suited to riding a scooter down (not too rugged)? Can I put the scooter somewhere the guard won’t hear it coming and come out to stop me?

    I appreciate that things might have changed since you were last there though.

    Thanks very much!

    1. Tom says:
      November 15, 2022 at 9:35 AM

      Hi Anna,

      Personally, I think it’s best to take a taxi to the trailhead. Just make sure you have the taxi contact with you, just in case if you need it for the return trip.

      If you go to the trailhead by motorbike then you have to return to the trailhead again to collect your bike – I don’t think it’s worth the inconvenience.

      The road to the trailhead is a paved main road.

      Remember to get to the trailhead early to have the best chance of getting through – the earlier the better. And please read the other comments on this page.



  15. Joep says:
    October 10, 2022 at 8:45 AM

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for this comprehensive guide! Thanks to you I climbed the Fansipan without guide and I would like to share my experience with others.

    Based on the tips in the comments, I decided to go early to the entrance: we arrived at around 05:45am and walked very quietly. At this time, there was no guard, so we could continue. After around an hour, one guide and a traveller caught up on us, and they said that they arrived at around 6, waking up the guard (but they had permission). So, my advise to anyone trying this is to reach before 6 am to avoid any guard issues (and turn off your engine early to avoid noise).

    The trek itself took us 6 hours, with pretty regular breaks and a longer lunch break.

    It can indeed be demotivating since you go up and then descend for a bit. However, it was a very nice challenge. I was with a friend (26 y/o) with poor to medium stamina, and she could do it.

    At the top it was such a tourist trap, with people taking photo’s all over the place. However, it was such a conquering feeling to reach the summit and knowing you worked hard to get there.

    Once again thanks for sharing this blog and I hope to help other travellers with my experience!

    Greetings Joep

    1. Tom says:
      October 10, 2022 at 10:34 AM

      Hi Joep,

      Thank you for your trip report. This is very helpful to me and to other travellers intending to do this climb.

      I’m happy to hear you were able to make the hike independently and enjoyed it.



  16. Cindy says:
    October 6, 2022 at 4:01 PM

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks so much for the great write up and sharing your experiences!

    Can I check with you on the following:

    The one that begins at Love Waterfall (the Tram Ton Pass trail) is the furthest to the right on this map. However, there’s very little detail. From the car park at Love Waterfall, walk under the entrance arch (with the words ‘Suối Vàng-Thác Tình Yêu’) and bear left, opposite the ticket kiosk for the waterfall. There’s a little noticeboard titled ‘Rules for Conquering Fansipan Summit’, at the bottom of which is a casual arrow announcing ‘Fansipan Summit 11.2km’. (Note: when we made the ascent, there was no one at the entrance, or anywhere else for that matter, who asked us to buy tickets for the trail.)

    Did not really get the last line…. does it mean that the trail starts at the little noticeboard? Also, the trail is opposite entrance of the waterfall? Thanks a lot!

    1. Tom says:
      October 8, 2022 at 3:29 AM

      Hi Cindy,

      The trail is the on the left (due west) of the map, not the right (east).

      If you go to the car park for Suối Vàng-Thác Tình Yêu you should be able to find the trailhead for Fansipan easily enough by following the directions: go under the entrance arch and bear left (not right), you will see a sign saying ‘Fansipan Summit 11.2km’.

      Of course, it’s possible that the signage has changed since I wrote this guide. But you should still be able to work it out, or ask anyone who you see there.

      The last line: “(Note: when we made the ascent, there was no one at the entrance, or anywhere else for that matter, who asked us to buy tickets for the trail.)” means that there were no official staff to check entrance tickets etc.



  17. KK says:
    April 20, 2021 at 7:47 AM

    Dear Tom,
    Thanks for your precious post and it helped me a lot to concur the peak of Mt. Fansipan on my own foot just recently.
    The climb was really tough, especially past 2800m point. It took 5 and half hours. I felt like I achieved something great.
    Thanks again!!

    1. Tom says:
      April 20, 2021 at 8:06 AM


      That’s great to hear, thanks. And well done. Yes, it’s a tough climb but it feels great when you reach the top 🙂



  18. SMC says:
    January 6, 2021 at 3:35 PM

    Hey, I’m a Taiwanese working in VN. Thanks to your blog and these replies, I also finished the independent trekking onto Mt. Fansipan. Based on so many sharings, I choosed to take the taxi at 5:00am from Sapa central, then arrived at the entrance of waterfall at 5:30am (taxi fee: 5 million VND). When I arrived, I can see the light in ranger’s building, and some shower sounds inside. Also I see a car parking outside the building, let me making sure that there was someone inside. I was nervous and not sure I could pass the entrance without someone caught or not. Anyway I wait a little while after my taxi leaving (I think people inside definitely would know there was car stopping), and sneak near the gate. After making sure the shower sounds keeps going on, I walked fastly and quietly near the road side, and turn left onto the trekking route. The sky was still dark, but I kept walking for about 30~50M then just turned on the flash light. After that everhthing was quite fine, even I met a local trekking group, no one asked I hired a guide or not. I took 4.5hrs onto the mountain top, then took the cable car down. That was all my experience.

    1. Tom says:
      January 7, 2021 at 2:49 AM

      Hi Simon,

      Thank you for sharing your experience of climbing Fansipan independently. I’m happy to hear that you made it by starting early in the morning. (Although if your taxi from Sapa to the trailhead was really 5 million VND I suspect you may have been overcharged).



      1. SMC says:
        January 19, 2021 at 6:22 PM

        Ooooops I made the mistake about the fee, that should be 500K! lol

        Yap still I think that’s a little bit expensive. I asked the hotel owner to book the taxi and he told me the fee would be 600K VND due to peak season during new year holidays. I also calculate by Grab app that the rational fee would be between 200~300K, but it would be tough to hire one in very early morning. To avoid any time waste so I accept the hotel’s taxi and the final price was 500K.

        Just provide the experience for someone needed 🙂

        1. Tom says:
          January 20, 2021 at 2:37 AM

          🙂 Haha! Yes, 500k is much more like it.



  19. Eliška says:
    February 13, 2020 at 1:57 PM

    Thanks for this precise description! We did the hike today in the opposite direction, i.e. up by the first cable car and down by foot. I know this lacks the conquering feeling of actually climbing the mountain but it was really great. You start with the best views (if you are lucky with the weather) and then get away from the crowds, observing the vegetation changes with the decreasing elevation and admiring the views while taking a very easy descending hike. I am actually surprised that almost noone chooses this direction since it is really easily done within 5 to 6 hours and the trail is very nice. And you avoid any controls, you just need to sneak from the cable car station (go down to the toilets where you simply leave the building, going further on the right site of the cable car line and you will soon meet the path heading further to the left and descending – once you have it you cannot loose it). Btw if you are lucky you might even sell your overprized cable car round trip ticket to someone going upwards for few bugs to mutual benefit. Fingers crossed to all future hikers 😉

    1. Tom says:
      February 14, 2020 at 1:14 AM

      Hi Eliska,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of climbing down Mount Fansipan – that’s a good idea! I’m glad you enjoyed it.


  20. Benazir Khan says:
    January 13, 2020 at 3:40 AM

    Thanks for your post! We climbed to the top yesterday using this same trail. Unfortunately we were caught by the guard at the start (who was quite aggressive) so we had to pay for the guide (£100+??). But it was a great hike. It can be a little disheartening at the end when you’re basically just walking through a tourist town. Also, this time of year is very very misty/foggy, be warned!

    1. Tom says:
      January 13, 2020 at 3:56 AM

      Hi Benazir,

      Thanks for sharing your experience on the hike. I’m glad you enjoyed it. What was the guide like and what time did you start the trek when you were stopped by the guard?



  21. Mark says:
    November 29, 2019 at 2:24 AM

    Hello Sir

    Where can you purchase a one way ticket for the cable car? Can you buy one at the peak? Thank you!

    1. Tom says:
      November 29, 2019 at 5:17 AM

      Hi Mark,

      Yes, you can buy the tickets at the peak.


  22. Deanna says:
    August 24, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Hi Tom

    We just want to say a big thank you for this guide.
    We would never have attempted this without having read your guide. It was fantastic information.
    We arrived at the entrance just after 5am and comfortably headed off on the trek.
    The sun was up in no time and we got great views of Fansipan on our trek.
    On arrival at the top it was like a circus. We got there just before 9am and people, noise, photos, music. Very much a let down but we were happy in knowing the beautiful journey we had to get there. We took the cable car down which was interesting enough.
    Thanks again for your information. So helpful.

    1. Tom says:
      August 24, 2019 at 12:34 PM

      Hi Deanna,

      Thanks, it’s really great to hear that. I’m happy to hear you made the trek and that you got good weather to see the views.


  23. TA says:
    July 18, 2019 at 8:55 AM

    Thank you so much for your website and for your advice. A friend and I were able to hike the whole thing this morning in under 6 hours.

    We arrived at Love Waterfall around 5:45am and there was no guard. We were prepared to deal with that but were please not to have to. I would like to add one thing that you could possibly update. At the end of the hike once you see the lift, don’t go towards the loft but follow to the path that is marked with a yellow sign. That path had so much grass that my friend and I were constantly worried about not following the right path. We walked up to the lift and the construction/back side of restaurant and were really confused, only to go back and find the real path.

    Other than that, great hike! It was really challenging for us with the steep inclines and declines

    1. Tom says:
      July 19, 2019 at 2:58 AM

      Hi TA,

      That’s great. Glad to hear you made the hike up and didn’t have any obstructions along the way.


  24. Markus says:
    May 8, 2019 at 8:29 PM

    Hi Tom!

    We had been in contact a couple of month ago when I tried to figure out whether it would currently be possible to hike up Fansipan without a guide. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get a statement by officials and therefor I decided to take a guide as I was travelling with my family and had only a very small time window for the hike and no time for discussions with national park rangers and things like that. And guess what, the decision was one of the best I have ever made on issues like that. I have to say that I am a quite experienced hiker and climber and in terms of navigation it was not necessary for me to have a guide on Tram Ton Pass Trail. Even at night time I would have navigated myself solo to the top without any problems. But I had such a great time with my guide on the hike and on the following trek the next day with the whole family to Ta Van Village that I would really miss something if I would not have chosen to hike up with him.

    I set one condition when I engaged my guide for the hike. If the weather forecast for the summit day would be good we start latest at 3am to reach the top before the first cable car does. And we did it!

    19 April, perfect weather conditions and full moon night. We started at 3am at the entrance of Tram Ton Pass Trail and reached the summit by a couple of minutes past 7am. My guide never started that early before. I really pushed him for this special thing as I don`t like crowds at the top. We were the only ones on the summit of Mount Fansipan for nearly 45 minutes. Great experience! I will never forget.

    You can do it by yourself – no doubt! There was no control or check point at all in that night. Neither at the entrance or at the top. Just follow the recommendations Tom has made in this guide……

    ….BUT it´s also great to just hike up with a guide who really makes the difference. Special thanks to my guide Minh! I strongly like to recommend him if you are not sure whether you should take the risk to get caught without a guide/permit. He is a really great a nice guy. Please send him a mail with regards from Markus from Germany if you like to be guided to the Top or just somewhere else in Sapa region (

    Best of luck


    1. Tom says:
      May 9, 2019 at 9:33 AM

      Hi Markus,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the climb – sounds great. I’m glad you enjoyed it and that you got there for dawn at the peak without anybody there. Good stuff.


    2. Andrew Barratt says:
      January 5, 2020 at 8:27 PM

      Hey Markus, I was looking at doing what you say and getting a guide. Not only to make the trek a little simpler but also to help to provide someone with a living. Western money goes a long way in Vietnam! I love the idea of starting that early. I think we will. I’ll be in touch with Linh. Thanks for the advice.

      1. Andrew Barratt says:
        January 5, 2020 at 8:28 PM


  25. Niels says:
    March 31, 2019 at 2:36 AM

    We successfully did the climb independently yesterday! LSS: you have to be lucky that the guard is not on duty when you arrive at the trailhead (which we where not) to excess the trail without being stoped.
    We wanted to go badly, that’s why we purchased the tickets for love waterfall and tried to finde a way from there, back on to the trail to the summit. That wasn’t easy (fighting trough dense rainforest up and downhill) and I would not recommend it to anyone! If you got caught doing so, a high penalty or worse will be your reward!
    Anyway, that’s how we successfully sneaked by the guard. While hiking the trail, we where not stoped by anyone else (met a few guided groups one the way) and made it all the way to the summit.
    In total it took us 7-8 hours and we arrived shortly before 5pm. Just in time to spend an hour and take the cable car down at 6pm.

    1. Tom says:
      March 31, 2019 at 7:19 AM

      Hi Niels,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the climb. I’m glad you managed to do it independently, too.


  26. nikki mooki says:
    March 28, 2019 at 2:14 PM

    Fantastic details, thank you! We’re going to try a one day hike in April!

    1. Tom says:
      March 28, 2019 at 4:02 PM

      Thanks, Nikki. I hope it goes well.


  27. Dave says:
    December 25, 2018 at 5:23 AM

    We attempted to climb Fansipan independently today but got turned away. We arrived around 8:00 and were just about to start down the trail when a guard called to us and said we needed a guide. After going back and forth for a few minutes he talked to our taxi driver, who then left, leaving us more or less stranded at the trailhead. He then asked for 1million dong for “tickets” if we wanted to go up. We tried negotiating but he wouldn’t budge. There was no way we were going to pay that much and the attempted extortion left us pretty pissed off. We poked around a bit to see if we could find another route but ended up giving up and found some locals to give us a ride back to town. Good luck if anyone else attempts this. Might have to get there super early or be willing to pay a big bribe.

    1. Tom says:
      December 25, 2018 at 5:50 AM

      Hi Dave,

      Sorry to hear that and thank you for sharing your experience.

      That is a shame, indeed. If I thought it was about keeping hikers safe I could understand, but as mentioned in the above guide, that doesn’t seem to be the case, considering the nonchalance with which hikers WITH guides were climbing the mountain.


  28. CJ says:
    November 17, 2018 at 2:36 AM

    Sh… just on my way back to Sapa…. even though I was first up there (seen that from the park entry registry) the rangers were on poat and called me back when I tried to leisurely stroll down the path… at first he seemed willing for a deal but as others arrived that willingness faded quickly… tried ro sneak through once more but failed … unfortunate!

    1. Tom says:
      November 17, 2018 at 6:12 AM

      Hi CJ,

      Sorry to hear that. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  29. Ven says:
    November 14, 2018 at 7:01 AM

    Do I need to book the cable car in advance or can I buy on the spot?

    1. Tom says:
      November 14, 2018 at 2:57 PM

      Hi Ven,

      You should be OK buying tickets for the cable car on the spot, unless perhaps if you go on a weekend or a public holiday.


  30. Jack Huynh says:
    September 17, 2018 at 5:24 AM

    Thank Tom for your article.
    I went to Sapa but did not conquer top of Fanxipang.
    I will go to the top of Fanxipang in the near future.
    Thank again

    1. Tom says:
      September 17, 2018 at 8:05 AM

      Hi Jack,

      Great, I hope you enjoy the climb.


  31. nhi says:
    August 22, 2018 at 4:23 AM

    great post !

    1. Tom says:
      August 22, 2018 at 5:12 AM


  32. Captain Essy says:
    August 21, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    Great mate. I havent done Fansipan, but did at some other mountains in Lao Cai, which I did for sheer beautiful views and cloudscape.
    I intend to climb Fansipan but since the cable car was built, I have felt the same conflict and it demoralizes me a bit. Will do some other time.
    Personally, i feel Sapa, where most of us trekkers start for any mountain in Lao Cai, has lost it. I nowadays go there only for mountains and tribes.
    Overall, the Tram Ton route is marked 3 out of 5 for difficulty. Not sure if I ever try the other 2.

    1. Tom says:
      August 21, 2018 at 8:31 AM

      Hi Essy,

      Yes, I agree about Sapa – there’s very little charm or local life left there anymore, but the landscape around it is still extraordinary and that’s what makes it worthwhile.

      I think Fanispan is still worth climbing – it’s only the summit that’s disappointing, at least from a trekker’s perspective. I hope you give it a go one day.


  33. Kevin Trieu says:
    August 20, 2018 at 11:34 PM

    I’m really glad to have climbed Fansipan before the cable car and madness took over.

    1. Tom says:
      August 21, 2018 at 1:22 AM

      Hi Kevin,

      Well, at least the ‘cable car madness’ is limited to the summit – in fact the rest of the climb is very quiet and pretty, partly because hardly anyone climbs the mountain anymore, choosing to take the cable car instead. But, yes, of course it’s not the same at the summit, and never will be.


      1. kevin trieu says:
        August 21, 2018 at 4:14 PM

        Hey Tom, I like your glass half full point of view.

        1. Tom says:
          August 21, 2018 at 4:33 PM

          Haha! Yep, it helps.