Sapa: Fansipan cable car

The Roof of Indochina. Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam stands at a majestic 3,143m above sea level in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, accessible from Sapa.

There are a couple of ways to reach Fansipan peak, depending on what kind of person you are. Those who are adventurous would typically opt to hike either one, two, or three days. There are trails for each option, each more grueling than the other. Don’t let that discourage you. I read enough to know that potentially life-changing, wonderful things happen when you go for the hike. You get to see some of the 2,024 flora along the way. You might see some wildlife, or transform into one yourself during your lowest moment. You get to marvel at breathtaking views of seas of clouds – if you are anything like me, you would have plenty of “life is great” and “I am grateful to be alive” moments.

You get to do this the hard way. The original way, created and cleared by proud descendants of the Dragon Lord Lac Long Quan and Mountain Fairy Au Co. When you eventually reach the peak and take your well-deserved photo with the Fansipan monument, your Insta-worthy shot is stamped with proof of persistence and authenticity.

Good for you.

We just took the cable car.

Sapa, Fansipan - in cable car

The Fansipan Legend was open to the public in early 2016. It cost a gazillion amount of money and courted controversy along the way, but I can tell you that it was an impressive ride. The journey in the gondola takes 20 minutes, going for 6km above a splendid 360 picturesque view of the valley and mountain range.

Sapa, Fansipan - view from cable car

What, pay US$35 for this experience? Shut up and take my money.

Sapa, Fansipan - view of rice terrace fields

Depending on when you will be there, it may get foggy towards the top. Sit back, relax and enjoy the slight sway inside the gondola.

Sapa, Fansipan - foggy view

Then it is 600 steps of reaching the actual peak. It’s going to be cold. Be prepared.

Sapa, Fansipan - halfway to the peak

It was okay. Tiring, of course. But not too bad. The air is thin. Take your time.

Sapa, Fansipan - stairs

Sapa, Fansipan - foggy climb

When you reach the top, you’ve got to hustle to take photos. Older people are scary when it comes to demanding to cut queues.

Sapa, Fansipan - at the peak

Made it, yay!

Sapa, Fansipan - peak

The Fansipan Legend cable car opens from 7.30am to 5.30pm every day. We took one of the last gondolas out, sharing it with a Vietnamese couple who decided to drive us back to town.

Double yay!

Sapa, Fansipan - helpful Vietnamese

Next: Sapa hiking.