Fansipan 3143m - 2 day hike

Published by Jane Blonde , 20 April 2009, 22h21.

Region: World » Vietnam
Date of the hike:28 December 2008
Hiking grading: T3 - Difficult Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: VN 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 1203 m 3946 ft.
Height loss: 1203 m 3946 ft.
Route:Heavens Gate and then up to Fansipan
Access to start point:Night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Minibus from Lao Cai to SaPa. Minibus from SaPa to Heavens Gate - Tram Ton (1940m).
Access to end point:Minibus from Heavens Gate to Sa Pa. Minibus from Sa Pa to Lao Cai. Night train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. Some good restaurants on the left side of the trainstation square (when having the trainstation in your back).
Accommodation:Tent in the mountains at 2800m.

Hiking up Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam, became a must for me while planning a 2-week holiday in Vietnam - seeing pictures and reading reviews only confirmed the idea. But finding a 2-day hike was difficult...most are 3-5 days! Finally I found one which was 2 days only - and I was able to organize everything with internet/email - including train/minibus ticket from Hanoi to SaPa.

The drive from Lao Cai to SaPa was so foggy that I was afraid that the hike would have to be cancelled - couldn't see much more than a few meters ahead! Arriving in SaPa it suddenly cleared and there was a beautiful view of the ricefields. And luckily the hike was still able to take place.
The hike started from Heavens Gate (1940m) in the morning with a break for lunch. In 2800m we stopped for dinner and sleeping. This was an official camp with a forrest hut for sleeping and cooking. My hike included sleeping in a tent - which was very cold (depending on the time of the tour I would recommend to bring extra clothes for this)... and I slept very little.
The next morning started with breakfast and then hiking the last ascent to the top - to get the reward...the view. Only the weather wasn't playing along. But it was a great feeling anyway.
And then the descent started - only with a break for lunch.

Both days were with 6-8 hours of hiking, and do-able in normal hiking boots. Hiking sticks would have been nice - but we made some of bamboo sticks which were a great help. Some places it was rather slippery and some places we had to climb ladders of wood or steel. There were no points were I felt uncomfortable due to lack of safety.
The view and vegetation is so! So every step was a joy...even if tough! And watching the porters walk in sandals and no use of sticks...and still not setting a foot wrong - is quite impressive - and it is absolutely impossible to keep up! 

Further; it was the best food I have had on a hike ever. The porters carried a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits...and breakfast in 2800m with pancakes and bananas...what more can you ask for.

I will recommend this trip to anyone. And would love to do it time including the view.

Hike partners: Jane Blonde


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