Location: Fansipan Mountain is located 9km
south-west of Sapa Townlet in the Hoang Lien Mountain Range.
Characteristics: Fansipan is branded "the Roof of Indochina" at the
height of 3,143m; Fansipan is to be approved as one of the very few eco-tourist
spots of Vietnam, with about 2,024 floral varieties and 327 faunal species.
The topography of Fansipan is varied. Muong Hoa Valley, at the lowest altitude
(950-1,000m), is created by a narrow strip of land at the base on the east side
of the mountain. Geologists say the Hoang Lien Mountain Range, with Fansipan as
its highest peak, did not emerge in the mountainous North West of Vietnam until
the Neozoic period (circ. 100 million years ago). Fansipan, a rough
pronunciation of the local name “Hua Xi Pan” means “the tottery giant rock”. The
French came to Vietnam and in 1905 planted a landmark telling Fansipan’s height
of 3,143m and branded it “the Roof of Indochina”. Very few people climbed to the
top of Fansipan at the time. Then came the long years of war and Fansipan was
left deserted for hunting and savaging. The trail blazed by the French was
quickly overgrown by the underbrush. It takes six or seven days to reach the
3,143m summit, the highest peak of the Indochina Peninsula. In 1991, Nguyen
Thien Hung, an army man returned to the district town and decided to conquer
Fansipan. Only on the 13th attempt did Hung, with a H’Mong boy as his guide,
conquer the high peak by following the foot steps of the mountain goats. Scaling
the height was meant to satisfy his eager will and aspiration to conquer the
mountain without expecting that his name would be put down in the travel
guidebook. After that the Sapa Tourism Agency started a new package tour there.
It seemed the Fansipan Tour was meant only for those who wished to test their
muscular power. The summit of Fansipan is accessible all year round, but the
best time to make the ascent is from mid-October to mid-November, and again in
March. Foreigners like best to book Fansipan tours between October and December,
as this period is more often than not free from the heavy rains that obstruct
the jaunt. But the Vietnamese prefer their tours to the peak of the mountain
from February to April, as it is not so cold then. However, the best time for
the trek to the mountain is from the end of February to the start of March, when
the flowers all flourish and the climbers may behold the carpets of brilliant
blossoms, violets and orchids, rhododendrons and alias.