Vietnam – Mt Fansipan

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  • Duration: 4/5/6 Days
  • Grading: 2B
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Standing at an elevation of 3,143m above sea level, Mt Fansipan holds the distinction of being the tallest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula, encompassing Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This accolade has earned it the nickname “the Roof of Indochina.” Situated in Lao Cai province, approximately 9km southwest of Sapa town, Mt Fansipan is part of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, positioned in the northwest of Vietnam along the border of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces.

Before 2016, Mt Fansipan used to draw at least 100 climbers daily. In February 2016, the introduction of a cable car changed the landscape, transporting individuals from the mountain’s base to a station near the summit. A mere 630 steps separate one from the summit after reaching the cable car station. Since the cable car’s installation, there has been a noticeable surge in visitors to the peak of Fansipan.

One positive outcome is that hikers can reach the summit to witness the sunrise between 6am and 7am, while the cable car begins operations only after 7am. Consequently, non-trekkers would arrive later, allowing trekkers to enjoy the summit during the golden hour. Additionally, trekkers now have the flexibility to choose between descending on foot or taking the cable car for their journey down.

As of October 2017, it is compulsory to climb Mt Fansipan with a local trekking guide. 

About The Climb

There are 3 different routes that go to the top, all with separate levels of difficulty and distance:

  • Tram Ton: This path is the most popular among trekkers because the path is the most gradual. The distance between the starting point and the peak is 11 kilometres, the trail starts at 1900m above sea level. This trail can be completed in a day, but most trekkers take 2 days one night.
  • Sin Chai: This path is shorter but it is mainly for experienced hikers. It is insidious and walkers often report that they can no longer find the way. The distance from start to finish is approximately 9 kilometres, the trail starts at 1260m above sea level. 
  • Cat Cat: The longest route starts from this village, but it has the best scenic views along the way. The distance from the start to the top is approximately 20 kilometres, the trail starts at 1245m above sea level. This track usually takes about 3 to 4 days to complete.

Embarking on our 2-day/1-night trek, we commence our journey from the Tram Ton Pass, recognised as the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, situated at an elevation of approximately 1900m above sea level. Offering awe-inspiring vistas of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain range, the pass serves as the starting point for our adventure.

From the trailhead, a 2.5-hour trek leads us to Base Camp-1 at an altitude of 2200m, where we take a break for lunch. The trail meanders through dense forests and rocky terrain, unveiling stunning landscapes along the way. Our overnight stay is at Base Camp-2, positioned at an elevation of 2800m.

The following day involves a trek from Base Camp-2 to the summit of Mt. Fansipan, it takes approximately 3.5 hours. The journey traverses diverse terrain, featuring a combination of uphill and downhill sections, ultimately reaching the cable car station. To reach the summit, we navigate through a spiritual complex that boasts numerous scenic viewpoints, culminating in an unforgettable trekking experience.

Trekking Season

Mt Fansipan can be visited all year round, though Spring (from March to May) and Autumn (from September to November) are the best times to visit when the weather is pleasant most of the time. During the summer months (from June to August), it can rain a lot and the weather will be warm. In the winter time (from December to February), the weather can be very cold and Mt Fansipan is one of the places where snow and ice appears the most in Vietnam.

The popular trekking seasons are:

  • Spring (Mar-Apr)
  • Autumn (October-November)
  • Winter (early December)

 

Experience Required

This trek is graded 2B.

It is advisable to possess prior trekking experience below the altitude of 3000m. During the 2-day trek, participants will carry backpack loads ranging from 6-8 kg. The second day presents a substantial challenge, with a trek lasting 12-14 hours that begins at 4am. The route traverses undulating mountain terrain, situated at altitudes exceeding 2800m.

Equipment and Gear

Depending on the trekking season, between November and April, it is colder. You will need a lightweight base layer, quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the trek.  A water and wind proof outershell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at the mountain hut and after sundown a fleece or lightweight down jacket is needed to keep warm. A good sleeping bag is also needed and will be provided in the package.

A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page for information on the layering system and how to choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.

5D Trip Itinerary

DAY ITINERARY Accommodation MEALS
1 Arrive in Hanoi – Transfer to train station / Take sleeper train to Lao Cai (930pm) Sleeper Train – /-/-
2 Arrive in Lao Cai (6am)/ Transfer to Sapa / Short hike around Sapa’s village / Trek Preparation Hotel B/L/D
3 Transfer to trailhead (1900m) / Trek to base camp (2800m) Mountain Hut B/L/D
4 Summit trek (Mt Fansipan, 3143m) / Descend to trailhead (options to take cable car down **) / Transfer to Sapa town / Transfer to Lao Cai (7pm) / Take sleeper train to Hanoi (930pm) Sleeper Train B/L/D
5 Arrive in Hanoi (530am) / Depart Hanoi or personal extension – /-/-

** Options to take a cable car from the summit to the base near Sapa town – the fare is estimated at USD 30-35/way (pay by cash)

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6D Trip Itinerary

DAY ITINERARY Accommodation MEALS
1 Arrive in Hanoi – Transfer to train station / Take sleeper train to Lao Cai (930pm) Sleeper Train – /-/-
2 Arrive in Lao Cai (6am)/ Transfer to Sapa / Short hike around Sapa’s village / Trek Preparation Hotel B/L/D
3 Transfer to trailhead (1900m) / Trek to base camp (2800m) Mountain Hut B/L/D
4 Summit trek (Mt Fansipan, 3143m) / Descend to trailhead (options to take cable car down **) / Transfer to Sapa town Hotel B/L/D
5 Free & easy day in Sapa town. Transfer to Lao Cai (7pm) / Take sleeper train to Hanoi (930pm) Sleeper Train B/-/-
6 Arrive in Hanoi (530am) / Depart Hanoi or personal extension – /-/-

4D Trip Itinerary

DAY ITINERARY Accommodation MEALS
1 Arrive in Hanoi – Transfer to train station / Take sleeper train to Lao Cai (930pm) Sleeper Train – /-/-
2 Arrive in Lao Cai (6am)/  Transfer to Sapa/ Transfer to trailhead (1900m) / Trek to base camp (2800m) Mountain Hut B/L/D
3 Summit trek (Mt Fansipan, 3143m) / Descend to trailhead (options to take cable car down **) / Transfer to Sapa town / Transfer to Lao Cai (7pm) / Take sleeper train to Hanoi (930pm) Sleeper Train B/L/D
4 Arrive in Hanoi  (530am) / Depart Hanoi or personal extension – /-/-
DATES PRICE
11-15 Apr 2024* (5D trip with a trek leader) $780 (SGD) / person

Group size: 6 – 10 people

You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg.

Inclusions

  • Accompanying trek leader from Singapore
  • Return airport transfers in Hanoi (non-deductible if not utilised)
  • All land transfers as in itinerary (non-deductible if not utilised)
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • Twin/Triple sharing accommodation in Sapa town
  • Two-way sleeper train (Tourist Class) tickets between Hanoi and Lao Cai
  • 2D/1N guided treks on Mt Fansipan: local trekking guide (s), 3L bottled drinking water, boiled drinking water at the campsite; sleeping bags & mattress, porters to carry food & sleeping bags, entrance fees to the national park, summit certificate & medal

Exclusions

  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Visa Fee (if any).
  • Single Supplement
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Cable car ticket (USD 30-35)
  • All tipping
  • Personal porters
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 4000m)
  • Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
  • Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks etc
  • Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  • Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
  • Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay

Pre-trip Support

  1. Trip briefing and information kit
  2. Gear list
  3. Complementary group training sessions

Local Support 

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Taiwan, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in wilderness 1st aid and emergency rescue.

Visa

Below is the full list of 26 countries that are exempted from visa requirement:

Brunei, Myanmar, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, The UK, The Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Chile, Panama.

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit: https://vietnam.travel/plan-your-trip/visa-requirements

Money

The currency of Vietnam is the dong, which you will see after an amount like “đ”, “d” or “VND”. Major currencies can be exchanged virtually anywhere in Vietnam, but not all exchange offices are the same. Banks and money changers at the airport often exchange money at bad rates. The most favourable exchange rates are often at a jeweller in the old quarter of Hanoi or behind Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City. Before you change money, always calculate whether you will receive a favourable rate. Although the official currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND), many major stores and hotels in Vietnam also accept the US dollar. With a few exceptions, the Euro is not accepted anywhere. When you travel to Vietnam, it is handy if you bring some dollars. Especially if you are planning to get a Vietnam visa upon arrival, it will save you problems, as the visa stamp at the airport must be paid in USD. A number of other currencies are accepted here, but high rates are charged.

Credit cards are accepted in large cities at hotels and travel agents, but do not expect cheap guesthouses or local restaurants to accept credit card. Payment commissions sometimes apply (around 3%).

Electricity

The electricity voltage of Vietnam is 220 Volts at 50Hz. If your device has “100-240, 50-60Hz”, it means that it is compatible with all the different voltages used in the world, including Vietnam. You can use them everywhere as long as the plug is also compatible. Plug type A (two flat vertical pins), type C and type F (two round pins) fit most sockets in Vietnam.

Language

Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) is the national and official language of Vietnam and is spoken by a large majority of the population. It is also one of the few languages ​​in Asia that uses the Latin alphabet instead of symbols. This makes it a lot easier to interpret street signs and even learn to speak in Vietnamese. In major cities and tourist areas in the south, communicating in English is becoming increasingly easy as Vietnam is becoming increasingly touristy. Due to high demand, the government has set up programmes to improve English-language lessons in schools. However, if you plan to go to smaller cities or rural areas, it may be useful to know some simple Vietnamese words.

Drinking Water

In Vietnam, it is not recommended to drink tap water directly. The tap water can contain bacteria or impurities that can make you sick. It is best to drink bottled water or use filtered water for drinking purposes.

When it comes to drinks made from water, such as those served in restaurants or cafes, it is generally safer to consume beverages that are prepared with purified or boiled water. Hot drinks like tea or coffee, where the water is boiled, are typically considered safe.

Most of the ice you will encounter in Vietnam is considered safe and can be consumed. In Vietnam, there are generally two types of ice: filtered ice, which is safe to consume, and unfiltered ice, which should not be consumed.

While brushing your teeth with tap water is generally considered safe in urban areas of Vietnam, it is better to be more careful in regions where water quality may be less.

Tipping

Tipping isn’t mandatory or customary in Vietnam, but it is always appreciated. If you are happy with the services provided by your guides (trekking or city tour), drivers and other service workers, giving a small tip is a good way to show your appreciation. If you are considering tipping, the amount is entirely a personal preference, however US$2-US$4 per person, per day is a commonly used guideline. You are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrest, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with travelling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Vietnam. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
Hepatitis B Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
Typhoid Fever Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Influenza A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.