The Easy Way to Magical Fansipan

Words & Photography  Anna Nazarova

Located 9 km southwest of Sapa village in the northwestern region of Vietnam, Fansipan is often called “the Roof of Indochina”.

View from Fansipan peak

The best time to visit this region depends on your purpose for travel. From March to May, it’s warm and dry, so it’s a great time for trekking. From June to September, you’ll find it rainy and a bit crowded with local tourists. From late September to mid-December, it’s cool and dry, good for trekking and taking photos. From mid-December to February, the temperature drops to chilly and harsh levels, but it’s great for people watching! No matter what time you happen to be there and what you’re traveling for, go and see the top of the mountain!

Sapa valley in bloom

If you decide to climb the mountain on your own, you will need a few days. There is quite a variety of trekking companies in the village. Choose carefully and book a hiking tour in advance. However, there is an easier way to do it. The Fansipan Legend cable car, which opened in 2016, lets you enjoy a beautiful ride with breathtaking views over the valley and rice terraces.

A village, as seen from the cable car
Sunset at Fansipan

We recommend to go there in the afternoon, as there is an observation deck on top of the mountain, great spot for sunset lovers! Don’t forget to bring a light and windproof jacket and a beanie, as it’s chilly and windy.

Starting your journey from the town center (Sapa Church), Fansipan Legend is about 3 km away and costs USD 3 to travel by taxi. Upon arrival at the Sapa Station you will find the cable car station, Van Sam Buffet restaurant, Hoa Dao restaurant, Moc La cafe, shopping center and Bao An Thien Tu pagoda.

Cable cars suspended over the valley

Fansipan Legend is said to be the highest and longest suspended cable system in the world. Working hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. If you buy direct, ticket price for one way ride is VND 600,000 for adults and VND 400,000 for children.

The whole ride takes about 30 minutes. You will enjoy spectacular views over the Sapa valley and rice terraces! Upon arrival at the Fansipan Station you will find a shopping center with lots of souvenirs, Do Quyen restaurant, Thanh Phong Pagoda and the Fansipan peak, of course.

Thanh Phong Pagoda in the mist
Pagoda bell in the fog

Start walking up the stairs and in about 15 minutes you’ll get to the peak. There you’ll find a large observation deck, give yourself enough time to enjoy the views before getting back.

At Fansipan peak

When you’re back to the station, spoil yourself with a big bowl of amazing Pho soup to warm up and feel relaxed and happy!

Hmong ethnic minority girls at play
Rows of corn inside a house in a Hmong village

After your climb, Sapa awaits. The valley is famous for numerous indigenous communities and picturesque villages, as well as colourful local markets. Take your time to discover the beauty of northwestern Vietnam beyond its peaks.

A Hmong woman decorates woven hemp fabric by batik, a wax resist technique
Water wheels on the river between villages

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About the author

Anna is a researcher by profession and photographer by heart. She has lived in four countries: Russia, Germany, Norway and Thailand and travelled to more than 50! Her favorite thing to do is watching people and explore picturesque spots of our beautiful planet. Take a look at her photos at

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