On the rooftop of Indochina

HCMC - Hoang Lien Son is Vietnam’s highest mountain range whose Fansipan is at a height of 3,143 meters above sea level. The peak of Fansipan is covered with white clouds all year round.

A panoramic view of Muong Hoa Valley seen from a cabin – PHOTO: NGUYEN TAM

The cable car service starting from Muong Hoa Village and ending at the peak of Fansipan was launched in 2016. The cable car system, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest three-rope cable car route, covers a length of 6,325 meters. It also sets the world’s record of the greatest height between the departure point and the arrival point, at 1,410 meters. The system is capable of transporting 2,000 passengers per hour. Each cable car can accommodate up to 35 passengers. The time needed for a cable car to travel from the departure point to the arrival point is 15 minutes.

Before the cable car route was available, the only way to reach the peak was climbing to the mountain. At that time, mountain trekking services were provided by many local travel firms. Actually, a trek started at a height of 1,800 meters and had two stops—the first at a height of 2,300 meters and the second one at 2,800 meters. Travelers had to leave all their belongings at the second stop to conquer Fansipan.

Rains never stop on Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. So do fog and breezes. That’s why the road to the mountain peak is quite dangerous. Yet it is equally thrilling. Now, cement handrail, iron ladders, and steps have been installed on that path to make it more convenient for climbers.

Travelers can catch an electric car from Sapa whose round-trip ticket costs VND200,000 to get to Muong Hoa Valley. During the trip, visitor should make the most of their time by admiring the beauty of the valley. A round-trip ticket of the cable car route is VND750,000 each person. As soon as they enter the ticket counter, visitors will see the all-white structures there, a flower garden, as well as food and souvenir corners. Next, they have to use three escalators to reach the cable car operating station. In addition, visitors can enjoy a buffet after returning to the foot of mountain.

The cabins are big enough allowing all passengers to sit comfortably inside. From the cabin, visitors can admire the picturesque view of

Muong Hoa Valley beneath. In the ripe rice season, rice fields form a giant yellow carpet which stretches to the horizon. Sometimes, viewers may see forests with colorful leaves, flowing streams, small paths and cliffs.

Travelers may as well feel breezes and fog all the time in a cable car. When they can catch glimpses of a big bell and a pagoda, it means they are coming very near to the peak of Fansipan. However, travelers have to climb more steps to reach the peak. Or else, they can pay VND100,000 for a short trip to the “Roof of Indochina” by electric car. There is also Vietnam’s biggest bronze statue of Buddha whose height is nearly 13 meters.