Have you ever thought about trekking in Vietnam?

Nga Do
If so and the thought of mountains trekking enthuses you, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity when in Vietnam.

Mt Fansipan, Vietnam's highest mountain is at 3143 meters. Although only 9 km from Sapa town, it takes at least three days to get to the peak and back. Fansipan is not only the highest mountain in Vietnam, it is also the highest mountain in Indochina - comprising of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. If you arrive in Hanoi, you can get a night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai.

Have you ever thought about trekking in Vietnam?
Photo by Hadzunghiep
Before this trip a lot of people have quite naive thoughts about the trek. They assume “it’s foot path and they can literally walk up to the top of the mountain, only 15 km up and 15 km down, will be easy, everyone is doing it, we’ll be fine”. However, the whole trip is actually an intensive training of physical rock climbing. Just be prepared for it if you decided to climb there.

The Fansipan trail begins through a forest, but it opens up fairly quickly to a more open trek, with previews of the surrounding topography visible through the shrubbery and trees. As we were cresting the mountain landscape, this inevitably led to quite a few dips after some vigorous climbing.

The route from Tram Ton (starting point) to Fansipan can be divided into three small stages. The first one is from Tram Ton to the 2,200 meter mark (Tram Ton is 1,900 meters above sea level). This stage is the longest but the easiest as the vertical climb is only 300 meters.

The next stop, the 2,800m mark and the second stage is quite tough. As you will crest the mountain landscape, this inevitably will lead to quite a few dips after some vigorous climbing. You will probably use our own hands to get some grip off the tree's stems. This 2,800m mark is also a fantastic spot for sky-gazing. As you will spend several days to get to the top, after the sun goes down, it is all dark and cold. Flashlight and basically anything to warm up became essential at such time. That "anything" could be a camp fire, some hot ginger tea, and a thick set of sleeping bags or even a shot of rice wine. Don’t forget to bring the in.

From 2800 starts the third stage. Most of the travellers want to reach the pick by the sunrise, as it is an absolutely amazing sight. To do so you will need to wake up at 3.30am in order to be in time for the sunrise at the peak. This time, only one hand can be used for climbing, the other will need to hold the flashlight at all times. This final stage is the most difficult one. And that's not just because of the darkness, but also the steep terrain. At some parts you will have to climb almost vertically, it feels like mountain climbing rather than trekking.

Apparently you won’t be an exception and will also have that nibbling doubt that always appears while climbing a mountain, the one that asks “why the hell am I doing this”? 

But once you reach the peak, the view will clear away every bit of doubt along with the clouds. You will be above the clouds with a clear view on the orange colored horizon thinking “Damn, it is the beautiful sunrise”.

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