Hike Vietnam's Highest Mountain in 1 Day: Mt. Fansipan

QL 4D, Lào Cai, Vietnam, Vietnam

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Hike Vietnam's Highest Mountain in 1 Day: Mt. Fansipan

QL 4D, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Hike Vietnam's tallest mountain in one leg burning day.28km round trip. 2000m elevation gain.

If you like mountains and challenging hikes, then this is a must-do while in Sapa. Most tourists will opt for the 2 day tour, with one night spent on the mountain (there is a 3 day tour, but that seems completely unnecessary). However, for someone in relatively good shape, a 1 day hike is totally doable (if arduous).

You'll have to arrange a guide while in Sapa town, prices will vary based on your group size or whether you'd rather do it with just you and a guide. Stop in at any of the guide services in town, or ask at your hostel for a guide recommendation. Depending on the season, you may need to book several days in advance.

Your guide will pick you up in the morning and drive to Tram Ton pass, where the hike begins. The first 3rd is relatively easy rolling uphill and flat through a forested area. But soon after that you'll start climbing...and climbing...and climbing. The trail ascends up to the ridge via steep and rocky steps and occasionally ladders. The views from the ridgeline are fantastic. Don't be fooled by the false summit at 3000m, because you'll curse the descent that follows, and the final ascent up to the top of Fansipan at 3143m.

Depending on the weather, you'll be able to see an incredible 360 view of northern Vietnam and even into China.

I was able to complete the round trip in about 7.5 hours (3.5 up, 3 down, with some time on the top), but most people will clock in around 9-10.

Do this trip before they finish the cable car

A cable car is currently under construction (to be completed in 2 years) that will travel from Sapa Town all the way to the top of Fansipan. Do this hike before the peak is overrun with tourists and development.

Pack List

Weather can vary wildly in Sapa. I had good, clear weather, but the trail can be dangerous and significantly more difficult if wet or raining.

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Good shoes
  • Your guide will bring a basic lunch of bread, ham/pork, cheese, fruit
  • Bring snacks if you'll need them
  • Lightweight rain jacket
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RT Distance 17.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 6561.7 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

No longer available without guide.

I was recently up in Sapa in January with meagre hopes (since it's typically misty, low visibility) to conquer Fansipan in a day. I was blessed with two of the best possible days for this time of year: low 50s F, partly cloudy, incredible visibility of surrounding mountains. Game on Fansipan! The day before hiking, I went up to the top of the pass to find the trailhead (easiest to just rent your own motorbike for day). Near the trailhead, I was able to chat with a very nice park ranger. He informed me that due to unprepared tourists getting lost over the past several years, it is no longer allowed to hike up to Fansipan without a guide. I did read online some people getting up early and skipping through before rangers get there and then hoping no one checks for tickets on way up and saying the guide is hiking behind. But that doesn't seem right to me. Just really sad that the highest peak in Vietnam can now only (legally) be reached via tour or tram. There's other good treks in the area, just not the same as conquering Fansipan.


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