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Fansipan

Vietnam Destination - North West, FansipanFansipan is the highest mountain in Indochina, at 3,143 m (10,312 ft). It is located in the Lao Cai province in Northwest Vietnam, 9 km southwest of Sapa Township in the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range.

Fansipan is dubbed "the Roof of Indochina"; it is to be approved as one of the very few eco-tourist spots of Vietnam, with about 2,024 floral varieties and 327 faunal species.

The topography of Fansipan is varied. Muong Hoa Valley, at the lowest altitude (950 to 1 000m), is created by a narrow strip of land at the base on the east side of the mountain. It can be climbed in a steep and fairly strenuous hike.

Tour companies in the area will arrange hikes to the summit taking from one to three days. Most will recommend taking the two- or three-day options and few guides will take tourists on the round trip in a single day.

A very small village is located at around 1,500 m (4,920 ft) where accommodation and food is offered. Further up, at 2,800 m (9,190 ft), is an overnight camp. Most booked trips will include the use of these facilities in their price should they be required.

In 1991, Nguyen Thien Hung, an army man returned to the district town and decided to conquer Fansipan. Only on the 13th attempt did Hung, with a H'Mong boy as his guide, conquer the high peak by following the foot steps of the mountain goats. Scaling the height was meant to satisfy his eager will and aspiration to conquer the mountain without expecting that his name would be put down in the travel guidebook. After that the Sapa Tourism Agency started a new package tour there. It seemed the Fansipan Tour was meant only for those who wished to test their muscular power.

The best time for the trek to the mountain is from the end of February to the start of March, when the flowers all flourish and the climbers may behold the carpets of brilliant blossoms, violets and orchids, rhododendrons and aglaias.

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