Ever dreamed of being in the middle of a vast swathe of purple flowers that stretch out endlessly? If so, you should check out the Fansipan Mountain in Sapa when you next visit Vietnam. Covered in purple rhododendron flowers, Fansipan stands tall at more than 10,000 feet and is the highest mountain in the Indochinese peninsula. Due to its height, the mountain is also known as the “Roof of Indochina.”
Close encounters in the land of purple flowers
Though the rhododendron plants are in bloom all year round, it is during the end of springtime and the arrival of summer that the purple flowers are at their most beautiful and numerous. People who have encountered the flowers in their full bounty and glory during springtime often feel “called back” to visit the splendor one more time. The flowering rhododendron plants make some of the areas in the Fansipan mountain look like a vast carpet of purple flowers. It takes your breath away. You feel as if floating in a fairy tale. The higher you climb, the more color and blossoms you will behold down the mountainside.
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For people who are not too interested in climbing, a cable car is really the best option available to appreciate the beauty of Fansipan Mountain. The Sun World Fansipan cable car system has been designed by Doppelmayr, the world’s leading manufacturer of cable cars. The cable car system has been rigorously tested several times to ensure complete passenger safety. “The cable cars run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, and each one can hold up to 35 passengers. Once you leave the station, you’ll immediately start to float high above the rice terraces and rocky cliffs below,” according to Vietnam Travel.
Before reaching the roof of Fansipan Mountain, you will arrive at a garden complex that has several bronze statues, azalea trees, and stone paths. All these lead to a huge Buddha statue, which at over 65 feet in height is the tallest such statue in Vietnam. At the summit of the mountain, you will be greeted with an astounding sight of cloud-covered peaks that seem to stretch into the horizon. The cloud formations atop the mountain keep changing every few seconds, providing a good opportunity to get some cool selfies. If you feel hungry and thirsty after the long climb, do not worry since the summit has some top-class restaurants and cafés.
The National Park-Hoang Lien Forest surrounding Fansipan Mountain is known for its huge biodiversity of rhododendron flowers. In fact, almost 40 different colors of rhododendron flowers can be seen in the region. This is why Hoang Lien Forest is also known by the name “Kingdom of Rhododendron Flowers.” In addition to purple, other vivid colors seen among the rhododendron flowers include pink, red, yellow, and white. There are 2 species of purple flowers, 4 species of pink-red flowers, 6 species of yellow flowers, 5 species of white gold flowers, and 7 species of white-pink flowers in the area.
Taking the Fansipan cable car
Adult tickets usually cost about 700,000 VND (approx. US$30) per person. For children who are 3 feet tall to 4 feet 7 inches tall, a ticket would cost 500,000 VND (approx. US$21). Remember that once you buy a ticket, it will only be valid for the selected visit date. No refunds will be given if you suddenly are unable to visit the mountain.
Once you reach the top station, you will need to climb about 600 steps to reach the summit of Mount Fansipan. This typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes. People who have a history of pulmonary and cardiovascular disease should ideally not try to climb up the Fansipan Mountain since the high humidity and oxygen-deficient air can be quite dangerous under such conditions.