Indochina’s Rooftop

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We took a 15min taxi ride to Sapa Station which is about 3km South-west of Sapa Town to where the Fansiṕan Legend commenced.

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Directly opposite the Sapa Station entrance is Bao An Thien Tu or Bao An Pagoda which not only is located in beautiful surroundings but stands at an impressive  altitude of 1,604m.

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The Fansiṕan Legend newly opened in Feb 2016 is a suspended cable car system that is the highest, longest & most modern suspended cable car system in Asia as well as the world. Adult Tickets are priced at VND600,000 approximately US$33 which is a little steep but state of the art as promised.

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The 15min ride  was very smooth & quiet, fitted with comfortable seats that can easily accommodate up to 20 people each trip. Fansiṕan Legend was awarded a Guinness World Record for the feat in transporting 2000 guests in an hour.

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Fansiṕan is about 9km away from Sapa town & a round trip hike would take  about 3 days for anyone in good shape.

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Muong Hoa Valley is carved with an intricate maze of rice terraces that look interesting even when barren after the Autumn harvest. The best time to catch the verdant valley is around July-August; during April-May, the rice fields would look like huge sparkling mirrors as water cover the surfaces. From September-October, a golden sea signals harvest time.

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The Sun Group employees did a good job braving the weather & working on the rough terrain to get this first class cable car system in place.

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As we ascended higher into the Hoàng Liên Son Mountain range, we were engulfed in swirling clouds.

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Cổng Tam Quan or Tam Quan Gate shrouded & celestial – the first flight of steps to conquer after exiting Sapa Station.

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The  signboard missing a “G” detailing  what you can expect to see as you head towards the crown of Fansiṕan. However, a few of them are still under construction at this time.

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No. 7 on the map. On the steps of Chùa Hạ – Bích Vân Thiền Tự Temple which is 3,037m above sea-level. Believed to be where Heaven & Earth blend harmoniously converging Yin & Yang, & where all sorrows dissipate leaving only peace in one’s soul.  The architecture in the spiritual landmarks reflect the style of the Ly-Tran Dynasty.

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No. 9 on the map. The Vọng Lĩnh Cao Đai Buddhist Great Bell.

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I did not keep count but there are supposedly over 600 steps from Fansiṕan Station to the summit of the mountain.

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Point No 11 on the map. Slowly taking shape is the unfinished iron structure of the  Great Buddha Statue seated on a giant lotus throne. The Lotus flower symbolises fortune in Buddhism, as it rises & blooms above the  muddy waters to achieve enlightenment. It also speaks of purification of the spirit that is born into murkiness & a world of suffering & finally it is an inference to faithfulness, as those who seek to rise above the muddy waters need to be faithful followers.

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Point No. 18  on the map. The final station of the Funicular is still under construction which was why we had to climb about 600 steps to get to the crest of Fansiṕan. Some workers seen carrying construction materials uphill  are catching a breather here.

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No. 17 on the map – Cột Cờ, the Flag pole. It was nice to finally reach the peak of Fansiṕan. The exertion & perhaps thinner air, meant I had to take  short breaks in between climbing but I certainly enjoyed the cold weather & wind with temperatures  hovering around 10°C.

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No 19 on the map – Dĩnh Fansiṕan, the zenith of Fansiṕan Mountain & the Rooftop of Indochina stands at the elevation of 3,143m (10,371.9ft)

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It was time to make tracks as it was getting dark;  my hair was dripping wet from walking in the clouds as I did not have a hat.

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Return leg from Fansiṕan Station to Sapa Station which would cover a  non-stop distance of 6,292.5m on this sophisticated  3-rope cable car system.

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This breathtaking scenery coupled with the feeling of soaring through the clouds is nothing short of amazing. We passed Hoàng Liên National Park, Muong Hoa Valley & the impressive peaks of the Hoàng Liên Son Mountain range.

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The vast open skies, a canvas painted with the colours from the palette of a beautiful sunset.

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How magnificent  is the Creator’s handiwork & what an awesome privilege to be there to capture this  incredible moment.

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