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Phan Xi Păng
Monument at the summit of Fansipan
Highest point
Elevation3,147.3 m (10,326 ft)[1]
Prominence1,613 m (5,292 ft)[1]
ListingCountry high point
Coordinates22°18′12″N 103°46′30″E / 22.30333°N 103.77500°E / 22.30333; 103.77500[1]
Fansipan is located in Vietnam
RegionLai Châu, Lào Cai
DistrictTam Đường, Sa Pa
Easiest routeCable car

Fansipan (Vietnamese: Phan Xi Păng, listen) is a mountain in Vietnam. Its height was 3,143 metres (10,312 ft) in 1909, and it presently stands at 3,147.3 metres (10,326 ft). It is the highest mountain on the Indochinese peninsula (comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), hence its nickname, "the Roof of Indochina". It is located in the Lào Cai province of the Northwest region of Vietnam, nine kilometres (5+12 miles) southwest of Sa Pa, in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. Administratively, it is shared between Tam Đường District, Lai Châu and Sa Pa town.


The origin of the name Phan Xi Păng is unclear. The most commonly accepted theory is that it evolved from Hủa Xi Pan ("the tottering giant rock")—the name that the locals called the mountain, based on its shape. Another theory suggests that the name came from the Hmong people, as it means "azalea mountain" in their language, due to the prevalence of azaleas and other species of the Rhododendron genus on the mountain.[2]

It has also been suggested that the name could have derived from Phạm Thị Phương Quế , a geography official in the Nguyễn dynasty who helped the French map the area and define the border with China in 1905. Due to the inaccurate local pronunciation, the name generally evolved into Phan Xi Păng.[2]


Fansipan is the tallest mountain in the Hoang Lien Son range, situated on the border of Lào Cai and Lai Châu provinces, with its peak located on the Lào Cai side. The mountain is part of Hoàng Liên National Park. It has a topographic prominence of 1,613 metres (5,292 ft), ranking sixth in Vietnam.[1]


Fansipan was formed around 250–260 million years ago, between the Permian period in the Paleozoic era and the Triassic period in the Mesozoic.[3] The Himalayan orogeny since Late Mesozoic has further uplifted Fansipan and the Hoang Lien Son range and created the Red River Fault to the east.[4]

Summit mark

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The initial metal pyramid was made and installed on the mountain's peak by Soviet engineers from Hòa Bình province, in 1985. The amateur mountaineering expedition was the first since the end of the colonial period and was officially timed to the 40th anniversary of Victory Day of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany.



Fansipan can be climbed in a steep and fairly strenuous hike. Previously, it took about 5–6 days from Sa Pa to reach the peak and return. Now, the total time is usually only about three days, even two, or for experts and strong, healthy people, it can be done in one day.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Tour companies in the area will arrange hikes to the summit that take one to three days. Most recommend taking the two- or three-day options, and few guides will take tourists on a round trip in a single day.[5]

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 include the use of these facilities in their price, should they be required.[citation needed]

Cable car

Cable car station going to Fansipan
Fansipan peak uplink

A cable car to the peak of Fansipan was inaugurated on 2 February 2016.[6] The gondola lift departs from a terminal in Muong Hoa valley, near Sa Pa, and takes twenty minutes to reach the summit. The service holds two Guinness World Records for the longest nonstop, three-rope cable car in the world, spanning 6.3 km (3+1516 mi), and the greatest elevation difference by a nonstop, three-roped cable car for the 1,410 m (4,626 ft) difference in elevation between the termini.[7] Currently, there are also climbing trains that help climbers get past the walking stairs.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d [Fansipan 'cao hơn'... 4m, được xác định 3.147,3m] Retrieved 2019-06-26.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b ""Phanxipăng" thực chất là ... "Phan Văn Sơn"?". (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Đỉnh Fansipan". Trung tâm Giáo dục Môi trường & Dịch vụ Môi trường Hoàng Liên (in Vietnamese). Hoang Lien National Park. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Đá đỉnh Fansipan "chợt già thêm" vài trăm triệu tuổi" (in Vietnamese). Vietnam Union of Geological Sciences. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Fan Si Pan, Vietnam", Peakbagger
  6. ^ "Guinness cable car begins service to Fansipan". Viet Nam News. 7 February 2006.
  7. ^ Swatman, Rachel. "Longest non-stop three-rope cable car in the world opens in Vietnam". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Fansipan Legend Sunworld Ticket Website".