Hiking Fansipan

Sunday morning one week ago Jojo and me had early breakfast and started our hike about 6:20. We followed the street to the next settlement, found our way through small alleys and crossed a creek taking a small bridge. After passing by the last two houses and crossing additional two creeks we found the path along the ridge going uphill. In the beginning this path was well used and you couldn’t miss it. There were also some locals using this path and some minor tracks which are branching off. After about 1,000 metres uphill we arrived at the highest point of that right and could see down to a wooded basin. Now the path becomes more narrow and as we went down it almost disappeared. For a few metres we followed a dried stream bed which led us a bit uphill. Then we need to decent for about 300 metres in total and cross the basin. The path gets more and more hidden and when we need to cross two additional creeks it completely disappeared. He we walked up to 100 metres up the creek before we have seen the continuing of the path at the other side of the river. We also discovered two camp sites, but without a local guide I would not recommend to stay in the jungle during night. After we found the entrance to the ridge the path we started again climbing up. The beginning was quit steep and the path not always well seen. At several places old ladders and fences made from wood where almost destroyed, at least I wouldn’t trust them. At this we just climbed up freely. It seemed that this way is no longer maintained since the opening of the cable car in 2016. I always looked for some garbage. Yeah here old garbage is just some kind of marking the way, but also some artificial carvings in the wood is a sign, that you’re on the right way. Sometimes the bushes are as high as your hips, making it difficult to actually see where you’re stepping on. After additional two hours we reached a container housing at about 2,600 metres altitude near the cable car which is inhabited. The adventure factor in the last 3-4 hours was pretty high and hence, it was quit exciting to climb up that ridge.

From the hut to the top we couldn’t miss the path, except you would turn off a wrong branch. It it was still 600 metres altitude to go, which took us additional more than 2 hours. Shortly before the mountain station if the cable car we joined the normal path from the ranger station, which was even equipped with hand rails. We entered the building of the mountain station via a rear entry, but just following the dirty traces on the concrete. Now we directly joined the ordinary tourists from the cable car and still needed to walk 150 metres up, but now in a controlled environment over steps and with ordinary fences. The top of Fansipan was in the clouds. Hence, we didn’t have seen anything. In total we needed 9 hours to reach the top and it was already about 2,000 metres altitude we hike up. The most difficult part was the searching for the path, as I walked at least two times into a dead end. And due to the bushes you’re not as fast to go uphill.

After spending less than 30 minutes at the top section we returned, but now using the standard path down. This was by far faster and we could make lots of metres going down until dusk. We passed some huts on about 2,700 metres were some people were staying overnight. Further down we met a group. That guide told us, it’s not a good idea to stay during the night in the jungle. And that there are local people living there, which don’t like that. Furthermore, he told us that it’s forbidden to go hiking into the national park without a guide and for sure without paying entrance fees. If the ranger will catch us, we got fined for 300 US$ and if we couldn’t pay, stay for one week in jail. We thought…ok, don’t get catched at the ranger station. Shortly after sunset, we might had to walk for another hour in that speed to reach the main road where the ranger station is located, Jojo got suddenly ill. After a few stops where she needed a rest we went slowly on. Luckily I had some medicine for her stomach with me. Also a small dog was joining us all the remaining way down. This was pretty helpful, as he knew the way and he discovered something in the jungle much earlier than me. Once he stopped and was watching in one direction, when I pointed in that direction with my headlight I saw two pairs of orange eyes, I’ve no idea which kind of animal this was. Probably nothing bad, but in a first second I felt a bit uncomfortable. After 14 hours in total we reached the ranger station. Without headlight and on silent soles we got out of the national park. But for sure. Now there were no taxis waiting, and only lorries were passing by. But non of them stopped for hitchhiking. Jojo felt really bad and after some minutes she just went to the ranger station and asked for calling a taxi. The ranger didn’t asked her anything, just as he say me with out both backpacks he was a bit suspicious. But in the end he called a taxi which arrived 30 minutes later and additional 40 minutes later we where in our hostel. Originally Jojo plant to take the night bus back to Hanoi exactly at this time, but due to her condition she skipped her plans for sure.

Early in the morning the Fansipan is already covered with clouds
Crossing the fields and eventually the bridge
Going up the first ridge…
…and seeing nothing
The way is directly infront of you…what, you couldn’t see it? It’s clearly visible 😏
Lower trousers and shoes were completely wet
Jojo fighting her way up, and still having fun while doing this
From time to time the clouds are disappearing
There’s nothing beneath except the old tree trunk and some soil between it
Finally in the touristi section
I reached the Fansipan peak…
…which is also the top of South East Asia
A big Buddha at the tourist area
For a few seconds we could even see the sun
On the way down, we left the cloud and still had a view over the other nearby mountains
The camp for the other hikers. Some of them needed 9 hours uphill, which we had done in 3 hours done…and getting sick in end
Going further down during dawn
The landscape is still nice to view from that ridge…
…but we should hurry up, to get further down.
In the night I had even could clearly see the smoke from a campfire in the forest…unfortunately, not visible here
GPX track

That’s the first video Jojo made. Thanks to her some motion pictures appear now on my blog ☺️.

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