Xin Chào from Hanoi! At 10,312' Fansipan is the highest mountain in Vietnam and also the highest on the Indochinese Peninsula. In addition to wanting to see the beauty of Vietnam up close (and get a good bowl of Pho) we decided to come here to climb it! The hike was about 5,400' vertical from the trailhead and took us two days with an overnight camp. We woke up early Saturday and left our hut at 4:15 AM in order to reach the summit to view a stunning sunrise.
Two years ago the government of Vietnam invested $2 Billion to build the world's longest three-rope cable car and an enormous complex on top of the peak, complete with elaborate temples and a 71 foot tall statue of Buddha.
Although the tram would have been a much faster and easier way to get to the top, we enjoyed the challenge of the trek up but decided to save our knees some punishment and opted for the luxurious cable car ride back down.
After reaching the town of Sa Pa we made our way back to Hanoi to meet our friends Bryce and Camille and then continued to the coast to board an overnight cruise on a junk in the famous Halong Bay. We lucked out with a fun, international group of Brazilians, Argentinians, and two Bulgarians. We kayaked together, swam, hiked, explored caves, enjoyed cocktail hour, great food and even Tai Chi exercises this morning on the top deck of our boat.