This is the only advice you need for your 2019 visit to Sapa and the amazing Fansipan summit. The world record-holding Fansipan Cable Car spans the spectacular valleys of Sapa encompassing impossible views of the rice terraces and beyond. As the world’s longest cable car ride, the journey to the summit is not for the fainthearted. But the amazing ride is worth it to gain easy access to the highest peak in Indochina.
How to Buy Tickets for Fansipan Cable Car
You can either buy the entire journey ticket at the bottom of the mountain in Sapa or purchase each leg as you go along. Each leg is priced as follows:
How Much is the Fansipan Cable Car?
- Funicular Railway 50,000 VND return
- Cable Car 700,000 VND return
- Funicular Railway to summit 70,000 VND return
I pre-purchased tickets for number 1 and 2, but left out number 3. If you reach that station and decide that you absolutely have to catch the railway to the summit, you can buy tickets up there.
Fansipan Funicular Railway
How Do I Get to Fansipan Cable Car?
The first step on your journey to Fansipan summit is usually the funicular railway. You can also walk to or catch a taxi to the cable car station which is 2 km out of Sapa.
The funicular station lies at the foot of the new Accor hotel building in the middle of Sapa town. A round ticket transfer which takes you 2 km along the elevated railway track and up to the Sunworld Cable Car station costs 50,000 VND per person and takes around 7 minutes.
The funicular railway station is quite busy, and the tram itself is small, with only one carriage and seating for a few, but there is plenty of standing room. The views from here are astounding though, try to get a seat on the left-hand side.
The Funicular Station
Once atop the hill, you arrive at the funicular station, which is also adjacent to the station for the onward cable car journey. At this stop, there are beautiful views over Sapa town, with gardens including sunflowers and roses to behold. The astonishing beauty of this place makes it a destination in its own right. If you don’t have the money or the inclination to continue on the journey up the cable car to Fansipan peak, a trip up the funicular alone is a wonderful experience.
Sunworld Cable Car Journey Sapa
The cable car departure point was a little hard to find when I visited. On the day, there was a film crew there who seemed to be filming a Louis Vuitton ad on the funicular. So, the usual route appeared to be closed off. And, as with a lot of Sapa at this point in time, there was construction going on so some of the staircases and footpaths were simply closed. As it was, I had a round-a-bout sort of journey to finally reach the cable car station.
This is the longest cable car in the world. At 6,282m in length, it is definitively the longest ride you can get. Also, Sunworld Fansipan Legend Cable Car has the Guinness World Record for the largest ascent by a cable car of rising 1,410m over its journey. Pretty impressive.
The professionalism of the whole operation is clear right throughout the ticket purchase with English spoken, through to boarding your cable car and beyond. Each car can fit up to 30 people and on a good day in peak period and perfect weather, the cable car is capable of delivering up to 2000 patrons every hour to the top of the mountain.
On the day I visited, there were only 10 people in my carriage and no queue to get on. The car itself is quite spacious, with ample seating for everyone. Once it takes off and starts heading across the Sapa valley span, the views are absolutely breathtaking. You feel like you are flying, the rice terraces layer like a topography map so far below. Then past the terraces, you fly over the thick virgin jungle with inexplicable odd cabins hidden within.
How Long Does Fansipan Cable Car Take?
The cable car itself only takes 15 minutes from station to station. This is so impressive considering you used to have to hike for days to get here! But you could spend all day taking the journey, admiring the views, taking photos, exploring the temples and eating awesome food at the summit.
When to Visit Fansipan
As my trip was in the wet season, the cable car soon ascended into a total cloud and the view was obscured by fog and whiteout. It got a little bit windy and the carriage rocked a little, much to the delight of my Asian cohorts. But, after 15 short minutes, we alighted safely at the Fansipan Legend Station.
In winter, you will have a better chance of clear views from the top, however your whole Sapa experience will be very very cold. The rice terraces are in full lush green during the summer wet, and ugly brown for the rest of the year.
At the Fansipan Summit
Fansipan is the highest mountain in Indochina. At 3,163m, you could previously only reach this summit after hiking for 2 days. Nowadays, it is ridiculously achievable. Alighting from the cable car you find yourself amidst restaurants and souvenir shops. A short walk and you can reach the railway which will take you directly to the summit for 70,000 VND, or you can choose to walk yourself to the top.
I felt that if the rest of the path was a little too easy, I at least had to walk the 600 steps the rest of the way. The walk up to the top took the better part of an hour. In wet, windy and fully misty conditions I navigated at least 600 stairs past impressive monuments and temples, and finally gained access to this continental peak.
I could not believe the enormity of the structures up here. You are on a super high peak, in the middle of a continent, and yet there are giant Buddhas, temples, restaurants, flagstones and more.
There was eerie music playing through the fog, and the journey was somewhat spiritual. The stairs were slippery though, and steep. Not for the fainthearted. And the view from the top was absolutely non-existent. But it didn’t matter in the least.
Heading down was much easier, because I still had my head in the clouds, proud of my accomplishment of reaching Vietnam’s highest mountain, albeit via cable car.
A quick refreshment and hamburger on the way down, and I was ready to join the crowds in the queue for the cable car once again.
Things to Remember for the Fansipan Summit
- If you have small children, are elderly, have health problems, are unfit, or unwell, don’t attempt the walk from the cable car station to the summit. It is not easy, it can be slippery and is very steep at times. And being at altitude will only hamper you. There is a funicular for you.
- Food and drink is available all along the path to the summit and a full restaurant at both ends of the cable car journey. There are toilets located at each station, and along the way to the summit too.
- Conditions vary. The day I visited it was really cold, I was lucky to have a down jacket with me. It was windy as hell, and the wind was wet with mist. Many people wore disposable raincoats, but these are so bad for the environment, so please take your own reusable one.
- My visit was in July; this is the wet season. Great for seeing the rice terraces in full green splendour, but also changeable monsoonal weather with rainfall possible at any time.
- Visiting in the peak season of winter means better weather and more chance of a view from the top, but unfortunately, this means you have to share it with thousands of other patrons and it will be icy cold.
- Tickets are non-refundable and only for use on the day of purchase.
- Wear sensible shoes.
Ticket prices for Fansipan Cable Car by Sunworld
Adult return price:
- Funicular Railway – 50,000 VND
- Cable Car – 700,000 VND
- Summit Railway – 70,000 VND
Kids between 100 cm and 140 cm:
- Cable Car 500,000 VND
Save money by pre-purchasing your tickets online via Klook who also will deliver the tickets to your hotel in Sapa. No waiting in queues! Check prices on Klook here.
Fansipan Cable Car – Is it Worth It?
In a word – DEFINITELY! I left my kids and husband at the bottom though thanks to the high price of this activity. But the experience was absolutely amazing. If you are planning a trip to Sapa, I would totally include the Fansipan Cable Car in your itinerary. I had a truly unforgettable trip up the mountain.
Who Built Fansipan Cable Car?
Sunworld built this amazing engineering feat of the Fansipan Legends Cable car. They also operate other incredible cable cars all over Vietnam. They are all unique and very popular with both domestic and international visitors.
- Sunworld Ba-Na Hills
- Da Nang Wonders Cable Car – Things to do in Da Nang
- Halong Bay Complex – Finding an Overnight Cruise in Halong Bay
How Do I Get From Hanoi to Fansipan?
We drove up to Sapa in a private limousine transfer. There are other options including train and bus, but for our family, the limousine ticked all the boxes in terms of cost, comfort and convenience. Find out more here.
Other Ways to Reach Fansipan Summit
It is possible to reach the summit of Vietnam’s highest mountain via a 2-day trek with a guide. After seeing the wondrous forested terrain as I passed over on the cable car, I reckon the hike up this hillside would be absolutely amazing! The magnificent cascading waterfalls came from every angle and the jungle was so lush and thick. Hiking here is very impressive indeed. Check prices for this trek here.
Things to Do in Sapa
The Fansipan Cable Car by Sunworld absolutely makes it onto the list for the top things to do in Sapa. Check out our other ‘must do’s’ below: