Vietnam offers 'Roof of Indochina' climbing challenge

3rd Mar 2014

Climbing Vietnam's 'Roof of Indochina' has been described as a life-changing experience for good reason.

The verdant Mount Fansipan in the northern province of Lao Cai rises majestically 3,143 metres (10,311ft) above sea level.

The two-to-three-day journey, depending on fitness, promises astonishing experiences for tourists on trekking holidays, whatever time of year they choose to try to conquer Indochina's highest mountain.

Experts recommend October to early December, when the climate is milder, as the best time to tackle Fansipan.

This time of year adds to its reflective qualities for adventurers on private journeys, with atmospheric covers of cloud and mist blanketing the trees and mountains.

Beautiful flowers also abound, including the pink and white do quyen in blossom.

In fact, this popular eco-tourist area of Vietnam, south-west of Sapa, is host to around 2,100 floral and faunal species.

No season outside of October to early December provides such vivid colours or beauty.

Summer can threaten to knock climbers down half way with either scorching sunshine or driving rain, while the skin-cutting cold conditions may freeze their peak hopes in winter.

There are various different paths en route to Mount Fansipan's peak - the favourite travellers' option is to start and finish the gruelling journey at Tram Ton pass.

Another journey regularly picked by climbers is to start at the pass and climb down the other side of the mountain, a journey which climaxes with a route through a distinctive village of indigenous people.

The second is more invigorating but danger can be a potential companion on the way down.

Tour operating companies unfailingly recommend that tourists choose an itinerary realistic to their health and staying power.

Visitors are also advised to take with them light backpacks containing clothes, water and necessary food, while leaving tents, bags and ingredients for meals behind.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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