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Hoang Lien Son, an exciting destination

Hoang Lien Son mountain range in northwest Vietnam has been named one of the world’s most exciting destinations for 2019 by prestigious American magazine National Geographic.
The Fansipan cable car in Sa Pa, a project of Sun Group, was designed by the Austrian cable manufacturer Doppelmayr Garaventa. The cable car system, built at a height of 3,143 meters above sea level starts from Muong Hoa valley to Fansipan peak. It can carry up to 2,000 passengers per hour, with each cabin accommodating 35 people. The system shortens the travel time to the peak of Fansipan to 15 minutes, instead of two days of climbing.
The grandiose mountain range ranks seventh among the world’s 28 best places to travel this year and is the most exciting destination in South East Asia.

“The 28 best voyages and these experiences have inspired and transformed our vision, connecting us with cultures, destinations and ideas that affect the world," said George Stone, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel.

“Thanks to a new cable car connection, tourist traffic is on the rise at 10,312-foot Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. Still, much of this northwest mountain region (beyond the busy gateway town Sa Pa) remains rugged, rural, and a world away from hectic Hanoi, about 195 miles to the southeast,” the US-based magazine said.

Visitors can enjoy the pristine and splendid beauty of Hoang Lien Son mountain range by taking the cable car that connects Muong Hoa valley with Fansipan, the so-called roof of Indochina.

The cable car takes visitors through a green valley of natural forests, floating white clouds and terraced rice fields, which symbolize the northwest mountain region.  

. The cable car system takes visitors from Muong Hoa valley to the top of Fansipan. Photo: Sun World

Hoang Lien Son mountain range in northwest Vietnam has been named one of the world’s most
exciting destinations for 2019 by National Geographic.Photo:
 Sun World

The peak of Fansipan is covered with snow during winter. Photo: Sun World

The Arhat road on Fansipan. Photo: Sun World

Walking in the clouds in Hoang Lien Son. Photo: Tat Son

At a height of 3,143 meters above sea level, Fansipan is a great place for visitors. Photo: VNP

Visitors will enjoy the peaceful atmosphere on Fansipan in Sapa which boasts a spiritual and cultural area that features Kim Son Bao Thang pagoda and a giant statue of Amitabha Buddha, the largest bronze statue of Buddha in Vietnam. The 21.5m high statue is made of tens of thousands of 5mm bronze flat bars. The sound of a pagoda’s bell gives visitors a feeling of calm.

At the summit of Fansipan where a monument is built to mark the highest point of the roof of Indochina, visitors feel as if they are floating on a sea of white clouds.

The Fansipan cable car system has received two Guinness World Records as the world's longest three-rope cable car (6,292.5 meters) and the three-rope cable car system with the world's biggest height gap between its departure and arrival stations (1,410 meters). 
Fansipan is not the only attraction in Hoang Lien Son. The unique culture of ethnic groups, including the Mong, Dao, Xa Pho, Tay Giay, Kinh and Hoa, who have lived in Sa Pa for ages, makes the northwest mountain region truly appealing to visitors, especially foreigners.

In Sa Pa, visitors have a chance to watch traditional festivals of ethnic people such as Xuong Dong (going down to the fields); Gau Tao (a festival of the Hmong to pray for happiness and good health); Roong Pooc (a festival of the Giay to pray for a bumper crop); Mua Xoe (a festival of the Tay dedicated to the God of Farming); and Cap Sac (the maturity ceremony of the Dao).

The festivals, which include worship rituals, and community activities such as folk dances and folk games, offer visitors memorable experiences of the original culture of ethnic groups in the northwest.

The romantic beauty of cloudy Sa Pa. Photo: Trang Linh 

A homestay in Ta Van village is a good choice for visitors
who want to learn about the Mong’s daily life. Photo: Tat Son 

Cloud Bridge in Ta Van is a favorite destination for visitors to Hoang Lien Son. Photo: Tat Son

Anywhere in Sa Pa, visitors can see Mong women making fabric. Photo: Thong Thien

Sa Pa district now has nearly 160 establishments providing homestay tourism services in Ta Van, Lao Chai, Ban Ho and Ta Phin communes, where visitors can experience the daily life and culture of the locals.

Sa Pa received 3.2 million tourists in 2018 and earned a total revenue of over 10 trillion dong from tourism (roughly 431 million US dollars).
Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism 
The beautiful tourist town also has an ancient rock field in Muong Hoa valley and ethnic villages scattered on beautiful terraced fields.

For adventurous travelers who do not want to take the cable car to reach Fansipan, there is a road going through Hoang Lien Son national park which starts from Tram Ton at a height of 1,900 meters and goes up to a height of 2,900 meters.

Local people are friendly to visitors. Photo: Tat Son 

Foreign visitors explore Cat Cat village. Photo: Tat Son 

Buying local products in Cat Cat village. Photo: Tat Son 

Beautiful terraced fields in Muong Hoa valley. Photo: Trang Linh 

Visitors can also reach Fansipan by walking on a road going through Hoang Lien Son national park. 

Going this way, visitors can explore Hoang Lien Son national park, regarded as the "green lung" of the northwest.
Photo: Ba Ngoc

Going this way, visitors can enjoy the beautiful villages of the Mong, Dao and Giay built halfway up the mountain. They can also explore the 60,000-hectare Hoang Lien Son national park located between 1,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level. The park is recognized as an ASEAN heritage park and is considered the ‘green lung’ of the northwest. It is a biodiversity center which is home to many endemic species named in the world’s red list of endangered species.

The annual Spring Festival of Opening Heaven’s Gate on Fansipan, held from the ninth of the first lunar month through the end of the third lunar month, attracts thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and tourists who visit Bich Van Thien Tu temple, Dai Gac Dai Hong Chung, great statue of Amitabha Buddha, Arhat road, Kim Son Bao Thang Tu and the 9-meter bronze statue of Quan The Am Bo Tat (Bodhisattva of Compassion).

Story: Thong Thien - Photos: VNP & Sun World

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