Ten days in Vietnam part 5: Mount Fansipan, 2800m to 1940m

After a good night sleep on the camp, we woke up to the smell of banana and (local) honey pancakes, ad were greeted by a nice blue sky.


A few nice plants around the camp include a Viburnum with striking berries, and a Gentiana:

P1170956Gentiana (2)

Soon however, we are back to clouds, and scrambling mode:


Many Scheffleras can be seen in the area, including some in fruit!


I was quite surprised to see these two fruiting shrubs, both species of Vaccinium (related to our common blueberries and cranberries).


We pause for a while on a flat area to take some pictures. Notice the tourist style on the left, and the local style on the right! I don’t think I would dare bringing a tablet over there… 😀


Along the path, the layer of bamboos is very thick. But a few interesting plants can be spotted. Here are Aster ageratoides (a wide-ranging plant grown in many gardens), the bellflower relative Pratia montana…

Aster ageratoides (2)Pratia montana

…and another daisy in the genus Gynura :

Gynura lycopersicifolia

Arisaema bulbs grow everywhere on the mountain. With their large leaves and usually tall, exotic-looking flowers, they are very prized by rare plants enthusiasts. Here’s one in fruit:


I can’t say I have seen much wildlife over the past two days, maybe because the mountain was busy with climbers. Just before returning to the park entrance, I spot a very furry caterpillar and an interesting grey moth:


I hope you have enjoyed my tour of the Fansipan mountain in the last three blog posts. Sadly, this biodiversity-rich corner of Vietnam is under threat. While we were here, we enquired about the dynamite blasts that we could hear being fired all day long, and about the queues of workers going up and down carrying tools, cement, petrol etc… You can see one in the bottom right-hand corner of this pic:


It turns out a cable car is being built to the top of the mountain. It will carry up to 2000 passengers per hour, cutting the journey time to 15 min, and will be accompanied by a luxury hotel and golf course.  Read more about the project here: http://www.thanhniennews.com/travel/vietnams-sa-pa-to-lose-its-natural-beauty-for-a-tramway-666.html and see some pictures of the works: http://www.lcs-cablecranes.com/projects/fansipan-cable-car/#.VPycDPmsX8k
All within a National Park. And with no Environmental Impact study. Wonderful world… 😦


  1. Really sad to hear about the luxury hotel – and golf course of all things. They will end up destroying the very reason people would come to visit. I understand that it will create jobs and income, but will the wealth be spread fairly or will it end up in the pockets of a few at the top as usual?

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your trip! The plants alone would make it worthwhile.
    When I was a young boy I used to dream about one day being a plant explorer in the jungles. If that dream ever comes true I’ll have to visit Vietnam.

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