A mountain railway connects since March 31 Sapa and Mount Fansipan, in Vietnam’s Northwestern province of Lao Cai.
The 2 km long rail route comprises two tunnels and four viaducts, passing over Muong Hoa mountain. It allows trains to run at a maximum speed of 10 m/s.
Tourists using the new service will enjoy a reduced travel time. Instead of spending over 20 minutes with a car on a zig-zag road, the smooth ride with train lasts only 4 minutes. Each train can transport up to 2,000 passengers per hour. The rail track took 18 months to build. It was developed by Austrian-Swiss company Doppelmayr Garaventa and is operated by Sun Group.
The train connects Sapa with the existing cable station on Fansipan, also owned by Sun Group, which allows travellers to reach the peak of the mountain by cable car in 15 minutes. In contrast, it normally takes climbers two days to complete the challenging route to the top. Each cable car is capable of carrying 30 passengers, being able to transport up to 2,000 tourists per hour.
Contribution to Sapa tourism
The new railway route contributes to diversifying tourism products in Lao Cai province, bringing unique travel experiences to visitors during their trip to Sapa. The popular hill resort is located 350 km Northwest of Hanoi and is dominated by Mount Fansipan, Indochina’s highest mountain with 3,142 m above sea level. Sapa was declared by the Vietnamese government a national tourism site last December 2017.
Sapa has many natural scenic sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall), Cau May (Rattan Bridge), Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave and is home to six main ethnic minority groups, including Kinh, Hmong, Dao, Tay, Day and Xa Pho. Read here for a complete Sapa Travel Guide.
Baolau integrates Sapa train routes from Hanoi to Lao Cai operated by Vietnam Railways and luxury private railway companies. Additionally, there are direct bus routes from Hanoi to Sapa through Noi Bai – Lao Cai expressway.