Mount Fansipan

Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam

To get the most of his visit to Vietnam, Jon Ander Pérez decided to hike its tallest mountain: Fansipan. Here Jon discovered it’s spiritual complex and the Dai Hung Chung Watchtower.

About the Dai Hong Chung watchtower

To get the most of his visit to Vietnam, Jon Ander Pérez decided to hike the Fansipan mountain, which is located in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The mountain itself is called “Phan Xi Păng” in vietnamese, but carries the nickname “The Roof of Indochina” since it’s the highest mountain in the indochinese peninsula region of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia!

Over the centuries, several legends have arisen as to how the Phan Xi Păng mountain got its name: Most people believe it’s a decent translation of the name Hủa Xi Pan (the tottering giant rock) which evolved over time to Phan Xi Păng. Another theory suggests that the mountain was named after the Azalea flowers in the hmong language, meaning “Azalea Mountain”

A third possible explanation suggests that the mountain is named after Phan Văn Sơn, who helped the French to map out the area and define the border with China in 1905. The local dialect and pronunciations would have helped the evolution of the name into Phan Xi Păng.

On top of the mountain, you’ll find the Fansipan spiritual complex which consists of different clusters of buildings, all built in the Vietnamese ancient pagoda style of architecture. The mountain also gathers various spiritual destinations, landmarks and statues along the mountain path to the top. 

The Dai Hung Chung Watchtower – which is actually named after the bell on the rooftop of the tower – is an impressive highlight in the Fansipan spiritual complex with an amazing view over the mountain.

Visit the Mount Fansipan in 2021

Until recently, the only way to climb the Fansipan mountain was via a steep and fairly adventurous hike which would take about 5 to 6 days from Sa Pa to reach the peak and return. Due to major improvements in infrastructure, the same hike now only takes 2 to 3 days.

How to reach Mount Fansipan

In February 2016, a cable car to the peak of Fansipan was inaugurated, making the hike unnecessary since it only takes around 20 minutes to arrive at the peak of the mountain from the terminal in Muong Hoa Valley (near Sa Pa).

Before reaching the summit of Mt. Fansipan, you’ll arrive at a peaceful garden complex which is filled with stone paths, ancient Azalea trees and sculpted bronze statues. These 18 sculptures lead the way to a 20-meter celestial Buddha statue perched on the mountainside – the largest in the country. 

When finally arriving at the top, a breathtaking experience awaits when you discover the Jaw-dropping views from the top of Fansipan. 

About the shot

During his hike to the top of the Fansipan mountain, Jon Ander Pérez stumbled upon this 35-meter Dai Hong Chung watchtower which was covered in fog, creating the perfect backdrop for an impressive picture.

Landscape photography might seem as black magic for some of our adventurous readers and aspiring photographers, that’s why we decided to break down the technical details behind this shot. 



  • Shutter speed: 1/1600
  • ISO: 320
  • Aperture: f/2.8


About Jon Ander Pérez

Jon Ander Pérez is a travel and photography enthusiast from Spain, who has been working for brands in the fashion and automotive industry, and spent most of his time traveling through countries like Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Costa Rica.

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