Fansipan Discovery 2009 Programme had lots of new points compared to previous years. This year is the first time that tourism enterprises with their tourist delegations together discover Fansipan.

For the past years, the programme was dedicated to �professional mountaineers� with urgent trips within one day, or two days one night. This year, tourists had three days and two nights to conquer the mountain in the Northwest of Vietnam which is known for its �being too difficult to access�. The extension of the programme added a meaning of discovery. The organization committee also launched contests to seek ideas to manage ecotourism; protect the environment; exploit Fansipan most feasibly; design a new tourism programme to discover Fansipan; and to seek the best organization. In addition, a contest for beautiful pictures of Fansipan was also held. Prizes were awarded to winners right on the evening of 31 October.

At the height of 3,143 metres, Fansipan mountain, which is located among Hoang Lien Son mountain range, is dubbed the roof of Indochina. Conquering Fansipan mountain is really a passion of many tourists who are fond of adventure. The path to conquer Fansipan mountain is situated in Hoang Lien Son national park which is Vietnam�s most diversified biological centre and already is recognized by UNESCO in October 2004 to be one of ASEAN�s first heritage gardens of Vietnam. This national park is home to Van Sam Hoang Lien pine tree which is a very rare species.

Only those who have climbed Fansipan mountain fully understand the hardship of this trip. After primeval forests with particularly interesting vegetation, the higher up the mountain one goes, the steeper and more slippery it is. A little bit of carelessness can result in a slip into the deep valley. Conquering Fansipan is a fantastic experience for those who love the nature, adventures and wish to challenge themself. During the trip up the mountain, tourists can feel the mighty and magnificent beauty of nature. Mr Nguyen, Director of Viet Discovery Company (Kham Pha Viet), who leads the delegation up Fansipan this time, says that the whole journey is around 35 kilometres. Like a naturalist, he passionately says that: �Our journey is through rainy tropical forests, interminable bamboo forests, moss forest ecosystems and the most special cloudy forests in Vietnam. At each height, the florist composition keeps changing. We pass cardamom forests which are black gold of the Mong ethnic minority and primeval forests with many rare species of plants."

Nights in Hoang Lien old forest are unforgettable. It is the first time that many tourists have experienced sleeping in tents and sleeping bags. Nights on Fansipan are freezing and fanciful by dancing flame. Dinners are well cared for by organizers with high calorie foods so that the delegation have enough strength to continue the trip the next day. Nothing is more interesting than experiencing the wildness of Hoang Lien forest when a glass of water is shared and pains are mutually treated. Hard and riskful though it may seem, everyone is excited about the next stage of the excursion. Organizers and tourist guides are only the ones who worry and take care of tents, food and health of the whole delegation. The harder the trip is, the greater the joy and pride to conquer Fansipan is.
During the three days and two nights amongst nature, many express their special interest in the issue of forest protection, environment protection, sustainable tourism development and how to improve the living standards of ethnic people. How can such people benefit from tourism activities instead of relying on resources of the forests? As such, many ideas from contests held by the organizing board are assessed to be highly practical.
However, there still exist many issues which make those interested in Hoang Lien forest and Fansipan mountain concerned. Dr Tran Huu Son, Director of Lao Cao provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, proposes that Fansipan climbing tourism route needs to open more routes. Such tourist spots as Gold Spring and Love Sand should be exploited. Tourism products within one day or from 1-2 days need to be added for tourists who are not able to climb the mountain, etc.

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