Opinions divided on planned cable car up Mount Fansipan
Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers for their opinions about Lao Cai Province's controversial plan to build a cable car to the top of Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. Here are some of the responses:
Anna Chen, American, Ha Noi
I have not climbed Fansipan but I plan to do so in the near future, maybe early next year with a group of friends.
|International tourists climb up Mount Fansipan. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Truong
I really admire people who have climbed Fansipan, especially those with limited physical strength but lots of enthusiasm. For most people, reaching the top of the mountain is a great challenge. It requires a strong will and motivation to achieve the goal. And I think it could be a memorable experience that makes you proud. Thus I totally understand why some backpackers oppose the plan so strongly. With the cable car, the mountain top will be accessible to everyone and that might kill people's motivation to climb it. As a result, the number of people climbing the mountain will be reduced and the area may be commercialised, which will have, to some extent, some impact on the environment there.
For these reasons, I think Lao Cai Province should take public opinion into account and carefully reconsider the plan.
Michael Kerr, Australian, Ha Noi
I think if people can't come to the mountain top because of its sheer height, then bring the mountain to them, i.e. through a new tram that will let them ride all the way to the mountain summit. With the tram, more and more people, including international tourists, will visit the area. And turning the area into a tourism spot will bring much-needed dollars to Viet Nam, which the country can use to develop a safe and eco-friendly day-trip to Sa Pa or other mountainous resort areas.
So to answer the question, I am all in favour of a tourist tram to bring visitors to the top of Fansipan.
Nguyen Phuong Lam, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I am planning to climb Fansipan in December. To me, it's exciting to reach the highest peak of Indochina. It would be great if I could see the beauty of the mountains and the rivers below from the top. I was enthusiastic when I heard that the People's Committee of Lao Cai had approved the construction of a 6.2km cable-car system from Sa Pa to the top of 3,143m-tall Mount Fansipan.
Under current regulations, the dong is the only currency that can be used in transactions within Viet Nam, and the prices of services and products must also be quoted in dong.
In November 2011, the Government issued Decree No 95, which set the fines for violations of these regulations in the monetary and banking sector. The decree said that posting in foreign currencies could result in a fine of up to VND300-500 million (US$14,300-$24,000).
In February earlier this year, two taxi companies were fined nearly VND1 billion ($47,000) for posting their prices in US dollars at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The Government has been making an effort to increase inspections of businesses, such as spas, restaurants and travel agencies to protect the local money.
The Government has drawn up a plan to eliminate the dollarisation of Viet Nam by 2013.
As someone who lives here or travels to Viet Nam, have you encountered places in the country where prices are posted in foreign currencies? What have been your experiences in other countries? Do you feel it's more convenient for foreigners to see prices posted in US dollars or euros, or should they always be posted in local currency? How can we prevent businesses and organisations from violating the regulations?
Please reply by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi. Replies to this week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, May 10.
First of all, it will be good for people who are not strong enough to spend three to seven days climbing the mountain. The cable will help save these tourists a lot of time. It will also prevent dangerous accidents that sometimes happen to backpackers.
Secondly, I think the cable may help protect the environment there as well. Backpackers eat meals and sleep on the mountain for days as they climb, disposing rubbish and trampling on small plants. Perhaps they might even start a big fire!
I know that the plan has met with much opposition because Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, is a challenge for young people to conquer. I think the People's Committee should maintain its policy for backpackers while building the cable system so that they can still meet this challenge.
Lee Han Sung, Korean, HCM City
I do not think the construction of a cable car to the top of Mount Fansipan is a good idea. As a regular backpacker, I think the point of having high mountains is to conquer them. Of course I would still climb a mountain even if there were a cable car to the top, but I'm not comfortable with the fact that the area at the top of Fansipan will be commercialised.
Fansipan is unique for its incomparable height. Making it so easily accessible will just destroy its character. And I also prefer beautiful places to be kept wild and natural; for example I always prefer visiting Ha Giang to Lao Cai, although both are mountainous provinces with distinctive ethnic cultures.
If a cable car must be built, please do not build it to reach the top, but maybe to an area 500m from the top, so that visitors still need to climb. Hard work means something here and it not should be ignored for the sake of tourism benefits.
Dang My Dung, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I really cannot agree with the plan. As a matter of fact, climbing Fansipan is not an easy walk. It is a challenge that requires determination, good health and proper preparation (which may involve adequate physical exercise before the journey).
I personally climbed the mountain last week. It was a very long and hard journey. It took my friends and me three full days to reach the top. What we got out of the experience was not just the scenery, but more importantly the feeling that we had achieved something worthwhile.
The plan to build a cable car there will simply kill such great purpose. If one is installed, I think no one will want to climb the mountain anymore. — VNS