A cable car system that smashes two Guinness World Records was opened to visitors atop a famous mountain in the northern Vietnamese province of Lao Cai on Tuesday.
The Fansipan Sa Pa system will take tourists from the Muong Hoa Valley to the 3,143 meter peak of Fansipan Mountain, Indochina’s highest summit.
Measuring 6,282 meters, the Fansipan Sa Pa has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest three-rope cable car route.
It also sets a record as the world's biggest ascent between the departure and arrival, measuring at 1,410 meters.
Certificates for the two Guinness World Records were handed to the system’s developer, Sun Group, during the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.
Fansipan is one of the mountains tourists and climbers most want to conquer in Vietnam.
It normally takes climbers two days to cross the challenging route to reach the top of Fansipan, but everyone can now touch what is also known as ‘Indochina’s Roof’ within 15 minutes thanks to the cable car system.
Each cable car is capable of carrying 30 to 35 passengers, and the whole system can transport up to 2,000 tourists per hour.
The system is resilient to extreme weather in the northern mountainous province, with the developer insisting that everyone, including children and the elderly, can now explore Fansipan’s peak.
Sun Group, a realty and tourism developer headquartered in the central city of Da Nang, began construction on the VND4.4 trillion (US$196.43 million) project in November 2013.
Doppelmayr Garaventa, a popular Austrian manufacturer of cable cars for ski and amusement parks, was the project’s consultant, while Bill Bensley, one of the world’s most famous architects, was responsible for the design of the departure terminal.
Sun Group is also the developer behind the cable car system in Ba Na Hills, one of the most famous attractions in Da Nang and which won four Guinness World Records.
The Fansipan Sa Pa system is expected to attract more tourists to Lao Cai, which is also known for the popular tourist town of Sa Pa.
However, there have been critics of the project, suggesting that the construction will destroy the natural beauty of the area and reduce the meaning of the Fansipan peak.
‘Indochina’s Roof’ would not be so revered when anyone can reach the top in 15 minutes, according to climbers.