The peak of Mount Fansipan, highest in Indochina, is a fascinating and slightly bizarre place, a huge monument to religion, culture and tourism. So large in scale it's hard to fathom how it was constructed.
Massive statue of Buddha rising from the mist at the peak of Mt Fansipan, north west Vietnam, near Sa Pa.
The posters tell the story - you enter the `Fansipan Legend' at the base of the mountain.
There you pick up a cable car - the longest in the world. It's one of several `longest in the world' cable cars I've been on across the world. But it is indeed impressive, around 6 kilometres long. The views of rice paddies from the cable car are spectacular.
Dressed for the occasion.
As we ascended we quickly found ourselves in dense fog.
Fortunately, near the top it started to clear.
What was revealed was a colossal, chaotic land unlike any I've seen, complete with its own train, towers, temples, you name it. How did they achieve all this construction at the top of a precipitous mountain? It's a puzzle almost on the scale of Machu Picchu. Well, maybe not quite...
At the top a bell rings regularly.
There are towers built in ancient style.
The centrepiece is the huge statue of Buddha.
The mist swirled around and came and went.
There were other structures and statues ...
Temples and pagodas ...
Part of me did ask `Why?' - but it was certainly interesting and the scale was impressive.
When we got back to our hotel in Sa Pa, the mist had lifted. I realised for the first time we could actually see the structures at the peak of Mt Fansipan, via my telephoto lens. Can you pick the Buddha statue?