World’s Longest 3S Ropeway, the Hon Thom Cable Car, Set to Open in February

Post by Gondola Project

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Image from Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park.

In a few weeks, the 7.9km Hon Thom Cable Car (Vietnamese: Cáp treo Hòn Thơm) is expected to open for passenger service on the largest island in Vietnam. Once operations begin, not only will it hold the world’s longest continuous (single section) 3S passenger ropeway title, it will also dramatically improve transport time and experience along a string of tropical islands known as the An Thoi Archipelago.

After construction began in September 2015, the system is now being tested before it is commissioned in February 2018. This incredible feat of engineering was made possible thanks to the expertise from ropeway manufacturer, Doppelmayr, who collaborated with industry leaders such as Fatzer and CWA.

The 3S cable car begins its journey at Phu Quoc (pronounced “foo-kwock”), an island roughly the size of Singapore that lies 15km south of the Cambodian coastline in the Gulf of Thailand. Specifically, the cable car’s northern terminus is located in An Thoi, a port town in the southern region of Phu Quoc known for its white sand beaches, fish sauce, and coral reefs. Officials expect Phu Quoc to transform itself into the next Maldives and Phuket over the next decades as it lures investment with a slew of major infrastructure projects totalling US$16.7 billion.

Hon Thom 3S Cable Car. Image from dkn.tv.

3S Alignment. Image from Doppelmayr.

3S cable car alignment. Image by Doppelmayr.

Historically, the island chain was a remote backwater, but in recent times, it has experienced tremendous growth in the tourism sector. Projected to receive 1.8 million visitors in 2017, Phu Quoc broke visitorship records last year by hosting 3 million tourists. Essentially, travellers from Ho Chi Minh City are just a 50 minute plane ride away from this tropical paradise while direct flights are also available from major regional cities such as Hanoi, Bangkok and Guangzhou.

From An Thoi, passengers hop aboard one of seventy 30-passenger cabins  (24 seated, 6 standing) and are taken on an aerial ride across the Gulf of Thailand, two islands (Hon Dua and Hon Roi) and six massive concrete towers (up to 160m) before being dropped off in Hon Thom (i.e. Pineapple Island).

Thanks to the cable car’s maximum travel speed of 8.5m/s (30.6km/h), trip times between the islands will decrease by 75% — from over an hour via ferry in the past to just 15.6 minutes onboard the ropeway. Passengers landing in Hon Thom, a burgeoning eco-tourism destination, will be able to visit an amusement park, beaches and a water park.

At a record breaking length of nearly 8km, the Hon Thom system has eclipsed the previous record holder, Fansipan Legend, by 1.5km. The pace of innovation in the industry is quite incredible to say the least as the Fansipan Legend was opened just less than two years ago.

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Cable car drops riders near the centre of Hon Thom (Pineapple Island) in Hon Thom Nature Park. Image from Bannhaviet.com.

Behind the Hon Thom Cable Car is an investment company called Sun Group which has built many large real-estate and tourism projects in the country. The business was formed in Vietnam in 2007 when a group of overseas Vietnamese from Ukraine returned home to help develop the country.

For astute followers of ropeways, you may have noticed that this company has come up time and time again. The reason is because Sun Group has partnered with Doppelmayr on several record-breaking ropeway projects. This includes the world’s longest continuous monocable detachable gondola (i.e. 10-MGD LWI Bana Big Ropeway), the world’s former longest 3S gondola (i.e. 30-TGD Fansipan Legend), and the world’s tallest ropeway tower and largest ropeway cabin (i.e. 230-ATW Ha Long Queen Cable Car). Effectively, the company has transformed Vietnam into the mecca of ropeways by building four record-setting systems in just five years.

Not so dissimilar to what project developers have accomplished in developed countries over the past century, the goal of Sun Group is to build destinations and provide visitors the opportunity to explore Vietnam’s most beautiful sites. So far, the company appears to have achieved incredible results as tourists can now experience famous landmarks such as Ha Long Bay (i.e. a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Fansipan (i.e. highest peak in Indochina) on a quick and comfortable ropeway ride.

Based on articles found online, it seems that the company has credited their success by adhering to the philosophy of, “standing on the shoulders of giants”. No where does this principle ring more true than in their partnership with the world’s largest and most experienced ropeway manufacturer. If a private developer can push the technological limits of ropeways in this manner, imagine what the possibilities might be when a large public sector transit budget is combined with Alpine cable car expertise.

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Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. "the 7.9km Hon Thom Cable Car ... not only will it hold the world’s longest ropeway title" Longest in what sense? This article http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/01/aerial-ropeways-automatic-cargo-transport.html mentions several cargo ropeways that were much longer.
  2. Will be the longest continuous (single stage) 3S passenger ropeway.

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