A COMPLETELY GUIDE TO VISIT LAO CAI VIETNAM 

For those who love the experience of tourism and have a passion to conquer hazardous roads full of obstacles on motorbikes, Lao Cai Vietnam is an ideal choice. This province not only possesses charming natural sceneries but also has the simple - hearted people and unique cultural identities that are especially appealing to both domestic and international tourists.

Table Contents
  • I - How to travel from Hanoi to Lao Cai
  • II - Lao Cai weather information
  • II - Lao Cai attractions
  • 1 - Sapa town 
  • 2 - Bat Xat District - the ocean of clouds in Lao Cai Vietnam
  • 3 - Bac Ha District area - special markets in Lao Cai Province
  • 4 - Si Ma Cai district area - the land of buckwheat flowers
  • III - Other information
  • 1 - Local cuisine
  • 2 - Lao Cai restaurants
  • 3 - Accommodations in Lao Cai Province
  • 4 - Lao Cai border
  • 3 - Local people
  • 4 - Lao Cai map
Jan 01
Lao Cai
Source: VnExpress
This is a province in the North of Vietnam, bordering its north with China. The name Lao Cai was formed in that late 19th century during the expansion of the French trade route with Yunnan - China. The west of this province borders Lai Chau Province while the South adjoins Yen Bai and the East boundary is adjacent to Ha Giang Province. It has a total area of 6.364,02 square kilometers, its population is total 705.600 people up to 2018.

I - How to travel from Hanoi to Lao Cai

The distance between the two cities is 286 kilometers, equivalent to 4 hours and 20 minutes travelling by car. You can choose the options below:

Hanoi to Lao Cai
Source: Hong Lua
Train
Travelling by train takes about 8 hours/ trip, you can choose the SP3 train departing from Hanoi at 10pm. Train fare is 125.000 VND/single - way for a hard seat ($5,38) or 260.000 VND/single - way for a sleeper (~$11,21). More information for ticket booking available on https://dsvn.vn or telephone number: 0243 942 59 72.
- Pick - up point: No. 120 Le Duan Street, Van Mieu Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi City
- Drop - off point: Bao Ha Station, Bao Yen Ward, Lao Cai city
Limousine
The averaged travel time is 6 hours/ trip. You can refer to some following limousines:

 
Car Companies Route Other information
Sapa Limousine VIP - 9 - seater car - Pick - up point: building NO2, Tran Quy Kien Street, Dich Vong Ward, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
- Drop - off point: Bao Ha Commune, Lao Cai city or Sapa town, Lao Cai Province
- Frequency: 2 trips/ day at  6:30am and 7am
- Contact: 0987 67 22 78
- Fare: 330.000 VND/ person (~$14,22)
En Vang Limousine - 11- seater car - Pick - up point: No. 2, Nguyen Hoang street, My Đinh Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi
- Drop - off point: Sapa bus station or Sapa Stone Church in Sapa Town
- Frequency: 2 trips/ day at  6.30am and 7:15am
- Contact: 083 562 09 09
- Fare: 320.000 VND/ person(~$13,79)

Sleepbus
Time to travel is about 5 to 6 hours/ trip. A number of sleepbus companies are suggested as below:

 
Sleepbus Companies Route Other information
Sao Viet - 40 - sleeper bus - Pick - up point: No.7 Pham Van Dong Street, Co Nhue 1 Ward, Bac Tu Liem District, Hanoi
- Drop - off point: No. 333, Ga Square (Pho Moi), Lao Cai City
- Frequency: 12 trips/ day from 5:30am to 11pm
- Contact: 1900 6764
- Bus fare: 370.000 VND/ person (~$15,94)
Ngan Ha - 40 - sleeper bus - Pick - up point: My Dinh Bus Station, My Dinh Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi
- Drop - off point: No. 577 Đien Bien Phu Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province
- Frequency: 12 trips/ day at 6:50am, 0pm, 9pm, 10pm
- Contact: 1900 88 86 84
- Bus fare: 250.000 VND/ person (~$10,77)

Airplane
At the moment, Lao Cai Province is processing the  proposal of an airport project in Sapa town.  
It can be seen that the train is still preferred by tourists due to its high safety, abundantly exciting experiences compared to sleepbus or limousine. 

II - Lao Cai weather information

This province belongs to the typically tropical monsoon region of Northern Vietnam and is strongly affected by topographical factors and high stratification. Overall, this type of climate is quite cool, suitable for developments of agriculture, forestry and fishery,... Simultaneously, this climate is also ideal to enhance green tourism, cultural tourism and other outdoor activities in tourism. 

Lao Cai weather
Source: VnExpress 
The annual average temperature in Lao Cai City Vietnam fluctuates between 22 - 24oC, the lowest temperature is 10oC while the highest one is 36oC. In particular, some localities’ temperature can plummet to about  0oC to form snow like Sapa town. 
The humidity ranges from 75 - 90%; the annual average precipitation is 1.700mm with the highest rainfall in Sapa being 3.400mm and the lowest figure in Sapa town being 1.320mm. In the province, fog often occurs with high density and prolongs late night and early morning. On the piercingly and damagingly cold days, there have been hoarfrosts covering places over 1.000m above sea level such as Sapa, Bat Xat,.... 
Statistics on Lao Cai temperature and precipitation over 12 months in 2018

 
Month Temperature (C) Rainfall (mm/month)
1 15,7 22
2 17 33
3 20,7 53
4 24,2 129
5 27 171
6 27,9 239
7 27,9 302
8 27,5 355
9 26,3 222
10 24 153
11 20,2 54
12 17 27
Average/Total 23 1.764

The best time to travel here is from April to August since the weather is cool to suit leisure & sightseeing tourist activities of exploring cultural identities of the ethnic people with lots of typical cultural festivals. 

II - Lao Cai attractions

The topographic division here is extremely complicated, with high mountains or low hills often divided by valleys or rivers. It is this difference in elevation and terrain differentiation that helps this province have many majestic and magnificent natural landscapes. 
In order to be convenient for sightseeing, exploring and conquering difficult pass roads, motorbikes are the most suitable means of transportation. Rental price is from 150,000 - 450,000 VND/ motorbike/ day (~$6,46 - $19,39). 
Some rental address: 
- Rent Motorbike: No. 366 Khanh Yen Street, Pho Moi Ward, Lao Cai city; contact: 0888 360 999.
- Cafe Thu: Lao Cai Station,  Lao Cai Province; contact: 0978 470 074.
- Viet motorbike rental (Thue xe may Viet): No. 346, Nguyen Hue Street, Pho Moi Ward, Lao Cai city; contact: +84 962 906 393.

1 - Sapa town 

Sapa town is known as “the town of clouds” in Vietnam because of its fresh, cool and pleasant climate all year round. Moreover, Sapa is also “bestowed” with majestic scenery by Mother Nature ,where tourists can feel like they are on cloud nine literally, suspended between Heaven and Earth.
Numerous outstanding tourist attractions that you should not miss when visiting “foggy” Sapa are: Fansipan peak, Cat Cat village, terraced fields, plum blossom hills,... Besides, you can also experience typical markets with lots of cultural activities such as: Sapa love market, central town market; enjoy indigenous dishes of local people like: men men, five - color sticky rice, ‘Thang Co’ - stewed horse meat and horse organs, dried buffalo meat kept on upstairs kitchen, grilled food,....

2 - Bat Xat District - the ocean of clouds in Lao Cai Vietnam

Lao Cai attractions
Bat Xat District - Source: VnExpress
Bat Xat is a small district, 50 kilometers away from Lao Cai city, it takes 1h50m to travel by car to the Northwest. You will be surprised by lots of unique cultural festivals and their cultural identities of 14 ethnic groups. 
Suggested activities you should try when coming to Bat Xat district are quite diverse from cultural tourism to experience tourism and cuisine tourism. Top things to do here are: conquering maleficent mountain peaks from which you can easily contemplate the whole view of Northwest mountainous sceneries such as Nhiu Co San peak (Sang Ma Sao Commune), Bach Moc Luong Tu peak (or called Ky Quan San) at 3.046m high - one of the 4 highest peaks in Vietnam; visiting stunning terraced fields of local people in Ngai Thay Thuong and “cloud hunting” to get charming pictures; participating in the funny and unique Muong Hum fair of the ethnic minorities. 

3 - Bac Ha District area - special markets in Lao Cai Province

From Lao Cai City, you have to travel about 65 kilometers more to reach Bac Ha town, equivalent to about 1 hour 40 minutes by car. Bac Ha is famous for the special markets such as Bac Ha fair market, Coc Ly fair market. There you have the opportunity to learn more about the handicrafts of indigenous people, see colorful brocade costumes, enjoy local cuisine like five - color sticky rice, Muong pigs, buffaloes and cows, handicrafts, brocade fabrics.
You also should not forget to visit Hoang A Tuong Palace - a beautiful and unique historical relic in Bac Ha district. This place is built with a total area of ​​4,000 square meters leaning on mountains and over the water with main materials such as limestone, molasses, sand, cement, iron and steel. All creates a uniquely harmonious scene and an extremely beautiful mixture of French - Eastern architecture. 
Tien cave (Fairy cave) in Bac Ha District - one of the most outstanding Vietnam Lao Cai attractions, is a large cave that can accommodate hundreds of people. The geological layers in the cave are arranged naturally to form a very unique "citadel". This place is also associated with the legend of Ba Nang Tien (three fairies) of local people. 

4 - Si Ma Cai district area - the land of buckwheat flowers

Si Ma Cai is a district located near the northern border of Lao Cai Province Vietnam, about 95km from the city center. However, the mountain roads are secluded and the terrain is difficult to move, it takes about 2.6h to go by car along the AH14 route.
You can watch endless fields of buckwheat flowers in vast mountains and forests from November to December every year. The most beautiful flower field is in Lu Than commune, Simacai district. At the same time, you can participate in busy and unique markets - especially Can Cau market and take part in the bustling atmosphere of buyers and sellers every Saturday or important holidays of the year. B 

III - Other information

1 - Local cuisine

Lao Cai trip cannot be fully enjoyed if you miss the “cuisine” of unique dishes in ingredients, cooking and enjoyment that you can only find here:
Thang Co - strewed horse meat and horse organs
This dish has a slightly bitter taste which is a traditional dish of the H’mong ethnic minority, with a long history of more than 200 years of development. The main ingredient of this dish is horse meat, the entire horse's body used in cooking - even the large intestine.
Price: 100.000 - 330.000 VND/ pot (~4,31 - 14,22$)

Things to do in Lao Cai
Salmon - Source: David Fedulov
Salmon Hot Pot
Fresh salmon pieces are served with slightly sweet broth and locally available vegetables, all which create a nutritious and fresh dish that "captivates'' guests when they come here. Enjoying Salmon Hot Pot is one of the best things to do in Lao Cai Vietnam
Price: 80.000 - 175.000 VND/ person/ meal (~3,44 - 7,54$)
Muong pig - mountainous natural raised pigs (Or called Pig carried under one’s arm)
The pigs here weigh about 10 - 15 kilograms, the name of Pig carried under one’s arm is called because of the small size of the pigs that villagers often "carry" under their arms to the market to sell. Thanks to being raised naturally, eating wild vegetables, ... the pigs give high quality meat, delicious flavor and natural crispy skin.
Price 100.000 - 300.000 VND/ dish (~4,31 - 12,93$)

2 - Lao Cai restaurants

You can choose from the following restaurants to enjoy delicious dishes such as:
Good Morning View Restaurant
The restaurant specializes in serving Vietnamese dishes, especially delicious local dishes. Some famous dishes that guests should try such as: fried spring rolls, curry rice, fried vegetables, buffalo meat kept on upstairs kitchen, ...
- Address: No. 333 Muong Hoa street, Sapa town
- Contact: 0977 62 08 42
- Price: 15.000 - 150.000 VND/ dish (~0,21 - 2,15$)
Aira Sapa Restaurant & Bar

Lao Cai restaurant
Aira Sapa Restaurant & Bar - best Lao Cai restaurant - Source: Airaboutiquesapa
Restaurant space is decorated in a modern style with two main colors: brown and dark blue; the restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Aira Boutique Hotel. Vietnamese dishes - Western dishes under talented chefs' hands are not only delicious but also beautifully presented. Vietnamese wishes will be displayed on flat baskets or unique black bamboo baskets.
- Address: No. 30 Hoang Lien street, Aira Boutique Hotel, Sapa town
- Contact: 0214 3772 268
- Price: 8,5 - 22$/ dish
Mountain Bar & Pub
The restaurant space is designed dynamically, youthfully but still keeps the inherent beauty of Lao Cai Vietnam. In particular, the delicious dishes, highland hot wine,... have really conquered many diners, even the most demanding ones. Drinks, space and enthusiastic service manners of the staff - the owner makes a good impression on the guests.
- Address: No. 59 Muong Hoa street, Sapa town
- Contact: 096 848 80 88
- Price: 20.000 - 100.000 VND/ dish (~0,86 - 4,3$)
Moment Romantic Restaurant
Outstanding dishes that create a reputation for the restaurant are: steamed fish, Salmon hotpot, stewed horse meat and horse organs,...The space is delicately decorated with yellow tones and simple wooden furniture, bringing a warm and cosy feeling to guests when dining here.
- Address: No. 01A Thac Bac street, Sapa town
- Contact: 098 288 49 65
- Price: 50.000 - 150.000 VND/ dish (~2,15 - 6,46$)

3 - Accommodations in Lao Cai Province

Together with its cuisine, the system of accommodation here is also relatively diverse, ensuring to meet your needs. Some hotels - homestays regularly receive positive feedbacks from guests such as:
Duc Huy Grand Hotel
The hotel is designed in a modern style with white tones and winding details, like a European heaven. It also fully converges the amenities necessary for an enjoyable and comfortable vacation. The restaurant in the hotel is a convergence of many delicious, attractive and fresh dishes.
- Address: No. 72 - 74, Tran Hung Đao street, Bac Cuong district, Lao Cai Province
- Contact: 0214 3833 229
- Room rate: 1.000.000 - 2.000.000 VND/ room/ night (~43,1 - 86,2$)
Nobita Homestay Bac Ha
This is an unique homestay design with space built with 100% wood materials. The space here is adorned with many trees, flowers and leaves, bringing a feeling of closeness to nature. This is considered a suitable accommodation for couples, promising to be a place to bring many interesting experiences for you.
- Address: Residential group of Bac Ha 5, Bac Ha town, Lao Cai Province
- Contact: 0888 613 666
- Room rate: 70.000 - 100.000 VND/ room/ night (~3,01 - 4,31$)
Heaven Gate Hotel O Quy Ho

Lao Cai hotel
Heaven Gate Hotel O Quy Ho - Source: Heavengatehoteloquyho
The hotel is a harmonious combination between modern oriental style and local bold details such as wooden roofs,...creating a feeling of familiarity but still difference. From the hotel room you can enjoy the scenery of the Northwest mountains and slowly drifting clouds in dawn. 
- Address: Ta Giang Phinh village, Heaven gate area, Sapa town
- Contact: 0969 9996 299
- Room rate: 700.000 - 2.200.000 VND/ room/ night (~30,17 - 94,82$)

4 - Lao Cai border

Its border gate is an international border gate connecting Vietnam with China's Ha Khau border gate through the Ho bridge spanning the Nam Thi River. Visitors who want to move through China's Ha Khau border must prepare a passport - Chinese visa or customs clearance. 
The visa application procedure will be done at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Vietnam (No. 46, Hoang Dieu Street, Dien Ban Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi City); the fee is $60 and time to verify records - return results is 04 working days excluding Saturday and Sunday.

3 - Local people

Lao Cai City Vietnam is the main residence of more than 20 ethinic groups, of which the King accounts for 86,83% of its population; together with other ethinic minorities such as: Pa Di, Giay, Dao, H’mong, Tay, Nung, Ha Nhi, Thai, Khang, La Chi, La Han, San Chay, Hoa, Bo Y, Kho Mu, Lo Lo, Muong, Ngai, San Diu,...Those ethnic groups living together  create one of the most impressive & unique hub of culture in Vietnam. The most important festivals of local people include:

Lao Cai City
H’Mong People in Lao Cai - Source: VOVTV
- H’mong people: Popular for its Gau Tao (Blessing) festival on the fourth of January every lunar year (2021: 15/02 of solar calendar, 2022: 04/02 of solar calendar).
- Tay people: Long Tong (Go down field) Festival occurs on the fifth or fifteenth of January every lunar year (2021: 16/02 of solar calendar, 2022: 05/02 of solar calendar).
- Dao people: Dancing festival occurs on the first and second of January every lunar year (2021: 12 - 13/01 of solar calendar, 2022: 01 - 02/02 of solar calendar).
- Thai people: Cave playing festival occurs from the eleventh to thirteenth of January every lunar year (2021: 21 - 24/02  of solar calendar, 2022:  11 - 13/02 of solar calendar).

4 - Lao Cai map

The mountains and forests of the Northwest - Vietnam always contain many interesting cultural experiences, magnificent natural sceneries, unique indigenous cuisine. All has constantly attracted visitors to Lao Cai Province Vietnam. The information introduced above is hopefully to give travelers better understanding about this destination before visiting.
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