Lao Cai

Overview of Lao Cai

Lao Cai is a province in the mountainous area of Northern Vietnam. It is about 8 hours away from the capital Hanoi by train.

Generally, Lao Cai has become a plentiful land in the cultural heritage, cultural identity, and historical tradition. This province houses various ethnic tribes as well as exotic natural landscapes.

Visiting here, travellers can have a chance to enjoy spectacular sceneries of rice terraces, waterfalls and ethnic villages. It is not wrong to say Lao Cai features unique characteristics for tourism.

If you are a fan of adventures, Lao Cai province is an ideal place for you as it is near the Fansipan. As the highest peak in Vietnam, it features stunning landscapes of countryside and mountainous ranges within North-Western Vietnam. So if you want, there are many trekking trips for you to pick up.

In addition, there are roughly 107 rivers that flow pass the province, including Chay River, Nam Mu River, and Red River.

One of the most famous tourist spots in Lao Cai is Sapa, which welcomes a large number of travellers visiting to enjoy breathtaking natural beauty here every year.

sapa summer

Explore Lao Cai

Lao Cai Map

Best of Lao Cai

sapa winter

Lao Cai Attractions

Visiting in Lao Cai can become an unforgettable experience that you should have once in your life. With plenty of choices of wonderful attractions, you can have a chance to immerse yourself in a fantastic trip.

To help you out in adding ideal destinations in your bucket list, we have compiled the most famous tourist spots for your consideration.

#1. Sapa

Sapa town boasts magnificent picturesque landscape and a rich cultural identity. In addition, various ethnic minorities are living in this beautiful town, including H’Mong, Dao, Tay, Giay, Thai, and so on. With the unique customs and clothing styles, every tribe contributes to building a distinct vivid cultural identity.

#2. Bac Ha

Bac Ha market is still off the beaten path, which is ideal for those who want to escape from the bustling urban life. In addition, you can also have a chance to try exceptional food of ethnic minorities, and beautiful unique clothes.

#3. Y Ty

Y Ty is a famous place for clouds hunting. It is known that this commune is 1,600 meters above sea level, so countless dense white clouds are surrounding it. Also, you will be impressed by rice terraces, jungles, and deep mountains.

cap nach pork sapa

Lao Cai Restaurants & Dining

As the tourist services in Lao Cai have been significantly improved, many dining venues are cropping up for the last few years. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about finding a place to eat in this province. Also, many options are currently available for tourists from local specialties to Western dishes. Notably, some unique food that you should try when visiting Lao Cai includes thang co, lon cap nach, and Bac Ha sour noodles.

Below is the list of some suggested dining venues for your consideration.

  • Viet Emotion Restaurant
  • Pineapple Restaurant
  • Oishi
  • Nhat Linh Restaurant
  • Le Bordeaux Restaurant
  • Hai Nhi Restaurant
  • Van Anh Bakery
  • Com Binh Dan
sapa grilling area

Lao Cai Nightlife

As a province located in the mountainous area of Northern Vietnam, Lao Cai has not developed the nightlife activities well. Except for Sapa town, there are not many choices of activities at night in other areas.

The most popular types of nightlife here include karaoke and clubs.

We have a list of the best addresses for you if you want to hang out at night in Lao Cai.

  • AKing Karaoke
  • Karaoke A99 Club
  • Nature Bar
  • Relax Bar
  • The H’Mong Sisters
  • Wooden PUB
  • CrazyBar Sapa – Café – Fast Food
  • Sapa Spider Bar
  • Blue Loco Bar & Hostel
  • Xin Chao Pub
  • Sapa Local Tour Guides
sapa silver-min

Lao Cai Shopping

Lao Cai is one of the best places for tourists to buy handicrafts of ethnic minorities. Especially in Sapa, you can easily find street vendors offering a host of beautiful handmade souvenirs. Also, you can buy gifts for your loved ones in some shops in the town. There are a bunch of choices for you to choose.

To help you out in choosing a suitable shopping place, we have a list of 10 best venues below:

  • Bac Ha Market
  • Indigo Cat
  • Can Cau Market
  • MaiEcolife The Hill Opera
  • Sapa Market
  • Linh Handicraft
  • Hieu Stone
  • Sin Cheng Market
  • Sun Plaza
  • Tho Cam Lan Rung
sapa weather

Lao Cai – Best time to visit

Lao Cai features the typical tropical monsoon climate as most parts of Northern Vietnam. Accordingly, there are two seasons here, including dry season and rainy season.

While the dry season lasts from November to March, Lao Cai experiences the rainfall from April to October. Another information about the weather in Lao Cai is that its average temperature is around 23 degrees C.

Spring appears to be the best time to visit Lao Cai, which means from February to June. Coming to this province during these months, you can witness the beauty of many kinds of blooming flowers such as hoa man, hoa ban, and so on.

sapa hotels

Lao Cai – Where to stay

Should you plan to visit Lao Cai somedays, you will need to consider finding a suitable place to stay. You can choose to stay in Sapa town or other districts of Lao Cai. While in the city, the accommodations here offer more modern amenities, other regions help you escape from the hustling and bustling urban life thanks to its beautiful natural landscape and tranquil atmosphere.

Besides, there are many types of accommodation for your consideration, including resorts, hotels, hostels, and homestays.

We have compiled a list of the top recommended places for you to stay in Lao Cai.

  • Lao Cai Royal Hotel
  • Muong Thanh Grand Lao Cai Hotel
  • Hoang Gia Hotel
  • Sen Trang Hotel
  • Mely Wow Sapa Homestay
  • H’Mong House – Sapa Homestay
  • Hoa Ban Hotel
  • Ta Phin Stone Garden Ecological
  • Aristo International Hotel
best time to visit sapa

Lao Cai Itinerary for Ideal days? 

To fully explore the exotic and idyllic beauty of Lao Cai, especially Sapa, you should spend at least three days here. Here is a suggested itinerary for you to consider:

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa – O Quy Ho, Lao Chai – Ta Van

You can travel by train or bus to Sapa in the morning. After check-in procedure and having lunch, you can drive to O Quy Ho and then go trekking through rice terraces and Black H’Mong villages.

Also, you can visit Tan Van village to explore the living style of this ethnic minority.

Day 2: Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai Village – Sapa

One of the extraordinary experiences when travelling to Lao Cai is that you can have breakfast that is prepared by local families. After filling up your stomach, you can start your day by visiting Giang Ta Chai Village, where Dao people live to learn more about their culture.

After lunch time, you can visit Cat Cat village, which is nestled in a fantastic valley around 3 kilometers from Sapa.

Day 3: Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market is organized every Sunday, which offers a wide range of goods. To approach this market, many ethnic minorities have to walk from a long distance. Nevertheless, the difficulty in transportation can still not hinder them from participating in this colorful market.