Lao Cai is a mountainous province locating in the northwest Vietnam. It is home to many ethnic hill tribes, this natural landscape is frequently visited by travellers looking for adventurous spirit and enjoy spectacular views of waterfalls, mountainside rice terraces, and traditional villages.
Where is Lao Cai
Lao Cai is a province of the mountainous Northwest region of Vietnam bordering the province of Yunnan in China The province covers an area of 6,383.9 square kilometers.
Lao Cai and Sapa are two important cities within the province at the border with China; the former is well known as a key trading post and the latter is hill station famous for tourism, in the Northwest region of Vietnam. Sa Pa is notable as a hill resort and market center for the local ethnic Hmong, including the Red, Black, Green and Flower Hmong. Located across the Muong Hoa Valley from Vietnam's highest mountain, Fansipan, the city is sometimes referred to as the "queen of mountains".
Lao Cai is one of the mountainous provinces that has well-developed transport networks consisting of roads, rail, and waterways. The provincial city is connected by road, rail and river transport links with Hanoi on its northwest. Within the province, road links exist to Sa Pa and Bac Ha. There are four national highways totaling to a length of 400 km, provincial roads of about 300 km length and 1,000 km of village roads.
Why Lao Cai is your next destination?
The Hanoi – Lao Cai railway is 296 kilometers, of which 62 kilometers are in the province, and links to Chinese railways at the border.
As Lao Cai Province is mountainous and still developing, its natural environment is relatively environmentally unspoiled. This means that its potential as an ecotourism destination among Vietnamese and foreigners is still intact.
Lao Cai has many historic sites, natural caves and produces agricultural specialties such as Bắc Hà plums, Grilled Pork, Walking Pig, ...
The Mount Fansipan
The Mount Fansipan is about 9 km southwest of Sapa town. It is a mount of the range Hoang Lien Son lying in the border of two provinces: Lao Cai and Lai Chau.
The mount is characterized by bio-diversity in flora with 1,680 species of plants, some in which are rare and only able to be found here. Hence, the mountain is an appealing natural attraction for any tourists, especially the ones who are interested in botany. In addition, climbers can see beautiful orchids, little daisy, and wild flowers along the way to the top.
There are various magnificent waterfalls scattering around the down Mount such as Cat Cat waterfall, Bac waterfall, Lanh waterfall, Ham Rong Waterfall.
Cat Cat village
Cat Cat cultural village was formed in the 19th century by the gathering of multiple families belonging to different ethnic groups living in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, especially Black H’Mong. The houses are scattered along the mountainside and cultivated surrounding their home. Rice and corn are mainly grown in terraced fields, while traditional handicrafts such as weaving fabric and twisting flax help them to support their family. For many years, Cat Cat Village has become an appealing feature of Sapa’s tourism. Cat Cat Village gives tourists an opportunity to capture an image of local ethnic life as well as take part in traditional activities. Tourist should not forget to purchase some souvenirs and handicrafts. Cat Cat village is definitely a must-visit in Sapa, especially for couples. Moreover, vegetable and mushroom here are the best in Vietnam, people can also try some local food selling on the way toward the hill. In addition, the road leading to Cat Cat Village is a trekking route. It is only 20-30 minutes walking from Sapa center; and the hike through mountains will offer tourists a wonderful image of rice terrace, waterfall, or buffaloes grazing leisurely.
Ham Rong Mountain
Tourists can also visit Dragon Mouth Mountain, a small mountain that is Being shaped like a dragon’s head. The valley down of the mountain is full of fountains, magnificent scene, and home to numerous kinds of flowers and orchard gardens. In addition, the Bac Ha market is well-known for trading unique clothes and jewelry of highlands. And if you are kind of adventurous, Fansipan peak 3143m high surely can fulfill your desire.
Bac Ha market
For a long time, the market is not simply a place for commerce but also a chance for people from different ethnicities to come and meet, for relatives to reunite. To reach the market, ethnic vendors have to walk a long distance passing mountain pass and hills. But the distance has never hindered them from joining the Sunday colorful market.
Top specialty foods of Lao Cai
Sapa has located about 30 km from the center of Lao Cai province and it's a big chance for tourists to learn more about unique traditions, local lifestyle, and the rich culture of ethnic people. In addition, you could not miss a wide range of specialty foods which attract most of the travelers coming to Lao Cai.
Cap Nach pork
In Sapa, local people do not lock pigs in the pigpen, they let them free to find food in the forest or garden. Therefore, after 1 year the pig's weight just nearly 20 kgs. This kind of pork is well-known for its' fresh thick meat, crispy sweet skin, and fragrant. The talented chef makes various mouth-watering dishes such as Cap Nach’s meat was steamed, roasted, grilled. Every cuisine is delicious and irresistible.
Ginger pork is a traditional food of Nung Dinh ethnics people. The chief makes it from pork rib bone, pork backbone, and pork head. The ingredients include minced, corn wine, mixed with salt, and ginger juice. The mixture is called Ginger pork which can be steamed, or braised, cooked in water with spices.
It's cold at night in mountainous and nothing is better than sitting around the charcoal oven, sipping some wine, grilling some foods, have a chat with each other or simply enjoying the fresh air. Eating grilled foods at night is a must on a trip to Sapa. Walking pig, grilled food and Sapa mustard green roll, Salmon cake, Sticky rice in a bamboo tube, Grilled egg, etc. are mouth-watering delicious and worth-trying foods.