Breathtaking landscape at Than Uyen, Lai Chau
Breathtaking landscape at Than Uyen, Lai Chau

Lai Chau: Travel Guide, Things to Do

Lai Chau is a mountainous province located to the utmost North West of Vietnam, 450km from Hanoi. Lai Chau has a dry and temperate climate influenced by dry winds from Laos. Due to the remote location and lack of good infrastructure in the past, Lai Chau was not visited much by most travelers. Even most Vietnamese tourists do not normally make trips to Lai Chau.

But Lai Chau is home to quite a few tourist attractions ranging from idyllic ethnic villages and ethnic cultures to sublime mountain peaks. The land is home some highest mountain peaks of Vietnam: Pu Ta Leng (3,096m), Pu Si Lung (3,076m), Bach Moc Luong Tu (3,046m), Ngu Chi Son (2,800m). Sin Ho Plateau (1,500m) with cool climate could be a hot-spot for ecotourism, trekking tours and relaxing holidays.

Rice fields at Tam DuongRice fields at Tam Duong

Tourist attractions and top things to do in Lai Chau

1/ O Quy Ho Pass (2,000m)
This is the highest mountain pass in Vietnam between Sapa and Lai Chau. The landscape is sublime and a motorbike adventure or mountain bike trip on this pass is just thrilling and memorable. Do not forget your camera as the scenery is more sublime than you could expect!

The O Quy Ho Pass between Sapa and Lai Chau
The O Quy Ho Pass between Sapa and Lai Chau

2/ Pu Ta Leng Mountain (3,096m)
A trip to Pu Lang Leng is certainly a serious challenge to your physical endurance and your will power. You’ll be more likely to give up most of the time on the way to the summit. Those who get there feel wow! They’ll be awarded with unbelievable landscape. Should your trip here in March, you’ll be lost amid an ancient rhododendron forest in full bloom. The adventure requires at least 2 nights in the mountain.

3/ Bach Moc Luong Tu Mountain (3,046m)
This mountain spans between Lai Chau and Lao Cai. The scenery is no doubt great and so is the difficult. Staying at least 2 nights in the mountain if you want to get to the summit. Lots of difficulties await those adventurous travelers!

Ky Quan San (Bach Moc Luong Tu) between Lai Chau and Lao Cai
Ky Quan San (Bach Moc Luong Tu) between Lai Chau and Lao Cai

4/ Ngu Chi Son Mountain (2,800m)
The mountain is right on the border between Tam Duong (Lai Chau) and Ta Giang Phing, Sapa (Lao Cai). While the Ngu Chi Son Mountain is not as high as other peaks nearby, but getting to the top of the mountain is extremely difficult due to the steep mountain slope for the last few hundred meters. The adventure can start from either Tam Duong or at Ta Giang Phinh. It is recommended to stay a night in the mountain as clambering the few hundred meters on the top is quite a danger and should not be done in the darkness.

The Ngu Chi Son Mountain between Sapa and Lai Chau
The Ngu Chi Son Mountain between Sapa and Lai Chau

5/ Muong Than Rice Valley at Than Uyen
The Muong Than Valley (Than Uyen District) is the third biggest valley in the Northwest of Vietnam. Than Uyen is great for cycling tours on which you’ll pedal amid splendid rice fields and imposing mountains in the background. Roads at Than Uyen offer great landscapes around.

Than Uyen, Lai Chau Vietnam
Muong Than Valley, Than Uyen, Lai Chau Vietnam

6/ Green tea plantations at Tan Uyen
Tan Uyen is 40km north of Than Uyen (Route 32) and 30km south of Tam Duong (via Route 4D and Route 32). The tea plantations are on low hills against the backdrop of towering mountains which make it a great spot for cycling and photography.

Tea plantations at Tan Uyen, Than Uyen
Tea plantations at Tan Uyen, Than Uyen

7/Sin Ho Plateau
With averaged altitude of 1,500m above sea level, the Sin Ho Plateau has cool climate all year. The plateau is home to 15 ethnic groups. Sin Ho has a lovely ethnic market at weekend (Saturday and Sunday). There are trekking paths through wild mountains and peaceful villages for those who love to explore new lands.

The Da River at Sin Ho
The Da River at Sin Ho

Lai Chau is not often visited by most tourists and Sin Ho is rarely visited even to Vietnamese tourists. The plateau is 60km from Lai Chau City and can be accessed either from Lai Chau or from Dien Bien Phu.

8/Phong Tho
The little deserted township has lovely mountains with Vang Po Hotspring (near Route 4D) and ethnic scenic villages. Phong Tho offers day-treks and cultural experiences at ethnic families.

9/ Ethnic villages

- Ban Hon (Tam Duong), 12km from Tam Duong Town, is home to the Lu ethnic group, the village is easily accessible. The villagers offer homestay and easy hiking cycling trails around.

- Si Chau Thai (Ho Thau, Tam Duong) is home to the Dao People, 6km from Tam Duong Town. The village is is located at 1,400m above sea level, at the base of the Pu Ta Leng Mountain. Expect scenic roads amid sublime mountains if you plan a trip to this village. There are families offering homestays here.

- Gia Khau Village (Hmong) is right on the outskirt of the provincial capital. The landscape is scenic and it is a relaxing experience to cycle or to have a leisurely walk on the village road in late afternoon.

Scenic mountains at the Gia Khau Village, near Lai Chau City
Scenic mountains at the Gia Khau Village, near Lai Chau City

- Sin Sui Ho Village is a Hmong community on 1,50mm above sea level. The village is at the base of Mount Ky Quan San (Bach Moc Luong Tu) with lots of untouched forests. The scenery is breathtaking and not many travelers make trips here.

- Vang Pheo Village is a White Thai community in Sin Ho District (30km north of Lai Chau City). The village is at the confluence of 2 rivers: Nam So and Nam Lum with houses on stilts and lovely natural settings.

Lai Chau CityLai Chau City

AdventureGreen.com offers mountain-biking tours, motorbike tours, trekking holidays, mountain climbing tours in Lai Chau Province.