Amazing landscape at Y Ty, Bat Xat, Lao Cai
Amazing landscape at Y Ty, Bat Xat, Lao Cai

Lao Cai: Travel Guide, What to do

Lao Cai is a mountainous province in the North-West of Vietnam sharing border with China, Yen Bai, Son La and Lai Chau Provinces. Lao Cai is home to a number of tourist attractions such as Sapa, Y Ty, Muong Khuong, Muong Hum, Bac Ha...which offer great opportunities for adventure travel such as mountain biking tours, trekking tours, motorbike tours, homestay tours…

Tourist attractions and top things to do in Lao Cai Vietnam

1/Sapa
The little township perched on the elevation of 1,500m above sea level at the base of Fansipan – the summit of Vietnam is among the most known tourist attraction in Vietnam.

Sapa offers the visitors a lot of experiences: trekking and staying with local ethnic families, trekking and climbing Mount Fansipan – the summit of Vietnam, mountain biking on scenic mountain paths, taking photographs of the sublime nature as well as amazing ethnic people...

The foot of the Hoang Lien Mountain, Sapa
The foot of the Hoang Lien Mountain

Please visit our travel guide to Sapa in the related articles below.

2/Bac Ha
The plateau with averaged altitude of 1,000m above sea level is not as popular as Sapa but has always been attractive a destination for the adventurers who love straying from the well-beaten path. Bac Ha is known for an ethnic market on Sunday morning where you can learn lots about the ethnic groups as well as obtain great photographs of ethnic ladies. Bac Ha is 100km from Sapa.

There are very scenic trekking paths in Bac Ha that bring you from one surprise to another. Be informed that you’ll be far from the crowds trekking in Bac Ha.

Please visit our travel guide to Bac Ha in the related articles below.

3/Can Cau Market
The Can Cau Market is no doubt among the most beautiful ethnic markets in Vietnam. The market’s gathering is on Saturday morning only. At Can Cau, you’ll adore gorgeous colorful ethnic costumes by different local tribes. The natural landscape at Can Cau is wild and no short of wonder. Can Cau Market is 30km north of Bac Ha.

4/Coc Ly Market
Coc Ly Market is in session once per week, only on Tuesday morning. Coc Ly Market is not as well-known as the market in Bac Ha and Can Cau but it certainly has its own charm. The market is by the riverside of the Chay River where you can have a boat trip to the Tay communities living by the river. Coc Ly is 20km southwest of Bac Ha.

5/Bat Xat
Bat Xat is located right on the border between Lao Cai (Vietnam) and China. Bat Xat offers to the visitors: those among highest mountain peaks in Vietnam, ethnic village perched on high mountain slopes, untouched forests, stunning rice terraces,… At Bat Xat, you can adore:


Rice terraces at Bat Xat

- Y Ty Hill Station: which is something like Sapa, right on the border with China. Y Ty offers lovely rice terraces and spectacular high mountain treks. Y Ty is not visited much by foreign visitors yet.

Y Ty Lao Cai
Y Ty, Lao Cai

- Muong Hum Sunday Market: it has a quiet beauty with amazing ethnic people. Muong Hum is not as beautiful and unique at those in Bac Ha or Can Cau though.

- Amazing mountain treks to conquer those among the highest in Vietnam: Lao Than, Ky Quan San (Bach Moc Luong Tu), Nhiu Co San… AdventureGreen operate all these adventure tours.

6/Muong Khuong
Muong Khuong is also on the Chinese border with amazing rice terraces. Muong Khuong are rarely visited by foreign travelers.

How to get to Lao Cai and how to travel around Lao Cai’s tourist attractions

1/From Hanoi to Lao Cai
Lao Cai City is the capital of the province located right on the Chinese border, 320km from Hanoi. A journey to Lao Cai from Hanoi can be done by car/jeep for 5 hours via the expressway. There are also overnight trains which travel back and forth between Hanoi and Lao Cai City, the train trip takes 9 hours.

2/From Yen Bai to Lao Cai
There are 2 roads running in parallel from Yen Bai City to Lao Cai City: Route 70 and the expressway. Route 70 is really bad and dangerous in Yen Bai, the part of the road in Lao Cai is in much better conditions.

From Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai) to Lao Cai can be done either via Route 279 to Pho Rang, then Route 70 to Lao Cai; alternatively you can take Route 32 to Tam Duong (Lai Chau) and Route 4D, O Quy Ho Pass, Sapa and Lao Cai. The latter route offers stunning scenery.

3/From Lai Chau to Lao Cai
Route 4D is in great conditions and the scenery along the road is beautiful. The most sublime landscape is found at O Quy Ho Pass between Lai Chau Province and Lao Cai Province.

O Quy Ho Pass between Lai Chau and Lao Cai
O Quy Ho Pass between Lai Chau and Lao Cai

4/From Ha Giang to Lao Cai
There are 2 routes from Ha Giang to Lao Cai: from Ha Giang to Bac Quang via Route 2, then Route 279 to Pho Rang where you take Route 70 to Lao Cai City. Route 279 is in horrible conditions, especially the part in Ha Giang. The scenery is quite nice though.

Rice fields near Pho Rang on Road 779 between Ha Giang and Lao Cai
Rice fields near Pho Rang on Road 779 between Ha Giang and Lao Cai

Alternatively you can travel to Tan Quang Town (Ha Giang), then turn into Route 177 traveling through Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man (Ha Giang), Si Ma Cai (Lao Cai), Bac Ha (Lao Cai), then turn into Route 70 to Lao Cai. This route offers fantastic natural landscape: stunning rice terraces at Hoang Su Phi, unbelievably beautiful mountainscape from Xin Man to Bac Ha, weekend markets at Hoang Su Phi, Bac Ha and Can Cau. The route is among the best in Vietnam for motorcycle adventures and mountain bike tours.

Bac Ha Lao Cai
Bac Ha, Lao Cai, Vietnam

5/From Sapa to Lao Cai City
The road is scenic yet crowded nowadays as Sapa is overly developed now. The road descends steeply from Sapa to Lao Cai City with high mountains and deep ravines along the way.

Scenic road between Sapa and Lao Cai
Scenic road between Sapa and Lao Cai

6/From Sapa to Bat Xat (Muong Hum, Y Ty)
This is the most beautiful route in Lao Cai except for that around Sapa and Si Ma Cai. During the rice season, you’ll travel your way amid breathtaking rice terraces in Vietnam. AdventureGreen arranges quite a number of adventure tours and photography tours in Bat Xat. This area is extremely beautiful with natural landscape (sublime and highest moutains in Vietnam, rice terraces, hill stations) and with a number of ethnic minorities. And this region is not visited much by most foreign travelers to Vietnam.

Den Sang - Bat Xat - Lao Cai
Den Sang - Bat Xat - Lao Cai - Vietnam

 

Bat Xat Lao Cai
Bat Xat - Lao Cai

7/From Lao Cai to Muong Khuong
This route is among the best in Lao Cai for the sublime mountains on the journey. There are several ethnic minorities whose villages can be visited just by the roadside.

Impressive mountains on a road at Bat Xat, Lao Cai
Impressive mountains on a road at Bat Xat, Lao Cai

AdventureGreen’s tours in Lao Cai 
AdventureGreen operates several challenging adventures in Lao Cai such as trekking holidays in Sapa, Bac Ha, Bat Xat; mountain-bike tours in Lao Cai and Sapa; motorcycle tours through the North-West of Vietnam including Sapa, Bac Ha and Si Ma Cai.

 The most inspirational of our adventure tours in Lao Cai are for climbing Mount Bach Moc Luong Tu, Climbing Mount Lao Than and Climbing Mount Nhiu Co San… All these mountain peaks are more or less than 3,000m above sea level and they are among the highest peaks in Vietnam. The landscape is simply stunning and AdventureGreen focus on the less-traveled destinations.

Awe-inspiring mountains on the trek to Mount Lao Than
Awe-inspiring mountains on the trek to Mount Lao Than

 

Mist on the trek to Bach Moc Luong Tu
Mist on the trek to Bach Moc Luong Tu

 You may have known that Fansipan in Sapa is the highest mountain peak in Vietnam. AdventureGreen arranges mountain-climbing tours to Fansipan, too. But it is getting more and more touristy and it is bureaucratic administration system that makes it less fun an experience that it once was. If you look for untouched nature, beautiful landscape and genuine people then come and join our team to explore Bat Xat with cloud-dusted mountains. Let's make your adventure to Lao Cai an authentic one!

Muong Hum Lao Cai
Muong Hum, Lao Cai