Lao Cai, a mountainous region in northern Vietnam, has been recognized as one of Southeast Asia's five must-see natural wonders by US business magazine Forbes.
The province, where is home to resort town Sa Pa and the famous Bac Ha market, has seen its tourism rapidly growing in recent years thanks to its ideal geographical location, taking on a variety of forms ranging from cultural, ecological, and spiritual tourism to sports tourism.
Sa Pa shrouded in mist. Photo: Kinhtedothi
The old settlement of Sa Pa is one of Lao Cai's most famous and beautiful sites, often shrouded in mist. The natural beauty and cold atmosphere of Sa Pa, together with the ingenuity of the people, have transformed this location into a natural picture.
Sa Pa town is located at an elevation of 1,600 meters above sea level, 38 kilometers from Lao Cai town and 376 kilometers from Hanoi. Although ethnic minorities make up the bulk of Sa Pa's population, the city boasts a big concentration of Kinh people who make a living by providing tourism services and farming.
Bac Ha Township is another popular tourist site in Lao Cai. The area is rich in natural beauty, with mountains, rivers, and magnificent caves. The people here are extremely nice and welcoming.
Bac Ha market crowded with people. Photo: Vietnamplus
The township is also a convergence of national cultural colors and particular delicacies of the Northwest region, providing a unique attraction that attracts travelers from all over the world.
The Bac Ha Market, which takes place every Sunday, is gaining popularity among both domestic and foreign visitors.
People flock to Bac Ha town to shop in the market, which sells a wide range of traditional goods. The market primarily serves as a venue for the trade and sale of ethnic minorities from local people.
At Bac Ha market, you may discover ethnic items as well as highland specialties like Thang Co (horse meat or beef and pork cooked with almost all the offal such as intestines, liver, and kidneys), maize wine, rice wine, or Tam That (a type of ginseng) flower tea.
Si Ma Cai District, often called the twin sister of Sa Pa, has become a popular place for those who enjoy adventure and photography. The Lu Than buckwheat field is delivering economic success and tourism promotion to Lao Cai in general, and specifically to the Bac Ha - Simacai region.
Lao Cai is also renowned for the Lao Cai International Border Gate, one of three major international border gates on Vietnam's northern border, along with the Dong Dang Border Gate (Lang Son) and the Mong Cai Border Gate (Quang Ninh). Tourists can apply for a passport to travel to Hekou (China) with simple procedures and low fees.