LAO CAI. GATEWAU TO THE FABULOUS MOUNTAINS
Located in the far north of Vietnam, this border town with China is just a stopover point in your discovery of the breathtaking Tonkin, including the famous Sapa mountain resort and the mountain town of Bac Ha. Lao Cai is known to be the terminus of the train that takes you from Hanoi to the fabulous mountains of northern Vietnam, home to many ethnic minorities.
History of Lao Cai
Once the province of Lao Cai was a dangerous territory where the Black Flags, hordes of bloodthirsty pirates, were rampant. It was the French who at the end of the 19th century pacified this mountainous region with the creation of the Indochina and Yunnan railways. This 860 kilometer long railway line, called the Trans-Indochina Railway, was used to link the port of Haiphong in Vietnam to the city of Kunming in Yunnan. Many Chinese and Vietnamese workers died on the job, suffering from inhumane working conditions. Inaugurated on April 1sof 1910, the line was then under Chinese control after the Second World War and is still active today. The history of Lao Cai is intimately linked to that of this railway line and to the development of Sapa, the high altitude climatic station that came into being at the end of the 19th century.
The city was partly destroyed in 1979 during the Sino-Vietnamese war. A "punitive" war inflicted on Vietnam by China. The communist big brother wanted to curb the growing influence of the Soviet Union in this region of Asia after Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia.
"Lao Cai terminus, everybody off! »
Lao Cai is the terminus of the railway line that leaves the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. Several trains, day and night, operate this connection. Travelers like to use this railway line with the night train and in sleeper cabins to get to and from Sapa and Bac Ha. The journey takes about 8 hours, saving you valuable time and providing a picturesque travel experience. From the Lao Cai railway station, you have only one hour's transfer by vehicle via a beautiful mountain road to the Sapa mountain resort. It takes about two hours to reach the mountain village of Bac Ha where an extraordinary ethnic market is held every Saturday and Sunday.
Since a few years and the implementation of a highway, it is now possible to reach Hanoi from Lao Cai by comfortable bus or by car in about 5 hours.
Lao Cai, border crossing with China
Located about 300 kilometres from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, the city of Lao Cai, capital of the eponymous province, is one of the main land border crossings with China, facing the Hekou border in Yunnan. The Red River serves as the natural border between China and Vietnam at this location. If your trip to Vietnam continues to China, you can use this border crossing and take the train or bus to Kunming for example, the capital of Yunnan.