Welcome to Lao Cai


For travellers, Lao Cai is the jumping-off point when journeying between Hanoi and Sapa by train, and a stop-off when heading further north to Kunming in China. With Sapa just a 30-minute hop away, it's no place to linger, but it offers everything China-bound travellers will need for an overnight stay.


Top experiences in Lao Cai

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Travel guides

Starting at $36.39

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Lao Cai activities

$98 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Overnight Sapa Tour from Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi - Sapa by bus with a short trek to Cat Cat village (L/D)6.30 – 7.00: Local pick up from your hotel to our coach service to Sapa.9.30: Follow the highway to Lao Cai city with the first comfort break11.00: Second comfort break at Lao Cai city before approaching Sapa13.00: Arrive Sapa Town with colorful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, Tay ethnic People.Welcome drink and itinerary briefingEnjoy the lunch with local Vietnamese dishes, check-in procedures14.30: A short drive to the gate of Cat Cat village which is home of Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. Our local guide will show you the daily life activities of the locals, trek down to the valley bottom to the waterfall where the French built a Hydraulic Power Station; stop for photo with bridge and waterfall then you will walk uphill for bus to pick up to get back to Sapa in the afternoon.Trekking distance is about 2.5 kms and it lasts for 2 hours17.00: Return to Sapa. Have dinner and overnight in hotel with night activities, free and easy on your own.Meals included: Lunch, DinnerDay 2: Sapa - Hanoi by bus with a long trek Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van (B/L)7.00 – 7.45: Have breakfast at hotel and prepare light pack for trekking9.00: A short drive to Y Linh Ho then trek through the rice terraces and along Muong Hoa Stream to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai to see the spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain after that heading to Ta Van village - home of Dzay ethnic people.Trekking distance is about 12 kms and lasts for 5 hours14.30: Bus picks you up at Ta Van Bridge to Sapa.15.00 : Have a shower at hotel.15.30: Get on bus to go back to Hanoi with two comfort breaks.21.15: We say goodbye to you at your hotel/stay. Trip ends.

$106 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Trip to Sapa from Hanoi by Daytime Deluxe Bus

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa - Cat Cat village (Lunch/Dinner)6:45 - 07:00: Get picked up from your accommodation and board a coach ride to Sapa. While en-route you can admire the countryside and mountains in the distance.9:30: You will continue to Lao Cai where you will take a short break. You can have quick breakfast or coffee at the stopover.11:00: Take one more break at Lao Cai city before approaching Sapa. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rice terraces along the ways from Lao Cai to Sapa city.13:00: Arrive in Sapa Town and admire the colorful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, Tay ethnic People.Check in your hotel where you will stay to have a local Vietnamese lunch.14:30: Take a short drive to the gate of Cat Cat village, which is home to the Black H’mong ethnic group and is also located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. You will walk uphill for bus to pick you up and head back to Sapa in the afternoon. Trekking distance is about 2.5 kms and lasts for 2 hours17:00: Arrive back to Sapa Town. Have dinner and overnight in hotel.Day 2: Sapa - trek to Lao Chai and Ta Van – Sapa – Hanoi (Breakfast/Lunch)07:00: Have breakfast at the hotel, check out of the room and prepare a light bag for trekking. (Keep big luggage in the hotel)09:00: Start trekking down to the Lao Chai village of the Black H’mong ethnic group, about 8 km from Sapa town. Here, you will discover their daily life including how they make traditional clothes, handicraft, and more. You will also visit the biggest valley which provides the best view for golden rice terrace fields in Vietnam. After Lao Chai, it's time to walk to the Ta Van village of the Dzay people, a small group of ethnic people in Vietnam with a rich culture and beautiful houses located on rice paddy fields.12:00: Lunch with the locals in one of the local houses. The bus will pick you up from Ta Van village and return to Sapa Town.In the afternoon. you'll have free time at your leisure for shopping or visiting Sapa on your own.15:00: It‘s time to say “Good bye Sapa.” Your driver pick up you at your hotel and drive back to Hanoi. Along the way, you will once again have a chance to enjoy the magical beauty of northwest mountains.21:30pm: Arrive in Hanoi and transport you back to your hotel.

$97 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Trekking Tour to Sapa from Hanoi by Deluxe Bus

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa - Cat Cat village (Lunch, Dinner)6:30 - 7:00am: Pick up from your accommodation, coach ride to Sapa. En-route you can admire the countryside and mountains in the distance.9:30am: You will continue to Lao Cai with a short break 11:00am: Second comfort break at Lao Cai city before approaching Sapa. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rice terraces along the ways from Lao Cai to Sapa city.1:00pm: Arrive at Sapa Town where you'll view the colorful traditional costumes of the H’mong, Dzao, and Tay ethnic people.Tour guide would pick up you to the hotel where you would stay to have lunch.Enjoy the lunch with local Vietnamese dishes2:30pm: A short drive to the gate of Cat Cat village which is home to the Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. You will walk uphill for bus to pick up to get back to Sapa in the afternoon. Trekking distance is about 4 kms and it lasts for 2 hours5:00pm: Come back to Sapa Town. Have dinner and overnight in hotel.Day 2: Sapa - Easy Trek to Lao Chai and Ta Van – Sapa – Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch)7:00 – 8:00am: Have breakfast at hotel, check out the room and prepare light pack for trekking. (Big luggage keep in hotel store)9:00am: Start trekking down to Lao Chai village of the Black H’mong ethnic people about 8 km from Sapa town. Here you will discover their daily life and how they make traditional clothes, handicraft, etc.Next is a visit to the biggest valley which provides the best view for golden rice terrace fields in Vietnam. After Lao Chai, you will walk to Ta Van village of Dzay people. It is a small group of ethnic people in Vietnam with a rich culture and beautiful houses located on rice paddy fields.12:00pm: Lunch with the locals in one of the local houses. The bus will pick you up from Ta Van village to Sapa Town.Afternoon: Free time at leisure for shopping or visiting Sapa on your own.2:30pm: It‘s time to say “Good bye Sapa” and drive back to Hanoi. Along the way, once again you have a chance to enjoy the magical beauty of northwest mountains.9:00pm: Arrive in Hanoi, back to your hotel in Hanoi.

$185 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Day Tour to Sapa from Hanoi by Daytime Bus

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa [L/D]You will be picked up from your hotel between 6:30-7:00 am and begin your trip to Sapa. At 9:30am have a first break on your way to Lao Cai city; there will be another break upon arrival at Lao Cai at 11:00am. Once arrived to Sapa at 13:00pm, you will meet local ethnic people of H’mong, Dzao, Tay tribes in their colorful traditional costumes. Enjoy local Vietnamese lunch and check-in to your hotel after.After lunch continue tour by driving at 14:30 to Cat Cat village, a home to Black H’mong ethnic people, which is located at the foot of Fansipan Peak. Your local guide will introduce you to daily life activities of the locals, trek down to the valley. The 2-hour trekking distance is about 2.5 km (1.5 miles). In the afternoon you will be transferred back to Sapa for dinner at 6pm and overnight Hotel stay.Day 2: Sapa - Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van village [B/L/D]Have breakfast at hotel and prepare a light pack for a long 5-km (3-mile) trek. You will be leaving between 7-7:45 am. Take a short ride to Y Linh Ho, then trek through the rice terraces, along Muong Hoa Stream to Black Hmong village of Lao Chai to see spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain. Then trek to Ta Van village – home of Dzay ethnic people.Total trekking distance is about 9 km (5.6 miles) and it lasts 4 hours. At 11:30am a bus will pick you up at Ta Van Bridge back to Sapa. After lunch at 12:00 enjoy free time in the afternoon do discover Sapa town by yourself. In the evening return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.Day 3: Sapa – Ham Rong Mountain – Bus to Ha Noi [B/L]After breakfast the tour guide will pick you up at 8:30am to trek Ham Rong (Dragon’s Jaw) Mountain. There are several well-tended flower gardens along the way. Walking up through two Heaven Gates you will get to the top of Ham Rong Mountain to observe a spectacular view. This 2-hour trekking route is approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) long.At 11:00am you will be back to your hotel to check out and have lunch. At 15:00 you will meet with group members and by 15:30 you will leave back to Hanoi. On your way back you will have two break stops and will arrive back to your hotel in Hanoi at 21:15.

$290 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Exploring Charming Sapa Town - Bac Ha Market - Local activities in 2 Days 3 nights

Day 01: (SAT) Hanoi – Lao Cai (Train)We will catch the overnight train soft sleeper with AC to Lao Cai. The train leaves at 20:25' from Hanoi railway stationDay 02: (SUN) Lao Cai - Bac Ha Sunday market - Sapa (B, L)After meeting a guide at the Lao Cai railway station we have breakfast there and go to the Bac Ha market for two hours by a local van. This is the largest market in the region, a place where many ethnic groups gather to buy and sell, eat and drink together. There are 10 minority groups in the Bac Ha region. We can buy homemade handicrafts and clothes. In the afternoon we will have a 2 hour trek to Ban Pho village (Flower H’Mong people) where we can have look in their houses and understand little more about their lifestyle and traditional customs. Especially, we can try homemade wine from corn. And then we drive back to Sapa for 3 hours. Day 03: (MON) Sapa - Lao Chai - Ta Van - Sapa – Lao Cai (B, L)After having breakfast in a hotel we embark on a lovely trek that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages Lao Chai & Ta Van, home to Black H'mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by someof the friendliest people you can meet. Once on the valley floor you can really appreciate the wonderful scenery that surrounds you. The walls of the valley are covered with multi-layered rice terraced fields and scattered villages. Return to Sapa and then to Lao Cai railway station to get night train to Hanoi. The guide sees you off at Lao Cai train station and takes you on the train. Day 04: HanoiArrival Hanoi in the early morning,  Back to your hotel by yourself. End of all the services.Services Inluded: - Private transfers with English Speaking guide - Accommodation with breakfast at mentioned Hotels - Meals (Food only / NO drinks) as mentioned in program - All Entrance fees for the whole trip as mentioned in programme - Service charges, room tax and baggage handling - Daily 2 mineral water bottles per day per pax - Highly responsive 24/7 support during the tour. - High quality personally handpicked local guides at all places that are government approved. - In tour flights if any - Special assistances in ease city for smooth check-ins. Services Excluded: - International flights & departure taxes - Visa On Arrival guaranteed letter - Personal expenses, tips and gratuities - Travel insurance - Beverage - Other services not mentioned above

$245 Cultural & Theme Tours

Hanoi- Sapa 2 Days 3 nights by Train

Day 1: Lao Cai – Cat Cat Village - Sapa (B/L/D)8:00 -8:30 Pm: Our Guide will pick you up at your hotel located in Hanoi and move to Hanoi railway station for sleeping train to Lao Cai  05:30-06:00 Am: Arrive at Lao Cai railway station early in the morning then transfer to Sapa town in an hour), home to numerous colorful hill tribes (Black H'mong, Flower H'mong, Red Dao) and to Vietnam’s highest peak: Mount Fansipang. After breakfast, relax at the hotel till 09:00 – 9:30. Our guide pick up you to the villages of the H’mong called Cat Cat. Cat Cat Village possesses many imposing waterfalls and also is home to the water hydropower construction built under French rule. Return to Sapa and have lunch in restaurant. Discover the charming Sapa Town, Sapa market and Ham Rong at your own program in the afternoon. Dinner in warmly atmosphere of your hotel. Stay overnight in three-star hotel. Day 2: Sapa – Lao Chai Village - Ta Van Village - Night train to Hanoi (B/L/D) 09:00-09:30  We embark on a lovely walking tour to the hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van, home of the H'Mong and Dzay hill tribe minority people. As we walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa we will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. Here we have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with families that live in the area. Have lunch en route or at a local family. 14:00  Travel back to Sapa Town. Free at your own program untill 16:00  16:30-17:00 Transfer to Lao Cai train station. Have dinner in Hai Nhi restaurant near the train station before getting on the night train back to Ha Noi. End of services!