Lao Cai - is the capital of the province of Lao Cai. Lao Cai is located on the Red River and the tributary Nanxi. The place is located 260 km northwest of Hanoi. Lao Cai is located on the border with China and separated from the Chinese city of Hekou by the Red River. You can be brought to the border with China by bus or taxi, although it is better to walk there.
From Hekou buses run from Kunming and other cities in Yunnan (China) There are several places along the river border in Lao Cai where you can look to China if you don't have a visa. It's all very relaxed and no one seems to mind taking pictures.
Lai Cau was known as a "one-horse town", a remote and insignificant town, but progress has also made an appearance here. There are ATMs and there is even a KFC. The economy is gradually growing in Lai Chau. The most commonly produced products are spirits, bricks, cement and electricity.
Lao Cai itself is not an interesting place to spend a vacation. Almost all travelers come here only to continue to China or to Sapa. Lao Cai is easily accessible by night train from Hanoi.
The Victoria Express (a luxury train) goes back to the romantic, golden age of travel in Indochina with its dark wood fixtures, cozy sleeping cabins and spacious lounge.
The train departs from the station at 22:00 six days a week Hanoi and arrives in Lao Cai at 6:10 AM, providing travelers with a good night's sleep before embarking on the adventure of North Vietnam.
A look at the city
Travel time by car from Lao Cai to Sapa is approximately 1 hour on the Expressway, but many prefer the train.
There are a few ATMs in Lao Cai. Techcom Bank has ATMs in the square near the train station and close to the border.
However, they only accept a few international cards. There is one ATM that accepts all international cards, but it is not close to the border nor to the train station. Motorcyclists usually know and will drive you there
Lao Cai has a public bus station and a train station. Together they form the center of the city. Although the train station can be found next to the main road, the bus station is about 300 meters southwest of Phan Dình Phung (shopping street). In addition, minivans abound (destinations are usually indicated on the windshield), driving around the city and can be apprehended. Prices are fixed, but the drivers usually try their luck and ask for more. Also look out for fake tickets with fake prices.
The best shopping center in the city is called Duc Huy Plaza. Here you will find many leading domestic and international items, including furniture, fashion, electronics, household items, etc. You will also find the most famous cosmetics of Korea: OHUI and Lacvert Essance.