Lao Cai, key tourism destination of northwestern region

Nga Do
The northwestern mountainous province of Lao Cai has invested in tourism in an effort to make it a key economic sector. Lao Cai boasts favourable conditions for tourism development. It is home to 25 ethnic minority groups with unique cultural characteristics, ancient temples and pagodas for spiritual tourism development as well as unique food.

Located 38km from Lao Cai City, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai. The district is very well-known with Sapa Town, a beautiful and romantic resort area. Sapa is home to many natural sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave.

It is also the starting point for many climbers and scientists who want to reach the top of the 3,143m Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak not only in Vietnam but also in the Indochina peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures often drop below zero, especially at high elevations.

However, Lao Cai’s tourism potential hasn’t been fully tapped. Some unique cultural values have been eroded. From 2011 – 2015, the number of tourists to Lao Cai increased by 22 percent annually. Tourism has become an important economic sector, contributing 11.5 percent to the province’s GRDP during the period.

In 2016, the locality received 2.7 million visitors, up 33 percent from 2015, including nearly one million foreigners. The sector generated 278.2 million USD and created jobs for 10,000 labourers.

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