LAI CHAU – Travel guide + Tips for tourists

Lai Chau – Vietnam (Travel guide). Around the town of Lai Chau in northern Vietnam.

Information about Lai Chau
How to get to Lai Chau
Weather in Lai Chau
 Accommodation in Lai Chau
Interesting sites in Lai Chau
Map of interesting places

The countryside and beautiful mountain areas are really fascinating.

    • Lai Chau province (Lai Châu) has long been the poorest and least industrialized area in northern Vietnam. Lai Chau city is 450 km from the Hanoi and 70 km from Sapa. However, even here times are changing, and industry and the economy is growing gradually. Industrial production has almost tripled between 2000-2007, and agriculture and forestry grew by 50%. Road infrastructure in Lai Chau is still lagging behind. But even that is slowly changing and plenty of roads are repaired or new ones built. The leading products are liquor, bricks, cement and electricity.

You will see a big statue of Ho Chi Minh in the center of Lai Chau town.

    • Lai Chau is a good stopover if you are driving from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu or Muong Lay. You can rent a motorcycle and make a trip around the surroundings, there is the beautiful scenery of hills, mountains and villages. The roads here are in good condition and there’s not so dense traffic as in other places. However, you may have a problem with renting a bike, try asking at the Karaoke on Tran Phu Street in Lai Chau town.
Statue and monument of Ho Chi Minh – Lai Chau town.

You need to rent a motorbike in Lai Chau town to explore the area.

    • Especially in Lung Then and Can Ho there is a wonderful road through the valley, between the hills and large rice fields. Another good idea is to visit Nam Long area, where there is a large concentration of ethnic minorities. A lot of people from Thai, Hmong, and Dao ethnic groups live here. There is also a big Sunday market in Dao San (50 km from the town of Lai Chau), where you can meet Hmong and Dao ethnic groups.

Accommodation in Lai Chau

Surrounding the town of Lai Chau.

Mang and La Hu – these two ethnic minorities only live in Lai Chau.

    • You can also make a motorcycle trip to the Tien Son cave, which is located about an hour’s drive from Lai Chau town. If you want a longer trip on a motorcycle, you can go up to 80 km to the Sin Ho town. You will be going between the magnificent hills and panoramas, well worthwhile seeing. There is a market in Sin Ho on sunday, a lot of women from ethnic minorities come to Sin Ho (Flowers, Blue, Black Hmong, Lu Dao) so you can buy a lot of interesting handicrafts and food.
Surrounding the town of Lai Chau and Hoang Lien national park

There are many beautiful caves in Lai Chau province worth a visit.

    • On the way from Lai Chau town to Sin Ho through the Nam Long district you can also visit a beautiful complex of 10 caves – Pu Sam Cap, it is 1,700 m above sea level. It is recommended to visit the first low-lying cave due to its easy accessibility. In the district of Sin Ho you can also see the old Deo Van Long historical palace. Deo Van Long was the French leader of the autonomous Tai Federation of northwestern Tonkin, French Indochina.
A short walk from the town of Sin Ho (photo: V.Obuškevič)

Hoang Lien National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Vietnam.

    • Hoang Lien National Park is a large wooded and mountainous area, situated between the towns of Sapa and Muong Lay. It is the perfect place for ecotourism and trekking, exploring ethnic villages and local residents. In some villages it is also possible to use homestay accommodation. In this park area there are mainly villages of the ethnic groups Hmong, Dao and Tay. Hoang Lien park is very rich in flora and fauna, there are several species of protected animals of Vietnam.


Lai Chau - Vietnam
Lai Chau – Vietnam

How to travel from Sapa to Lai Chau town:

    • Lai Chau town is located about 70 km from Sapa. From the town of Sapa you can use local buses to Lai Chau, these buses go through the Tram Ton Pass (a scenic ride). Ask for the bus information at the hotel or at the information center in Sapa town.
    • It is not a problem to come into Lai Chau on a motorbike from Sapa.
    • You can arrive on direct buses from the towns of Dien Bien, Son La, Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai) to Lai Chau town.
    • There is no train connection in Lai Chau province.
    • Read this article > How to get from Hanoi to Sapa. Train and bus tickets to Lao Cai (Sapa) you can book and buy online (e-ticket) on Baolau or .

How to travel from Hanoi to Lai Chau town:

    • From Hanoi to Lai Chau you can take a sleeper bus from the My Dinh or Giap Bat bus stations. For the exact time you have to ask at the bus station, because it can change.
    • Travel by bus can take about 7-12 hours, depends on the company and on the bus route, stops…
    • Some buses also stop in Mu Cang Chai or Sapa, this place can be a very good stopover on the way.
    • Now you can book your bus e-tickets to Lai Chau online.
    • from Hanoi to Lai Chau you can travel by night sleeper bus
    • travel by sleeper bus from Hanoi to Lai Chau takes about 8,5 hours
    • bus tickets from Hanoi to Lai Chau cost about $17-20/pp
    • Book and buy bus e-tickets from Hanoi to Lai Chau online on Baolau icon-external-link-square
Bus of The Anh company from Hanoi to Lai Chau (photo: Baolau)

Weather in Lai Chau, when to go:

    • The coldest period in Lai Chau is from December to February (dry season, almost the same weather like in Sapa) and depends where will you stay.
    • The hottest months are in June, July, August (monsoon season).
    • A very cold weather can be in the winter months, especially in the mountains areas, foggy or clouds.
      Current weather in Lai Chau

Accommodation in Lai Chau:

    • The offer of accommodation at the booking portal Agoda is very limited. Perhaps only a few hotels in Lai Chau town (not in the province).
    • Some other accommodation options are shown on the map below, you can book them online.
    • If you do not choose on Booking or Agoda, so you have to deal with selection on the site.

Some recommended hotels in Lai Chau:
Muong Thanh Hotel
Thuy Thien Hotel
Hoang Nham Luxury Hotel
Doan Ket 1 Hotel
Minh Son Hotel

Places of Interest in Lai Chau:

    • Can Ho and Nam Long district
    • monument of Ho Chi Minh
    • Pu Sam Cap cave
    • Dao San – Sunday ethnic market
    • trip on a motorcycle in to the town of Sin Ho
    • Deo Van Long historical palace
    • Tien Son cave and waterfall in Tam Duong district
    • Hoang Lien National Park
    • festivals in Lai Chau province
    • Tram Ton Pass (O Quy Ho) + Cầu kính Rồng Mây
    • riding a motorcycle around – beautiful sceneries
    • Pu Si Lung (the 2nd highest mountain in Vietnam, 3076 m, inaccessible mountain without a guide and permit )
    • Pu Tha Leng (the 3rd highest mountain in Vietnam, 3049 m, inaccessible mountain without a guide)

 Lai Chau – tourist map:

Frequently asked questions about Lai Chau:

1️⃣ How to book bus tickets from Hanoi to Lai Chau?

    • It is possible to book bus tickets from Hanoi to Lai Chau online on Baolau.

2️⃣ Is there a flight from Hanoi to Lai Chau?

    • No, there is no flight to Lai Chau because Lai Chau has no airport, it is not possible to travel by plane.

3️⃣ How to move in Lai Chau province?

    • The best way is to travel on your own, e.g. you can rent a motorbike. IDP is necessary if you want to rent a motorcycle in Vietnam. You can book your motorcycle in Hanoi online with Bikesbooking. It is good to know, roads in this mountain province are dangerous, you have to drive carefully and slowly.

4️⃣ What is the travel time from Hanoi to Lai Chau?

    • Travel by tourist bus from Hanoi to Lai Chau town takes about 9 hours.

5️⃣ How much does it cost to get by bus from Hanoi to Lai Chau?

    • Travel by tourist bus or minivan from Hanoi to Ha Giang costs about $17-20/pp.

6️⃣ How far is Lai Chau town from Hanoi?

    • Travel distance from Hanoi to Lai Chau town is about 400 km by tourist bus.

 Where to go from Lai Chau:

You can continue to Sapa, Dien Bien Phu, Bac Ha, Son La, Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai).

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