Lao Cai has welcomed international holidaymakers from 70 countries worldwide, becoming one of the five tourist hubs in the north of Vietnam besides Hanoi capital, Quang Ninh and Ninh Binh provinces and Hai Phong port city.
The local tourism sector served 1,470,000 visitors in 2014, a yearly rise of 16.6 percent, including 545,239 international tourists, and grossing over 3.2 trillion VND (152 million USD) in revenue, up 28.5 percent year-on-year.
In the four-day New Year holiday of 2015, the province greeted nearly 70,000 visitors, including 41,120 descending in the resort town of Sa Pa.
Remarkable growth in the number of visitors and tourism revenue in 2014 and the outset of 2015 made Lao Cai lead other northern mountainous provinces in the field, said Tran Huu Son, Director of the Lao Cai provincial Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism.
This year, local authorities will continue to hold a range of activities to promote their tourism image, potential and strengths, such as a mountain market in Hanoi, Thuong (upper) temple festival and spiritual tourism events in Lao Cai city, a culture-tourism week in Sa Pa town, a horse riding tournament in Bac Ha district, and an international marathon tournament.
Located about 300 kilometres from the capital city, Lao Cai is said to be one of the most interesting and beautiful areas in Southeast Asia, which is blessed with an abundance of scenic spots and a treasure chest of biodiversity.
Bac Ha district is inhabited by 14 ethnic minority groups, predominantly H’Mong, Dao, Tay and Nung. The Bac Ha mountain market is selected as one of the most 10 attractive markets in Southeast Asia . It is not only a trading place, but also a venue for cultural exchanges among local people.
Around 38km from Lao Cai city, the whole town of Sa Pa is dominated by the Hoang Lien Son mountain range which is famous for housing Fansipan, Indochina’s highest mountain, at a height of 3,142m above sea level.
The town was discovered in 1903 and is endowed with myriad natural sites, such as Ham Rong Mountain , Silver Waterfall and Bamboo Forest . It is home to six main ethnic minority groups with various traditional festivals, unique cultural practices and regular events such as Bac Ha market and Sa Pa love market.
In 2009, the famous US Travel and Leisure magazine voted the Sa Pa terraces as one of the seven most beautiful and spectacular terraces in Asia and the world. In 2013, on the 110th founding anniversary of the town, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism decided to rank Sa Pa terraced fields as a National Landscape site.-VNA