Lao Cai (in Vietnamese, LCai, in Chinese , literally means ‘Old Streets’) is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the north of the country. It borders the provinces of Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Son La, and Lai Chau, as well as the province of Yunnan in the People’s Republic of China.
Lao Cai province is centered on the city of Lao Cai itself. It is divided into eight districts: Muong Khuong, Bat Xat, Bac Ha, Bao Thang, Sa Pa, Bao Yen, Van Ban, and Si Ma Cai.
Lao Cai is a mountainous region. In the northwest of the province is Phan Xi Pang, Vietnam’s highest mountain. The province is bisected by the Red River, the most significant river of northern Vietnam, which flows out of China towards the capital Hanoi. Much of the province is heavily forested. The temperature generally ranges between 18 and 28, although lowland areas tend to have less variation than mountainous areas.
Like many provinces in the northern highlands, Lao Cai is less wealthy than many other provinces of Vietnam. The GDP per capita is generally given as being around US$185. Traditional economic activities such as agriculture and forestry remain important, but the province has also been attempting to develop foreign investment in the area. Cross-border trade with China is also a growing source of income.
The population of Lao Cai province includes a number of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups, with the Hmong, Tay, and Dao being the most noticeable.