Lào Cai, is a province of northwestern in the mountainous region of Vietnam, bordering the province of Yunnan in the China. The province covers an area of 6383.9 square kilometers and as of 2008 it had a population of 602,300 people.
Lao Cai and Sa Pa are two important cities within the province at the border with China; the former is well known as key trading post and the latter is hill station famous for tourism, in northwestern Vietnam. Lao Cai is also the capital of Lào Cai Province and shares border with the city of Hekou, in the Yunnan province of Southwest China. This border town was closed after the 1979 war with China, since reopened in 1993, has become a major tourist center between Hanoi, Sapa and Kunming (China). Sapa is notable as a hill resort, a market town for timber and sex trade and known as the "queen of mountains"
Lào Cai has many historical sites, natural caves and produces agricultural specialties such as Bắc Hà plums.
In a 1929 survey conducted in the area, the vegetation (flora) and fauna (mammals) recorded by the French biologist Delacour who accompanied Theodore Roosevelt were unique to the region in North Vietnam