Lào Cai is one of the few mountainous provinces with well-developed transport networks consisting of roads, rail and waterways. An airport will be built at Lao Cai in the next five years. The provincial city is connected by road, rail and river transport links with Hanoi on its northwest (340 kilometers (210 mi)) and to Yunnan province in China. Within the province, road links exist to Sapa and Bac Ha. The Haiphong railway to Yunnan is of strategic importance. There are four national highways totaling to a length of 400 km, provincial roads of about 300 km length and 1000 km of village roads.
The Hanoi-Lao Cai railway is 296 kilometers (184 mi), of which 62 kilometers (39 mi) is in the province, and links to Chinese railways at the border. It can carry 1 billion tonnes of freight per year and thousands per day. Plans for a high-speed rail link between Hanoi and Lao Cai has been investigated by the Ministry of Transport and the Asian Development Bank. This is expected to create a high-speed rail corridor from Kunming – Lào Cai – Hanoi – Haiphong.
Red River flowing through the province provides water transport facilities though its transportation capacity is limited