Y Ty rice terraces in Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province. (Source: panoramio.com)

Lao Cai (VNA) – Many new tourist destinations in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai have become magnets for local and foreign tourists thanks to their picturesque landscapes and unique cultural features.

Bat Xat district, 12km northwest of Lao Cai city, is home to Lung Po, where the Red River enters Vietnam’s territory, a famous cuisine festival and the Y Ty cloud sea.

Tourists to Bat Xat can discover the culture of local ethnic minorities like Mong, Dao and Giay, or contemplate Ha Nhi ethnic people’s made-of-earth houses that look like giant mushrooms standing on the hillsides. They can also stroll in the ancient jungle Nhiu Co San to see many valuable trees.

The most adventurous and challenging task in Bat Xat is to conquer the Bach Moc Luong Tu mountain top, which stands at 3,046m, just 97m lower than the Fansipan summit, the roof of Indochina.

At the top of Bach Moc Luong Tu after a grueling hiking, visitors can see three highest mountaintops in Vietnam: Fansipan (3,143m), Pu Ta Leng (3,049m) and Pu Si Lung (3,076m) surrounded by masses of white clouds.

Si Ma Cai is another new destination known for its homestay tourism. It has spectacular landscapes with vertical cliffs and untouched caves and forests full of rare orchids along the river banks.

The district is also famous for its regular market, where tourists can buy various souvenirs and enjoy native dishes and wines. Especially, a buffalo market opens in the morning of every Saturday, which is considered the most famous buffalo transaction floor in the northwestern region.

Bac Ha district, with many picturesque and spectacular landscapes as well as unique traditional cultural features of 14 ethnic minorities, is a rising tourism spot as well.

Bac Ha is called the White Plateau from the fact that it is covered in every spring by the white flower of the plum, a native tree. It also boasts the Viet Tu or Thai Giang Pho flower valley, a hit for tourists during the weekend.

According to Lao Cai’s tourism sector, in the first six months of this year, Bac Ha welcomed 131,000 visitors, including 53,000 foreigners.-VNA