Si Ma Cai Lao CaiLao Cai, Vietnam
Si Ma Cai Lao Cai is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province in the northwest region of Vietnam. Si Ma Cai district covers an area of 241 square kilometres, offering a wide range of activities and tours. Options include jungle treks, hiking, trekking homestay tours, road cycling, mountain climbs, biking holidays, ethnic market visit… Si […]
Si Ma Cai Lao Cai is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province in the northwest region of Vietnam. Si Ma Cai district covers an area of 241 square kilometres, offering a wide range of activities and tours. Options include jungle treks, hiking, trekking homestay tours, road cycling, mountain climbs, biking holidays, ethnic market visit…
Si Ma Cai district contains 1 township and 12 communes including Si Ma Cai, Thao Chu Phin, Ban Me, San Chai, Lung Sui, Man Than, Can Ho, Sin Cheng, Lu Than, Quan Than San, Can Cau, Nan Sin, and Nan San.
Mountain adventurers like to compare Si Ma Cai in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai to a shy lass with discrete charms sleeping in the mountain as the beauty of the little-known village lies in the quiet and simple daily lives of different peoples.
Si Ma Cai is not as frequented as Bac Ha or Sa Pa, also located in the mountainous province, since it is nestled at the far end of a road near the border with China. Travelling there requires visitors to hold onto their hats and their seats either in a car or on a motorcycle for nearly 40 kilometres of bumpy, winding road from Bac Ha.
In recent years, the charms of Si Ma Cai have been awakened and have become attractive to travellers due to the flower-coloured clothes of the Mong and Red Dao ethnic peoples, by the greenery of mountains and hills, and by the legends.
Local people explain that Si Ma Cai means horse market or a place where horses are tied. However, Mong people like to talk about Si Ma Cai as a place for legendary horses whose steps resound on the hills and mountains of the region.
Of course, there are no legendary horses in Si Ma Cai now, but visitors can hear the steps of horses pleasantly mingling with the footsteps of ethnic peoples on a long trip from the hills and mountains to the village’s central market, particularly on Sunday.
The quiet Si Ma Cai bustles on Sunday as Mong, Dao and other ethnic peoples arrive from different directions for a hill-tribe market. There, they buy and sell meat, vegetables, fruit, clothes and other necessities of life as well as swap fun stories after a week of hard work.
The Si Ma Cai market remains distinct to its origins since locals sell what they harvest from the forest and business is just a matter for locals, no traders bring items from Hanoi or elsewhere.
Getting to Si Ma Cai
The best way to get to Si Ma Cai is to take the overnight train from Hanoi. There are several night trains each day from and to Hanoi. Most of the night trains depart from Hanoi train station at about 20.00 and arrive Lao Cai train station at about 5.00 am. There are 220 Volt / 50 Hz power outlets in the soft seat coaches. Upon your arrival at Lao Cai train station, Lao Cai city you can either rent a car or take Lao Cai local bus to get to Si Ma Cai townlet, Si Ma Cai district.
Rent a car from Hanoi is a great way to get to Si Ma Cai. It takes about 6 hours to reach Lao Cai city, and two more hours to get to Si Ma Cai town.
When to go
As the district is mostly mountainous, it experiences a dry cold climate from October to March, while the tropical monsoon is rainy season which lasts from April to September. The annual average temperature is 23 °C (73 °F). The temperature generally ranges between18 °C (64 °F) and 28 °C (82 °F) in the mountainous region, with the lowland areas showing a temperature variation of between 20 °C (68 °F) and 22 °C (72 °F).
What to do
Trekking is the best way to discover the mountainous district of Si Ma Cai. Hiking offers the chance to explore Si Ma Cai tropical forest, luxuriant mountains, remote hill tribe villages, terraced paddy fields. Whether it is a single day hike or multi day treks we have something to suit everybody. Maybe you just want to trek through remote hill tribe villages or maybe you really want to get away from the crowds we can customize an trekking itinerary for you.
We can combine most Vietnam treks in Si Ma Cai with other activities such as road cycling, mountain bike tours, mountain climbs, caving, educational, community travel. If you need further information or you can’t see what you are looking for please contact us we will be happy to help.
Cycling is another great way to discover Si Ma Cai Vietnam. The less-traveled district of Si Ma Cai has sealed, paved cycle routes, single dirt tracks, mountain trails offering fantastic bike rides for enthusiastic road cyclists and mountain bikers. We have a range of road cycling tours and mountain bike tours around Si Ma Cai Lao Cai and the north west region of Vietnam, providing options for both those who want some mountain challenges and those who prefer long flat rides.