Nestled in a valley, this small northern town is surrounded by spectacular mountains and the Da River.
While there has been a recent increase in tourism to the area, these precious dollars unfortunately reach only a few and it is a poor town. Lai Chau has been particularly successful in trading both timber and opium. It’s a good idea to head to Lai Chau from Dien Bien Phu. It’s then possible to travel the 180kms up to Sapa – arguably one of the most beautiful drives in Vietnam.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that Lai Chau is situated in Vietnam’s north – which is generally cooler – is lays claim to some of the country’s hottest weather. Remember it can soar as high as 40 degrees Celsius during the summer months.