Si Ma Cai
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Duyen's keen on travelling and exploring new places. By travelling, she get better at comfortable. It opens up the knowledge door for her as well.

Si Ma Cai

Coming to Lao Cai, tourists cannot help but mention Si Ma Cai – a small land but full of life. With its wild beauty and colorful culture, Si Ma Cai always makes tourists remember it forever.

Si Ma Cai, perhaps a name too unfamiliar to tourists. However, it is also an extremely attractive point for those who are passionate about conquering and like to explore new lands. Let’s explore the places in this interesting land with the Origin Vietnam team.

IMG Si Ma Cai Lao Cai

1. Where is Si Ma Cai?

Si Ma Cai – a district located in the northeast of Lao Cai, where the upper reaches of the Chay River flows into Vietnam. About 100 km northeast of Lao Cai city and about 340 km northwest of Hanoi capital. It’s not too far away because there is the Hanoi-Lao Cai expressway and the concrete road to the district center. The roads are also concreted so the journey time is shortened.

  • The North borders Muong Khuong district – Lao Cai province and Ma Quan district – Yunnan province – China.
  • The South borders Bac Ha district – Lao Cai province.
  • The West borders Muong Khuong district – Lao Cai province.
  • The East borders Sin Man district – Ha Giang province.

2. How is Si Ma Cai unique?

Si Ma Cai – Lao Cai is known as one of the most ancient lands in Vietnam with many beautiful landscapes and a cool, fresh climate. This land is surrounded by many majestic limestone and cat-ear mountains.

In H’Mong language, “Si Ma Cai” means “New Horse Market” or “Market with a strange horse”. The places of Si Ma Cai that have just been heard about make you feel wild, mysterious and equally poetic such as Ban Me, Can Cau, Can Ho, Lu Than, Lung Sui, Man Than, Nan San, Nan Xin , Quan Than San, San Chai, Sin Cheng, Thao Chu Phin…

In particular, the people in Si Mai Cai are very hospitable. When traveling here, tourists will be immersed in the atmosphere of the highland “markets”, which are simple and rustic but very warm and full of human love. Coming here, breathing the fresh air, you will feel the clarity and spontaneity of both people and nature here.

IMG Si Ma Cai Lao Cai 1

3. When is the best time to travel Si Ma Cai?

Located in a region with a tropical monsoon climate. Due to the influence of terrain, climate developments are quite complex, forming distinct sub-climate regions: Subtropical climate zone and atypical tropical climate zone. Mountainous areas above 800mm high, air humidity is low and dry.

The hot season from May to October comes with lots of rain, high rainfall intensity, and high energy radiation. The cold season lasts from November to April of the following year, the average air humidity is 85% with little fog.

Therefore, tourists often visit Si Ma Cai valley most often in the fall from September to April of the following year. This is the ideal time with dry weather, clear blue climate and the valley is dyed pink by buckwheat flower hills and golden terraced fields.

4. How to get to Si Ma Cai?

From Hanoi, to reach Si Ma Cai valley most conveniently, visitors travel by car or personal motorbike to Lao Cai city first. Then from Lao Cai continue to Bac Ha along road 4D, turn through Bac Ha at Bac Ngam intersection. This stretch of road is only about 60 km with a pretty flat road. From Bac Ha through Coc Pai town, Xin Man district, continue through Lung Phinh commune to reach Si Ma Cai valley.

Currently, there is a Hanoi – Lao Cai expressway, so traveling to Si Ma Cai is extremely quick and convenient. There are many buses to Lao Cai departing from stations in Hanoi such as: My Dinh bus station, Giap Bat bus station, Gia Lam bus station.

5. Sightseeing & things to do in Si Ma Cai

5.1. Buckwheat flower field in Lu Than commune

IMG Tinh Mountain Si Ma Cai

Starting from the Bac Ha plateau, in less than 10 minutes of driving, visitors can reach the endless flower fields of Lu Than commune, Si Ma Cai, Lao Cai. This place is famous for its purple-pink buckwheat flower fields stretching across the slopes and hills. The green of the leaves blends with the cool green of the mountains and forests, complemented by the gentle purple of buckwheat flowers, all creating a colorful picture, creating an extremely peaceful scene. Relaxation for tourists.

5.2. San Chai gray stone forest

Si Ma Cai is also famous for its endless gray stone forests. There are countless rocks lying in the soil and hidden under streams, but the gray rock forests in San Chai commune attract tourists because of their overlapping layers of rocks submerged in clouds and in the mist and wind of the Northwest.

Just like that, over thousands of years, hundreds and thousands of gray stone forests still float and appear hidden under the clouds. In the middle of the majestic space of the mountains and forests, the gray stone bodies are strong and sharp, so they are very “stagnant”, “standing” for thousands of years with the wind and rain of heaven and earth.

Perhaps highland people were born and raised in rocky areas so they are as strong and resilient as them, surviving with rocks, building houses with rocks, even living with rocks and growing rice and corn next to rocks. ,…creates a very rustic and lively picture of the countryside.

5.3. Sa Moc forest as far as Thao Chu Phin

Stopping at Thao Chu Phin and Nan Sin communes in Si Ma Cai district, visitors will explore the vast sandalwood forests. This place is full of green forests with an extremely diverse and rich natural ecosystem, somewhere there are lyrical flute sounds and chirping birds.

The sound of rustling leaves, birds singing, the sound of clear flowing streams,…all seem to create a melodious symphony that makes visiting tourists unable to help but miss this land.

5.4. Terraced fields in Sin Cheng commune

The terraced fields of Si Ma Cai land are also the highlight that creates the poetic, heart-touching beauty of this land. Coming to Sin Cheng commune, visitors will admire the winding terraced fields from high to low. This is a harmonious combination between beautiful nature and the skillful hands of farmers that have created a wonderful scene for the rice fields in Si Ma Cai.

5.5. Viewing pear flowers in Quan Ho Than commune

Pear flowers in Quan Ho Than commune bloom seasonally, usually from mid-March to late March every year. 2022 is the first year Si Ma Cai District organizes the Le flower festival in Quan Ho Than commune. Pear flowers are in full bloom, showing off their beauty in the spring sunshine, spreading golden yellow all over the villages, hillsides and in home gardens… so beautiful that it makes people’s hearts flutter.

It would seem that the white color will make Si Mai Cai’s spring more gloomy, monotonous and boring, but this white color is compared by tourists to floating white clouds, with a gentle, pure fragrance. Pure decoration makes spring in Si Ma Cai more brilliant and complete.

5.6. Can Cau Market

IMG Can Cau Market 4

Not as busy as Sa Pa, nor as crowded as Bac Ha market, Can Cau market is rustic, pristine, imbued with unique features in the customs and habits of ethnic minorities here. People hold a market every Saturday and on holidays, selling many specialties. In addition to admiring the diverse cultural space, coming to Can Cau market you will enjoy many of Si Ma Cai’s specialty dishes.

5.7. Sin Cheng Market

Sin Cheng market is a market that still retains most of the cultural values that characterize the identities of many ethnic groups in the region.

Located in the center of Sin Cheng commune, about 10 km from Si Ma Cai district, meeting every Wednesday. Because it is located in a commune quite far from the district center. Sin Cheng market is less susceptible to factors of industrial culture that obscure the characteristics of highland markets. The market is a gathering place for many ethnic groups: H’Mong, Nung, Tay, Thu Lao… to interact, exchange and trade.

IMG Si Ma Cai Market Lao Cai

6. Specialties when traveling to Si Ma Cai

Coming to the land of Si Ma Cai, visitors will not only be immersed in nature, the deep green forests of the mountains. Also have the opportunity to enjoy the cool, fresh atmosphere. Especially be immersed in the pink color of the mountains, buckwheat flowers, and participate in colorful. Beside the noisy weekend markets, visitors can also enjoy delicious dishes with famous specialties of this borderland.

6.1. Man Than wine

From Bac Ha white plateau, running back 30 km, tourists have an ideal stopover in Si Ma Cai valley. Si Ma Cai attracts tourists because of its natural beauty as well as its people and typical specialties. If Bac Ha is famous for Ban Pho wine, then Si Ma Cai has Man Than and Sin Cheng wines that captivate diners.

In particular, when distilled, there are also corn silks, so Man Than wine does not cause harm to the nervous system, drinking it does not cause headaches. Picking up a bowl and wanting another, the whole family, brothers, and friends gathered around the tray of rice and a cup of spicy Man Than wine, so cozy.

6.2. Grilled black chicken with wild honey

Besides, coming to Si Ma Cai, visitors should not miss dishes made from black chicken, called “kê chicken” in the villagers’ way. This type of chicken is very special, it not only has jet black feathers but also all skin, meat and bones are black. The interesting and special thing about Si Ma Cai chicken is that the chicken is raised naturally on the hillsides so the meat is very firm.

Black chicken can be processed into many delicious dishes such as stir-fried, steamed, boiled, grilled, stewed… but the best dishes, most attractive to tourists, are grilled black chicken with honey and black chicken soup.

6.3. Black chicken soup

The next dish, also made from black chicken ingredients, is nutritious black chicken soup. In the past, the Si Ma Cai people only cooked black chicken soup for sick people or for entertaining guests. Today, black chicken soup has become a specialty and delicious dish of Si Ma Cai people.

To cook a bowl of fragrant, delicious, and nutritious black chicken soup, the cook must choose the chicken carefully, not too big or too small. The chicken is cleaned, cut into small pieces, marinated with ginger, lemongrass, cardamom, dried chili, salted lime leaves and a few drops of corn wine. Spices for cooking black chicken soup are extremely important, because without one of these spices, the special taste of the dish will not be possible.

6.4. Smoked black pork

In addition, smoked black pork is also one of the indispensable specialties during Tet for the people of the Si Ma Cai highland.

To prepare smoked black pork, people choose pork belly, not too lean and not too fatty. Then wash the meat, cut it into long pieces, then marinate and marinate it with spices. Spices are usually garlic, chili, salt and a little wine to make the meat more fragrant, firmer and last longer. After marinating, the meat is placed on the stove.

6.5. Banh Duc

On hot days, when travelling to Si Ma Cai to relax, visitors can enjoy extremely rustic dishes. That is Banh Duc – a special dish at the market of the Si Ma Cai people.

The ingredients for making the cake are tapioca flour or cornstarch. If you make a cake from tapioca flour, the cake will be white; if you make a cake from corn flour, the cake will be yellow. Banh Duc is served with pickle juice, chili sauce, soy beans, and coriander. On hot summer days, enjoying a bowl of Banh Duc made by highland people is great. Banh Duc has a very good cooling and refreshing effect.

IMG Si Ma Cai Lao Cai 2

7. Accommodation when traveling to Si Ma Cai

When traveling to Si Ma Cai, you can refer to some accommodation facilities below.

  • A27 Si Ma Cai Hotel. Address: Pho Cu Village, Si Ma Cai Commune, Si Ma Cai, Lao Cai.
  • Hong Nhung Hotel. Address: Pho Cu Village, Si Ma Cai Commune, Si Ma Cai, Lao Cai.
  • Guest house of Si Ma Cai District People’s Committee. Address: Pho Cu Village, Si Ma Cai Commune, Si Ma Cai, Lao Cai.

8. Special notes when traveling to Si Ma Cai

  • Si Ma Cai gradually becomes a beautiful and interesting tourist destination, attracting a large number of tourists from all over the country. When traveling here, you should choose lightweight clothing, wear sneakers and bring a thin jacket because it will be chilly at night.
  • It’s best to go in a group to ensure safety and have more fun, especially traveling by personal vehicle such as a car or motorbike. If you have time, stay here for 2-3 days. If you are too busy, 1-2 days is enough to explore this beautiful, peaceful land.
  • Although not a locality with strong tourism development like Sapa, Si Ma Cai still has many delicious dishes to buy as gifts. You can buy corn wine, brocade items, dried buffalo meat from the kitchen,… as gifts for relatives and friends after a Sapa trip to this land.

Traveling to Si Ma Cai is certainly an interesting and memorable journey that you should experience once to see that Vietnam’s nature is truly magnificent and beautiful. There are lands that few people know about, have not yet promoted tourism, but are truly impressive in both scenery and people.

If you are planning your tour Sapa to Si Ma Cai – Lao Cai, please immediately contact Origin Vietnam – a reputable tour organizer and local operator. With a team of professional, dedicated tour consultants and guides with extensive knowledge of this land, we will take you on a journey to discover Si Ma Cai – Lao Cai with unforgettable impressions.

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