Lào Cai ( listen) is a city in northeastern Vietnam. It is the capital of Lào Cai province. The city borders the city of Hekou Yao Autonomous County, in the Yunnan province of Southwest China. It lies at the junction of the Red River (Sông Hồng) and the Nanxi River (Yunnan) approximately 160 miles (260 km) northwest of Hanoi.
It is a market town for timber, and the Lao Cai Railway Station is located on the Hải Phòng railway to Yunnan Province in China.
The town was invaded by the Chinese in 1979 and the border was closed and not reopened until 1993. The town has a carbide factory. As of 2003 the district had a population of 86,855. The district covers an area of 223 km².
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Coordinates: 22°29′N 103°57′E / 22.483°N 103.950°E