Sapa is the one place in the northwest where tourism is booming. The town is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days. It overlooks a plunging valley of cascading rice terraces, with mountains towering above on all sides. Lao Cai is right on the Vietnam - China border. Today Lao Cai is also a destination for travelers journeying between Hanoi and Sapa or further north to Kunming in China.