Who would have thought that we’d be seeing China on our Indo-China trip? The tempting Yunnan Province which captured my interest after watching it on NatGeo is just a stone’s throw away. Nah, just going melodramatic. But seriously, it’s China on the other side of the river— Hekou City of Yunnan Province.
History has it that the Lao Cai – Hekou border is a trading hub since early times. Trade agreements were put in place in the 50’s to encourage and ensure smooth cross-border trading activities between the two countries as they both work their way up to recovery after the post-colonial war. The border was shut after the 1979 conflict between the two countries but re-opened in 1993. (notes from Vietnamese-Chinese Relationships at the Borderlands: Trade, Tourism and Cultural Politics by Yuk Wah Chan)
Except for sights of locals crossing the Ho Kieu Bridge which connects the two countries separated by the Red River, transporting their goods on bikes, there was not much to see here. We were just thrilled at the idea of seeing a snippet of China and how close we were. Having China in our bucket list, especially Yunnan for me, it was quite tempting to change travel plans. Huh! If only time and budget would allow. (“,)
So next time you get off the train or the sleeper bus in Lao Cai City, take a side trip to here before hopping on the bus or the train to your next destination. It is interesting especially if you are into history.