We imagine the only reason to wind up in Pho Rang (pronounced foe zahng) is that you've taken the road from Hanoi up to Lao Cai and finally given up, 76km short of your goal. If night is approaching, definitely swallow your pride and do the rest in the morning.
It's two hours to Lao Cai and another hour and 38km more up the winding mountain road to Sapa. None of it should be done in the dark, as the mist makes the mountain road even more treacherous.
Take the road to Sapa in clear weather and bright daylight, and you're in for a real treat.
For some good morning coffee and breakfast noodles, there's a popular trucker stop on the edge of town, heading towards Lao Cai. It has a pleasant seating area under a stilt house, and, in the evenings, drunken truckers for your dinner entertainment.
Across the street from the internet is a place that sells draft Anchor Beer for 4,000 VND per mug, and basic Vietnamese dishes.
Highway 70 makes a right-angle turn at Phong Rang after crossing a bridge. Most of the town itself is on the Yen Bai side of the bridge, but we found one place to stay on the road leaving town towards Lao Cai.
Internet is available in town for an amazing 2,000 VND per hour. It's just down from the bridge, going towards Yen Bai, on the left. Planned power blackouts are currently frequent, especially in winter, every other day or so, between 17:00 and 20:00.
Bia Tuoi Anchor Thuan Thuan: Khu 5A, Pho Rang. T: (020) 876 260. Hours: 08:00 to 22:00
Internet: SN 51 Khu 66, Pho Rang. T: (020) 877 329, (0984) 311 455
Post office: South of the bridge, Pho Rang. T: (020) 876 340, F: (020) 876 302. Hours: Winter: 07:00 to 21:00, Summer: 06:30 to 21:00. Long distance phone services available.
Thanh Thuy Restaurant and Guest House: Khu 2, Highway 70, Pho Rang. T: (020) 876 150, (020) 214 741. Hours: 05:00 to 22:00
Text and/or map last updated on 21st August, 2009.
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