Enchanting Charms of Cat Cat Village: Unveiling Sapa's Hidden Gem

Cat Cat Village in Sapa, Vietnam, is a charming highland destination with a rich cultural heritage. Founded by the Black HMong ethnic group in the 19th century, the village captivates visitors with its pristine natural beauty, terraced fields, and majestic Cat Cat Waterfall. Explore the traditional crafts, unique customs, and mouth-watering local cuisine. Immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals, experience the Gau Tao festival, and shop at the bustling Cat Cat Market. Cat Cat Village is an enchanting escape into the heart of Sapa's mountainous charm.

Location: Cat Cat Village, San Sa Ho Commune, Sa Pa District, Lao Cai Province
Opening hour: 24/24 daily
Entrance fee: 150,000 VND
Parking fee: 10,000 VND/motorbike

I. Overview of Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat Village, founded by the local Mong ethnic in the 19th century, has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century when the French discovered it and transformed it into a vacation resort. The village gets its name from the majestic CatScat waterfall, as "Cat Cat" is derived from "CatScat.".

Over view of Cat Cat Village Sapa

Cat Cat Village attracts tourists not only by its unspoiled natural beauty but also by the unique cultural features of the Mong people. Besides cultivating rice on the terraced fields, the residents in this village still preserve and develop traditional crafts. Coming to Cat Cat village, you will have a chance to discover the appealing nature, the unique culture and many mouth-watering specialties of this destination.

II. Highlights of Cat Cat Village

Hmong dance at CatCat Village Sapa

Source: @Joseph_Slovakia

1. Location

Located approximately 2 kilometers from Sapa Town, a renowned tourist destination 376 kilometers from Hanoi, Cat Cat Village can be reached by motorbike or coach. The village houses nearly 80 households of the Mong ethnic, situated along a stone road in the center and scattered along the mountain slope. The village is surrounded by three picturesque streams—Tien Sa, Golden, and Silver—which converge into the impressive Cat Cat waterfall. Si Bridge and A Lu Bridge provide stunning vantage points for sightseeing and photography.

CatCat Village Sapa

Source: @Catcatvillage

2. House Architecture

The houses in Cat Cat Village are ingeniously built against the mountainside, each house only a few meters apart. A typical house features three rooms supported by horizontal trusses resting on stones. The roofs and walls are made of wood, and the house usually has three doors, with the main one opening only on significant occasions like weddings, funerals, Tet (Lunar New Year), and holidays. Notably, Cat Cat Village's houses feature unique water-powered mortars.

3. Handicraft

Beyond rice cultivation, the villagers are skilled in traditional crafts such as weaving, knitting household items, silver carving, and forging agricultural tools. Tourists can explore the exhibition area showcasing the meticulous handcrafted products, a testament to the cultural heritage preserved through generations.

Black Hmong at CatCat Village, Sapa

4. Traditional Customs

Cat Cat Village is home to various unique cultural practices, including the custom of "abducting a wife." When a boy falls in love with a girl, he and his friends organize a party and devise a plan to "abduct" the girl, keeping her for three days. If the girl agrees to marry the boy, they will wed; otherwise, they remain friends.

The Gau Tao festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunar new year, is a significant event in Cat Cat Village. It reflects the cultural and spiritual life of the Mong people and is the largest festival of the year for them.

III. What to Do in Cat Cat Village?

Local dance by Cat Cat Waterfall at Catcat Village, Sapa

1. Visit Cat Cat Waterfall:

The captivating Cat Cat Waterfall is the must-see attraction in the village. Water from Hoang Lien Son Mountain flows through three streams, cascading into the fall like a silky ribbon amid the jungle. The sound of the waterfall can be heard from afar, welcoming visitors to Cat Cat Village. Stopping at the bridges near the waterfall, admiring its charm, and walking along the stream banks will provide unforgettable experiences.

2. Observe Giant Water Wheels:

Cat Cat Village is known for its bamboo-made giant water wheels, which use water power to pound rice. Besides their practical purpose, these wheels are an interesting sight for tourists to discover. Watching the wheels revolve and hearing their creaking and murmuring sounds perfectly captures the harmony of the locals and nature.

3. Visit a HMong's House:

The Mong's houses, known as "House Presentation," showcase typical architectural styles of this ethnic group. When you come across an intriguing house in Cat Cat Village, don't hesitate to seek permission from the owners to enter. You will have a chance to not only explore the unique architecture but also engage in conversations and hear the locals' stories.

4. Delight in Local Cuisine

No trip to a new destination is complete without trying the local specialties. In Cat Cat Village, corn wine is a standout delicacy of Northwest Vietnam. The locals use their own recipe, creating a wine that captures the essence of life and nature in Cat Cat. Enjoying corn wine around a fire while savoring mouth-watering dishes with friends and friendly locals is a delightful experience.

5. Shop at Cat Cat Market

Cat Cat Market fulfills the daily needs of the locals, offering a wide array of products at fair prices. Here, you can find various goods, including food, clothing, agricultural tools, eye-catching handicrafts, and souvenirs. Purchasing some handicraft items will serve as a reminder of your memorable trip to Cat Cat Village.

6. Experience the Night in Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat Village remains alluring even after dark. Watching the sunset over the imposing mountains and spending time with friends until midnight to feel the cool mountain breeze are worthwhile activities. You can also indulge in a hot meal from a local food stall. The doors of the Mong people are always open to welcome tourists for overnight stays.

IV. Where to Stay in Cat Cat Village?

For budget travelers or solo explorers, staying with the locals in Cat Cat Village is an excellent choice. However, for group tours, nearby homestays are recommended. Several homestays and hotels near Cat Cat Village are available, offering convenient services and ensuring your comfort in the mountainous setting.

Examples of nearby accommodation include:

  • Azure Sapa Hotel

Location: 043 Fansipan, San Sa Ho Commune, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (0.4km from Cat Cat Village)

Price: from 800,000 VND/night

  • Le Bordeaux Sapa Hotel

Location: 018 Fansipan, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (0.7km from Cat Cat Village)

Price: from 800,000 VND/night

  • Sapa Relax Hotel

Location: 19A Dong Loi Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (0.8km from Cat Cat Village)

Price: from 900,000 VND/night

  • Sapa Lodge Hotel

Location: 33 Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (1km from Cat Cat Village)

Price: from 800,000 VND/night

  • Chau Long Hotel

Location: 24 Dong Loi Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (1km from Cat Cat Village)

Price: from 1,000,000 VND/night

V. What and Where to Eat in Cat Cat Village?

1. What to Eat?

  • Thang co (Thắng Cố)

Thang Co (Meat Soup): A specialty of Northwestern Vietnam, Thang Co is a soup made from horse meat (or other meats like beef, pork, or goat) stewed for hours with vegetables and local spices.

  • “Khang gai” steamed meat

"Khang Gai" Steamed Meat: Lean meat from buffalo, pig, horse, or goat mixed with spices, then dried by smoke in the kitchen. It can be grilled or cooked with vegetables or bamboo sprouts.

  • Chicken blood (Tiết Canh Gà)

Chicken Blood (Tiết Canh Gà): Unique to the Mong community in Cat Cat Village, chicken blood is considered a symbol of luck and served only to guests of honor.

  • Grilled stream fish

Grilled Stream Fish: The fish living in the streams of Sapa, found at an altitude of nearly 2000 meters, is smaller in size and often fried or grilled to retain its full flavor.

  • Frog cooked with bamboo sprouts

Frog Cooked with Bamboo Sprouts: A popular dish of the Mong people, the frog is boiled with bamboo sprouts and other vegetables for a fresh and natural taste.

2. Where to Eat?

  • Azure Restaurant at Azure Hotel

Location: 043 Fansipan, San Sa Ho Commune, Sapa Town, Lao Cai

Typical food: local specialties, barbeque, fast food, coffee

  • Red Dzao House

Location: 4b Thác Bạc Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai

Typical food: local specialties, Vietnamese cuisine, Asian dishes, Specially Salmon Hotpot

  • Sapa Sky View at roof top of Chau Long Hotel

Location: 24 Dong Loi Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (1 km from Cat Cat Village)

Typical food: Vietnamese cuisine, Asian dishes, Western dishes and Coffee

  • Sapa Indigo Restaurant

Location: 23 Dong Loi Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (1 km from Cat Cat Village)

Typical food: Vietnamese cuisine, Hmong Cuisine, Asian dishes

  • Thang Co A Quynh Restaurant

Location: 15 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai (1.5 km from Cat Cat Village)

Typical food: Vietnamese cuisine, Hmong Cuisine, Asian dishes

With its unique charm as a highland village in the northwest, Cat Cat Village has long been a captivating destination for both domestic and foreign tourists visiting Sapa Town. The combination of breathtaking nature, rich cultural heritage, and a blend of modern life makes Cat Cat Village an unforgettable experience for all visitors.

Hmong House at Catcat Village, Sapa

Catcat Village , Sapa

Praying at Catcat Village, Sapa

Overview of Cacat Village from Cable car Fansipan, Sapa

Catcat Village View from Cable car Fansipan Sapa

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