Located in the northern mountainous region of Vietnam, Cat Cat village is 2km southwest of Sapa city center, and 314km northwest of Hanoi.
The village owns many wooden houses mixed with nature and waterfalls, and this area is the residence of 80 H’Mong families.
After leaving the parking lot, along the road into the central region of the village, you begin to see colorful life here.
In the article, one member of Vietnamdrive’s team covers general information about the village and suggests a restaurant to taste the grilled food, homestay in the conclusion to spend overnight, and more about what to do. Let’s go!
- General information of Cat Cat village
- History of Cat Cat village
- Best time to visit the village
- Festival in Cat Cat village
- Activities to do while visiting Cat Cat village
1. General information of Cat Cat village
- Address: Cat Cat Village, Muong Hoa Valley, San San Ho Commune, Sapa City, Lao Cai Province, Vietnam
- Ticket price: 150,000 VND/adult; 70,000 VND/child from 1 – 1.3m
- Sightseeing ticket sales hours: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Estimated tour time: 1 – 2 hours
To get to Cat Cat village from Sapa, you can ride a motorbike if you like adventure. But we do not recommend using this means of transport when you are an international tourist. Rent a taxi to get here. You can hire a car with a private driver when you combine it with visiting other famous destinations in Sapa.
To come from Hanoi to Cat Cat, you have to travel from Hanoi to Sapa by a private car or shuttled van, this is the best way. There are trains from Hanoi to Sapa that stop at Lao Cai station in the early morning, but they take longer and you have to travel from Hanoi station overnight to get here. So, please consider this condition before using the trains!
2. History of Cat Cat village
In the mid-19th century, Cat Cat Village was formed by a group of H’Mong people who migrated to Muong Hoa Valley to find a place to live and farm. Based on the beautiful terrain of the valley and abundant water from the Tien Sa waterfall flowing through this place, the H’Mong people established the village and cultivated rice on terraced fields to make a living.
From a small group, Cat Cat village is now a gathering place of 80 households living together with rice farming, other crop cultivation, forestry planting, and brocade weaving.
In recent years, the Lao Cai provincial government has developed this place into a community tourism area. Many people in the village have the opportunity to develop brocade crafts, trade local items, and open restaurants to serve tourists.
Cat Cat Village has transformed, the local people’s income is higher than before, life has improved, and the spirit of innovation has been enhanced. The village changes every day but still retains its traditional core.
3. The best time to visit the village
Spring will be the most brilliant time of Cat Cat when Hoa Gao (rice flowers) and wild peach blossoms bloom, adorning the entire village space, and brightening the sky. Boys and girls in colorful traditional brocade outfits also contribute to making spring and the village more lively.
You will feel more vibrant and cheerful in springtime, from February to March every year.
However, the full water season of Tien Sa Waterfall is in May and June every year, the waterfall is more beautiful. At that time, the weather is a bit hot, and you feel a bit burned, but the night is chilly.
Please choose the right time to come here! I like spring to visit Cat Cat village. But maybe if I have the next opportunity, I will choose another time to feel more beauty here in a different time.
4. Festival in Cat Cat village
A major festival often held in Cat Cat village is the Gau Tao festival, which usually takes place on the 7th day of the first lunar month every year (usually falling in late January or early February of the solar calendar). The festival is also one of the exciting activities of the Lunar New Year here.
During the festival, many cultural activities and competitions occur, including trumpet blowing competition, tug of war competition – one of the traditional games in Vietnam, monkey bridge competition, and swing playing.
5. Activities to do while visiting Cat Cat Village
Each person who comes to this highland village has different intentions. However, if you are coming to the romantic Cat Cat village for the first time, I have some suggestions for you to do. Hope it helps you save time thinking and searching. Let’s go!
5.1. Explore wooden houses mixed with nature
The houses are hidden and intermingled with the forest trees. The houses here are built close together, only a few meters to a few dozen meters away from each other. This is different from other highland villages, where the house is very far away, sometimes hundreds of meters to kilometers.
The house in Cat Cat built with the main material is wood, based on designs close to nature.
However, from my point of view, many houses and roads seem too neat to the point of breaking the rusticity of the mountain village. In particular, the walkways and steps are concrete, which is very different from my wish before coming here, to walk on materials closer to nature such as red bricks or red laterite.
You will notice that the wooden houses of local people often have three entrance doors. Two doors on both sides are regularly opened for daily activities, and the middle door is opened on special occasions such as weddings, worshipping ceremonies, and Tet holidays.
Under normal circumstances, you should choose to enter one of the two doors on either side to show respect. When the homeowner invites you to the main door, follow their instructions.
5.2. Take pictures of two bridges and waterfalls
When you come to the Cat Cat Village sign, you will easily see the Cau Si (Si Bridge), far away on the right-hand side is the Bridge of Love; perhaps it is beautiful and dreamy, so people call it the Love Bridge.
Although many people often choose to stand on Love Bridge to take photos of the village’s waterfall, I like to take in the entire natural scenery, so I stand at Cau Si to cover the natural scenery, including Love Bridge and the waterfall.
Wherever you stand, you can take beautiful photos to remember this place for good memories during exciting exploration trips in the Northwest region of Vietnam.
5.3. Enjoy grilled cuisine at Cat Cat
Grilled foods seem to be suitable for the chilly weather in Sapa. Furthermore, grilled foods, including grilled chicken and grilled pork, are hot and can be safer than other foods.
When you walk near the village during lunch or dinner, you will smell the sweet aroma and smoke emanating from the restaurants serving grilled food. Unable to contain my excitement, I had to taste some of the dishes here.
The restaurant that you can visit is Chinh Chi Restaurant, which has both ground and upper floors. Upstairs you can enjoy food and a drink, and admire the view. How wonderful it is! The restaurant also serves a few other dishes, but I only like grilled food.
5.4. Rent brocade clothes to take pictures
Try wearing the traditional clothes of the indigenous people, the H’Mong people, for souvenir photos.
If you are a woman, there are many eye-catching yellow, blue, and red brocade dresses and skirts for you to choose from. If you are a man, wear the male brocade clothes and a cute hat to transform into the image of a local boy.
You will see many boys and girls wearing brocade here. They take the opportunity to take commemorative photos, these are tourists, not local people. Therefore, if you want to see local people in this outfit, you need to come here in the spring, festival season, Tet, or on the occasion of local weddings.
You can rent items at the Art House store, 014 Cat Cat, Sapa. The rental price from 70,000 VND.
5.5. Walk around the village at sunset
The village will become quieter when sunset falls. You will notice a clear difference between rural and urban life in Vietnam. In a valley in the high mountains, Cat Cat village becomes more peaceful, with no car horns, only the slow sound of the forest at night.
Slowly walking around the village to see the daily life of the indigenous people will enrich the experience of your tours in Sapa. Walking along the road next to Cat Cat Stream, hearing the sound of gurgling water will make you more relaxed.
You can walk on your own or hire a local guide to go with you if you are an international tourist and want to understand more about the culture of the H’Mong people.
5.6. Buy brocade goods
Almost everyone likes shopping, and I am no exception. When going to a tourist destination, I can’t help but buy a few souvenirs, which is also a small contribution to the local economy.
Local products here are brocade goods. These items have become one of the famous souvenirs in Vietnam rich in cultural significance.
Many brocade products include clothes, scarves, tablecloths, hats, and bags. I love hand-woven scarves with many colors and delicate patterns.
You need to pay attention: some products are not handmade, they may come from a factory in another locality. Therefore, you need to choose carefully to avoid buying products that are not from local people. Usually, mass-produced brocade goods will have a lower price than finely crafted items.
You will find many shops selling brocade items along the road of Cat Cat Village. But I like to buy directly from women who weave, and choose the same products they are making. Avoid buying from street vendors to reduce trouble.
Cat Cat Village has become a prominent tourist destination in Sapa, contributing to local economic development and introducing Vietnam’s ethnic minority culture to domestic and international tourists.
Exploring this place does not take much time; however, learning more about the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people, takes you more time to do. You can choose one of the homestays to stay for a few nights. Suggested places to stay for you include:
- Gem Homestay (Address: Cat Cat Village, Sapa – Phone: 0912.849.753), or
- H’Mong Cat Cat Homestay Sapa (Address: Cat Cat Village – Phone: 0963.001.389 ).
Besides, many companies organize tours to Cat Cat Village that you can select to book for a daily tour if you don’t have much time. These tours to explore this village are often combined with trekking and walking activities.
Joining a tour or exploring Cat Cat Village on your own can be done easily. Each form will bring a different experience to your trip here.
And now is the time for you to choose to explore this lovely village!