Conquering winding slopes and passing through tortuous passes of Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, brings you to the intriguing Cat Cat Village in San Sa Ho Commune which is a must for tourists visiting Sapa’s magnificent and splendid town.
Cat Cat, a tribal village of H’mong ethnic people, is located at the foot of Fansipang Mountain, about two kilometers from Sapa Town.
It is nestled at the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley and near the stunning Cat Cat Waterfall. This is an age-old village of H’Mong ethnic people who maintain unique customs and practices from centuries ago.
To visit the village, you can walk through Sapa Market and down the valley. Once you disperse from the crowded area, you’ll be stunned by nature’s beauty with high mountains of over 3,000 meters and the green rice terraces 1,000m below with H’Mong houses scattered in the valley.
Entrance tickets are just VND40,000 before you start to climb the stone steps down to the valley, meeting immense rice terraced fields, bamboo clusters as wells as rice husking mills. On the way, tourists will see many H’mong women with wooden packs on their back and an umbrella. Most H’Mong girls have mobile phones and they can speak a little English.
To Cat Cat, tourists will be guided to visit the brocade weaving craft village to admire a lively and colorful picture with women sitting by looms with colorful pieces of brocade decorated with designs of flowers and birds. When these pieces of brocade are finished, they are dyed and embroidered with beautiful designs. H’Mong women use plants and leaves to dye these brocade fabrics and then they roll a round and smooth section of wood covered with wax on fabrics to polish them, making their colors durable.
In addition to the brocade craft, many residents in Cat Cat are good at manipulating gold and silver jewelry. Their products are fairly sophisticated, especially jewelry for women.
Tourists will be entertained with many folk dances and songs in melodies of panpipes, flutes and lip-lute in harmony with the murmurs of waterfalls, streams and whistles of winds. Tourists are suggested to not miss Tien Sa Waterfall, flowing from Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. The fall looks splendid like a silver carpet under the glistening sunlight.
Tourists to Cat Cat are most attracted by its unique customs, including the custom of’ ‘pulling a wife’. A man can ask his friends to lure a girl he likes to his house and he keeps her there for three days. During this time if the girl agrees to become his wife, a wedding will be held. However, the girl can happily go home after three days if she does not like him.
Traditional houses of H’Mong people in Cat Cat have three rooms with three doors and covered with po mu wood roof. In the house there are three columns that stand in round or square stones. The walls are made from sawn timber and the main door is always closed and only opens when people in the house organize important events. The altar, inlaid floor containing food, places for sleeping, kitchen and receiving guests are indispensable parts of the houses.
Visitors to Cat Cat Village can discover countless unique features of H’Mong people. By Dang Hoang Tham in Lao Cai
A splendid view of Tien Sa Waterfall in Cat Cat Village – Photos: Dang Hoang Tham
A view of Cat Cat Village in Sapa Town