Located in the Northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province, about 376 km from Hanoi. In spite of being known as a modest and quiet land, Sapa contains the hidden beauty waiting to be explored. Travelling Sapa, tourists can not only enjoy the natural landscapes such as rice terraces, Cau May (Rattan Bridge), Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall), Fansipan peak, but also have a chance to visit peaceful and unspoiled villages and hamlets of this land. Cat Cat village is one of the most favorite attractions in Sapa recently. Visiting Cat Cat, tourists can discover the culture of ethnic minority and the wild nature. This is really a suitable place for those who feel bored and tired with the urban life.
Cat Cat is a village of H'Mong ethnic minority, about 2 km from Sapa Town. The village was formed in the mid 19th century by a group of ethnic people gathered here to settle. These people earn their living by growing rice and corns on terraced fields and developing animal husbandry using the traditional methods. Besides, they have well preserved traditional handicrafts such as line and cotton cultivation and woven fabrics.
From the center of Sapa Town, tourists can travel to Cat Cat village by foot or motorbike. Along roads to the village, tourists can enjoy the ancient architectural beauty of small houses of local residents. These houses are divided into three rooms roofed with wood planks. Walls of these houses are often made from sawn timber. There are three columns standing in round or square stones inside houses. Each house will have three doors including a main door in the middle room and two others in the rest. The main door is always closed and only opened when big events such as weddings, funerals, Tet holidays happened. Besides, in each house, there are indispensable parts like kitchen, altar, places for keeping and food, etc. Houses in the villages are separated with each other by the terraced fields. The rear of houses is surrounded by green and luxuriant bamboos. The most interesting thing for tourists when visiting Cat Cat village is that they can see rice mortars using water power from streams to pounding rice.
As mentioned before, traditional handicrafts in Cat Cat village have been well-kept. Travelling the village, visitors will have an opportunity to witness the daily activities of ethnic peoples such as weaving, carving, making farm tools and arts and crafts. Go sightseeing in Sapa in general and Cat Cat village in particular, tourists can easily catch sight of women sitting and weaving in front of a loom with colorful pieces of brocades. Under the skillful hands of these people, colorful and beautiful brocades are created. From plain brocades, these women carefully dye them with a dyestuff made from special leaves and embroider them with beautiful patterns of flowers, leaves, animals ... In addition, H'Mong people are also very good at manipulating sophisticated gold and silver jewelry.
Cat Cat is also a village where many unique traditional cultures of Northwest Vietnam are still preserved. Some traditional festivals and customs of local people are often held annually such as Gau Tao festival and customs of "Pulling Wife". Tourists visiting Cat Cat at the beginning of a year can participate in Gau Tao festival, which aims to bless for people in the village. This is the biggest festival of the village in one year. The festival is an epitome of spiritual and cultural life of H'Mong people. Another special customs of H'Mong is "Pulling Wife". According to this customs, if a boy in the village falls in love with a girl, he will hold a party and invite his friends participating. He and his friends will make a plan bringing ("pulling") the girl to his house. He will keep the girl three days at his house, and then if the girl agrees to marry him, they will hold an official wedding. On the other hand, if the girl refuses his proposal, they will drink "a bowl of wine” and just make friend with each other.
Nowadays, in order to develop the tourism potential of Cat Cat village, Lao Cai Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism has implemented many tourism programs such as Cat Cat Village's Culture Days, One day becoming a Dao farmer, One day becoming a H'Mong bridge. With these various exciting activities, Cat Cat village is one of attractive Sapa attractions to explore folk culture of ethnic minority and immerse you yourself in unspoiled nature.