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Experiencing Cat Cat Village, in Sapa, Vietnam

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AsiaCultural ExperiencesHikingReviewsRice TerracesSa PaViet Nam
Article author: michael
michael
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Cover Image for Experiencing Cat Cat Village, in Sapa, Vietnam

Cat Cat Village, which was established in the 19th century by the Hmong people, is a small village located in the Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa, Vietnam.

It’s a popular tourist destination, and many tourists visit the village to experience the local culture and see the traditional Hmong houses. The village is also known for its beautiful terraced rice fields and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

But is it worth a visit? Or is it just another tourist trap?

Cat Cat Village Info

  • Address: Cat Cat Village, San Sả Hồ, Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
  • Time needed to visit: 1 to 3 hours
  • Entrance fee (paid on-site):
    • Adults: 150,000 VND
    • Children between 1 to 1.3m in height: 70,000 VND

Where to Buy Tickets

When you decide to visit Cat Cat Village, you’ll likely be either walking there from your hotel/hostel/homestay in Sapa, or possibly driving there by motorcycle, taxi, or private driver.

I believe you can probably purchase your tickets beforehand from various spots in Sapa Town, including possibly from your hotel if you’re staying at one, but we simply purchased ours at a shop near the entrance to the village after arriving.

Arriving at Cat Cat Village

The odd thing is that there isn’t one main ticket booth, as you can purchase tickets from various shops in the area. And most of those shops also offer, and try to sell you on doing the “dress like a Hmong” experience.

The other thing I found odd was that no one seems to actually check your ticket when you enter the village. So I’m not sure what the point of the ticket is, other than to support the village and the people who live there - which is a good enough reason to buy a ticket. But we were never asked to show our tickets, and there are no turnstiles or anything like that at the actual entrance to the village.

That said, when we were there, the fees listed at the shop we got our tickets at were 150,000 VND per adult, and 70,000 VND for children between 1 and 1.3m in height.

Cat Cat Village entrance fees

Dressing up like a Hmong

One of the things you can do while you’re at Cat Cat Village is to rent some traditional Hmong clothing, for the purpose of taking photos. And it certainly did seem to be a popular thing to do, as we saw many people walking around the village in the traditional clothing later on.

As it happened, my wife also wanted us all to dress up in Hmong clothes. My daughter absolutely refused, and while I wasn’t initially particularly keen on the idea, after seeing how cute my son looked in his little outfit, I gave in and joined in on the fun. 😏

The Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

As you start the walk down to where you’ll eventually meet the waterfall, you’ll pass by various shops and stalls selling souvenirs, food, and drinks.

Traditional Hmong Houses

You’ll also pass a lot of traditional Hmong houses, some of which are really interesting to see.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Thankfully as you walk through the village here, you’re not constantly being harassed by vendors trying to sell you stuff. Some might ask if you want to buy something, but if you say no, they’ll leave you alone. And unlike in some other parts of Sapa, we didn’t have any Hmong following us around non-stop trying to sell us stuff.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

The Rice Terraces

As you walk through the village and along the path, you’ll also have some sections where you’ll get to see the beautiful rice terraces in the distance.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Pics for the 'Gram

Throughout the walk down the path, there are a few spots you can stop at to take pics, with lookouts to the terraces and the valley below. It’s really quite beautiful and nicely set up, especially if you want to get those Instagram-worthy shots.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Did I mention the walk down the path is quite long? No? Well, it is. Probably about a 30 to 45 minute walk, but that for us included stopping to take pics, and with a toddler slowing us down. So your mileage may vary, but it’s a decent walk down.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

And it’s all downhill… so at some point you’ll need to be walking back up again (although not via the same path)! 😅

The Waterfall

Eventually, you’ll reach the bottom of the path, just before getting to the waterfall.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

You’ll be greeted by a few restaurants and cafes, just before you arrive at one of two bridges that cross over the river…

Walking through Cat Cat Village

The water in this river most certainly isn’t crystal clear, especially after it rains, but I’m a sucker for waterfalls so I really enjoyed it.

And finally, from the first bridge, you’ll get a great view of the star attraction - the waterfall.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

After taking a bunch of pics and videos, it started raining quite heavily, so we hurried back over the bridge to one of the restaurants to have a bite to eat and wait out the rain.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

It was still raining pretty hard once we finished eating, so we decided since everything was quite wet and slippery, to just head back to meet our driver, return the Hmong clothes, and head back to the hotel.

Conclusion

So, is Cat Cat Village worth visiting?

I think it’s an interesting place to visit, especially if you’re interested in a traditional Hmong village with traditional Hmong homes, or if you love waterfalls like me.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

Walking through Cat Cat Village

I’m not sure I’d say it’s an absolute must see, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Sapa and have the time.

Not an Easy Life

As an aside, while we were eating lunch during the downpour, I wanted to get out of our Hmong clothes, but we needed somewhere to change.

The owners of the restaurant we stopped at were kind enough to allow us to use a small room off to the side of the restaurant to change.

While in this small, and I mean tiny room we were changing in, I realized this was actually their bedroom, where the parents and children slept on bunk beds. In fact after looking around, I think it was they only room they had in the restaurant, other than the small toilet off the kitchen.

This room was so small that the bunk beds were literally touching the walls on either side of the room, and the door couldn’t open all the way because it would hit the bed. But the owners were so kind and accommodating to allow us into their personal space, and it really made me think about how differently some people have to live their lives.

Walking through Cat Cat Village

It was a really interesting experience and perspective to gain, and made for an even more unforgettable experience.

I said above that I don’t think Cat Cat Village is an absolute must see, but I think experiences like this are what make travel so special and am really glad we visited.

Until next time,
michael 😀

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