For travelers who want to learn and discover about life and people in the Northwest, Cat Cat Village is the ideal destination. This is a longstanding village and is one of the oldest villages of Hmong ethnic minority, about 2km from the center of Sapa town. In your trips, apart from Hanoi, visiting Cat Cat village is an interesting and memorable experience for you.
From the center of Sapa town and the small town Fansipan, going through deep and winding slopes is Cat Cat Village of San Sa Ho commune, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province. The village lies at the foot of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, in a valley with mountains on three sides, where the Hmong people live. With the natural landscape and beauty in Hmong culture of this place has created for Cat Cat a strange attraction for tourists to visit this village.
A longstanding village
In Cat Cat Village – Sapa has a beautiful waterfall which is Cat Cat in French. Since the early twentieth century, the French have discovered and chosen this place as a resort for officials. Since then, the village that has Hmong people living near the waterfall is named Cat Cat.
The road to Cat Cat village is unique with concrete road and stone stairs. Nearly 80 households of the village are located along this path, some are scattered on the mountainside. Walking a few hundred meters of the stairs and across the bridge is the center Cat Cat, the convergence of three streams flowing slowly during day and night consisting of the Tien Sa, Gold, and Silver springs.
The village is also famous for a unique architecture. The architecture of Hmong ethnic group in Cat Cat village still brings many ancient features. For example, the house has three paces with Po Mu wood planks; the columns are placed on round or square stone slabs; walls are covered with timber; the house has 3 doors, the main doors in the middle space, the other doors are located in two heads of the house. The main door is always closed, is opened only when there are big events such as weddings, funerals, worship ghosts on holidays. The house has the space for worship, the attic floor for storing food, the bedrooms, kitchen and living place.
Although life has many changes, the traditional costumes of Hmong villagers are still preserved. They have separate kinds of clothes for men and women. However, due to the development of life, communication, exchange, and learning, some Hmong women had combined traditional costumes with modern styles with a T-shirt, baggy pants, or tutu, scarf of Hmong.
Hmong people in Cat Cat village depend mainly on rice cultivation on the terraces, and the traditional crafts like weaving, silver carving and forging agricultural tools. Through looms, Hmong people create colorful brocade panels and patterns simulating the trees, leaves, flowers, animals and so on. Associating with cotton and linen textile stages is dyeing, embroidering and printing patterns, a popular technique is dyed by the ash of herbs and leaves of forest trees. After dyeing, fabrics are polished by rolling fabric with round chumps on flat stones with beeswax. Besides weaving, Cat Cat village also has traditional silver carving craft that is very unique. Made entirely by hand, but the silver jewelry carving artisans of the village have created quite sophisticated products including mainly women’s jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, rings. This profession has existed for many generations and brings significant income to many people here.
Typical traditional culture of the Northwest
Being one of the attractive tourist destination in Sapa not only because of the beauty that nature bestow, Cat Cat village is also home to many cultures of the northwestern mountain. Coming to Cat Cat village, visitors will be explored the display and sale area of traditional craft products of Hmong ethnic minority. The display area is not as prominent and extraordinary as elsewhere because it was erected by simple wooden sticks weaving with bamboo ones. Space is small but it also shows apparently the skillful hands of the mountainous women through some ethnic costumes hanging along the entrance or handmade embroidery paintings hanging neatly on the walls, on the purlins in the exhibition area.
Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the unique dishes of Hmong ethnic group. Hmong people in Cat Cat have a wide range of dishes with unique and various ways of preparing such as corn wine, smoked meat, corn cake, “Thắng Cố”
Especially, arriving Cat Cat village, tourists will discover the unique customs and traditions, the beauty of the religious faith of the people here such as pulling wife rituals, worship God of the Soil and the Ground rituals, Gau Tao festival, immerse in the graceful dance of beautiful Hmong girls, or dance of mouth organ, the sound of lip lute of the Hmong boys and girls. Among clouds, mountains, and wind, the sound rings simultaneously immensely and endless. With the unique features of a Northwest highland, Cat Cat is an ideal place to learn about the life and culture of ethnic minorities, an appropriate address for tourists who want to relax, indulge in wildlife after tired and busy moments of the modern life.