Cat Cat village in Sapa in northwest Vietnam is famous for its breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, water mills, and rice terraces in the surrounding areas. Located only 2.5 km away from Sapa, Cat Cat village is a perfect stop on your trekking route through Sapa!
About Cat Cat Village
- Cat Cat Village is located in northwest Vietnam, only 2.5 km away from the town of Sapa, close to the border with China. The village is situated about 380 km northwest of Hanoi.
- Cat Cat village lies at the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley, which is major farmland for rice in Sapa. The area around Cat Cat village is surrounded by rice terraces.
- The village is located near Mountain Fansipan (Phan-Xi-Pǎng) which stands 3,143 meters tall. It’s the highest mountain in Vietnam.
- Trekking to Cat Cat Village offers breathtaking views: rice terraces, waterfalls, water mills, and streams.
- Ethnic minority groups, such as Hmong people, live in the areas around Cat Cat village. Hard-working local women can be observed creating handmade items, such as purses and various textiles.
What to expect when trekking to and around Cat Cat Village
- Strenuous trekking route. The terrain is pretty challenging, so make sure you wear proper hiking boots. There is a lot of climbing up and down. There are lots of steps and steep hills. Also, if the weather is rainy, the area tends to get muddy or filled with rainwater. Some parts of the trail are slippery especially if the weather is rainy.
- Amazing views. Walking to and around Cat Cat Village offers breathtaking scenery: rice terraces, waterfalls, water mills, and streams.
- Rural life. You will observe the life of ethnic minority groups, including Hmong people, see their houses and their way of life. You’ll get to see domestic animals including pigs, roosters, ducks, and even a buffalo! When trekking in Sapa to Cat Cat village you’ll be able to observe an authentic rural life in Vietnam.
- Meet Locals. It’s also likely that friendly local women who speak good English might join you and trek with you for hours. At some point, they might offer you items to purchase, such as purses, textiles, and other souvenirs.
How to get to Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat village is a short trek from Sapa, only about 2.5 km. It’s a downhill walk through the rice fields involving quite a few steps.
It’s best to get a local tour guide. It’s not expensive, and it will save you time. You can book the local guide either in Hanoi or in Sapa. It’s likely that the tour with the local guide will take you to more villages than just Cat Cat village. You can also book a tour guide for more than 1 day. It’s definitely worth the price!
While trekking from Sapa to Cat Cat village is a short distance, do consider that most of the terrain in the Sapa area is indeed quite challenging. Depending on your level of fitness, trekking for a whole day or 2 days in a row could be too much. However, it is a short trek from Sapa to Cat Cat village.
When descending to the village, you will be on a path with houses on both sides. Many houses will have outside displays of colorful textiles, purses, blankets, and other handmade items. As you walk through the village, you can purchase souvenirs or handmade items.
You will also see hard-working local women sewing and stitching colorful textiles. It’s worth noting that colors are created using natural means. For example, local Hmong people use indigo leaves to produce a distinctive indigo blue color on fabrics.
Cat Cat Waterfall
Cat Cat waterfall is a spectacular sight. There are benches nearby where you can sit back and enjoy the view.
One of the most interesting sights in Cat Cat village is water mills. They are powered by flowing water. You will see big water wheels made of bamboo. These water wheels use water power to pound rice, corn, and other grains.
Cat Cat village is home to an ethnic minority group, Hmong people. You’ll meet these friendly women throughout the village. Some of them might join you and engage in a friendly and genuine conversation. Hmong women generally speak good English and will often try to accompany tourists during their trekking for hours, with hopes of selling you some items along the way. They are very friendly and always with smiles on their faces.
Best time to visit Cat Cat Village
- March, April, May are some of the best months for trekking in Sapa because the weather is warm and sunny. The rice fields, however, will start getting green only by late June.
- June and July are the times when most crowds come to Sapa. The rice fields are at their best, displaying lush green colors. However, the weather is usually quite hot and humid.
- August is stunning because the rice terraces are so lush with greenery. However, heavy rainfalls are likely, and the weather will be humid.
- September is when the rice terraces start turning from green to yellow. The rice terraces are spectacular: lush green with patches of golden. The weather is not as hot and humid as in the summer, even though it will occasionally rain.
- January. When I visited Cat Cat village in January, the weather was cold and foggy, and the walking trails were muddy. However, there were so few tourists it was totally worth it! I can only imagine how packed this village gets in May, June, July, August, and September! In January, the village was quiet and authentic!
Things you need for hiking to Cat Cat Village
- Hiking boots. Make sure you have hiking boots with good ankle support and excellent grip, as parts of the trail are very steep, there are lots of steps. Also, the trails tend to get muddy when the weather is rainy. Some paths can get very slippery.
- Appropriate clothing. Check the weather forecast and make sure to dress appropriately.
- Sun protection. Make sure you have sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
- Water and food. Bring a good supply of water and snacks.
Enjoy your trek through the village
Cat Cat village is a pretty little village with beautiful views. It’s a perfect stop on your trekking route through Sapa!