Nestled in a beautiful valley about three kilometers from Sapa town, Cat Cat- the old village of ethnic groups- attracts many tourists for its distinctive trditions and practices which have been lost in almost ethnic villages. The village is within easy walking distance from any hotel in downtown Sapa.
Cat Cat cultural village was formed in 19th century by the gathering of some families belonging to some ethnic groups living in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, especially Black H’Mong. They lived next to each other along the mountain side and cultivated surrounding their home. Rice and corn were grown in terraced fields, while traditional handicrafts such as twisting flax and weaving fabric have been well-kept. Through times, Cat Cat Village has transferred to one appealing feature of Sapa’s tourism.
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.
What to see
Visiting Cat Cat, tourists will be impressed by the peacefully picturesque sceneries. People can easily catch sight of women sitting in front of the loom with colorful pieces of brocade, while children playing around with pets or even livestock. From the plain brocade, then women can carefully dye them with special leaves and embroider beautiful patterns of flower and animal on them. Moreover, many residents of Cat Cat Village are also skillful at manipulating sophisticated gold and silver jewelry.
The original architect of H’Mong people is interesting as well. Their house typically contains three rooms with three doors and po mu wood roof, while the walls’ material is sawn timber. There are other indispensable parts of the house such as altar, kitchen, places for keeping food and sleeping, etc.
What to do
Cat Cat Village gives tourists a chance to have a glimpse into the daily life of local ethnic people, as well as take part in traditional activities such as weaving fabric. It is also a good opportunity to purchase some traditional souvenirs and handicrafts right from the craftsmen. People can also try some local food selling the way upcoming to the hill.
In addition, the road leading to Cat Cat Village is an easy and interesting route for trekking. The spot is only within 20-30m minutes walking from Sapa center; and the hike through mountains will offer tourists the wonderful picture of rice paddies, water fall, or even water buffaloes grazing leisurely.
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