About this blog: Cat Cat village is the quintessential tourist spot in Sa Pa. Everyone goes there. Everyone talks about it. Some love it. Most berate it. They like it but they complain of the crowd, the obvious tourist fails, the reduction of a destination to an Instagram spot. Well, I visited Cat Cat way before it was a thing in Instagram, in fact before Sa Pa was as touristy as it is today! I liked Cat Cat village, most of it, except… well you have to read this article to find out!

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Cat Cat village is the famous rural set up with ample tourist Exhibits located at a convenient distance from the heart of Sapa city center. This village is an open air museum of the Hmong people of Sa Pa region from the North west of Vietnam, where the country shares international border with China.

Unlike a “real” village in the region, Cat Cat village is NOT an authentic place where people live in true sense. It is a paved way curved through a valley showing the range of Fansipan peaks at a distance and wood shed for domestic animals and makeshift houses to show how the tribes of Sapa live.

When we visited the Cat Cat village we were surprised to see the amount of tourists queuing up to enter the village. In recent years, Sa Pa has been inundated with domestic tourists, especially after the Bali like photo ops have mushrooms along the winding mountain roads.

rice paddy fields in sa pa in March

Also read: Complete guide to travel in Sa Pa in 3 days!

You shall find a number of tourist shops selling souvenirs, and letting you in to the homestays where you experience the local way of living by the Hmong tribe of the mountains. Cat Cat village is located at a distance of 2.2 km from Sa Pa downtown. It won’t take you more than an hour to visit Cat Cat and see it all. It is actually a half a day program.

You can also rent a bike and go down into the heart of the valley. You can park the bike and explore much of the villages including rope bridges and many water streams by feet. There are many exhibits on the real way of life of the Hmongs, which is deeply intertwined with the natural resources available in the fancy mountain ranges. The baskets, the indigo carts with different design for each tribes, the month long weaving process, distinct food, smiling woman with small kids at their back, tied firmly with a piece of cotton- Cat Cat village is everything you will see as “they” want you to see this part of Vietnam.

Which means you would not see the abject poverty which is part of everyday life of the Hmong tribesmen of Sa Pa. Now with an explosive growth rate of tourism in the mountains, Hmong do have access to a little more money than what they were used to in olden days however large corporates runs and owns much of the tourist infrastructure in Sa Pa town.

To ensure, your tourist money is reaching the sons of the soils, you need to book a stay with an authentic Sa Pa homestay. Many of them can be found along the Fansipan trail.

cat cat village vietnam hmong tribes

Also read: How to spend two weeks in Vietnam

At the Cat Cat village, there is no dearth of greenery. Beautiful rice terraces waving gently with mountain breeze, water mills, handspun silk and many rope bridges along the water streams – Cat Cat is so perfect that your eyes would hurt. You can feel the vibe, “We are not authentic but this is the best version of us!”

On certain days, specially during festival, you will see the Hmong people perform their cultural dance at the center of Cat Cat village. There are many homestays at village. Is it worth staying at these home stay? Well, on one hand you get to stay far away from the hustle of the city but Cat cat village itself is very touristy. You do not have access to a lot of food places.

love waterfall in Sa pa- woman traveler from india in saree
water wheels at cat cat village sa pa

Sa Pa is not a place with plenty of activities for night. So even if you choose to stay at one of the home stays of Cat Cat village, I would not recommend for more than night or few. The tourism village has many tourist shops, it would not take you more than a few hours to see the village. There are a lot of walking and short hikes involved in exploring. You need to be physically fit to come down the valley and see the village.

things to do in sa pa vietnam

Also read: How to spend three days in Hoi An

There are many street dogs and cats. People are friendly and welcoming. You as a tourist are expected to respect the local culture (goes withoout saying, Duh!).

In the rain and the mist, the village looks ethereal.

Would I recommend you a night stay at Cat cat?

If you are hiking the Fansipan summit or you have plans to visit Ha Giang Loop maybe you can skip Cat cat. It is a tourist village. Having said that I did enjoy the hike down and the way back to Cat Cat. We saw glimpses of rural life which is unique to this part of Vietnam.

Will I go back to Cat Cat Village again? Well even if I go back to Sa Pa, I will not go back to cat cat village itself. But would I recommend it for a first timer visiting Sa Pa? Yes, definitely, especially if you are not hiking the many trails of Sa Pa.

things to do in cat cat village sa pa at night

Also read: How to spend three days in Da Lat- French City in Vietnam!

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