Cat Cat Village is the hill tribe village which is the nearest to Sapa Town. The village is located only about 2.5 km away from the center of the town and is one of the easiest accessible villages even when traveling on foot. We did a half day trek to Cat Cat Village by ourselves and it was easier than we expected.
You can easily explore Cat Cat Village on your own. However, having a local guide might be really handy if you want to learn more deeply about the way of hill tribe people life and the surrounding area. If you are considering visiting the village with a guide, we would recommend joining this tour: Cat Cat Village Trekking Tour from Sapa
Our Trekking to Cat Cat Village Itinerary
This is an exact itinerary that we did when visiting Cat Cat Village. Feel free to use it as a guide when trekking to Cat Cat Village by yourself.
13:00 Leaving from Hotel
We were trekking to Cat Cat Village in the afternoon as the morning was extremely foggy and we could barely see anything. Luckily, the fog vanished so we could enjoy some great views on the day.
We were staying at Scenery Hotel, which is located between the town center and Cat Cat Village so the walk from our hotel to the entrance of Cat Cat village was only about 1.3 km downhill.
13:10 Walking Route to Cat Cat Village
On the way from our hotel to Cat Cat Village, the road was concrete road downhill unlike the way to most of other villages that are much further away. Great mountain views open up along the way. We passed by numerous cafes and homestays overlooking Cat Cat Valley.
The most popular places for tourists to stop by on the way are as follows:
13:30 Reaching Cat Cat Village
We were making a leisure walk with frequent stops to enjoy the surrounding views so it took us around half an hour to arrive at the entrance of Cat Cat Village.
The fees for the entrance to the village and the way to the ticket booth were clearly marked. Cat Cat Village ticket price was 70,000 VND per person during our visit. The free map was also provided with the ticket which appeared to be very useful while exploring the area independently.
13:35 Entering Cat Cat Village Tourist Area
As soon as we entered the tourist area of Cat Cat Village, on both sides of the road we were greeted by endless rows of stalls selling the same souvenirs. The local sellers and even kids kept asking tourists to stop and buy souvenirs without even look into the eyes. However, the prices here are normally inflated and you can buy the same stuff in the town cheaper.
There are also several costume shops in the area where traditional costumes can be rented. Many tourists (especially local ones) like to dress up in traditional costumes and wander around the village taking dozens of photos.
We’ve started to explore the village by following the map and visiting all the main attractions of Cat Cat Village. As the terrain of the village is hilly, be prepared to go up and down many uneven stairs while exploring the area.
13:45 Yellow Coffee Cup
About 300 meters from the entrance, we found the outstanding Yellow Coffee Cup in the middle of the village surrounded by the gardens. It is definitely a place set up for tourists which is normally full of people as some of the best valley view opens up from this spot.
14:00 H'Mong Traditional House
There are many traditional houses that are open for tourists to walk into. These houses are wooden with three rooms and three doors, separately covered with “Pomu” wooden roof.
Another famous house in Cat Cat Village is called Mud Wall House. It is made as a museum for tourists to understand more about H’Mong people.
Actually, we are not really sure if these are the real houses of H’Mong people as most of the buildings in the village are turned into shops and cafés.
14:10 Flower Garden
There are several flower gardens in Cat Cat Village. Since we were visiting Sapa at the end of the year, fewer flowers were in bloom.
However, we found a really lovely flower garden, called Butterfly Flower Garden. We enjoyed relaxing in the surroundings filled with colorful flowers and climbed up on various wooden platforms to see spectacular views from above. We’ve spent lots of time here.
14:40 Tien Sa Waterfall
We continued walking down and admiring the view of rice terraces, overlooking the waterfall, stream, water wheel, and suspension bridges. The view is breathtaking. There are lots of great photo opportunities in the area to fill up your Instagram profile.
We walked down to the bamboo bridge and crossed the stream to the waterfall. This powerful waterfall cooling down the village is called Tien Sa Waterfall and is one of the highlights of Cat Cat Village.
15:00 Cat Cat Performing Arts
The area surrounding the waterfall is made as a cultural center. There is a free show performed frequently that shouldn’t be missed. We stopped by to see the traditional music and dance performance by locals. Unfortunately, they only performed for less than 15 minutes.
Here you can also see H’mong people making traditional handicrafts such as weaving, carving silver, making hand forged agricultural tools.
15:20 Walking Uphill to the Exit
We started walking to the exit via "come back" route with the next destination being Cat Cat Bridge. From the waterfall area, the distance to the bridge is about 600 meters (at least the map shows like that).
On the way we grabbed some fresh sugar cane juice from one café to refresh and later stopped at the stable for saying hello to local goats and sheep.
15:40 Arriving at Cat Cat Bridge
Cat Cat Bridge is the red bridge at the end of Cat Cat Village. Here we met several people offering a motorbike ride back up to the town but we were not going back yet so refused all offers. If you aren't too keen on the walk back up the hill, just take the motorbike taxi and agree the price before you go to avoid being overcharged. The official motorbike taxi price from Cat Cat Bridge to Sapa Town is 50,000 VND per trip.
15:50 Checking Station No. 3a
We decided to walk back by the road to the starting point of Cat Cat Village. There was a ticket checking station on the way, where the staff asked us to show not only tickets but even photos from our camera to make sure that we have already visited the village on that day.
On the way up, we walked pass local houses and primary school. The best part of our repeated visit to the central area of Cat Cat Village was that the area was pretty much empty so we managed to get some pictures without any tourist on the sight. We could admire the magnificent view of mountain peaks far off in the distance surrounding the entire valley.
16:30 Leaving Cat Cat Village
It took us about 3 hours to explore Cat Cat Village. It didn't take very long to trek back to the hotel but the way up was quite exhausting. On the way back from Cat Cat Village we’ve also made a stop at Atlas View Café. This is an amazing spot to stop by after or before visiting the village. We enjoyed the scenic and peaceful view opening from the café as you can really see the whole valley from here. The drinks were also delicious and reasonably priced. They also have a gallery of artwork pieces inside.
Our Trekking to Cat Cat Village Experience
Cat Cat Village is located a short trek downhill from Sapa. We did a circular walk around the village and it was quite an easy route. As the village is not far from the town, expect it to be very touristy. However, we were lucky enough to avoid the crowds. Cat Cat Village is pretty and picturesque. It is nice to stroll around the village as the scenery is really beautiful, especially in the areas of the waterfall and flower gardens.
However, the village itself is definitely designed for tourists. It looks like many of the buildings have been recently built so we didn't get to experience the atmosphere of an authentic hill tribe village. If you would like to see how the real locals live, choose another village or hire a local guide to bring you to the places most tourists don’t get to see.