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With natural beauty of mountainous area in northwest Vietnam, Cat Cat has been one of the top tourist attractions in Sapa. Let’s see what we’ve got there.

Cát Cát village in Sapa – the most beautiful village in northwest Vietnam

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Northwestern Sapa view from above

Cat Cat is the most popular attraction in Sapa district, just a few minutes of walking distance from Sapa, there is no need to hire a guide but your visit will be better if you have one. There is an entre fee of 40,000 VND (current price could be different, please check before your trip) and you will be able to see the local people living their simple life.

Here you can relieve all the stress from work and enjoy a purely natural environment and unique culture of the local.

Cat Cat village location

Cát Cát village is located in San Sa Ho commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province, which is home to a large number of Hmong people. This is considered one of the top destinations in Sapa.

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.

Anything interesting in Cat Cat village?

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Refresh your soul with stunning view in Sapa

The village has nearly 80 houses along the brick-paved path, some ones on the mountain sides. Following some hundred steps to Cat Cat center, visitors are attracted by the beauty of Tien Sa, Gold, Silver streams and Cat Cat Waterfall where many tourists stop to take photograph on the Si or A Lu suspension bridges..

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H’mong houses in Cat Cat village

Besides cultivating and breeding, they have maintained many traditional handicrafts, remarkably growing cotton, flax and clothing weave. Owing to looms, Mong women have made colorful weaved clothing with many patterns imitating trees, leafs, flowers and animals.

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Innocent gestures of local children

Cat Cat village is famous with manipulating silver, copper or aluminum jewelry, one of traditional and long term handicraft, which has creates extremely sophisticated products. Visiting here, tourists can buy women jewelry such as necklace, arms, rings, etc., as souvenirs.

Primeval nature and unique traditions and cultures of Hmong people in Cat Cat village attract not only Vietnamese but also international tourists all the time.

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The beauty of Cat Cat village in Sapa

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”, etc.


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Red Dao group and its close relationship with Hmong people

Scientific reports show that both Red Dao and Mong groups belong to the Hmong-Dao language group and both migrated from China before gradually separating in Vietnam. That’s the reason why these two ethnic groups have different cultures while they share their living environment. There’s a village in Sapa that shelters both these 2 groups. Let’s take a look.

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Dao people in Sapa

Red Dao origin in sapa

Red Dao ethnic is the second largest group in Sapa, just only after H’Mong group. Their origin is from Yunnan Province, China but this hill tribe migrated to Vietnam starting from 13th century and they live mainly in Ta Phin, Thanh Kim, Suoi Thau, Trung Chai communes.

Red Dao people choose valley or mountain slope to grow maize, rice and cardamom. Traders come to Red Dao houses to buy agricultural products and then sell them for Chinese so the life of the Red Dao people improved quickly.

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Colorful costumes of Red Dao women

The Red Dao often wear red hats, indigo long blouse over trousers with many red and white decorations at the collar, lap. The costume of the Red Dao is considered as the most beautiful costume in any Sapa market. Red Dao women also have a custom of shaving eyebrows and the upper part of the forehead to make them more beautiful. Red Dao people also have their own script based on ancient Chinese language word called “Nom” but only the elderly people can read, understand and write.

Dao people have a belief that dogs are their ancestors so they always respect dogs. In addition, they also have many special traditions such as if any family cook wine, this family has to put a leaf in front of house, to prevent strangers from coming into the house because they think that if a stranger come in, the wine will be burnt.

And in a family, if a woman gives birth, they also put a leaf in front of house, to prevent strangers because they are afraid that the new born child will cry a lot. Boys and girls should not take picture together before marriage.

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Wedding of Red Dao people in Ta Phin village

Anually, they organize many special festivals on the first month of lunar year such as Fire dancing festival on the first and second day of the first month of lunar year, singing contest in Ta Phin, a small village of the Red Dao and H’Mong people, 12km from Sapa town.

This village is famous for unique style of brocades made by skillful hand of H’mong and Red Dao women.


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Red Dao people’ wedding plays a significant role due to its religious as well as historical procedures.

Traditional procedures in Red Dao wedding

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Procedures in the wedding of Red Dao people

The main ceremony will take place in the groom’s house. The bride’s family only prepare a simple party on the wedding day. Long ago, the wedding of Red Dao people usually lasted for 2 or 3 days. However, Red Dao wedding nowadays reduces the length down to 1 or 2 days with exactly the same procedures as before.

Before going to the groom’s house, the sorcerer conducts a ritual to inform the ancestors about the wedding by preparing offerings, which includes pig head, boiled chicken, red glutinous rice, alcohol and lamps. After that, the bride’s brother and sister-in-law put makeups on her and get her dressed for the wedding.

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Wedding dress of a Red Dao bride

Wedding costumes of the bride is traditional costumes of the Dao, consisting of V-shape-collared, knee-lengthed dress with no buttons, and loose sleeves. Going along is a colorful “ao yem” (Eastern bra) with lots of decorations.

Besides, wedding costumes also includes a long conic-shaped head covering, a large embroidered cloth, along brocade belt and many other accessories are required.

Meaning of wedding costumes of the Red Dao

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Special textures of Red Dao costumes

Traditional costumes of Red Dao people feature their close contact, their love and their respect to the nature, especially via textures on Red Dao women’s clothes. Most of the embroidered textures on Dao costumes are trees and other local plants, which express their wish to protect the forest, and human icons to express their unity or simply depict their daily life activities, such as dancing, rice pounding, etc.

Holding a Red Dao wedding

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The delegation included the wedding bride Red Dao

When the bride’s party arrives at the groom’s home, there is a musical welcome with drums and horns. The bride and family prepare in the finest of clothes adorned with silver bells. A massive head dress is prepared and is dressed and draped with red wedding scarves. When she finally takes it off, it will be the first time the two young adults will see each for the first time.

Long ago, the wedding of Red Dao people usually lasted for 2 or 3 days. However, Red Dao wedding nowadays reduces the length down to 1 or 2 days with exactly the same procedures as before.

Preserve and develop folk music of Red Dao people

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Red Dao dances during Tet holiday

With diverse and abundant cultures specially exposed in local festivals and holiday, it’s really important to preserve their traditional dances and folksongs when these cultural features are on the verge of being lost.


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When visiting Sapa, tourists can not enjoy not only the delightful scenery, traditional festivals imbued with national identity, but also amazingly reviving herbal bath of Red Dao people. Made from longstanding types of herb in Sapa, this service of Red Dao people is a must to any tourist in this mountainous town.

Refresh yourself with herbal bath of the Red Dao

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Herbal bath of Red Dao people in Sapa

Red Dao herbal water recipe is a traditional therapy. Many old villagers can read ancient books of the Dao, but no one knows exactly when this therapy was born. In Sapa, no matter it’s summer or winter time, Red Dao people usually make a big fokienia-tubs of boiled-herb water for the whole family to use.

How to make herbal water of the Red Dao

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How to make herbal water of Red Dao people in Sapa

The number of ingredients in Red Dao herbal water can vary from 10 to 100, depending on the purpose of the users and how experienced the bath maker is. Nonetheless, there are some crucial types of herb, including “áp chúa dâu, quyền dòi mây, nẹ nậm & đìn gián, etc.

Accoring to local people’s guidance, wild fokienia wood, also known as “Pemou wood”, is believed to be the best material to make the tub used in herbal bath since Pemou wood aromatic essential oil will be extracted by hot water, making it a wonderful scent which may last for even a few days.

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Relish herbal bath of Red Dao people

Based on the number of users, the amount of herbs used will be different. Normally, herbs is washed carefully and boiled for 3 hours until the water turns into red color with romantically typical scent. Then, it’s mixed with warm water at 2:98 ratio so that the water temperature before using will be about 35C degrees. Average time to take herbal bath is 30 minutes.

After having bath, when your pores open, men should take some tonic alcohol good for kidneys and women should drink docynia indica alcohol to improve their sexual ability. Furthermore, frequent use of this is also good for digestive system and skin care.

Positive effects of using Red Dao herbal bath

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Amazing effects of using Red Dao herbal bath

Herbal bath can help customers, with essential oil of local herbs, reduce negative effects of alcohol in the body, musculoskeletal pain, rheumatism and improve their health. Moreover, Sapa herbs can also a simple natural treatment for skin disease such as ulcer, acnes and psoriasis, etc.

For postpartum mother, herbal bath can help customers boost blood circulation and improve skin conditions. Normally, Dao women use herbal bath one week after giving birth, which recovers their health status and lets them work on farm short after that without any side effects or reproductive system diseases.