Visit Cat Cat and Ta Phin villages, Sapa on the first day of autumn


After saying goodbye to the city center, we moved to stay at an H’ mong friend’s homestay near the suspension bridge in Cat Cat village. In fact, his family’s house was located deep in the forest, but he rented this house to live on his own, as a location to produce essential oil products, soaps, and bath salts … from leaves and trees.
Cat Cat village is located only 3km from the center, attracting quite a lot of tourists and in some respects, this place is gradually being commercialized by the Kinh people, who come to trade, and the way of exploiting tourism in the super beautiful waterfall in the village is not in the right way. I’m a little sorry. However, when I talked to my friend – Nu and Phuong – a Kinh girl who falls in love with this smart H’ mong guy, I could still see the love of true travel-related traders for Sapa. There is a group of artists and nature lovers who want to preserve the beauty of local products such as linen, indigo dyed fabric, and brocade, etc. choosing this place to live and develop. Our two friends are among them. I still have a lot of hope for Sapa thanks to these people.

From Cat Cat village, we went trekking through the forest, along a beautiful stream to visit Nu’s parents’ house. Sun was like living his true life when he was let to go into the forest. He kept going ahead, often running away for a while before stopping to wait for everyone. So, it’s not easy to take his picture. However, Sun successfully completed the role of a camera dog. Please wait for the videos to see if the view of Sun is different from our views!

Along the way, we met many cardamom pickers. Only after asking them did I know that cardamom was the source of income for many families in the Northern uplands. However, they stood in such hard positions that we could not take any photos. I must say that the day of trekking was very happy and I got to know more interesting things.

Yay, finally we arrived at Nu’s family’s garden. In the garden, there was a persimmon tree with many ripe fruits. Nu climbed up so fast to pick up persimmons. We stood below to catch the red persimmons from him. The persimmons were so sweet!

Sun and we visited the small stall of Nu in Cat Cat village on the way to the waterfall.

Cat Cat essential oil workshop in Cat Cat village was so beautiful. It sold essential oils, soaps, bath salts made from the leaves and trees of the woods. You can visit the Workshop page to see more information if you want to buy the products!

Hey yo, getting back to the homestay, when everyone was bathing and resting, Sun went hunting pigs. Huhu, it’s not a joke. Hun had been living in the city all his life, so he only knew that pets were the home animals. When he came here, people raised pigs on the hill, so he was very happy to take a piglet home. So that night, we had a huge party of roasted pig.

In addition to the roasted pig made by Nu in the local style, my sister and I also made a few more dishes to contribute to the meal. Please wait and see the video clips!

This is a photo of our lovely and delicious food!

In that dinner, there were also Nu’s siblings and the neighbor (the pig’s owner) sitting around the dining table. So warm. Surely this would be a dinner that makes me remember and crave.

Goodbye Cat Cat with many unforgettable memories, we went to Ta Phin village, 10km from Sapa market. While Cat Cat is a H’ mong village, Ta Phin has a lot of Dao people.

The kids were playing near the homestay we lived in. Children here have to take care of themselves from a young age: they walk a long distance to school in the morning, walk home at noon, walk to school in the afternoon, then look after their younger siblings, do the housework, and call each other out to play together, some of them work at a homestay to wash dishes, because the homestay people often give them good food. The Dao people live in wooden houses, every day, they walk to collect leaves, sell brocade products, guide tourists, open embroidery workshops for tourists. It sounds modern and commercial?! I feel that the people here are quite cunning, they do not hesitate to rush into tourists to offer. But they are also very simple, if they are refused, they can wait in front of the door for a long time, if it doesn’t work, they will leave, and maybe they will continue to offer the next day ^. ^ Their lives are so hard. There is no other way! 

A Dao woman who spoke a little Kinh language led us to go trekking in the village. The road was very beautiful, passing by the beautiful houses of the Dao people, and the Mong living area far away. It was cold that morning. We all had fun. There were many dogs in the village. Afraid that they might cause trouble with each other, Sun wasn’t allowed to run around by himself. But in Saigon, Sun is often being led out with a rope, so he is used to it. Saying it is me taking my dog out to play but it’s actually him who dragged me away.

All-day going out made us tired. At night, we roasted chicken in the yard. After we had set up the super-good griller, it rained, so the hard-working man had to use an umbrella and grill the chicken at the same time. It’s another memorable dinner!

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