CatCat is one of the close by villages that you can get to without a guide, a good pair of feet and a couple of hours to spare. The trek takes you 250m down the slopes, we had read a lot about it being a tourist trap and constant hassle to buy things but I didn't think it was that bad. After about 1600m you reach a waterfall, we had found some advice from a previous traveller to break away from the main trail and follow the water into a meadow. This was easily the best part of the trek, we encountered only 5/6 people in the next 1.5 hours and felt like a real escape from everyday life. I don't think it reminded me of being in Asia at all and reminded me of previous trips to Canada and New Zealand.
Eventually the trail ran out (I'm told the French constructed this when they invaded Vietnam). There were a few mud trails but without a proper map and no clue we turned back and headed the way we came. The trek back up the slope was tougher in the mid day heat - after a few stops we made it back to our hotel ok.
For lunch we went to a place recommended in my rough guides book. It's called 'Baguettes & Chocolat' and employees and trains disadvantaged children in Vietnam. The food was great, I had the classic Vn open sandwhich with tomatoes, onions, courgettes and Aubergine. A nice change from noodles not that I am getting bored in the slightest!
On the way back we visited a bakery next to our hotel. I ordered a chocolate croissant that didn't resemble anything id seen before. At £0.44 you couldn't really argue and it did taste good!
Continuing the trend of food we ate at 'the hill station' that evening which says it's the only restaurant serving the food of the local people as well as being locally sourced. We dined whilst being sat on the floor, and the food didn't disappoint either; ash smoked sweet potato, fried ginger chicken (with pieces of fried crispy ginger on the side and some kind of soy/chilli dip) and smoked buffalo with greens. The chicken was amazing, also the first time having buffalo - although I'm not sure I still know what it tastes like because of it being smoked.
Temple count: 12
Noodle count: 8
Hours travelled: 33