Cat Tien National Park, which is one of the most important national parks in Vietnam, belongs to three provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc. The park covers the areas of more than 71,920 ha with three main divided sectors. The South of Cat Tien (Dong Nai Province) is 39.627 ha; Cat Loc (Lam Dong Province) 27, 8521 and the West of Cat Tien (Binh Phuoc Province) is 4,443 hecta.
In 1978, the South Cat Tien and North Cat Tien parks were put under the State’s protection. However, due to the classification of Cat Loc Park in the program for the protection of natural wild animals and flora, in December 1998, these three parks joined together to become the Cat Tien National Park, under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Location: Tan Phu District, Dong Nai Province
Opening hours: 7:30 am to 6:30 pm
Entrance fees: 60,000 VND
Map to the Cat Tien National Park:
Topography of Cat Tien National Park
The topography of Cat Tien National Park varies greatly among the three sectors. The Cat Loc sector is situated at the western extent of the Central Highlands and, consequently, is rather hilly. Although elevations only reach 659m, the hills are relatively steep.
In contrast, South Cat Tien and West Cat Tien sectors are situated in the lowlands of southern Vietnam, at the foot of the Central Highlands. The topography of these sectors is characterized by low, gentle hills; the highest one reaches an elevation of 372m.
Dong Nai River – the second largest river in Southern Vietnam – flows through the national park, forming the western boundary of the Cat Loc sector and the eastern boundary of the South Cat Tien sector. The lowlands in the north of the South Cat Tien sector are poorly drained, and support an area of swamps and lakes, which are fed by seasonal flooding of the Dong Nai River.
Highlights of Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien National Park is part of the wet tropical forest complex and one of the specious natural forests remaining in Vietnam. That is why this area is significant not only in Vietnam but in the world as well.
The diversity of the Park has been recognized by WWF when this international organization selected the Park as one of 200 global ecological zones including the land and its water area with its well-known biological diversity. In 2001, Cat Tien National Park has been listed by UNESCO as the 411th biosphere Reserve Zone in the world.
Let’s come into the forest on a trail covered with tree leaves. The sunshine was on the canopies, layer after layer, the air was humid. The cicadas resounded over the forest. Don’t forget to see a 400-year-old conifer there.
Going further, you can see another tree, called “bang lang”, which is almost 300 years old. There are many other strange trees in the forest: a red-wood tree having a diameter of 3.7m, a fig having a fasciculate root that runs along the stream and can shade about 20 people, a banyan tree having a hollow trunk which is large enough for 3 people.
So far, in Cat Tien Park, 1,610 kinds of flora have been classified which belong to 75 species, 162 families and 724 branches, many of them listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam.
Covering an area of 74,319ha, the Cat Tien National Park has preserved its original natural soil with a diverse ecological system and many rare and valuable species of animals listed in the Red Book of Endangered Animals.
To date, 76 mammals, 320 birds, 74 reptiles, 35 amphibians, 99 fish and 435 butterfly species have been confirmed to occur at the National Park; and there are unconfirmed records of an additional 32 mammals, 19 birds, 9 reptiles, 4 amphibians, 31 fish and four butterfly species.
The park also comprises of such impressive mega fauna as Javan Rhinos (only one of two populations in the world), Asian Elephants, Gaur, Sun Bears and, possibly, Banteng, and wild Water Buffalo.
Cat Tien’s Conservation
Cat Tien is one of the most important sites in Vietnam for the conservation of large mammals. Among the large mammal species that have been confirmed to occur at the national park are Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros, Eurasian Wild Pig Sus scrofa, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Gaur Bos gaurus, of which the later three species reportedly occur at high densities relative to other areas in Vietnam.
The park is harboring the last known population of Javan rhinos in mainland Southeast Asia. Many projects are addressing a number of threats by strengthening law enforcement, habitat management and rationalizing park boundaries following the completion of several ecological and socio-economic studies.
At the same time, these projects assist people living in the park’s buffer zones with small scale community development activities.
A major conservation education campaign will raise awareness and promote a conservation agenda in the wider landscape so that the park’s ecological links with surrounding protected and unprotected forests are strengthened.
What to Do in Cat Tien
Cat Tien National Park receives a growing number of domestic tourists; many of them visit on day or weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City. The national park is also gaining in popularity amongst specialist foreign tourists, including birdwatchers.
In addition, you can spend time at Crocodile Lake, Ta Lai Ethnic Village or Endangered Primate Rescue Center and Bear Rescue Center.
How to Get to Cat Tien National Park
If you go to Ba Vi from Hanoi, you should go to Cat Tien from Ho Chi Minh city. Of all the types of transportation in Vietnam, you can choose a motorbike or bus to reach Cat Tien National Park.
There are buses departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Tien National Park every day. You can choose standard or high-quality one depending on your own demands. The price, therefore, is different among different agencies.
Going by motorbike, you will have a chance to gain many more unforgettable experiences. First of all, go on to the National Highway QL1A for about over 65 km, then turn to Dau Giay crossroads. Turn left to Highway QL20. Go along for 58 km before reaching Ta Lao crossroad. From here, continue to turn left and drive nearly 25 km on this way, you will see Cat Tien National Park right in front of your eyes.
Best Time to Visit Cat Tien National Park
The ideal time for you to go to visit Cat Tien National Park is from December to May each year. It is the time when the weather is cool without lots of rain. As a result, you can enjoy your trip mostly here.
Where to Eat
Near Cat Tien National Park, there are a lot of great restaurants which serve typical Vietnamese cuisine. If you are looking for one, let’s check out the list below.
- Tre Vang VQG Cat Tien Restaurant
Location: Dong Nai, Tan Phu District, Dong Nai
Tel: 097 459 83 10
- Wooden House Food
Location: Nam Cat Tien, Tan Phu District, Dong Nai
Tel: 096 167 97 72
- Green Hope Lodge Restaurant
Location: Nam Cat Tien, Tan Phu District, Dong Nai
Tel: 097 218 46 83
Where to Stay
There are some accommodations available in Cat Tien for tourists to relax after a long tiring day at the park.
- Green Cat Tien Hotel
Location: Nam Cat Tien Ward, Tan Phu District
Tel: 0251 3669 228
- Ta Lai Longhouse
Location: Ta Lao Road, Cat Tien National Park
Tel: 097 416 08 27
- Green Hope Lodge
Location: Hamlet 1, Nam Cat Tien Commune, Tan Phu District, Dong Nai Province
Tel: 097 218 46 83
Tips on Visiting Cat Tien National Park
- Don’t go to visit in the high rainfall because it is very hard to explore around this natural park
- Remember to bring some essential items such as a flashlight, mosquito repellent, a hat, binoculars, long socks, jungle books
For all the aforementioned information, why are you hesitating to put Cat Tien National Park into your list of perfect destinations?