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Want to go off the grid, explore the untouched wilderness and take that much-needed break from the regular, then visit Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. Nestled amidst the lush rainforests, this national park is a biodiverse haven bursting with wildlife. A renowned UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this park is not just a scenic escapade but a refuge for endangered species. Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or a nature lover, a trip to Cat Tien will leave you longing for more as you connect profoundly and meaningfully with the natural world.

Flora And Fauna Of Cat Tien National Park

flora and fauna at the Cat Tien National Park

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Established in 1978, Cat Tien National Park is spread over 72,000 hectares of protected wilderness and is home to a vast array of wildlife, including hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish. Primates, especially gibbons and langurs, are particularly prevalent, as are Asian elephants, clouded leopards and sun bears. However, Cat Tien’s most impressive inhabitants are perhaps the plants. Don’t miss visiting the ancient Hung Tree, a towering height of 20 m and 10 m wide. The park also boasts an incredible 1,610 botanical species.
Its biodiversity is considerable, with over 50 endangered species recorded in the ‘Red Book,’ including the Siamese Crocodile and the Indochina Tiger. Its vast bird population is particularly interesting—well over three hundred species have been identified so far. In addition to the abundance of animals, Cat Tien is also an area of 62 types of orchids.

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Cat Tien National Park Trekking

trekking at the park is one of the wonderful things to do.

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Cat Tien National Park trekking is a thrilling experience for nature enthusiasts. Located in southern Vietnam, this park is renowned for its diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, wetlands, and grasslands, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. One of the popular trails here is the Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) trail, which leads to a tranquil lake inhabited by various species of birds and reptiles. The park has wildlife, including Javan rhinoceros, Asian elephants, and Siamese crocodiles. While sightings of these animals are rare, trekkers can still expect to encounter an array of birds.

Attractions In Cat Tien National Park You Must Explore

Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam is a nature reserve spread over three provinces, Lam Dong, Dong Nai, and Binh Phuoc. Located about 150 km from Ho Chi Minh City, Cat Tien is one of Vietnam’s largest protected areas – a complex network of wetlands and tropical forests nearly bisected by a river into two sections. Here are a few attractions you must check out while exploring the park:-

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1. Cat Tien Sanctuary

Archaeological site featuring Shiva lingam.

Image Credit: Sgnpkd for Wikipedia

Cat Tien Sanctuary is an archaeological site discovered in 1985. Architectural components of Hindu temples feature metal artefacts of gold and copper sophisticatedly carved with images of Gods and Goddesses and sacred animals of Hindu religion, like cows and elephants. The ceramic and stone objects, especially the Linga, are exquisitely carved.
Learn about the traditional life and lifestyle of the Indigenous communities of Ma and Stieng residing in Cat Tien National Park. You will also learn about different legends and stories associated with the communities, their festivals, and the musical instruments connected with culture and religious life, such as gongs and blanks.

2. Ben Cu Waterfall

Rushing waters of Ben Cu Waterfall at Cat Tien National Park.

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It is located about 5km from the Botanical Garden centre and takes about an hour to walk here. Although Ben Cu Waterfall is not huge, rainy seasons add to stronger streams, making it look like a fierce waterfall. But in the dry season, encounter smaller streams with rocky areas. The space surrounding the lush forests and the cloud covering the waterfall creates a mysterious and murky scenery. Watch vibrant and colourful butterflies along the trails. Post-monsoon, visitors will have a chance to admire numerous species of these colourful fluttering creatures. Records state that almost 450 butterflies can be found in Cat Tien National Park.
Besides Ben Cu Waterfall, take time to visit Troi Waterfall, Dung Waterfall, and Mo Vet Waterfall. Troi and Dung Waterfalls have a unique beauty, with pristine water flowing through the cliffs among verdant green forests. This creates an extraordinarily magnificent and stunning landscape. Admire the majestic scenery of the waterfall coming to Mo Vet Waterfall. Birdwatching enthusiasts can find different types of birds, like canaries, crows, kingfishers, and hawks.

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3. Crocodile Lake

A mesmerizing view of the crocodile lake.

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Crocodile Lake, also known as Bau Sau in Vietnamese, is one of Cat Tien National Park’s most popular tourist attractions. Bau Sau is a large wetland area inhabited by many birds and 60 species of rare freshwater fish, but the showstopper of this area is the Siamese crocodile. To get to the Crocodile Lake, rent a jeep from the Forest Management Office for roughly around 10 km. Then go on a hike in the primary forest for an additional 5km. Enjoy the wilderness of nature as you walk in a beautiful tropical jungle. Encounter various species of cheeky monkeys that inhabit the National Park. If you are lucky enough, you can witness peacocks dancing and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the swamp.
You can also go boating in the lake and witness the herd of crocodiles resting on the banks or catching their bait underwater. Also, different wildlife can be caught in the park around the lake for water. You can spot monkeys, deer, and other small mammals from your hide.

4. Cat Tien Bear & Wild Cat Rescue Centre

Lion in the Wild cat rescue Centre to visit near the Cat Tien National Park

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The Cat Tien Bear and Wild Cat Rescue Station contain both species of bears (sun bears and moon bears) along with wildcats that are rescued, rehabilitated and released into the semi-natural forest habitat that helps further rehabilitation and develop their wild instincts. With roughly 40 bears rescued from illegal black-market trading and poaching for their blood in traditional medicine. These distressed bears, which were raised in captivity, are unfit to be released in the wild because of a lack of hunting skills. Such bears are brought here post-rescue and rehabilitated at the centre.
If you want to visit the Cat Tien Bear and Wild Cat Rescue Station, remember that the visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the entrance fee is USD 6.00, which is diverted towards the maintenance of the centre and its facilities.

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How To Reach

visit the Cat National Park via the multiple modes.

Image Credit: Vyacheslav Argenberg for Wikimedia Commons

Travellers and tourists who desire to explore Cat Tien National Park can choose from any one of the options:
By Motorbikes and Cars: If you are considering a motorbike journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Tien National Park, take National Highway 1A. At the Dau Giay junction, take a left turn onto Highway 20. Continue along Highway 20 for about 58 km. Then take a left turn at the Ta Lai junction and proceed for about 24 km to reach the entrance gate of Nam Cat Tien National Park.
By Bus: Buses are a more comfortable option for reaching Cat Tien National Park from Ho Chi Minh City. Hop on buses from some reputable companies to Mien Dong Station. Bus fares typically range from USD 3.00 to USD 5.00 per one-way ticket.

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Cat Tien National Park offers a variety of interests and travel styles. Whether you’re an experienced trekker seeking an adrenaline rush, a nature enthusiast interested in spotting rare wildlife, or a family seeking unique holiday and educational activities, Cat Tien National Park has something to cater to all age groups. Lace up your hiking boots and pack your sense of adventure. Cat Tien National Park awaits to unveil its secrets and leave you with memories that will last forever. If our detailed guide has inspired you to plan, then embark on a trip to Vietnam.

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Cover Image Credit: Vyacheslav Argenberg for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Tien National Park

What is the best time to visit Cat Tien National Park?

December to May is the best time to visit the Cat Tien National Park. During this time the weather will be pleasant and you can enjoy it to the fullest.

What is the entrance fee to Cat Tien National Park?

The entrance fee comes to around USD 3.00. The charges may vary as per the number of visitors and the demand.

What are the timings at Cat Tien National Park?

The park is open from 7.00 am – 6.30 pm all through the year. You can visit during this time and create beautiful memories with your friends, family and loved ones.

How many days are best for exploring the Cat Tien National Park?

Two days would be sufficient for exploring the park. You can also take much more time to explore the park and nearby attractions.

What are a few essentials to carry when visiting the Cat Tien National Park?

Comfortable clothing, long pants, a compass, sturdy boots, mosquito repellents, and leech socks are a few essentials. Carry cash, there are no ATMs around the park.

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