Located about 150km to the northeast of the southern city of Ho Chi Minh, Cat Tien National Park promises to create opportunity for visitors to explore the nature as well as to contemplate the beauty of mountains, glass-plots, forests of high trees, waterfalls along with diversified ecosystems of rare plant and animal species. It is considered as the largest and most attractive eco-tourism destination in the southeast region.
Stream in Cat Tien National Park
Stretching a vast area of more than 72, 000 hectare, Cat Tien National Park belongs to three Southern provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc. Different from other well-known national parks including Cuc Phuong, Bach Ma and Ngoc Linh, the national park of Cat Tien boasts a terrain of not only forest and mountain, but diversified natural scenery as well. Therefore, the park offers visitors lots of special tourism activities such as bird-watching, camping, boating and green tourism.
There are two main season in the national park: the dry season (which lasts from December to April of the next year) and the rainy season (from May to November).
Statistics show that the Cat Tien National Park is home to 1,610 species of flora, which comprises 724 branches, 162 families, and 75 groups, of which 34 species are listed in the Vietnamese Red Book.
Butterflies in Cat Tien
The park has attracted visitors to discover because of the range of fauna with 77 mammals, 318 birds, 58 reptiles, 26 amphibians and 130 fishes, many of which are endemic to Vietnam and Indochina. Many of the animals in the park are listed in Vietnam’s Red Book and the IUCN Red Book. Among the large mammal species whose presence has been confirmed in the park are Javan rhinoceros, gaur, Asian elephant and the lesser one-horned rhinoceros, all of which are at risk of extinction.
Ancient tree in Cat Tien
Visiting Cat Tien National Park, travelers will learn about centuries-old trees like a 700-year-old redwood (Afzelia xylocarpa) tree, a 400-year-old Tung tree (Tetrameles nudiflora) and a Crape-myrtle (Lagerstroemia) tree through the Bang Lang tour. Bird-watching tours are highly recommended for those who are interested in ecotourism.
In Cat Tien, there are 318 bird species in the park, typifying biological diversity as well as rare genetic types for scientists to explore and research. Thanks to those natural features, bird-watching tours for scientific researchers are launched to meet the demand of studying the flora and fauna of the forest ecosystem.
Black Hooded Oriole in Cat Tien
Particularly, one of the trademarks of Cat Tien National Park is a nocturnal animal tour that offers visitors an opportunity to see the wild animals in their natural habitat. In the untouched forest, sunk in darkness, the centre’s specialized vehicles transport visitors to a green pasture, wet with dew. From 8–9 pm tourists can relax while looking for wild boars chasing each other through the night or for stags and deer grazing freely around the park.
Cycling in Cat Tien
The road leads to Cat Tien
Visitors may come across crocodiles in the Bau Sau. During the rainy season, the pond’s area swells to 2,000ha while in the dry season, it is only 200ha. Therefore, during the dry season it is necessary for visitors to take a 5km walk out to the wetland to see amphibians and reptiles in the wild.
In addition to ecotourism tours, visitors can opt for cultural tours which discover Oc Eo cultural relics and visit Ma and S’tieng ethnic villages in Ta Lai Commune.
On November 10, 2011, Cat Tien National Park was recognised by UNESCO as the 411th World Biosphere Reserved Zone. On August 4, 2005, the Secretariat of Ramsar Convention recognised Bau Sau Wetlands (belong to the park) as the 1,499th Ramsar Site of the world with total area of 13,759ha (of which 5,360ha are seasonal wetlands and 8,399 are year-round wetlands).