Cat Tien National Park is located in the Southern region of Vietnam, approximately 155 kilometres away from Ho Chi Minh City. This forest reserve covers around 720 sq.km. of the few surviving tropical low-lying woodlands of Vietnam. The national park is home to exquisite flora and fauna such as the golden-cheeked gibbon and many types of tropical birds.
Cat Tien is also a popular weekend destination for locals due to its proximity and connectivity to Ho Chi Minh City. Do take a look at the website of the park and book your stay, activities, and safaris in advance if possible. This is also because the park only allows a certain number of visitors at a time.
Cat Tien National Park has two segments, namely Cat Loc to the north side and Nam Cat Tien towards the eastern half, which is often visited and contains the Park headquarters. The Park is located in three provinces: Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc.
It was protected initially in 1978 as two sectors: Nam Cat Tien and Tay Cat Tien. One more sector, Cat Loc, was gazetted as a rhinoceros reserve in 1992 when there was a discovery of a population of the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros. The park is quite famous for the scope of adventure activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and trekking.
The entry to the park is at a flat rate of VND 60,000, however, this is only a base charge and all the other services have to be paid for separately, the rates for these are displayed on the park's official website. These can be booked directly from there itself.
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Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre
The centre is situated on Dao Tien Island. It’s 5 min up-stream by boat from the landing near Park Headquarters (boats depart at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.).It is known for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of endangered primates, all victims of illegal wildlife trade, and the animals found in the region. Such animals include golden-cheeked gibbons, black-shanked douc, silvered langur, and pygmy loris.
Cat Tien Bear Rescue Centre
This conservation centre accommodates Sun bears and Asian black bears which have been rescued from the cruel and illegal trade. In the morning, black bears can be seen from a viewing platform, but by early afternoon they prefer to return to their cages for shelter. There are also crocodiles, peafowls, and a few gibbons to see in this area, adjacent to the Park Headquarters.
Bau Sau Lake
Also known as the crocodile lake, this lake is located slightly towards the interior of the park and is home to more than 200 crocodiles. Reachable both by cycle and through a trek, the lake is well-suited for wildlife enthusiasts. The 5km trek takes about 3 hours while a bicycle ride takes a longer route but shorter time.