Cat Tien National Park: A Guide For Your Discovery in 2024

cat tien national park

Cat Tien National Park, a lush green space abundant with various plants and animals, holds the title of being a “World Biosphere Reserve” as designated by UNESCO. Within its borders, there are numerous rare animal species listed in Vietnam’s Red Book. In this guide, we will provide essential tips and insights to help you make the most of your visit to this incredible wildlife reserve.


Cat Tien National Park is one of the most beautiful natural reserves in Vietnam, located about 150km from Ho Chi Minh City. The park spans three provinces—Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc—and covers a total area of 70,548 hectares. This large area makes Cat Tien National Park an important and protected natural attraction, where visitors can explore its varied wildlife and beautiful scenery.

Best Time To Visit

Cat Tien National Park has a mild and pleasant climate all year, with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, so it is a nice place to visit anytime. The park has a mild and pleasant climate all year, with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, so it’s a nice place to visit anytime. However, from June to November, the rainy season makes the roads muddy and slippery, which can make hiking and biking difficult. If you plan to visit during the rainy season, it will be a good idea to check the weather forecast to avoid rain that could spoil your trip.

cat tien national park

How To Get There

Motorbike or private car

If you go by motorbike or private car from Ho Chi Minh City, you should find your way to National Highway 1A, then drive towards Dong Nai province. After traveling about 67km, you will reach the Dau Giay intersection. At this point, turn left onto National Highway 20 and continue for about 58 km until you reach the Ta Lai intersection. Turn left here and continue for another 24 km to arrive at the Cat Tien National Park (West Cat Tien).


Taking a bus is a convenient and stress-free option for travelers who want to relax and enjoy the scenery without worrying about navigating unfamiliar roads. The bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City to the national park takes about four hours. Several buses offer direct service from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Tien National Park, making it easy to find a suitable departure time. The trip costs between 80,000 VND and 100,000 VND, and buses leave from the Eastern bus station in Ho Chi Minh City.

What To Do in Cat Tien National Park?

Trekking through the jungle

The main thing to do in Cat Tien National Park is trekking with different trekking routes to choose from.  Each route leads through dense forests and showcases unique sights. Look for ancient giant trees like the Giant Tung tree and the special Bang Lang tree with six separated trunks in the Bang Lang forest. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including crocodiles at Crocodile Lake, as well as various birds and butterflies throughout the park. You can pick up maps of the trekking routes at the main office and arrange for a guide to accompany you for a more in-depth experience.

cat tien national park

Camp overnight in the forest

Camping overnight in Cat Tien National Park is a great way to fully enjoy the park’s natural vibe. There are plenty of camping areas and sturdy tents available for a comfortable camping experience. You can make your camping trip even better with a barbecue, or throw an outdoor party with families or friends in the unique atmosphere of the park. This will be a highlight of your time in Cat Tien Nation Park.

cat tien national park

Have a night safari to the wildlife

  • Ticket fee: $5,89 to $19,65/pax

A night safari would be a unique experience you will not find anywhere else in Vietnam. It is a fantastic way to explore the forest guided by experts. The safari lasts two hours, sets off from the park center at 7 pm, and returns by 9 pm. You will have the chance to see various wildlife, like deer, rabbits, porcupines, wild boars, and gaur in their natural habitat, whether they are hunting, hiding, or simply enjoying the night.

cat tien national park

Savor local dishes 

While taking in the park’s natural beauty, enjoy the unique local food. You should not miss the Luc Binh soup, a local favorite that has a unique taste. Some other delicious options are a hot pot with river fish and wild vegetables, snakehead fish, or perch, which is a specialty in the area.

cat tien national park

What To See In Cat Tien National Park

Immensely biodiverse forest ecosystem

Cat Tien National Park is home to an incredibly diverse forest ecosystem, making it an invaluable gem of nature in Vietnam. Within the park, there are five main types of forests, each with its unique features

  • Evergreen broad-leaved forest: This type of forest is filled with large, lush trees that prefer deep soil without too many rocks. They make up more than 75% of all the plants in the area.
  • Semi-deciduous evergreen forest: Here, you’ll see trees that shed their leaves, making up over 75% of the plant life. They have strong roots and like to grow in shallow soil with rocks.
  • Mixed wood-bamboo forest: This forest has been affected by human activities, resulting in a more open canopy with bamboo taking over in some parts.
  • Bamboo forest: This type emerged after forests were cleared for rice fields.
  • Wetland and semi-wetland: You’ll notice significant changes here depending on the season, with water levels dropping during the dry season and a unique kind of wetland forming when it floods.

cat tien national park

Precious and diverse flora and fauna 

In Cat Tien National Park, you will find a rich variety of plants and animals waiting to be discovered. The park is home to animals commonly found in the East Truong Son plain and Tay Nguyen region, including species like wild boars, Javan mouse deer, banteng, sambar deer, barking deer, and gaur. It is one of the few places in Vietnam where you can see these animals in their natural habitat, making it a fantastic spot for wildlife lovers.

cat tien national park

On the plant side, the park benefits from its unique location, where mountainous and plain climates meet. With an impressive 1,610 plant species, including 31 listed in Vietnam’s Red Book, Cat Tien showcases a diverse range of vegetation. Families like Dipterocarpaceae, Fabaceae, and Lythraceae are particularly prominent and help shape the park’s beautiful landscape while supporting its varied ecosystem.

Bau Sau – Crocodile Lake

  • Ticket fee:  $9,82/pax.
  • Jeep rental: $25,15 for each round trip.
  • Bicycle rental: $5,89/day/pax.

Bau Sau, or Crocodile Lake, is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cat Tien National Park. This large wetland area is home to a diverse range of birds and animals, with the Siamese crocodile being the star attraction. To reach Bau Sau, visitors need to rent a jeep from the forest management board for a 10km ride, followed by a 5km hike through the primary forest. This hike offers a wonderful experience with chances to see various fauna and flora, including monkeys, langurs, and birds.

cat tien national park

At Bau Sau, you can see different types of crocodiles, from common ones to endangered species. Surprisingly, these crocodiles are quite friendly. You can sit by the lake and watch them catch their prey or observe their eyes wandering around the surface of the water. They are more interested in their natural activities and do not pay attention to tourists, so it’s a safe and interesting experience for nature lovers.

Bear Rescue Station

  • Ticket price: $1.18/pax for adults; $0.59/pax for children and the elderly

The Bear Rescue Station within Cat Tien National Park is a popular destination, especially for kids. It is a great addition to any family trip to Vietnam. Here, the kids can see bears that have been rescued and are being looked after because they were in distress or injured. The staff at the rescue station take good care of them, so they are quite active and healthy.

cat tien national park

Dao Tien Island

  • Ticket fee: $1,96/adult, $0,98/children.

Dao Tien Island is just a quick 5-minute boat ride upstream from the Garden headquarters. It is a big center for rescuing endangered primates. Visiting here is a great chance to see these cute primates up close. They even have a special route where small groups can watch wild gibbons. Besides that, Dao Tien has a semi-wild park where rescued animals stay before they’re released into other national parks in Vietnam.

cat tien national park

Ben Cu Waterfall

Ben Cu Waterfall is just about 5km from the park center. It takes roughly an hour on foot, and along the way, you can enjoy the sight of colorful butterflies around the trails. While Ben Cu Waterfall is not huge, it is still stunning. In the dry season, it resembles small streams flowing over rocky beaches. But during the rainy season, the waterfall becomes more powerful, surrounded by lush forests and mist, creating a mysterious vibe.

cat tien national park

Tips When Visiting Cat Tien National Park

  • It is best to spend two days exploring Cat Tien National Park
  • Bring cash because there are no ATMs in the park.
  • Wear dark or long-sleeved clothes, sturdy shoes, long socks, and a raincoat, especially if it’s rainy.
  • Use mosquito repellent to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Consider bringing binoculars for seeing animals during the day and a flashlight for spotting them at night.

Cat Tien National Park is a great place for nature lovers with its diverse plants and animals and plenty of captivating activities.  We hope this guide helps you plan an unforgettable trip to this remarkable wildlife reserve. For more information and to plan your visit, check out our website

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