Cat Tien National Park is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful national parks. It’s located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam right in the Dong Nai province. UNESCO recognized the park for being the world’s biosphere reserve. If you’re someone who loves nature and are fond of outdoor adventures, you’ll surely love Cat Tien National Park. So if you want to include this beautiful park in your Vietnam itinerary, here’s a guide to help you plan your visit.
How To Get to Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien is sandwiched by the cities of Da Lat and Ho Chi Minh. So if you’re heading to this national park, it is best to base yourself at Ho Chi Minh City. It’s around 167 km. away from Ho Chi Minh.
You can take a bus from Ho Chi Minh going to Cat Tien. There are direct buses from Mien Dong Bus Station and the travel time is around 4 – 5 hours. Take note that the bus will stop along the way to pick up and drop off passengers so it could take a long time. The fare is around $5.
If you don’t mind paying more, you can rent a car with driver from Ho Chi Minh that can drive you all the way to Cat Tien. It’s faster and more comfortable.
How To Get Around Cat Tien National Park
The town of Cat Tien is located along the eastern section of the Dong Nai River and the national park is right along the western section. It’s a small sleepy town and there are no taxis available. Walking is the best way to reach the park’s ticket office. For those who have driver’s license, you can rent a motorbike and drive your way towards the park coming from the town.
At the ticket office, purchase your entrance ticket that also includes the round trip ticket to a boat that will take you across the river and into the park. The ticket costs around $3 and the boat will leave after every 5 min. The first boat trip is at 7:30 AM while the last trip is at 6:30 PM.
What To Expect in Cat Tien National Park
You’ll surely have a great time exploring Cat Tien National Park especially if you’re someone who loves nature. Here are some of the things to look forward to in the park:
- Giant Tung Tree – the park is home to more than a thousand species of flora and fauna and there are still plenty of areas that remain untouched. Some of the trees are huge, and the most popular among them is the giant Tung Tree, which is said to be more than a hundred years old!
- Thousands of butterflies – if you happen to visit during the rainy season, which is around late May or early June, you could encounter thousands of butterflies all over the park. In fact, during this time, the park itself is so green and beautiful that it will seem like a painting.
- Fresh air – by simply being able to travel far from the city and breath fresh air is already a great experience itself! This is what you can expect in the Cat Tien National Park. Here, you can get up-close with nature, away from the noise and pollution of the city.
- Animal rescue and rehabilitation center – if you’re into animals, you’ll appreciate Cat Tien even more. It’s because the park is also home to animal rehabilitation centers. You can visit any of the rescue centers to learn more about the animals that have been rescued.
How Many Days to Stay In Cat Tien
It’s highly recommended to spend at least a day or two exploring the park. The park is massive and its remote location makes it impossible to explore in only less than a day. You can plan to spend at least one night in the town of Cat Tien or if you plan on exploring the nearby areas of the town, you might as well stay for two nights.
If you plan on staying at Cat Tien, there are lots of affordable accommodations that you can book. Some of these are the Forest Floor Lodges, Green Bamboo Lodge, Cat Tien Jungle Lodge, and Cat Tien River Lodge. These are some of the most recommended stays in Cat Tien. There are several other hotels that you can find online. You can also opt for local homestays if you want to live with a local family. Make sure you book your stay in advance.
Cat Tien National Park is definitely worth visiting, especially for nature lovers. Here, you’ll be able to breathe fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature. So if you’re in the process of planning for your Vietnam trip, make sure you include Cat Tien in your list of places to visit in Vietnam.