Cat Tien National Park Wildlife guide – update 2023
The best national park in Vietnam for wildlife watching & Bird-watching, find out why
Cat Tien National Park is a top destination for wildlife and bird-watching in Vietnam. With an area of 71,920 hectares, including the South of Cat Tien, Cat Loc, and the West of Cat Tien, the park is a treasure trove of rare, unique, and endemic species of fauna and flora. It is an important site for scientists, as well as local and foreign tourists.
You may like to read: Cat Tien national Park tours: Birding, herping, wildlife and more
Cat Tien National Park is part of a wet tropical forest complex and one of the few remaining pristine forests in Vietnam. This makes it a significant area not just in Vietnam, but globally. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recognized the diversity of the park and selected it as one of 200 global ecological zones due to its rich biological diversity, including both its land and water areas.
In 2001 Cat Tien National Park has been listed by UNESCO as the 411th biosphere Reserve Zone in the world.
Cat Tien National Park is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are a 9 highlights to look forward:
1. Rare species: Cat Tien is home to a variety of rare and endangered species, including gibbons, hornbills, pheasants, and gaurs.
2. Biodiversity: The park is recognized as one of the world’s 200 global ecological zones by the World Wildlife Fund due to its rich biodiversity.
3. Trekking: There are many trekking trails that take you through the heart of the park, providing a chance to see wildlife up close and personal.
4. Birdwatching: With over 300 bird species, Cat Tien is a paradise for birders. The park is known for its diverse birdlife, including resident species and migratory birds.
5. Wildlife observation: With healthy populations of wildlife, visitors can observe a variety of species in their natural habitats.
6. Photography opportunities: Cat Tien is a photographer’s dream, with its lush landscapes, stunning vistas, and diverse wildlife.
7. Eco-tourism: The park offers a unique opportunity to experience nature and wildlife in a sustainable way, with eco-tourism programs and guided tours.
8. Research and education: Cat Tien National Park is a valuable resource for scientific research and education, with ongoing studies on the park’s flora and fauna.
9. Beautiful scenery: In addition to its wildlife, Cat Tien is also known for its breathtaking scenery, including waterfalls, caves, and scenic rivers.
Visit Cat Tien Np. for wildlife.
Cat Tien National Park is a perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts. It boasts thriving populations of various species including gibbons, hornbills, pheasants, and many others. Visitors have a rare opportunity to spot Gaurs in their natural habitat, making it a must-visit location for those who love to observe and admire the beauty of wildlife. With its rich and diverse ecosystem, Cat Tien is a true haven for nature lovers and a great opportunity to experience the beauty and abundance of wildlife in Vietnam.
Accompanied by a guide, you will likely see some of the stars of Cat Tien on your visit. Looking for a guided tour? Click below for guided tours in Cat Tien. We have visited many of Vietnam’s national parks, but no park beats Cat Tien national park when it comes to Birdwatching & wildlife watching.
Visit Cat Tien national park
Located northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the park can be reached in 3-4 hours by car. You can stay overnight, or for a number of nights, in accommodation that ranges from simple bamboo huts to luxurious lodges. Much of the accommodation is set amid the forest itself, providing ample opportunities for watching the park’s many wild inhabitants.
There is no ATM here so its better that take cash with you
Go with local guide
We don’t tell you this to sell more tours, but simply because it’s the best way to see more wildlife.
And not to get lost…
The local guides know the park from the inside out and know where the animals often forage. More importantly, the guides have well-trained eyes that will help you to discover everything from the smallest to the largest wonders of Cat Tien national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!
Visit on weekdays
Cat Tien national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in Cat Tien are Vietnamese. It is great to see that locals are enjoying their own nature parks, which will only make them more aware of what still survives there. And hopefully helps in the protection of these wonderful places. But you might be looking for a place to get away from your busy daily life.
Try to avoid weekends and national holidays. If your planning only allows a visit on the weekend, it is definitely still worth visiting. But you will have to share the roads and the main attractions like the trails with many locals.
Like in other parks around the world with high visitor numbers, wildlife has learned that people are not to be feared. That’s why the popular parks often offer better wildlife observation opportunities than nature reserves with very low visitor numbers and therefore often bigger problems with poaching. The good news is that generally speaking, Vietnamese do not really like walking. Even less when it is in a jungle. So, even on busy weekends, you might still have the forest to yourself.
Plan a trip for Cat Tien
Do NOT feed the animals
Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In Cat Tien, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaque or mammals “DON’T FEED THEM”
Feeding wild animals can significantly change their behavior. Feeding or leaving unattended food to large animals, such as bears, can lead them to aggressively seek out food from people, sometimes resulting in injury. Feeding can also alter animal behavior so that animals routinely travel in larger groups, which can make disease transmission between animals more likely.
Bring a Outdoor clothings
Most of the time in Cat Tien quite humid and hot, you should prepare suitable clothing and suncream
Bring a compass
This really only applies if you are visiting without a guide. Even though there has been some improvement on the more popular trails, still some trails in Cat Tien are not well-marked. And besides that, there are no good trail maps available. Often (wildlife) trails branch off the original tourist trails and might cause confusion.
All people we have met who thought they had a good sense of direction, get totally disoriented in these jungles. It is easy when following e.g., a river. But once you get into the continuous forest it is really hard. Even the most basic map can help you if you bring a compass. Study the map before you start the trek.
If you do get lost, and know there is a road to the east that cuts through the entire park, a compass will help you find it. Without it, you are completely lost and will rely mostly on luck!
A compass and some basic study of the area/map would have solved this situation. Phone signal has improved a bit in recent years. But still, once you are deeper in the jungle, you won’t be able to call for help. With an analog compass, you do not rely on battery life.
The souvenir shop in the park at the visitor center might have cheap compasses in stock. But to be sure, better bring one from home or buy it before you enter the park, and test if it indeed points in the right direction…
Park restaurants close early?
Where you eat will largely depend upon where you stay as you’re likely to eat most of your meals dinner at least at your hotel or guesthouse. If you are out and about in the national park, you can eat at one of the restaurants at HQ. The Yellow Bamboo Restaurant (Nha Hang Tre Vang) is located next to the information center and is a better option than Dipterocarpus doesn’t ask in terms of food and surroundings.
The menu consists of reasonably priced Vietnamese rice, noodle, meat, and fish dishes – expect to pay around 150,000 VND for a dinner of stir-fried chicken, rice, and a vegetable side with a drink, less if you just want noodles or a stir-fried rice.
Buy leech socks and insect repellent
On our tours, we provide leech socks when necessary, but if you’re visiting the park on your own and plan on trekking in the jungle, especially in the months of Jun to October, buy a pair of leech socks and insect repellent in the souvenir shop in the park.
And wear long pants that you can tuck into these leech socks. You will probably regret wearing shorts.It sounds more scary than it is, leeches are small worm-like creatures of 1 to 3 cm long. They don’t transmit diseases. Though there have been some unusual cases of hookworm entering the bite site.
This is not scary either and definitely not common. But if you start to notice a strong itch a couple days after and see a red trail meandering just below your skin starting from the leech bite site, then it is wise to either take deworm medication or freeze it with nitrogen ice or the freeze spray used for sports injuries.
The leech bite does not hurt, usually, you don’t feel anything at all. The only ‘problem’ with leeches is that if they attach long enough, more than 30 seconds or so, they will inject anticoagulant. When you remove them afterward, they will keep bleeding for quite a while. So, getting blood stains on your clothing is the only real trouble.
For some people, just the idea of being ‘attacked’ by leeches is the biggest issue Lol.
Traveling to Cat Tien National Park, you will not have to worry about the accommodation to stay overnight. There are many options for you to choose from, from the homestay to the resort. Below are some options for accommodation in Cat Tien National Park you can choose to stay.
Ta Lai Long House
Ta Lai Long House, located near the national park, is built to support and improve the lives of local people and raise awareness about nature. Most of the staff in the house are ethnic people; therefore, you can feel their enthusiasm and friendliness. They will help you to have a memorable experience in this land. Staying in the house, you can join kayaking, bamboo rafting, hiking, camping, yoga classes, cooking, and many other exciting activities.
Green Cat Tien Hotel
Green Cat Tien Hotel is located in the central of Cat Tien National Park and managed by the park. The hotel is simple with a few blocks; rooms are with private bathroom and Air conditioning. The hotel has double, triple, quadruple rooms and an 8-bed mixed dormitory. If you travel in a small group to Cat Tien National Park and are on a budget, this hotel will be the right choice for you.
Cat Tien Jungle Lodge
Cat Tien Jungle Lodge is our pick for the best accommodation for overnight near the park; even its location is outside the park, on the river bank, it’s only a few minutes to reach the park headquarter. The hotel has excellent rooms overlooking the river or the lodge’s garden; all of them are en-suite with private bathroom and air conditioning. The lodge has an excellent restaurant with a river view, a lounge bar, swimming pool, and a sauna. Besides, it has a playground for children that makes it suitable for a family trip to Cat Tien National Park.
Travel inside the park
Entering the national park, you can choose to visit by jeep car, bicycle (rent at Cat Tien Tourist center), or trekking yourself. Trekking is a favorite activity among tourists with long trekking roads. By trekking, you will have a chance to visit more places in the national park and to sightsee magnificent nature.
|Cat Tien Entry Fees/tickets|
|Park Entry||per Adult||60000|
|Bike entry||per Bike||100000|
|Crocodile lake||per Person||250000|
|Green Hill||per Person||100000|
|Gibbon Island||per Adult (International)||300000|
|per Children (International)||100000|
|per Adult (Vietnamese)||50000|
|per Children (Vietnamese)||25000|
|Bear rescue center||per Adult (International)||150000|
|per Children (International)||50000|
|per Adult (Vietnamese)||40000|
|per Children (Vietnamese)||20000|
|Transportation from HQ-Crocodile lake |
– Pickup of 8 people max
|Transportation from HQ-Crocodile lake |
– Pickup of 32 people max
What is there to see?
The park is home to a vast array of wildlife, including hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish. Primates are particularly prevalent, especially gibbons and langurs, as are Asian elephants, clouded leopards, and sun bears. However, Cát Tiên’s most impressive inhabitants are perhaps the plants, with the area boasting an incredible 1,610 botanical species.
Originally, Cát Tiên National Park was split into three separate parks, Nam Cát Tiên, Tay Cát Tiên, and Cat Loc. But, when the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros were discovered in the latter, the three areas merged so as to better accommodate their breeding. Rhinoceros are not the only endangered animals to benefit from the protected area either – the park also holds an ape rehabilitation center, a breeding area for Siamese crocodiles, and a number of forest conservation projects.
With such an array of wild inhabitants, it’s easy to assume that Cát Tiên National Park is only of interest to wildlife lovers, but this is definitely not the case. The park provides ample activities for adventure lovers, including some of the best trekking, biking, and boat trips along the Dong Nai River. For those who enjoy learning about foreign cultures, there are also a number of local communities living within the National Park that can be visited, including the Chau Ma and Stieng people.
How to get to Cat Tien national park?
Getting to Cat Tien National Park from Ho Chi Minh City is easy and convenient. You have three options to choose from: driving your own motorbike, taking a private car, or taking a bus.
If you prefer to drive your motorbike, follow National Highway 1A for 67 km to the Dau Giay intersection, then turn left and continue on Highway 20 for 58 km until you reach the Ta Lai crossroads. From there, turn left and drive another 24 km to the entrance of Cat Tien National Park.
However, if you’re not familiar with the roads, taking a bus is a safer option. Buses to Cat Tien National Park from Ho Chi Minh City take about four hours, with prices ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 VND. You can catch the bus from the Eastern bus station, with popular and comfortable options provided by the Thanh Buoi Tourist Bus Company and Phuong Trang Tourist Bus Company.
For a more convenient and time-saving option, we offer a tour that picks you up directly from your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and takes you straight to Cat Tien.
Weather & climate in Cat Tien national park
As Cat Tien has a refreshing and mild climate all year round with an average temperature of 27 Celsius degree, you can come to visit the national park at any time of the year. However, during the rainy season from June to November, the road is marshy, slippery, and hard to trek or go by bicycle. If you have the intention to visit the national park these days, you will have to che ck the weather forecast to avoid the rain, which may ruin your trip.
The best time to visit Nam Cat Tien National Park is the dry season from December to late May. In this dry season, the rainfall is low; the paths are dry and convenient for traveling as well as exploring the wild natural beauty. You will have an opportunity to enjoy your journey in this land fully.
There are some other Cat Tien Post you could be like: