Pu Mat Wildlife guide – update 2023

Pu Mat National Park is a protected area located in the central province of Nghe An in Vietnam. The park covers an area of 94,804 hectares (234,328 acres) and was established in 2002 to protect the biodiversity and natural resources of the Annamite Range.

The park is characterized by its steep mountains, deep valleys, and dense forests, which are home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The park is known for its high level of biodiversity, with over 2,400 plant species and 370 animal species recorded, including many rare and endangered species such as the saola, Truong Son muntjac, and Indochinese tiger.

Pu Mat National Park offers a range of activities for you, including trekking, camping, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. There are several trekking trails in the park, ranging from easy to difficult, that take you through forests, mountains, and rivers. You can also explore the park’s waterfalls and caves, including the Khe Kem and Con Moong caves, which are home to prehistoric artifacts and human fossils.

In addition to its natural beauty, the park is also home to several ethnic minority communities, including the Thai, Kinh, and H’mong, who have lived in the area for generations and maintain their traditional ways of life.

Find out about: Vietnam Birding Tours & National Park Tour

Fact: One interesting fact about Pu Mat National Park is that it is home to the Pu Huong Nature Reserve, which is one of the last remaining habitats of the saola, a critically endangered mammal that was only discovered by science in 1992. The saola is one of the rarest and most elusive large mammals in the world, and sightings of the animal in the wild are extremely rare. The conservation of Pu Mat National Park and the Pu Huong Nature Reserve is crucial for the survival of the saola and other endangered species in the area.

Pu Mat National Park is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:

Here are 9 highlights of Pu Mat National Park that you can look forward to:

  1. Biodiversity: Pu Mat National Park is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, with over 2,400 plant species and 370 animal species recorded, including many rare and endangered species such as the saola, Truong Son muntjac, and Indochinese tiger.
  2. Trekking: The park offers several trekking trails that take you through forests, mountains, and rivers, ranging from easy to difficult, and providing opportunities to see the park’s flora and fauna up close.
  3. Waterfalls: Pu Mat National Park is home to several waterfalls, including the Ban Ve, Nang, and Khe Kem waterfalls, which are popular destinations for you.
  4. Caves: The park is also home to several caves, including the Khe Kem and Con Moong caves, which are home to prehistoric artifacts and human fossils.
  5. Wildlife spotting: Visit to Pu Mat National Park can go wildlife spotting to see a variety of animals in their natural habitat, including rare and endangered species such as the saola, Truong Son muntjac, and Indochinese tiger.
  6. Birdwatching: The park is home to over 300 bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers.
  7. Cultural experiences: Pu Mat National Park is also home to several ethnic minority communities, including the Thai, Kinh, and H’mong, who have lived in the area for generations and maintain their traditional ways of life.
  8. Camping: Visit to Pu Mat National Park can camp in designated areas, allowing them to experience the park’s natural beauty and wildlife up close.
  9. Conservation efforts: The park plays a crucial role in the conservation of many rare and endangered species, including the saola, and you can learn about conservation efforts in the area and how they can help support them
Pu Mat National Park
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Visit Pu Mat for wildlife.

Pu Mat National Park is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, with over 2,400 plant species and 370 animal species recorded, including many rare and endangered species such as the saola, Truong Son muntjac, and Indochinese tiger. You can go on guided wildlife tours to spot these animals in their natural habitat. It’s important to note that you should always follow park rules and guidelines to minimize disturbance to wildlife and their habitats.

Tips

Visit Pu Mat

In addition to its rich wildlife, Pu Mat National Park also offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region. Here are some other activities and attractions that you can enjoy at Pu Mat:

  1. Trekking: Pu Mat has many trekking trails that take you through forests, waterfalls, and hill tribe villages, allowing them to experience the beauty and culture of the region.
  2. Cultural experiences: You can visit ethnic minority villages in the park to learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life.
  3. Scenic drives: There are several scenic drives in the park that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and rivers.
  4. Water activities: The park is home to several rivers and waterfalls where you can enjoy activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating.
  5. Camping: There are several designated camping sites in the park where you can stay overnight and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
  6. Photography: The park’s stunning natural landscapes and diverse wildlife provide excellent opportunities for photography

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 Pu Mat national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!

Visit on weekdays

Pu Mat national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in Pu Mat 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.

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 there 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…

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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 Restaurant 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.

Accommodations

Traveling to Pu Mat 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 Pu Mat National Park you can choose to stay.

What is there to see?

Pu Mat National Park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Here are some of the highlights of what you can see in the park:

  1. Endangered species: Pu Mat is home to several endangered species, including the saola, Truong Son muntjac, and Indochinese tiger.
  2. Birds: The park is home to over 300 bird species, including several endemic and rare species such as the white-cheeked laughingthrush and the grey-crowned crocias.
  3. Waterfalls: There are several beautiful waterfalls in the park, including Ban Ve waterfall, Khe Kem waterfall, and Kim Lien waterfall.
  4. Scenic views: The park offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and rivers.
  5. Forests: Pu Mat has several types of forest, including tropical rainforest, montane forest, and bamboo forest, each with their unique flora and fauna.
  6. Caves: The park is home to several caves, including the Nua cave and the Khe Nua cave, which offer unique experiences for you.
  7. Ethnic minority villages: The park is also home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Thai, Kinh, and Muong, who have their own unique customs, traditions, and way of life.
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Other activities

In addition to wildlife watching, there are several other activities you can enjoy in Pu Mat National Park:

  1. Trekking and hiking: The park has several trekking and hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging, that take you through beautiful forests, hills, and valleys.
  2. Camping: You can camp in designated areas within the park, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the natural environment.
  3. Photography: The park offers stunning views and opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the natural environment and wildlife.
  4. Cultural experiences: You can learn about the customs, traditions, and daily life of ethnic minority groups in the park, through activities such as homestays, cultural performances, and village visits.
  5. River activities: The nearby river offers opportunities for activities such as kayaking and rafting.
  6. Educational programs: The park offers educational programs for you, including guided tours, workshops, and talks on conservation and biodiversity.

How to get to Pu Mat National Park?

Pu Mat National Park is located in Nghe An Province, Vietnam. The nearest city to the park is Vinh City, which is about 100 km away.

Here are some ways to get to Pu Mat National Park:

  1. By car: You can rent a car or hire a taxi from Vinh City to reach the park. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the road conditions.
  2. By motorbike: You can rent a motorbike in Vinh City and ride to the park. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the road conditions.
  3. By bus: There are regular buses from Vinh City to Con Cuong District, which is the nearest town to the park. From there, you can hire a taxi or motorbike to reach the park.
  4. By train: You can take a train from Hanoi or other cities to Vinh City and then hire a taxi or motorbike to reach the park.

It’s important to note that the roads leading to the park can be challenging, especially during the rainy season. You should also be prepared for long journeys and bring appropriate clothing and supplies

Weather & Climate in Pu Mat National Park

The weather and climate in Pu Mat National Park vary depending on the season. The park is located in a mountainous region, so the temperature tends to be cooler than other areas of Vietnam.

The dry season in the park is from November to April, with temperatures ranging from 15-28°C (59-82°F). This is the best time to visit the park, as the weather is dry and the roads are in good condition. The humidity is also lower during this period.

The rainy season in the park is from May to October, with temperatures ranging from 22-32°C (72-90°F). The park can be difficult to access during this time due to flooding and road damage. However, the park is lush and green during this time, making it a beautiful sight to behold.

Overall, it’s best to visit Pu Mat National Park during the dry season to enjoy the best weather and conditions for hiking and exploring.

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