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Cat Tien National Park

Cat Tien National Park is the reserve of natural resources in Viet Nam with lots of rare, specious and endemic genes of fauna and flora, as plentiful site for scientists, domestic and foreign tourists.The natural area of Cat Tien National Park is 73,878ha including three areas of the South Cat Tien (Dong Nai Province) 39,108ha; Cat Loc (Lam Dong Province) 26,969ha and the West Cat Tien (Binh Phuoc Province) 7,801ha.Cat Tien National Park is a part of the wet tropical forest complex and one of the specious natural forests remaining in Viet Nam. That is why this area is significant not only in Viet Nam but in the world as well.Located in the middle of two bio-geologies changing from Truong Son highland to Southern plain, Cat Tien National Park has 5 types of forest as follows:
- Often green big leaves forest: The majority is trees of Dipterocarpaceae such as: Dipterocarpus alatus, Dipterocarpus intricatus, Dalbergia alatus, Dalbergia mammosa, Afzelia xylocarpa, pterocargus macrocarpus
- Often green leaves with half fallen forest: Mainly are trees with fallen leaves in dry season as Lagerstroemia calyculata, Tetrameles nudiflora, Anogeissus acuminate
- Trees mixed with bamboo forest: This is affected by the human beings, the forest often green with half of which have leaves fallen by forest fire, toxic chemicals, the forest canopy is opened and bamboos have occupied. Popular trees are Mesua sp., Eagerstoernia calyculata, Xylia xylocarpa, two main bamboos are Bambusa procera and Gigantochloa sp.
- Purely bamboo forest: This is also affected by human beings. After the rice fields made by destroying the forest and be ignored creating favorable condition for the growing of bamboos. The two popular bamboos are Bambusa procera and Gigantochloa sp. Forming big parts of forest; There is only La Nga bamboo exists in flooded area
- Flooded plantation bench: Cat Tien National Park has big area of swamp with water resources not polluted yet. In the rainy season, the river water flooded an area of 2,500ha. It is the deepest area among Bau Sau, Bau Chim, Bau Co... Flooded plantation area is favorable location for Crocodylus siamensis, aquatic plants and animals, water birds, freshwater grasses. Big animals such as Sus scrofa, Cervus unicolor, Bos gaurus, ... often gather here in dry season. The popular water trees are: Dai phong tu, Loc vung, Sang do mixed with lau, lach, co de...
Until now, it has been confirmed in Cat Tien National Park that there are 1,610 flora species, 724 branches, 162 families, and 75 groups. In which, 176 species of big trees; 335 species of small trees; 345 species of mini plants, 311 species of floristic composition; 238 species of vine; 143 species of epiphyte, phytoparasite plants; 62 species of semi plants, 38 species of specious plants such as Afzelia Xylocarpa, Dalbergia sp., Pterocarpus macrocarpus, Sindora siamensis, Dispyros martima, Xylia xylocarpa... that have listed in Vietnamese Red Book, 22 species of endemic gene and local endemic trees…
The fauna zone of Cat Tien National Park has typical features similar to the fauna zone in East Truong Son plain, closely related with Tay Nguyen, most outstandingly is the set of hoofs with popular species as Sris scrofa, Tragulus javanicus, Cems unicolor, Muntiacus rnuntak, Bos gaurus, Bos javanicus, Cervus unicolor. Cat Tien is one of very few forests in Viet Nam which wild animals can be observed.
About birds, it includes 351 species of 64 families and 18 sets in which 31 specious and rare species have been discovered and listed in Vietnamese Red Book such as Ciconia episcopus,  Pavo muticus imoerator, Leptoptilos javanicus, Pseudibis Davisoni, Cairina sctulata, Arborophila davidi…
 Reptile includes 109 species of 17 families, 4 sets in which 23 listed in Vietnamese Red Book as: Crocodylus siamensis, Python reticulatus, Python molurus...
Animal consists of 113 species of 29 families, 11 sets in which 38 species listed in Vietnamese Red Book such as: Bos javanicus, Bos gaurus, Panthera tigris, Ursus malayanus, Ursus thibetanus, elephas maximus, pardofelis nebulosa, Catopuma temminckii, Cuon alpinus, Hylobates gabriellae, Petaurista philippensis. There still exists Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus as branch of Java Rhinoceros, with 5 to 7 ones that is threatened to be extinct.
Fish includes 159 species of 28 families in which 1 specie listed in IUCN Red Book (Mon fish or Dragon fish), 8 species listed in Vietnamese Red Book such as Lang bo, Co chai, Co king nha, co loc bong, Co rong...
Amphibian includes 41 species of 6 families and 2 sets. Insect has 756 species, in which including 457 species of butterflies.
The diversity of the park has been recognized by WWF when this international organization selected the park as one of 200 global ecological zones including the land and its water area with its well-known biological diversity.
Not only that, Cat Tien National Park also contains extremely unique cultural values​​, typically Cat Tien Archaeological Site located along the left bank of Dong Nai River, belonging to Quang Ngai Commune and Dong Nai Town (Cat Tien District, Lam Dong Province) with total area of more than 738ha.
According to the archaeologists, it used to be the capital of Funan culture or Chenla, formed in the history period from the 3rd to the 8th century. Recent archaeological excavations unearthed many temples, tombs, roads, brick-kilns... and many objects (statues, vases, mirrors, plates, candlesticks, bells, rings, necklaces...) made of gold, silver, ceramic, stone with finely carved patterns. The most highlight one is a temple on the top of Hill A1 at the upstream area of Dong Nai River belonging to Quang Ngai Commune. The temple is built of brick; its pedestals and pillars are made of green granite with carved patterns; Lingas are made of gold or gold plated silver, only one Linga – Yoni with the height of 2.1m, the diameter of 0.7m is made of green stone. In addition, the temple also has more than a hundred reliefs made of gold piece with carved images describing the dancers, warriors, elephants, cows, lotus…
In 1997, Cat Tien Archaeological Site were recognized as a national historic and cultural relic site by the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).
Cultural values in Cat Tien are also reflected through the unique customs of the S’tieng and Ma ethnic people (over 1,000 people) living in the park. Ma and S’tieng ethnic groups reside scattered along the bank of Dong Nai River (Ta Lai Communce, Tan Phu District) and live mainly by rice cultivation, cattle breeding, brocade weaving, embroidery. With skillful hands, Ma and S’tieng people have made a lot of brocade products with nice designs, fine patterns such as dresses, skirts, bags, wallets… to use and serve tourists. Along with brocade weaving, embroidery, specific festivals, legends, myths and instruments as gongs, drums, bamboo flute, horn… have attached with cultural and spiritual life of the ethnic community here, created the specific cultural identity of Cat Tien National Park.According to the Park’s Management Board, each year, there are tens of thousands of tourists to Cat Tien for study, tourism, conference combining volunteer activities...
On November 10th 2001, Cat Tien National Park was recognized by UNESCO as the 411th World Biosphere Reserved Zone. On August 4th 2005, the Secretariat of Ramsar Convention recognized Bau Sau Wetlands (belong to the park) as the 1,499th Ramsar Site of the world with total area of 13,759ha (of which 5,360ha seasonal wetlands and 8,399 all year wetlands) 
USEFUL INFORMATION 
How to get Cat Tien National Park
Public transportation: From Ho Chi Minh City, buy ticket for the South Cat Tien at the No.5 Stall, Mien Dong Bus Station (Ho Chi Minh City).
Private vehicles:
From HCM city, following the No.1 National Road for 70km to Dau Giay Junction (Tran Cao Van Hamlet, Bau Ham 2 Commune, Thong Nhat District, Dong Nai Province), then turning left to the No.20 National Road about 60km to Ta Lai Junction (Tan Phu District, Dong Nai Province) and turning left again for 24km, tourists will arrive to Cat Tien National Park. 
Tourist service
The management board of Cat Tien National Park offers many tours, including:
- Low difficulty trails for every tourists (walk, bicycle, motor, car, boat):
1. Park headquarters – Ancient Pine Tree
Distance: 3km
Duration: 1.5 h
An easily accessible route in the beautiful surroundings of the Park Headquarters. Tourists will see a variety of trees and enjoy the sounds of the jungle. It is possible to shorten the trip if preferred.
2. Park headquarters – Heaven Rapid (The trek along to Dong Nai River to sightsee charming scenery and colorful bird species)
Distance: 5.5km
Duration: 1.5 – 2 h
3. Visit Ma and S’tieng ethnic villages in Ta Lai Commune (visit museum, community stilts house and learn about daily life of the local people).
Distance: 12km
Duration: 1-2h
4. Park headquarters – Hundred-trunk tree (An amazing and unique tree with hundreds of trunks spanning a stream of pure water which is full all year round).
Distance: 16km
Duration: 1.5 – 2h
5. Park headquarters – Cat Tien Archaeological Site
Distance: 20km
Duration: 4h
6. Park headquarters - Ta Lai (canoes go to downstream of Dong Nai River to Ta Lai Commune to visit museum and have a meal at the traditional long house)
Distance: 12km
Duration: 40 minutes
7. Park headquarters – The South Cat Tien local market (tourists will enjoy great trading atmosphere with variety of goods as chickens, fruits, fishes…)
Duration: 1h
Itinerary:  Crossing Dong Nai River, walking for 1km
8. Night safari
- Duration: 50 minutes
- For every tourists
- Tour description: Tourists can walk, ride bicycle or car along the jungle to observe wild animals such as deer, wild pigs, snakes, porcupines, gaur (rare) and weasels as they forage for food on the grasslands or in bushes during the night.
- The best time to visit is the dry season, about from 19h00 to 21h00 when it has no rain and  moon.
9. Watching birds
With more than 351 species of birds, Cat Tien is the destination for tourists who love studying of birds.
10. Endangered Primate Species Center
The center is located at Tien Island, belonging to Dong Nai River upstream, about 5 minutes by boat from the park headquarters. At here, tourists have the opportunity to learn about primate species in need of safeguarding as golden-cheeked gibbons, black-shanked douc, Asian monkey, culi…; at the same time learn more about the works of the center.
11. Wild Animals Rescue Station
The station operates as a rehabilitation center for sun bears, Asian black bears, leopards, crocodiles, peafowl. Tourists will see them in their semi wild environment as well as learn about works of volunteers.
- Medium difficulty trails (by car, bicycle, motor, walking)
1. Park headquarters
- Botanic garden (admire a collection of more than 300 specific flora species of the Southeast Region and Viet Nam).
Distance: 2km
Duration: 1-2h
2. Park headquarters – Elephant Hill (First, tourists trek through the lowland jungle and enter the dense bamboo forest when climbing the top of the hill. The tour is suitable for tourists who like adventure and achievement of the height).
Distance: 3.5km
Duration: 2.5h
3. Park headquarters – Crocodile Lake (Bau Sau)
Tour visiting Crocodile Lake (Bau Sau) is a classical Cat Tien trekking route. Drive or ride bicycle 9km from the park headquarters then trek 5km to reach the lake. Witness peafowl and water birds dancing in the wild, and enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility. Tourists can choose different routes to the lake depending on preferred difficulty. Overnight stay is popular for nature lovers.
Distance: 14km
Duration: 8h or 2 days 1 night (overnight stay)
4. Park headquarters – Bat Cave (Bat Cave was created by the eruption of ancient volcanoes in hundreds of millions years ago. The cave is the ideal home for the thousands of bats in the park).
- Distance:  9km
- Duration: 1 – 1.5h
5. Long house - Green Hill (tourists will visit the traditional long house in Ta Lai and Green Hill, where volcanoes used to operate)
- Distance: 7.5km
- Duration: 3.5h
6. Park headquarters – C3 (trek through the lowland jungle, cross the stream, visiting the surrounded scenery of Ta Lai and rest at Ta Lai long house)
- Distance: 10km
- Duration: 6h
7. Park headquarters – Da Trang Hill – the long house (after visiting Da Trang Hill, tourists will cross the stream and go through the jungle to arrive Ta Lai long house. At here, tourists will opportunity to enjoy many local specialities)
- Distance: 26km
- Duration: 6h
- High difficult trails (for only experienced trekkers)
1. Crocodile Lake – Ta Lai (Tourists walk from Crocodile Lake through great mixed jungle and swamp to arrive the grassland near Ta Lai)
- Distance: 14km
- Duration: 6h
2. Park headquarters - Ta Lai (the tour helps tourists to experience the life inside the jungle like Robinson and learn about fauna and flora species).- Distance: 18km- Duration: 12h
Some tips for tourists
1. Wear long pants and shirt.
2. Wear soft and dark color hat.
3. Wear sport shoes with anti-squeezed socks and DEP drugs (available at drugstores).
4. Bring raincoat, do not use umbrellas when it rains.
5. Prepare flashlights, binoculars, personal water bottle.
6. All these things need tidy, lightweight, can be added to backpack and easy to carry.

Vietnam Travel Company, Vietnam Travel Agency




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