Nature Lovers : Trekking in dense forest in a national park in Vietnam

Cat Tien national park, covering an area of about 720 km2, is one of Vietnam’s largest and, concerning its ecological value, most remarkable national parks. In spite of being situated within the general vicinity of Saigon, it does not receive many visitors. Ready to find the best trails in Cat Tien National Park for an adventurous hike, a Team Builder or a family trip? Read this article … Must See In Vietnam Editor

Situated four hours from HCMC, Cat Tien National Park is a world biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO with rich biodiversity that makes it perfect for a weekend trip.

Trekking in dense forest in national park

Spread over more than 80,000 hectares in the provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc, the park is home to around 1,500 species of animals, including endangered ones such as red-faced monkeys, pig-tailed monkeys, black-shanked douc langur, yellow-cheeked gibbons, and lorises, all of which are listed in the Red Data Book. 

The best time to visit is between December and May when there is little rain and trekking across the dense forest is easier. 

Entry costs VND60,000 ($2.60) for adults and VND10,000 for children aged 6-16. It is free for younger children. 

The ticket includes a boat ride in the Dong Nai River.

Trekking in dense forest in national park

An old Chinese banyan tree that is around 400 years old and over eight meters tall. 

The park also has more than 1,600 species of flora in a pristine forest and a trekking tour allows visitors to explore its immense biodiversity. 

Trekking in dense forest in national park

Trekkers have to stoop low in some places.

Trekking in dense forest in national park

A 400-year-old giant tung (Tetrameles nudiflora) tree with hollow trunks.

Cat Tien is the only national park that offers a nighttime wildlife watching tour, which costs VND150,000 per person.

The hour-long tour allows visitors to sit on an open-top truck and spotlights are used to observe animals coming out to feed at night. 

Trekking in dense forest in national park

Visitors can also take a boat ride in Bau Sau Lake, recognized under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.

The lake, which spans nearly 1,600 hectares during the rainy season, is home to 286 Siamese crocodiles. They weigh 100-150 kilograms on average and live in shallow water.

Visitors can book a tour package, which includes a tour guide and ranger, to view the crocodiles, though they are advised to keep a distance of four to five meters from the reptiles.

Trekking in dense forest in national park

At the edge of Cat Tien National Park lies Ta Lai village, home to Ma, Stieng and Tay ethnic minority groups.

Here, visitors can explore a small museum, stay in traditional bamboo longhouses and try traditional foods made by the locals, who have started offering tourism services in recent years. 

Trekking in dense forest in national park

There are some accommodations available in Cat Tien such as the Green Cat Tien Hotel, Ta Lai Longhouse and Green Hope Lodge with rooms costing VND150,000-600,000 a night.

By Thanh Thu for and a special touch by Must See In Vietnam

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