You want to plan something adventurous but amazing destination besides those appealing attractions and comfort in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi City? If you like trekking and discovering more about the beauty of mother of nature, Cat Tien National Park will be a perfect choice for an intrepid trip or camping trip.
Cat Tien national park located approximately 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City in the South region of Vietnam. It lies between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat highland city. With the area of 720 km square, this is the place to protect one of the largest areas of lowland tropical forests left in Vietnam.
The surrounding area was originally occupied by the Ma people – especially in the area that is now Cat Loc (in the 1960s eastern Nam Cat Tien was described as uninhabited and Stieng people in western Dong Nai Province). After the formation of the Park, many of these people were re-settled in Talai village, to the south-west of Nam Cat Tien. It was protected initially in 1978 as two sectors, Nam Cat Tien and Tay Cat Tien. Another sector, Cat Loc, was gazetted as a rhinoceros reserve in 1992 upon the discovery of a population of the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros, an occasion that brought the park into the world’s eye. The three areas were combined to form one park in 1998. Nam Cat Tien is contiguous Vinh Cuu nature reserve and, thus, providing an enlarged area for species to breed. The forest is now protected by the Kiem Lam (VN Forest Rangers) with responsibilities for managing poaching, fire control, and other issues. Parts of the park area suffered historically during the war when it was extensively sprayed with defoliant herbicides. However, substantial further damage was done by logging up until the 1990s. To this day these areas have extensive bamboo and grassland cover and trees have not yet grown back.
It would be wrong to confirm that Cat Tien national park is all about trees and forests. Excavations carried out between 1994 and 2003 revealed a group of temples, belonging to a previously unknown Hindu civilization which probably inhabited the area between the 4th century and 9th centuries AD (possibly later). A large number of a number of gold, bronze, ceramic, coloured stone, and glass artefacts, are currently displayed in the Da Lat museum. If you are fond of history, you would be amazed exploring the interesting creation period here. Once coming to Cat Tien National Park, you would feel cooler and fresher than those crowded and noisy cities outside the urban area. The reason for this is that the Park is varied and made up of seasonally flooding grassland and swamp forest. The wetland is bounded to the east, south and west by dense humid evergreen forest with semi-evergreen and deciduous forest in the park itself. To date, more than 1,610 plant species have been recorded, in 162 botanical families. Besides, this is the place where holds a numerous amount of fauna including mammal species, birds, reptile, amphibian and freshwater fish. You would deepen into the wonderful life where only you with your peaceful mind are under the beauty of nature.
Due to the fact that the area is highly seasonal, you would be wondering when is the best time to travel to Cat Tien National Park. You will find March is the hottest time of the year here, however, it will be much cooler in the park than the city. The raining season would fall into Mid May to September. Therefore, October to early December could be the best time for your trekking trip in the forest. Also, at the middle of December to February is the most beautiful time because deciduous trees lose their leaves and it becomes increasingly easy to observe birds and other animals.
The fee scheme is a bit complicated and each trip will involve several layers of fees including separate items for (additional) entrance fees, tour guide and transport. There is a VND 50,000 entrance fee which only seems to get you as far at the Park Headquarters. Expect to pay ‘extra for everything’, unless you have booked a package deal with tour company which is easier and can often work out cheaper in the long run.
With only such a few words cannot describe how awesome and wonderful this destination is. The only thing you need to do now is to arrange your backpack and start to go right then. It could not be more perfect than to release yourself and relax in a different world where you can have a chance to meet the beauty of nature, the Cat Tien National Park!