Cat Tien National Park belonging to the areas of 3 provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc possesses the diversified topography with mountains, hills, plains and sloping flows.
Since 1978, the South Cat Tien and the North of Cat Tien Parks has been under the protection of the State. In 1992, Cat Loc Park was listed as part of the protection program for wild flora and fauna. In December 1988, Cat Tien National Park was established based on the join between these 3 parks, under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
To come to Cat Tien National Park, we follow the Natioanl Highway 20 from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat before turning left at the milestone No. 174 for around 24km.
With the acreage of 74,319 ha, Cat Tien National Park is the preservation of a diverse ecological system with numerous rare and precious plants and animals in which many are listed on Red Book. This place is also attractive for its magnificent surrounding landscapes as well as the cultural identities of the locals.
The path leading deeply into the park is shaded with tree leaves while lightened by sunlight in layer and layer. The atmosphere is resounded with cicadas. Visiting the park, you will be admiring the 400 – year – old conifer. Deeper into the forest, there is a Lagerstroemia of almost 300 years old with the trunk of nearly 3m in diameter and 6 sub-trunks. Many other large and strange plants there include a red wood tree of 3.7m in diameter; a banyan tree having a hollow trunk which is large enough for 3 people to stay on, or a beniamin with a fasciculate root that runs along the stream and can shade for 20 people, etc,. Up to now, it is calculated that 1610 species of plants in Cat Tien National Park belong to 75 species, 162 families and 724 branches. Lots of them are listed in the Red Book.
In this area, Dong Nai River serves as the natural borders cover 3 sides of the park. On the right bank of the river, there are the vast wild forests with primitive canopies where birds make nets on. Inside the forests, numerous kinds of plants are found, typical kinds in the Central Highland region.
In a survey conducted by the Park’s Management Board, there are 77 kinds of animals belonging to 28 families and 10 species; 37 kinds of reptiles in 18 families and 3 species; 326 kinds of bird in 62 families and 18 species; 133 kinds of fish in 28 families, and a wide range of insects. Many of them are listed and worth listed on the Red Book including Ban ten bull, Gaur bull, tiger, bear, wolf, peacock, white-neck crane, black-foot monkey, pheasant (which are found only in Southeast Asia), crocodile, pantheon, and so on. Specially, there is a group of rhinoceros, which has attracted attention of both domestic and foreign scientists.
In November 1998, in Phu My Village, Nam Cat Tien Commune, an ancient village dating back 2,500-3,000 years was discovered. This is a complex of relics, including temples and towers and many artefacts, which proved the combination of the Chan Lap civilization of the south and the Cham Pa civilization in the north. On May 17th, 1999, an automatic set of cameras captured images of a grown-up rhinoceros, which has been classified as a member of the Java rhinoceros family. Among the artefacts found, there is a Linga, 2.1m high, which is the biggest of this kind in the world. Many other vestiges showed that Cat Tien was the Holy Land of the ancient Phu Nam Kingdom built about 2,000 years ago. In addition, there are a lot of sacred worshipping items.