North-east of Saigon and south-east of Dalat is Nam Cat Tien (Cat Tien National Park) – a very diverse region encompassing rolling hills, flat plains, dense forest and meandering rivers. In 1978, the south and north Cat Tien parks were put under the State’s protection and then in 1992, Cat Loc park was also listed in a joint program to protect the environment. Eventually, in 1998, these three parks joined together to become the Cat Tien National park, under the management of the ministry of agriculture and rural development.
It is now the most important reserve in Vietnam, home to a wealth of flora, as well as much of the country’s endangered wildlife. Amongst the species that live in the 70,000-hectare park are the Asian elephants, yellow-cheeked gibbons and sun bears. You begin by visiting the park’s Endangered Primate Centre, where you’ll be able to see two of the rarest species in the world – the Delacour and Cat Ba langurs.
Whilst in the National Park you will be accompanied by one of the Park Rangers – all of whom are knowledgeably experienced, having been trained to a very high standard. Your programme can be tailored to suit your preferences, however typically you will spend your day hiking and spotting wildlife, including the wealth of birdlife.
Nam Cat Tien is a three and a half hour drive from both Saigon and Dalat. Consequently, it is far better operated as an overnight excursion from either.