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“Wonderfully close to nature. Too close.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Cat Tien National Park Bungalows

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Cat Tien National Park Bungalows
Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam   |  
Hotel amenities
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Wonderfully close to nature. Too close.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

After an almost 6-hour motorbike ride from HCMC, we had high expectations of getting close to nature, breathing the forest air and forgetting the city. Boy, did Cat Tien National Park Bungalows deliver!

We arrived without reservation and took a double room for only 690,000vnd, or roughly what a quaint boutique hotel would run you in downtown Saigon. But we were here for nature! We were not disappointed! I am NOT a biologist, so my species identification is not spot on, but I swear we had at least three kinds of forest molds growing on the walls, a door eating rot in the bathroom, a kind of rust on the towels (please let that be rust!), three or four species of wild ants, and what can only be described as an alien bug from 'Starship Troopers' bumping around off the peeling walls. (We managed to eco-consciously trap it between a water bottle and the wall, where it became someone else's problem.) Above all else though, was the full attention to all senses. A jungle predator must have recently vacated the room after marking its territory with urine, for our instinct to flee was instantly activated by the dank air.

The mosquito net did do the job to keep the wildlife out of our bed, thank you very much! Someone had carefully repaired the holes in it with band-aids. A nice touch.

Despite barely concerning the difference between inside and outside, we took a short nap only to be awoken to the screech of wild cats having sex outside our room. A horrible squeal and off-pitch drone permeated the air and seemed to amplify in our room. We opened the door to discover the culprits - a group of locals squawking karaoke mere meters from our room. It continued for hours and could be heard throughout the entire village area.

The water pressure and shower nozzle was enough to perhaps fill a small bucket - if you had enough time. But we only stayed one night. Showering was a long process, trying to rinse the suds off one quarter limb at a time.

We did take the Night Safari, and although we had a Vietnamese guide on spotlight lighting up the way and finding the occasional four-legged critter, there was little explanation as to what we were looking at - despite several capable translators on board. He didn't say a word the whole time, but he did wield a mean torch and machete. Nevertheless, guesses were made - "Was that a red panda?" -"No, I think it may have been a leopard." -"That was not a leopard." -"Maybe a baby leopard." Without really knowing who was right or wrong, we may have seen some deer, a civet cat, a kangaroo, an arboreal otter, a bird and some leeches.

Cat Tien is a nice place. But the accommodation and services offered would give you the impression they want to keep people out.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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19 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013 via mobile

At the end of a 5 day Easy Rider (motorbike) tour from Hoi An I was dropped off at Cat Tien National Park. Prior to my arrival I had exchanged many emails with Hai. She had reserved me a room and also booked me on the early morning Wild Gibbon Trek. She also explained to me the options for getting to Ho Chi Minh City once I left the park. All me emails were answered quickly and she was very flexible as I had to change my dates at least once. So all in all it was a very good first impression.

Upon arrival I was quickly checked in by a very helpful girl called Twee. My room was basic but clean with AC and a hot shower. It cost $27 which I think is overpriced but there are no other real options (or so I thought). I think the Forest Floor lodge is even more expensive (could be wrong). Apparently you can camp for much less on the grounds but not during the wet season. In order to get to the park you will be dropped off at a river crossing. You pay your entrance fee there and are then ferried across to where all the facilities and accommodations are located. I later found out there is a place to stay on the other side of the river (outside the park) for much less.

Within the accommodation area are 2 restaurants which offer ok food. Again back on the other side of the river, outside the park there are some local food options but you may have to pay to be ferried back over (not sure as I didn't try).

I was booked to do the Wild Gibbon Trek the morning after I arrived (Monday morning) It's a 4.45am start and I completely messed up my alarm and didn't wake up until after 5am! I was gutted. I spoke to Twee later that morning and she said she would try to book me again the following day (Tuesday) however it was already fully booked so I chose to stay 2 extra nights and do it on the Weds morning. As luck would have it someone cancelled for Tuesday so Twee came to find me and let me know I could do Tuesday (and therefore only needed one extra night).

For the rest of Monday morning I rented a bike and cycled through the park, it was very beautiful.

The fee for the Wild Gibbon Trek includes a tour of the Gibbon Rescue Center located on Monkey island. I visited the center on Monday afternoon. It doesn't take long but it's very interesting. You don't get very close to the gibbons they have there as they are trying to limit their contact with humans as the goal is to release as many as possible back into the wild. We saw several gibbons in enclosures and also one in the semi free area. It really provided some great background ahead of the trek.

On Tuesday morning (at my second attempt) I managed to get up for the trek. We were out for about 2 and a half hours and saw a male/female pair of gibbons as well as a silvered langur. It really was amazing as we we able to watch them for most of the time as they ate and played in the tree tops.

Twee had booked me on to a minibus to Ho Chi Minh City later that day which cost about $5. The minibus driver was pretty crazy (speeding, overtaking on blind spots etc) but I've heard that's typical. The other option is to get a motorbike taxi from the park to the nearest town and then catch a local bus (bigger and a bit slower).

There are several hikes you can do in the park but they all seem to require a guide. You can also head to Crocodile Lake (15km) fro. Park HQ and camp out.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 days at the park and think Hai and Twee provided excellent service.

When I first tried contacting them I found 2 email addressee. Ecotourism@cattiennationalpark.com did not work but namcattien@yahoo.com.vn worked fine.

If you have time this place is worth a visit.

Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013 via mobile

After a 6 hour bus journey not told exactly where we were going we arrived on a small village in pitch black clueless! Villagers try to sell food claiming none is available, then the room price was $36 for 3 people, the rooms are ok but I've stayed much better for $5, the restaurant further from the reception is the cheapest but still pricey, charged $15 per person for the taxi out, staff were rude and charged us for drinking the water which is in your room on arrival, just a big monopoly, there's no where else to go when you're there so they take advantage

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Cat Tien National Park hotels

Sydney, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We travelled for five hours to get to the park to do the wild gibbon trek. Accomodation was ok. Not great, but what can you expect for the price, and the fact it is run by the national park, as apposed to a tourism operator. The gibbon trek was awesome though. We didn't see any gibbons, but the excitement and dedication of the guide was fabulous. It's nature and you never know your luck, but I think they are managing the tour itself quite well.
The lady at the desk said she would book our bus direct from the park to Saigon - nightmare - don't do it! I would highly recommend getting a taxi back to the main road and getting the big, official buses back to the city. Long story, but basically on an overloaded, not AC'd local bus that took two hours longer than it should, was filled with drinking, smoking locals, and then kicked us off the bus somewhere outside Saigon and shuffled us on to a publi bus where we had to pay again and had no idea where we were going. I get these experiences happen when you travel Asia, but the fact that the national park told us to get this bus, made I feel cheated and very disappointed.
Plus the lady that did my laundry didn't give me back all my clothes, bit disappointing when your travelling light an dryly on all the clothes you pack.
Wud only recommend a visit if you book the gibbon trek, but I think 1-2 days is plenty here.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We stayed at Forest Floor Lodge so cannot comment on the accommodation at the Park Headquarters but were disappointed with the park itself and the quality of the tours on offer by the park staff. It is a long journey to get to the park and we were expecting pristine forest but this is lowland forest and forest fringe vegetation. The bicycle tour was a joke, too long, bumpy and monotonous scenery. The night "safari" was a trip on the back of a vehicle with no cushioning on the seats, down the same path as the cycle tour to drop staff off after work. The river cruise was pleasant but apart from bird spotting, it was a non event and we never stopped at the local minority village which was part of the program and a part we were looking forward to as part of encouragement to local villages to move from snaring and poaching at the park to weaving and supporting tourist services. We were horrified by the so-called Bear Rehabilitation Centre which in our opinion should not be letting tourists see how they keep the bears in the afternoon in small cages. In contrast, the visit to the Primate Rehabilitation Centre started by Alison and Jim Cronin was informative and responsibly conducted, and the early morning Gibbon Tour was definitely the highlight of the visit. After all the clumsily conducted activities we had been subjected to, we thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of the Gibbon Tour - waking early in the morning, walking through the dark forest with torches. waiting silently in hammocks as the forest awakened and absorbing the sounds of the birds and forest as the light seeped in and then the gibbons started callings, thereafter it was a quick walk to search for them and watch them for a few minute to complete the experience. It was very sensitively put together and I would give this tour a 5 star rating for the experience and recommend that visitors to Cat Tien National Park make sure that they book for this tour.

Room Tip: As mentioned, the primate rehab centre and the Gibbon Tour were good tours to select but if you are...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

We stayed at the Cat Tien National Park Bungalows because we couldn't afford to stay at the Forest Floor Lodge. It was not luxurious but we didn't expect it to be for the price. Our room was basic and a bit run down but functional--electricity, a/c, water, mosquito netting. (We used the netting; the bungalows aren't airtight and there are a lot of bugs, not a surprise given that they're at the edge of a jungle.) We enjoyed our meals at the dining hall furthest from the ferry; a traveling companion and I are vegetarian and they provided some delicious tofu dishes. The surrounding jungle is beautiful and there are many signs that it is a healthy ecosystem, which is impressive given its proximity to HCMC. We're glad we got to see it in a way we could afford.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Stayed at Afzelia bungalow for 1 night. Very basic equipment, clean beds, working AC and quite clean bathroom. Provided towels were clean. Room has a slight dank smell. Moskyto net was provided, however I have not heard any moskytos or seen any insects inside of the room. Dining facilities - the one behind reception is better quality, the other one is basic. Our colleague having vegetarian diet had stomach problems (after lunch and dinner in the other one), we (eating meat) were ok. Caught a leech just after 5 minutes in the park, so watch yourself from time to time. I would spend night again considering alternative in Forrest Floor Lodge I don't think the latter is worth of the money - considering you're going to the wild nature this accommodation is more than sufficient.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Cat Tien National Park Bungalows

Address: Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam
Location: Vietnam > Lam Dong Province > Cat Tien National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Cat Tien National Park

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