Cuc Phuong National Park, one of Vietnam’s largest rain forests is situated in the northern province of Ninh Binh, 120km southwest of Ha Noi. The park has become a hot destination for adventure and nature lovers, complete with wildlife treks and homestays in the communes of Thai and Muong ethnic groups.
The 22,200ha Cuc Phuong National park Ninh Binh – home to 2,000 primates, flora, fauna, a series of caves and several big lakes – was established in 1962 by the Government to preserve forest ecosystems in the northern part of the country.
Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Cuc Phuong National Park Vietnam, including red-headed woodpeckers, silver pheasants and the pitta brachyura.
An Endangered Primate Rescue Centre was built to protect endangered animals, including Delacour’s Langur, the Gray-shanked Douc Langur and the Golden Headed Langur, all of which are endemic primates that exist only in Viet Nam.
In spring, between March and May, the park is aflutter with countless butterflies and covered in wild flowers.
Activities in Cuc Phuong National Park
A special wildlife tour was first organised six years ago, but it still only draws a limited number of adventurers, as the number of wild animals in the park have dramatically decreased in recent years.
The park’s staff suggested that tourists should come during the dry season between September and December.
“Tourists will have more trouble during the rainy season, as leeches and mosquitoes are everywhere. However, in the dry season you won’t be as exhausted after your treks,” park ranger Hai said. It’s very rare chance to see leopards, tigers or bears at night because the number of animals has been reduced due to climate change and illegal poaching.
However, the owston civet, the giant black squirrel, the Indian flying squirrel and the loris could be seen between 7pm and 9pm most days. You can catch the glowing eyes of the civets, squirrels and loris very often these days. The two hours you will spend tracking them down at night will give you an unforgettable experience and a sleepless night!.
Visitors can also trek through a primary forest of century-old trees to meet the giant cho tree (parashrea stellata), believed to be around 1,000 years old.
Cuc Phuong Cave
Cuc Phuong Park is also well-known for its prehistoric cave. The limestone cave, which was excavated in 1966, was one of the earliest discoveries of human habitation in the country, with graves, stone axes, bone-made spears and tools dating back some 7,500 years.
During the excavation 44 years ago, archaeologists found skeletons in three tombs where they believed prehistoric people had lived in the forest 7,500 years ago.
In 2000 archaeologists discovered a fossilised sea reptile called placodontia, the first to have been found in Southeast Asia, dating back 200-300 million years.
Cuc Phuong Homestay
Khanh Commune –home to 100 Muong people – is the one of six communes recognised as a place to make a homestay by the park administration.
The Muong ethnic commune is an ideal place to stop for the night after an entire day of walking around. Tourists can spend the night and see traditional folk dances around a camp fire at night.
The travellers can dance along with the locals, and roast potatoes and cassava roots for dinner. A cheerful night in the stilt house will refresh you for your next day’s journey.