Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh

Established as a national park in 1962, Cuc Phuong was the first national park in Vietnam. The national park stretches its area in Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa and Hoa Binh Provinces with total area of 22,408 hectares. Cuc Phuong is 120km southwest of Hanoi.

The terrain of Cuc Phuong includes narrow valleys amid mountains which belong to the Tam Diep Mountain Range. The mountains are mostly karst ones and there are many caves in them. Many caves at Cuc Phuong were home to primitive man who lived here some 7,500-12,000 years ago.

Cuc Phuong National Park in fog
Cuc Phuong National Park in fog

The climate at Cuc Phuong National Park is that of the lowlands of northern Vietnam:
- Spring from February through April with possible light drizzles in January-March and with damp air on some days in February and March, sometimes fog, the temperatures range from 14-28oC;
- Summer from May through August with occasional torrential rains, possible tropical storms in June-August, 29-38oC;
- August from September through October, some rain, fog sometimes, 20-32oC;
- Winter from November through January, mostly dry, some light rain, often fog, below 10-22oC.

Important times of the year for spotting different species:

- Mammals

+June-November: Owston palm civet (Cầy vằn bắc, Chrotogale owstoni), masked palm civet (Cầy vòi mốc, Paguma larvata), large Indian civet (Cầy giông, Viverra zibetha), common palm civet (Asian palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), bat (Doi), giant flying squirrel (Soc Bay), Pallas’s squirrel (red-bellied tree squirrel, Soc Bung Do), Chipmunk (Sóc chuột, Tamias).

Spots for observing these above species: Ancient Tree Trail in the early morning, dusk and evening.

A forest trail at Cuc Phuong National Park
A forest trail at Cuc Phuong National Park

- Birds

+ January-April: silver pheasant (Ga Loi), white-winged magpie (Urocissa whiteheadi), Red-billed blue magpie, Giẻ cùi, Urocissa erythroryncha), pitta (Họ Đuôi cụt, Pittidae), long-tail broad bill (Mo Rong Xanh, Psarisomus dalhousiae), limestone wren babbler (Khướu đá hoa, Napothera crispifrons), scarlet minivet (Phường chèo đỏ lớn, Pericrocotus speciosus), pied falconet (Cắt nhỏ bụng trắng, Microhierax melanoleucos);

+ July: Ruddy King Fisher (Boi Ca, Sa Hung, Halcyon coromanda), common kingfisher (Boi Ca Xah, Alcedinidae);

+ August: Green pigeon (Cu Xanh, Treron);

+ September-December (Resident birds and migratory birds): Black bird (Hoét đen, Turdus merula), Japanese grey thrush (Hoét bụng trắng, Turdus cardis), pitta (Họ Đuôi cụt, Pittidae), white-winged magpie (Giẻ cùi vàng, Urocissa whiteheadi), pipit (Chi Manh, Anthus);

Spots for observing: Park headquarters or center.

The 1000 year-old tree of Cho Chi at Cuc Phuong National Park
The 1000 year-old tree of Cho Chi at Cuc Phuong National Park

- Reptiles

+ April-November: Kill box turtle (Rua Sa Nhan), Viper (Ran Luc,), Banded Krait (Cap Long, Khuc Den Khuc Trang), bamboo snake (Ran Luc, Trimeresurus stejnegeri ) Chinese habu, lizard;

Places: Walking trails.

- Amphibians:

+ April-August: green tree frog after rain.

The water supply
Most of the water supply at Cuc Phuong is from rain water and that by the Buoi River.

Cuc Phuong National ParkCuc Phuong National Park is a system of primeval forests on limestone mountains

The forests at Cuc Phuong includes those on karst mountains and on flat land. The forests at Cuc Phuong are evergreen tropical forest, rain forest, primeval forest,.. which mostly have multi-canopy layers.

Cuc Phuong National Park is home to 2,234 vascular plants (tracheophyte) and mosses (non-vascular plants, bryophyte) of which several species are edible, medicinal and many are listed as endangered in Vietnam’s Red Book.

Sample floral species to be found at Cuc Phuong:
- Vietorchis aurea is endemic to Cuc Phuong National Park.
- Terminalia myriocarpa, the East Indian almond (Cho Xanh).
- Dracontomelon duperreanum or Indochina Dragonplum (an Anacardiaceae species, Cay Sấu).

Cuc Phuong National Park has 1,899 invertebrate species and 659 vertebrate species of which 122 reptile and amphibian species, 66 fish species, 2,000 insect species, 135 mammal species,… Cuc Phuong is home to several primate species of which Delacour's langur (Delacour's lutung, Voọc quần đùi trắng, Trachypithecus delacouri)) is critically endangered and chosen to be the symbol of the national park.

Sample of species to be found at Cuc Phuong:
- Pallas's squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus, Sóc bụng đỏ)
- Clouded leopard (Báo gấm, Neofelis nebulosa)
- Sumatran serow (Sơn dương đại lục, Carpicornis sumatraensis)
- Pangolins, or scaly anteaters (Họ Tê tê, Pholidota).

There are 336 bird species who are permanent residents in the national park of Cuc Phuong, and birders as well as ornithologists will find it of immense interest visiting the park assisted by a birding specialist guide from AdventureGreen.

Ecotourism, adventure tours and bird-watching tours
AdventureGreen arranges a number of tours at Cuc Phuong National Park including trekking adventures (for 2-3 days), bird watching tours (2-3 days), nature tours (from 2 days),… Our trekking tours include overnight stay and cultural experience at local Muong ethnic families. There is also the possibility of going on night safaris observing nocturnal wildlife at Cuc Phuong.

untouched nature at Cuc Phuong National Park
untouched nature at Cuc Phuong National Park

Accommodations at Cuc Phuong National Park
There are ecolodges on the periphery of the national park. Inside the national park, there are guesthouses and simple houses on stilts. If you go on long trekking tours, then the accommodation is at local Muong ethnic people.

How to get there
To get to Cuc Phuong National Park from Hanoi you can travel via Route 1 or Route 6 and Ho Chi Minh Road.