Ninh Binh


cuc phuong national park - Unparalleled in Beauty and Serenity

By Custom Vietnam Travel | Updated 1/5/2019

Cuc Phuong is Vietnam’s first national park or the oldest national park in Vietnam, is nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, just 120km southwest of Hanoi. This park boasts an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery. Magnificent Limestone Mountains rise up majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe. Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species. This article will help you explore the magnificent wonder.

The beautiful butterfly picture in Cuc Phuong National Park

1. Overview of Cuc Phuong National Park

Situated 120 South-West of Hanoi on 22,200 ha of the rainforest, Cuc Phuong National Park is the heart of Vietnam’s conservation efforts and one of the most accessible parks in the country. With 22,200 ha of rainforest Vietnam’s largest and first national park, a few of its thousands of kinds of plants and animals can be seen with the help of a local park ranger. There is home to a huge diversity of flora and fauna. Inhabitants of the park include 97 types of mammals, most notable are the endangered langurs; 300 species of birds; 36 reptilian species; 17 species of amphibians; 11 species of fish; 2,000 species of vascular plants, and thousands of species of insects, most of who do not bite. A number of species in the park are listed on Vietnam Red Book of endangered species.

According to wiki travel, primates in the park include macaques, gibbon, Francois' leaf monkey and slow loris. Other mammals include bats, porcupine, flying squirrel, small striped squirrel, belly-banded squirrel, and the rare giant black squirrel. In the past Asiatic Black-Bear bears, wild dogs, and tiger have been spotted in Cuc Phuong, but over-hunting and lack of prey have jeopardized the existence of these species within the park. Leopard, clouded leopard and jungle cat may still stalk prey in Cuc Phuong.


The unique pictures of animals in Cuc Phuong National Park

Bird species include Bar-Backed Partridge, Scaly-Breasted Partridge, Silver Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl, Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Laughing Thrushes, Red-Vented Barbet, Green-Eared Barbet, Scimitar-Billed Babblers, Brown Hawk Owl, Scarlet Minivet, Racket-Tailed Drongos, Racket-Tailed Magpie, White-Winged Blue Magpie. Migrant species include thrushes, flycatchers, tits, finches, pipits amongst others. Hornbills can also be spotted in the forest.

An endemic sub-species of sub-terranes cavefish is also located in the park.

Mosquitoes and leeches are present in the park, but they are not as bad as you may imagine and repellent keeps most of them away.

Flora in the park includes multi-layered canopy; trees up to 70m in height; flowers, including, orchids; ferns with amazingly tall leaves; and an abundance of lianes and cauliflory. The park also contains plants used for such practicalities as spices and medicines as well as edible fruits, nuts, and shoots.

On the other hand, the limestone mountains house numerous wonderful caves, beautiful landscape and historical natural remnants such as Trang Khuyet Cave, Chua Cave, Thuy Tien Cave, Nguoi Xua Cave, Con Moong Grotto, San Ho Cave… The Cave of Prehistoric man is the site of one of the earliest discoveries of human habitation in Vietnam. Excavated in 1966, the cave revealed human graves, stone axes, pointed bone spears, oyster shell knives, and tools for grinding dating back 7,500 years ago. These artefacts have long been removed and the cave is open to tourists. The entrance to the cave is littered with picnic refuse and spent incense sticks, but if you duck under the first crevice to the right you’ll find a stairway that takes you 10 meters up for further exploration. Make sure to bring a torch (flashlight)!

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Wonderful picture of the butterfly in Cuc Phuong National Park

2.    When is the best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park

As you have read before, Cuc Phuong National Park is situated in the foothills of the north of Annamite Range, has the area of 22000 hectares of which three quarters are limestone with the height from 300 meters to 600 meters above sea level. The park consists of verdant karst mountains and lush valleys so the climate in Cuc Phuong is kind of tropical monsoon climate, the average temperature in Cuc Phuong National Park is 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit), with a mean winter temperature of 9C (48F). High temperatures can reach over 30C (85 F) and lows are just under zero (32 F). At the low elevations in the valley, the temperature is hot and humid while at higher elevations the temperature drops and frostbite is a threat. On average it rains more than 200 days a year and the average annual rainfall is 2,100mm (7 feet). The rainy season is November to February, the driest months being December and January. The best time to explore the park is between April and May, there are thousands of colourful and beautiful butterflies appear in the jungle around this time, make a wonderful scene for anyone who treks this place.

Duration: 3 Days

Start from Hanoi → Hoa Binh Reservoir (Boat Ride) → Mai Chau Valley (Trekking) → Ninh Binh (Sampan Riding & Bicycling) → End in Hanoi

Duration: 3 Days

Start from: Hanoi → Tam Coc → Bich Dong Pagoda → Hang Mua → Tuyet Tinh Coc → Van Long Nature Reserve → Cuc Phuong National Park → End in: Hanoi

Duration: 4 Days

Start from Hanoi → Mai Chau Valley (Trekking) → Ninh Binh (Tam Coc & Bich Dong) →Halong Bay (Overnight on boat) → End in Hanoi

Duration: 1 Days

Start from Hanoi → Tam Coc (Boat Ride & Bike) → Bich Dong Pagoda → End in Hanoi


Stunning view in Cuc Phuong Nationa Park

3.    How to get to Cuc Phuong National Park

As far as you know that Cuc Phuong National Park is nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. There are several ways to get there, however, we will show you the best ways to go to Park from Hanoi. 

Firstly you can go there by train, you can get the ticket at the station and online at the official site, you can also pay online or at the station with price from $5 to $8, it depends on your seat you book. The train is quite comfortable, an interesting experience and a bit of sightseeing along the journey. However, you will be limited by the time you want to go and it takes around 2 hours and a half to get to Ninh Binh province, then you have to take a taxi to go to the park. 

On the other hand, you can get there by bus, it is an economical choice because the ticket is really cheap. You just need to take a phone call to the bus agency and arrange the schedule. You must remember that the price of a bus ticket varies according to the type of bus you choose. Lots of bus agencies do pick-up service so it will be convenient for the tourists who are not familiar with Hanoi roads. It is the cheapest and the most convenient way to get to Cuc Phuong province, they will take you directly to the park, perhaps it just around 3 hours to get there.

Move on, if you go in a large group, a private car will be definitely better. Even it is quite expensive but it is really comfortable, time is flexible and you can have your own space (no need to worry about getting crammed on a bus). The price is normally around 900,000 - 1,000,000 VND one way. If you go by car, the journey will just take ~2 hours.


Beautiful pictures in Cuc Phuong National Park 

Finally, there are some notes for you when you get into the park: The entrance fee is 30.000vnd for adult and 10.000vnd for children. Tour guides are available for a reasonable fee, just from 20$ to 35$ and can take you on day or night time treks, which is probably the best way to explore Cuc Phuong’s numerous little creatures. And lastly, of course, camera equipment to record your precious memories. The scenery in Cuc Phuong National Park and the surrounding region is stunning so you’ll want to make sure you bring your camera and that the battery is fully charged. I hope you’ve found some useful information and it helps you to have a great trip to Cuc Phuong National Park right away. 

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