Cuc Phuong – top Vietnam tourism destination – is 100 km southwest of Hanoi. It lies at the border of 3 provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa, and is 60 km from the sea. The forest is 25000 ha in area, of which one-third is limestone mountains from 300 to 600 meters high against the sea level.
Cuc Phuong National Park was first established in Vietnam. Based on the unique value of geological history, landscape and scientific significance of the flora and fauna in Cuc Phuong, the Prime Minister has signed the Decision No 72/TTg on 07/07/1962 on building protection and Cuc Phuong forest management became the basis of scientific research on plants and tropical silviculture.
Cuc Phuong is popular for being home to a huge diversity of flora and fauna. The botanical richness of the forest is impressive since it supports a wide variety of flora species and patches of primeval forest, including ancient trees with thick clusters of roots, parasitic plants, and ligneous creepers. Surprisingly, some plant species have been introduced from Burma, India, and Borneo. Stepping to the caves, you can find at entrances the ideal moisture conditions and light, you will feel relaxed when seeing clusters of growing orchards as well as vanilla, snow-white and butterfly orchids.
In particular, Cuc Phuong has up to 2000 species of plants. Orchid alone has 50 species, some giving flowers and sweet smell all year round.
As regards fauna, the park has 97 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 36 reptilian species, 17 species of amphibians, 11 species of fish and thousands of species of insects, most of which do not bite. A number of species in the park are listed in Vietnam Red Book of endangered species.
A magnificent limestone landscape
Located on 2 limestone mountain ranges, the landscape of Cuc Phuong is a wonderfully rich ecosystem. Apart from verdant karst mountain and the lush valleys, the limestone formations produced numerous caves, many of which are accessible for exploration. The rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong contain very valuable archeological vestiges such as a fossilized sea reptile, dated at 200 – 230 million years old and evidence of prehistoric people, who lived in the forest some 7500 years ago.
Looking at “Nguoi Xua” Cave (Cave of the Early Man), you will see the two newly discovered ancient tombs along with Neolithic remains and evidence of stone implements. You would have similar findings at the following caves: Trang Khuyet (Crescent Moon), Thanh Minh and Con Mong, and Hang Dan (well known for Bat).
In earlier times, Cuc Phuong was home to the Muong minority people and to this day a few scattered villages around the park’s periphery still house these interesting people and their unique culture. If you visit these communities you can still see their traditional stilt houses, waterwheels, bamboo rafts and brocade looms.
The rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong contain very valuable archeological vestiges such as a fossilized sea reptile, dated at 200 – 230 million years old and evidence of prehistoric people, who lived in the forest some 7500 years ago.
One of the fantastic ways to experience Cuc Phuong is by cycling through the forest. Biking offers the visitor not only silence and a cool breeze, but it is also a great way to discover the more secretive animals and birds of the national park.