Things to do in Cuc Phuong National Park
Trekking & Cycling is the best experience for the life. In Cuc Phuong National Park, there are various jungle trek routes with different levels from few hours to 2 – 3 day duration. Most trekking routes are accompanied by park guide and English speaking guide to ensure the best and most informative journey for tourists. Popular trails will lead visitors to several ancient trees, caves and Muong villages. Ngoc Son Nature Reserve and Pu Luong Nature Reserve can be accessed by longer trek period, with overnight camping sites available. The national park also has mountain bike rental service so cycling through the forest is really a fantastic experience.
During the trekking or cycling trip, tourists will be suggested to explore prehistoric caves in the jungle. The most highlighted caves are: Cave of Prehistoric Man (contains the vestiges of prehistoric man dated from 7,500 years ago), Mang Chieng Cave (a relic of Stone Age residents, containing many artifacts, animal & human remains) and Crescent Moon Cave.
Wildlife discovering and bird watching
Located on 2 limestone mountain ranges and characterized by rainforest all year round, Cuc Phuong possesses a wonderfully rich ecosystem, which draws attentions of many researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists to come and do researches. The ancient forest consists of over 2234 vascular and non-vascular plants, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 135 species of mammals, including the Clouded Leopard, Delacour’s Langur, Owston’s Civet and Asian Black Bear. There are also an incredible 336 documented bird species. The rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong form the site of valuable pale ontological and anthropological vestiges, including a fossilized sea reptile dated at 200 – 230 million years old.
The park organizes wildlife night spotting and bird watching activities to help visitors approach closer to more elusive species in their natural living environment. Bird watching’s ideal time is in the early morning or in the late afternoon.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Cuc Phuong in late April – early May and get ready to be astonished by thousands of vibrant butterflies flying around you.
Visit conservation centers
* Visitor Centre: This centre is the first stop for the journey to discover Cuc Phuong National Park, as well as the place for tourists to complete all procedures before getting further in the park. In the visitor center, tourists will be educated about the natural environment through the pictures, documents and interpretations on display; raise awareness towards nature and environment.
* Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden: Founded in 1985, this is the first botanical garden within a national park and protected area system in Vietnam. Being one of the three Vietnam’s botanical gardens in the list of International Botanical Gardens, Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden preserves gene resources and rare plants, forming a semi-wild, protected enclosure for wildlife release programs. It’s really a wonderful experience to stroll in the garden and listen to Gibbons and birds singing early in the morning.
* Endangered Primate Rescue Center: Established in 1993 through a collaboration between Frankfurt Zoological Society and Cuc Phuong National Park, this center is home to around 180 primates representing 15 species, including the critically endangered Cat Ba Langur, Delacour’s Langur, and the Grey-Shanked Douc Langur. The center provides semi-wild conditions and help to prepare animals for release into the wild.
* Turtle Conservation Center: Fauna and Flora International established this center in 1998 and transferred the management to Cuc Phuong National Park from 2001. This center is considered as the flagship for protection and conservation programs of tortoise and freshwater turtles in Vietnam. It also helps to educate the public about the critical threat to the survival of turtles in Vietnam.
As mentioned above, Cuc Phuong was residential place of Muong minority people long time ago. In recent years, local authority encourages their people to take part in community based tourism as the way to create more income for them, as well as bring more authentic travel experiences for tourists.
Besides camping, tourists can choose to stay overnight in traditional stilt houses, cook and eat with locals, try out bamboo rafting or kayaking in nearby stream or lake. These activities are created to help tourists understand more about the minorities of Vietnam. In addition, at night time, visitors will have chance to enjoy the traditional songs and dances performed by young Muong girls and boys who live around the national park.