Often described as the balcony of the Indochinese Peninsula, Vietnam is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist temples and bustling cities. Visitors should never miss out the colonial and oriental charms of the capital Hanoi, the world famous UNESCO listed site of Halong Bay and the pristine sandy beaches in coastal town of Hoi An, Phu Quoc or Con Dao Islands. But the country is also home of thirty national parks scattering along the stretch of its land, including Cuc Phuong National Park – Vietnam’s oldest national park.
Established since 1962, Cuc Phuong National Park’s located some 120km southwest of Hanoi. The limestone mountains and dense forest of the park is home of many Asia’s rarest species, such as Clouded Leopards, Delacour’s Langur and Asian Black Bear. There are also more than 300 documented species of birds, and visitors can see millions of vibrant butterflies along the paths during April and June.
One of our favorite visits in Cuc Phuong is the Endangered Primates Rescue Center, which was founded to reduce poaching and the illegal wildlife trade in the park and its surrounding areas. Talked to us about their works at the center, Hien, a project coordinator said that there was nothing known about the Delacours langur for about 50 years, ever since the species was discovered by the famous French zoologist Jean Delacour in 1930. Then two skins of this world’s rarest species had been obtained from a local hunter, though there was still no sight of a living animal before 1987 in Cuc Phuong National Park.
The center today is home to around 180 primates representing 15 species, where the primates are housed in more than 50 large enclosures, including two fenced semi wild areas of primary forest. These enclosures serve to prepare animals for the release into the wild, and provide opportunities to study the behavior of animals in semi wild conditions.
Of the 25 primate species found in Vietnam, 7 are critically endangered including the Delacours langur - the species is endemic to Vietnam and is found only in the north-central part of the country. Many of these rare primates are kept only at this center in Cuc Phuong National Park.
Next to the Primates Rescue Center is the Turtle Conservation Center, a very exciting place to see while you are here. It’s a rescue and holding center for tortoise and freshwater turtles, which were seen in the extensive illegal wildlife trade in the past 30 years. You can see many terrestrial, semiaquatic and aquatic turtles, which representing 20 out of Vietnam’s 25 native species.
Our highlight activities in Cuc Phuong Park was the exploring to the Cave of Prehistoric Man, which contains the vestiges of a shelter and graves of prehistoric man, dated from 7.500 years ago. The limestone cave was excavated in 1966 with many sharp stone axes, animal bones, oyster shells... all over the cave. There are also three ancient tombs lying right at the entrance of the cave, in which the dead were buried according to a primitive religion.
As a visitor you can also choose to hike three hours to a thousand-years-old tree in the middle of the park, the hiking will bring you the real feeling of being surrounded by tropical dense forests and limestone mountains.
You can to visit Cuc Phuong National Park as a day trip from Hanoi as we did, or you can stay overnight at the nearby Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh or Tam Coc Garden, providing both luxurious and boutique accommodation. Other attractions in the area includes a scenic boat ride in Van Long nature reserve, historical Hoa Lu ancient capital, and Tam Coc which is nicknamed as “Halong Bay on land”. Perhaps, you would like to leisurely cycle to picturesque villages that the area is best known for.
These tourism awakening attractions in Ninh Binh province combine well with Halong Bay, and we can tailor an itinerary that suite your interests. Please contact Incense Travel expert to start customizing your Vietnam tour.