Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest and largest national park in Vietnam.
Where is it? Situated 120 South-West of Hanoi, with a 22,200 – ha rainforest, Cuc Phuong National Park is the centerpiece of Vietnam’s conservation efforts and one of the most accessible parks in the country.
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.
Looking at “Nguoi Xua” Cave (Cave of the Early Man), you will see the two new 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 today, you can still see their traditional stilt houses. 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.
As the oldest national park of Vietnam, Cuc Phuong is attached to a long-lasting history.In 1960, Cuc Phuong was turned into a forest reserve, and then granted a “National Park” 2 years later by President Ho Chi Minh for reminding his people of the environment’s core role in their life. Yet there had already been some relationship between mankind and Cuc Phuong before this event. The remains of prehistoric men dating 7,000-12,000 years ago have been found in the numerous caves in the park.
Diversified Flora-Fauna. Cuc Phuong is also 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.
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 on Vietnam Red Book of endangered species.
Visiting the park, no one could help keeping an eye on the primates; including macaques, gibbon, Francois’ leaf monkey and slow loris. Besides, this park is the home for other mammals including bats, porcupine, squirrel, leopard, clouded leopard and jungle cat in Cuc Phuong. Migrant species include thrushes, flycatchers, tits, finches, pipits amongst others. Horn-bills can also be spotted in the forest.