The Complete Guide to Trek in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam
Cuc Phuong National Park is located in Ninh Binh Province, 120km from Hanoi to the Southwest, 45km from Ninh Binh city to the Northwest. Cuc Phuong covers an area of 25,000 ha, bordered by 3 provinces consisting of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. The forest is like a massive natural museum where keeps the most plentiful and richest flora and fauna system in Vietnam.
Possessing lots of precious natural spectacles, diverse eco-system, valuable culture and history, Cuc Phuong National Park so far has become one of Vietnam’s most outstanding and atractive eco-tourism destinations. Refer to Active Travel Asia’s complete guide below to get an answer why you should experience a wilderness trip in Cuc Phuong National Park.
Trekking in Cuc Phuong National Park
Best time to trek in Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park’s climate is tropical monsoon, the average temperature year-round is about 24,7°C. The topography is complex, the primitive forest contains lots of mysterious and unique landscape.
November – January: The weather in North Vietnam is usually cold. As of that, you should avoid visiting the jungle during this time.
April – May: There are thousands of colorful butterflies in Cuc Phuong jungle in this time, creating the most beautifully romantic scenery ever.
May – August: The weather is sunny, sometimes you may encounter heavy rains and storms, but in general, it is the best time to trek in Cuc Phuong National Park in a year.
How to get there
From Hanoi, you can transfer to Cuc Phuong National Park via 2 ways:
Bus: Catch a bus from Giap Bat Bus Station in Hanoi to Nho Quan Bus Station. From there, grab a taxi or hop on a local motorbike for approx 10km transfer to Cuc Phuong National Park.
Motorbike: From Hanoi, follow the Highway 1A to Gian Khau junction, then keep driving along Highway 12 to Nho Quan town and continue further 2km you will arrive Cuc Phuong National Park.
Top 8 things must-do in Cuc Phuong National Park
Trekking in Cuc Phuong primary forest
Cuc Phuong National Park offers various jungle trek routes with different itineraries and time. Some of the trek routes you can self-guide, however, some are accompanied by a park guide and local scout. The route of camping and overnight in Muong Village is the most adventurous. It is considered as the hardest jungle trek route with 30km walking in 2-3 days. The minimum of the group is 5 people.
The route of camping and overnight in Muong Village is the most adventurous
During the time you stay at Muong Village lied besides the poetic Buoi River, the locals with hospitality will bring you a comfortable time and also a chance to explore their unique traditional custom.
Discover the wildlife & Bird-watching
Characterized by rainforests all year round, Cuc Phuong has an abundance of fauna and flora. Many species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam. According to recent Cuc Phuong survey data, there are 2,234 species of higher plants and mosses, of which 433 species are medicinal plants, 229 species are edible plants.
Cuc Phuong has 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, 66 species of fish, nearly 2,000 species of insects and 135 species of mammals. With 336 bird species, particularly endemic to Vietnam and Indochina, Cuc Phuong has long been an ideal spot for bird watchers. Depending on the weather condition, the national park can celebrate a tour to discover the wildlife at night.
One of the most attractive things in Cuc Phuong National Park is the butterfly season from the end of April to the early of May. During this time, get ready to be mesmerized by thousands of colorful butterflies flying around you.
Beautiful butterfly season in Cuc Phuong National Park starts from the end of April to the early of May
Visit the conservation centers
If you have a strong liking to listen to the origin of all kinds of animals, insects, reptiles, etc, don’t miss a chance to stop over at these conservation centers in Cuc Phuong National Park.
Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden: Established in 1985, as one of Vietnam’s 3 botanical gardens in the list of International Botanical Gardens, Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden was built to preserved gene resources and rare plants, forming a semi-wild. The access to the garden is easy with a walking distance of 3 km.
Visitor Centre: Built by AusAid and sponsored by FFI, Cuc Phuong Visitor Centre is the first education centre established in Indochina. This is a tourist attraction and also the place to complete all procedures before getting in the national park.
Endangered Primate Rescue Centre: The centre focuses on rescuing individual rare primates such as Gray langur, Cat Ba langur, etc, from confiscation, releasing animals to nature, research on primate’s living habits and environment.
Langur is one of the endangered animals preserved in Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong Museum: An important study site for students, conservation experts, botanists to visit and research the animals. The museum has been built for the preservation of specimens such as insects, butterflies, haircuts, dragonflies, cicadas, beetles, birds, other animals such as bear, leopard, monkey, etc. It is preserving more than 50 archaeological specimens, including the samples of reptiles dating from 230 to 250 million years ago. Also, Cuc Phuong Museum currently holds 122 dipping patterns, 82 animal samples, 2900 insect species, and more than 12,000 specimens of plants.
Uncover the prehistoric caves
Exploring prehistoric caves are indispensable thing in your trekking trip in Cuc Phuong National Park. Some of must-visited caves include the Cave of Prehistoric Man (contains the vestiges of a shelter and gravec 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 Trang Khuyet Cave (Crescent Moon), etc.
Village cycling & Go kayaking
One of the interesting ways to discover the mystery of Cuc Phuong nature is to rent a bicycle and cycle through the jungle. By this way, you can feel the peace of the mountainous atmosphere and the rhythm of the wildlife, moreover, it is also easier to watch the precious animals in Cuc Phuong jungle.
You should spend at least 2 days in Cuc Phuong National Park if you want to both explore the jungle and join entertaining activities. Don’t miss a chance to experience kayaking on Mac Lake and Yen Quang Lake and immerse yourself in the very green, peaceful and ideal jungle space.
Cycling through the Cuc Phuong jungle is one of most interesting activities
Admire the Thousand year old Tree
The old tree is 45m high, 5m diameter and has a perimeter of more than 20 people embrace together.
Conquer the May Bac Peak (Silver Cloudy Peak)
Standing at May Bac Peak, 648m above sea level, you get a chance to enjoy the panorama of Cuc Phuong National Park, to be mesmerized by the stunning Bai Dinh Pagoda (a Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist complex) and watch the entirely panoramic view of Trang An Eco-tourism Complex in North Ninh Binh. The hiking route to May Bac Peak has many rocky slopes so if you have heart problems, avoid hiking this route. Usually, it takes 4 hours to both conquer the peak and get back to the starting point.
What to eat in Cuc Phuong National Park
Ninh Binh Goat Meat: Ninh Binh goat meat is toned, low fat and aromatic. It is said that because in Ninh Binh there are many rocky mountains, as of that, goats get a chance to run freely so their muscles are firmer, less fat than goats grazing on the hill. To fully enjoy the flavour of Ninh Binh goat meat, you should eat with burned rice and drink with Kim Son wine or Nho Quan wine.
Ninh Binh Burned Rice: A crispy and yummy dish of Ninh Binh province made from steamed rice sliced into flat round shape. After drying, the slices of steamed rice are fried in hot oil pan until they turn yellow and crisp then mixed with spices including fish sauce, pepper, red chilli, onion and salt.
Cuc Phuong Chicken: A speciality of Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh Province. Grilled chicken is the favourite dish of tourists when traveling to Ninh Binh in the winter.
Cuc Phuong Snail: Cuc Phuong mountainous snails are very special. They only appear from March to July in a lunar calendar, after that, they totally disappear without a trace like it doesn’t exist on earth. Cuc Phuong snails are thick with typical taste due to eating algae, leaves and roots of forest trees.
Cuc Phuong National Park offers various trekking routes and lots of interesting outdoor activities, you will find yourself immersed in the fresh nature atmosphere. Let’s escape from the hustle and bustle of the industrial cities for an exploring trip in Cuc Phuong jungle. Active Travel Asia’s local experts are always ready to customize your adventure experience in Vietnam.
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