Visiting the first National Park of Vietnam

Located 140 km South of Hanoi, Cuc Phuong is the first National Park of Vietnam established in 1962. The botanical richness of the forest is impressive as 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.

This Park is about 70km from the coast and covers an area about 25km long and 11km wide, spanning the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa.

Some tree species have been introduced from Burma, India, and Borneo. Varieties include thousand-year dracontomelum and parashorea trees which can be visited in a one or two hour hike. Coral, vanilla, snow-white, and butterfly orchids are also easily spotted. Large mammals inhabit the park including panthers and bears, but rarely appear. Often seen are monkeys, gibbons, flying squirrels and pheasants. There are also over 120 species of birds and many varieties of beetles living in the park. In April and May swarms of butterflies arrice. At night, million of cicadas create a deafening din, and million of fireflies flicker about.

Lying in a limestone area, Cuc Phuong includes numerous caves. At “Nguoi Xua” (Cave of Early Man), two ancient tombs have been discovered, along with Neolithic remains and evidence of stone implements; there have been similar finds at Trang Khuyet (Crescent Moon), Thanh Minh, and Con Mong Caves. Hang Dan Cave is known for its bat population.

Hiking in Cuc Phuong follows kilometers of trails and passes through old-growth forests, caves, waterfalls and streams. Trekking here also offers opportunities to visit with the Muong ethnic communities living in the park.

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