Coming to the northern province of Ninh Binh, after spending time
on historical sites of Hoa Lu Capital (968-1009) such as temples of King Dinh
Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh in Hung Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District, visitors
should not miss Cuc Phuong National Park in Nho Quan District, about 120
kilometers from Hanoi.
Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam. Nestled
between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong boasts
engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery.
Covering over 22,000 hectares at a height of 300-600 meters above sea level, the
forest has magnificent limestone mountains rising majestically from the green
rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe and a rich
habitat for some of Asia’s rarest species. That is why it is no wonder that
researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists alike are drawn to
this corner of the world.
The forest is also an archaeological site as there are many relics dating back
12,000 years such as tombs, arrows, axes and knives.
To Cuc Phuong, travelers firstly will be guided to visit the Cuc Phuong fauna
garden where 2,000 fauna species grow. Then move onto the home of flora systems
with 100 animals, 300 birds, 36 reptiles and fish, butterflies and insects. Some
of the rare animals are panthers, bears, gibbons, flying squirrels and
Lying in a limestone area, Cuc Phuong includes numerous caves, in which the
highlights are ‘Nguoi Xua’ where 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. While Hang
Dan Cave is known for its bat population and Con Mooc Cave is famous for its
The forest is also known for centuries-old giant trees and giant lianas.
Hiking in Cuc Phuong will see you follow long trails and passing through
old-growth forests with long vines wrapped around strangled trees, where you
will visit caves, waterfalls and streams in the forest or stop over at a Muong
village. Tourists will see stilt houses, waterwheels, bamboo rafts, brocade
looms and insights into the unique Muong culture.