Cuc Phuong National Park: Comprehensive Guide in 2024

cuc phuong national park

If you need a break from the busy city life of Hanoi and are eager to explore untouched nature, Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh is a great choice. Come along with us as we start our adventure to explore this national park, what attractions it offers, the activities you can enjoy there, and some useful tips for visitors.

Location And Entrance Fee

  • Location: Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh Province (approximately 120 kilometers from Hanoi and 55 kilometers from Ninh Binh City)
  • Adults: 60,000 VND
  • Students: 20,000 VND
  • Children: 10,000 VND

Cuc Phuong National Park spans 22,408 hectares across three provinces: Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa. Notably, 70% of its area lies within Ninh Binh Province, making it a significant natural attraction in the region.

Best Time To Visit

Cuc Phuong National Park is a lovely place to visit any time of the year, and each season has its special beauty. When you should go to the park depends on what you like to do. Here is some info to help you decide:

  • November to January: During these months, Cuc Phuong gets pretty chilly, however, this is not the safest time to explore because of tough conditions like cold weather and challenging terrain for movement.
  • February to April: As winter fades away, Cuc Phuong starts to warm up, with cool breezes and some sunny days – a great time to visit and see the park’s wildlife in the pleasant weather.
  • End of April to the beginning of May: This is when the park looks its best, with fresh air, flowing waterfalls, and colorful butterflies. The weather is super peaceful and inviting for a wander around to soak up its beauty.
  • June to August: Summer brings warmth to Cuc Phuong, making it a nice escape from hotter places. Even though it is warm, it is still a good time to hike the park’s lush trails.
  • August to October: As autumn sets in, Cuc Phuong becomes a sight to behold with its golden colors. With fewer people around and comfortable temperatures, it is perfect for camping and enjoying nature’s show.

How To Get There

From Hanoi to Ninh Binh

Tourists have several convenient options for traveling from Hanoi to Ninh Binh City. Buses run all day from different spots in Hanoi like My Dinh, Giap Bat, and Nuoc Ngam. Tickets usually cost between $5.9 and $13,76, and the trip takes about 2.5 to 3 hours.

If you like having more freedom, you can get to Ninh Binh by renting a motorbike or car, which is a popular choice. The fastest route by motorbike is via National Road 1A (QL1A), taking about 2.5 hours. while the Hanoi-Ninh Binh Expressway is quicker for cars, taking about 1.5 hours.

From Ninh Binh to Cuc Phuong National Park

Getting to Cuc Phuong National Park from Ninh Binh City is relatively easy, taking around 1 to 1.5 hours by either motorbike, private car, or taxi. However, some travelers find taxis inconvenient because they might have extra fees or charge for extra time. For a more comfortable and easy trip, arrange a pick-up with a private vehicle company or take a tourist bus.

Must-do experiences in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cycling around the jungle

Cycling is an exciting activity to indulge in during your visit to Cuc Phuong National Park. It offers an opportunity to explore the park’s beauty at your own pace, enjoying the peaceful scenery and beautiful views. While biking along the trails, you might even see some of the park’s different animals, which adds excitement to your trip.

cuc phuong national park

Going for a kayaking adventure 

At just around $1,97 per hour, kayaking is an affordable and enjoyable way to explore the park’s landscapes. Additionally, for larger groups looking to add some excitement to their visit, organizing a kayaking race is a fantastic option.

cuc phuong national park

Trekking and hiking through the forest

One of the top things to do for adventure seekers in Cuc Phuong National Park is trekking.  Spending all day walking through the thick forest lets you discover old trees, secret caves, and the lovely Muong ethnic villages along the paths. Although park rangers give out maps for those who want to hike on their own, it is suggested to go on a guided tour for a better experience.

cuc phuong national park

Camping overnight in the forest

The park has great places for camping during the day, where you can put up your tent on flat ground under the trees. If you are staying overnight, there are cement areas set aside for pitching tents, and there is a small fee to cover costs. But if you would rather camp during the day, it is free, giving you more options for your camping trip.

cuc phuong national park

Savoring local specialties 

When you’re at Cuc Phuong National Park, do not miss out on trying the local food. You can try specialties like goat meat, Muong pigs, and hill chickens. Make sure to taste Cơm Cháy Ninh Binh, a popular dish known as burnt rice, showcasing local creativity.

cuc phuong national park
Goat meat

What To See At Cuc Phuong National Park

Precious and diverse flora and fauna 

The Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden is a paradise for wildlife lovers, known for its diverse range of plants and animals. It is recognized internationally for its conservation efforts and is crucial for protecting rare plants and genes. The peaceful atmosphere and beautiful scenery make it the perfect place to enjoy nature.

cuc phuong national park

An incredible array of wildlife

Wildlife enthusiasts will be enthralled by the park’s inhabitants, from amphibians and insects to reptiles and birds. Birdwatchers will have a field day here, with over 300 different bird species to spot, including woodpeckers, starlings, crows, and flycatchers. The best times for birdwatching are in the early morning or evening.

cuc phuong national park

In the late spring and early summer, the park is filled with colorful butterflies, with more than 400 species flying around. If you are interested in conservation, check out the Endangered Primate Rescue Center to see rare primates up close and learn about their lives.

Cuc Phuong Museum

This museum offers a fascinating insight into the park’s biodiversity and cultural heritage, making it a must-see during your visit. Here, you will find a diverse collection of exhibits, including over 13,000 flora and mushroom displays, 450 exhibits of mammals, birds, reptiles, and frogs, 4,000 insect exhibits, and 300 exhibits of minerals, fossils, and ancient artifacts.

cuc phuong national park

Caves of Prehistoric Man

In Cuc Phuong National Park, there are impressive caves that offer insights into ancient times. The rocky areas in the park are filled with remnants of prehistoric life, giving us a fascinating look into past civilizations.

  • The Prehistoric Man Cave reveals primitive human habitation with tombs and stone tools.
  • The Con Moong Cave is another significant site, showcasing evidence of early human life.
  • Trang Khuyet Cave, known as Crescent Cave, offers a unique shape and deep forest exploration. Explore these prehistoric wonders to delve into the ancient history of the area.

cuc phuong national park

Attractions Nearby

  • Hoa Lu ancient town: Explore the ancient streets of Hoa Lu, where you can find old temples and landmarks that share Vietnam’s cultural history. Admire the detailed architecture and soak up the atmosphere of this historic area.
  • Trang An landscapes: Take a boat ride through Trang An, with tall limestone cliffs and calm waters, creating a beautiful natural scene. Cruise past greenery and hidden caves, enjoying the peaceful vibe of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Tam Coc: Relax on a boat trip through Tam Coc with tall limestone formations and green rice fields. Pass under natural arches and through caves, surrounded by the stunning scenery of this famous spot.
  • Mua Cave: Hike up to Mua Cave for stunning views of the Ninh Binh countryside. From the top, there are rolling hills, green valleys, and winding rivers, capturing amazing sights from this elevated spot.
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda: Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda, a large complex that reflects Vietnam’s spiritual traditions. Explore the temples, statues, and gardens, immersing yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of this important Buddhist site.

Tips When Visiting Cuc Phuong National Park

When getting ready to visit Cuc Phuong National Park, make sure you are prepared for an exciting adventure in the untouched wilderness. Here are some helpful tips for your trip:

  • Recommended items to bring: Sturdy walking shoes, ample insect repellent, and a water bottle.
  • Accommodation near the park: Think about staying in a traditional stilt house to learn about the local culture, but keep in mind that it might not be the best option if you are easily bothered by mosquitoes and other biting bugs.
  • For overnight camping: Seek assistance from a park guide and residents for nighttime wildlife observation, and rent camping gear in Hanoi for a comfortable stay.
  • For exploration: While park staff can provide maps, it is advisable to hire a guide for day trips to enhance your experience and ensure safety, especially for longer excursions into the park.

Cuc Phuong National Park offers an immersive journey through its pristine wilderness and cultural wonders. Plan your holiday to Cuc Phuong National Park today and discover the beauty of Vietnam’s natural treasures.

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