Cuc Phuong National Park

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Cuc Phuong National Park
by Michael Stanbury
Cuc Phuong National Park is one of Vietnam’s largest nature reserves. It lies about 2.5 hrs drive south west of Hanoi or an hours drive from Ninh Binh. The reserve itself spans 22,200 ha of natural rainforest and borders Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces.
The Park has established itself as an eco tourism center, based in the middle of the park. The drive from the gates is spectacular through 18km of natural forest, which is best experienced early morning or at dusk when the light is low and streaming through the forest canopy. During the cooler months mist will begin to settle highlighting the sunrays and the tranquillity of the forest.
The park offers lots of hiking trails, all of varied lengths and difficulties, the longest being 16km from the center of the park to the Mong village on the outskirts of the park. Activities such as bird watching, night safari and kayaking on Mac Lake or Yen Quang Lake are also available but the highlight of the park is the camping grounds and bungalows. The park’s central hub and an eco center caters for hundreds of visitors with a large restaurant and evening BBQ.
There is no phone reception in the park. Power is by generator and only for a few hours in the evening. Which makes it perfect for nature lovers and city folk looking to discontent and completely immerse yourself in the lush rainforest of Cuc Phuong.
If you’re lucky to visit in May you’ll be treated to millions of butterflies swarming the park clearings dancing in the sunlight, which in itself is a reason to visit and photographers flock to capture this annual butterfly season.
Be prepared for the mosquitos and the noise of insects and natvie animals, it’s not the quietest of environments especially around dusk, once the sun has set tho there is this amazing silence as the forest goes to sleep. A truly enjoyable and relaxing overnight experience in Cuc Phuong National Park.