Escape to Serenity: Embark on a Tranquil Retreat in Cuc Phuong National Park

Nestled amidst a mesmerizing tapestry of verdant flora, Cuc Phuong National Park stands as an idyllic sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and tranquility seekers. This haven, a stone's throw from the vibrant capital of Hanoi, offers a breathtaking escape into a world of ecological wonders.

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Situated 120 kilometers south of Hanoi and about 70 kilometers northwest of Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong National Park is a sought-after eco-tourism destination for tourists seeking weekend getaways or short vacations. The travel time is approximately 2 hours from Hanoi and 1 to 1.5 hours from Thanh Hoa. Visitors can choose the route from Bim Son to Tam Diep to enter Nho Quan district in Ninh Binh. The roadside is adorned with lush green pineapple and acacia hills.

Situated 120 kilometers south of Hanoi and about 70 kilometers northwest of Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong National Park is an ideal eco-tourism destination for tourists seeking weekend getaways or short vacations. Photo: Vinpearl

Cuc Phuong National Park encompasses a vast area of 22,408 hectares, spanning three provinces: Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa. It is roughly 120 kilometers from Hanoi and 55 kilometers from Ninh Binh City. Ninh Binh Province claims approximately 70 percent of the total area.

Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong National Park holds the distinction of being Vietnam’s first and largest national park. It is a haven for a diverse array of flora and fauna, encompassing a dense forest teeming with ancient trees, botanical gardens, and a plethora of birds, mammals, reptiles, and vibrant butterflies. The park also boasts two animal sanctuaries.

Cuc Phuong National Park spans an area of 22,408 hectares. Photo: Trang An Retreat

Nestled amidst the Tam Diep mountain range, Cuc Phuong National Park spans a total area of 22,408 hectares, renowned for its exceptional natural landscape and remarkable biodiversity.

Cuc Phuong National Park is home to an astonishing 336 bird species, 135 animal species, 122 reptile species, and over 2,234 plant species.

The park’s diverse flora, boasting over 2000 species, contributes to a rich ecosystem. Towering giant trees, some reaching ages of up to 100 years, are adorned with delicate vines and vibrant flowers, creating a breathtaking and enchanting scene.

The park’s diverse flora, boasting over 2000 species, contributes to a rich ecosystem. Photo: Bao Ninh Binh

Cuc Phuong National Park not only boasts an impressive variety of species but also offers the opportunity to encounter species endemic to Vietnam. The Delacour’s langur, once believed to be extinct, now thrives alongside other exotic species including the rare Niec Hang fish, clouded leopards, serows, and red-bellied squirrels.

A visit to Cuc Phuong National Park Ninh Binh would be incomplete without exploring the magnificent caves nestled within the forest. Cuc Phuong’s rocky outcrops are a treasure trove of priceless paleontological and anthropological remains, including a petrified sea reptile dating back 200 to 230 million years. The numerous mountain caves also contain remnants of prehistoric people who inhabited the forest around 7,500 years ago.

After navigating the tree-lined corridor and ascending the steep stairs, visitors are rewarded with the tranquil scenery and the entrance to the Prehistoric Men cave. This cave served as a dwelling for primitive humans who lived in Ninh Binh between 7,000 and 12,500 years ago. Visitors can also discover two recently discovered ancient tombs, Neolithic bones, and evidence of stone tools.

A visit to Cuc Phuong National Park Ninh Binh would be incomplete without exploring the magnificent caves nestled within the forest. Photo: Origin Vietnam

In addition to the Prehistoric Men Cave, Cuc Phuong forest also offers Son Cung Cave, Con Moong Cave, and local villages, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of the culture and lifestyle of this region.

The Cuc Phuong Museum is a must-visit destination within the Cuc Phuong National Park. It houses over 13,000 exhibits of flora and mushrooms, 450 exhibits of mammals, birds, reptiles, and frogs, 4,000 exhibits of insects, and 300 exhibits of minerals, fossils, and ancient artifacts.

May Bac Peak, standing at an elevation of 648 meters, is the highest peak in Cuc Phuong National Park. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the park’s forest and lowlands, as well as the historic capital Hoa Lu and Bai Dinh Pagoda. The trail to May Bac Peak is a popular hiking destination for adventurous travelers.

The swarms of butterflies that gather in the park around late spring and early summer are one of the most famous attractions of this place. Photo: GetYourGuide

Travelers seeking relaxation can find solace at the Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden, Vietnam’s first botanical garden. Established in 1985, it is an integral part of Vietnam’s system of national parks and protected areas. Recognized as one of Vietnam’s three botanical gardens listed on the International Botanical Gardens list, this garden is dedicated to preserving genetic resources and rare plants, and serves as a semi-wild protected area for wildlife release programs.

The national park is an ideal location for camping. Photo: Local Vietnam

The ideal time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is between December and May, when the weather is cool and sunny, providing optimal conditions for outdoor activities.

The park is renowned for the swarms of butterflies that gather in late spring and early summer, making it a popular destination for butterfly enthusiasts. With over 400 butterfly species, Cuc Phuong National Park offers unparalleled opportunities for butterfly watching.

The ideal time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is between December and May. Photo: Local Vietnam