Located only 120km southwest of Hanoi and nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong boasts an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery. Magnificent Limestone Mountains rise up majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe. Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia's rarest animal and plant species. It is no wonder that researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists alike are drawn to this corner of the world.
The ancient forest harbours over 2000 species of trees, 110 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 125 mammals, including the Clouded Leopard, Delacour's Langur, Owston's Civet and Asian Black Bear. There are also an incredible 308 documented bird species. Visitors in April and May should be blessed with the chance to see literally thousands of vibrant butterflies.
In 1960 Cuc Phuong was made into a forest reserve and in 1962 Cuc Phuong National Park was consecrated by President Ho Chi Minh. Human habitation in Cock Phuong dates back long before the park’s creation, 7,000-12,000 years ago. Artifacts from that time have been found in numerous caves within the park, including human graves, stone axes, pointed bone spears, oyster shell knives, and tools for grinding. In 1789 the Quen Voi section of the park was the site of a major battle in the civil war between Nguyen Hue and Thanh Long. More recently, conflicts have emerged between the government and 2,500 Muong ethnic minority tribesmen who live, farm, and hunt in the park. In 1987, 500 Muong were relocated outside of the park because of issues over poaching and land use.
Limestone Karst Landscape.
Located on 2 limestone mountain ranges, the landscape of Cuc Phuong contains a wonderfully rich ecosystem. The rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong form the site of valuable pale ontological and anthropological vestiges, including a fossilized sea reptile dated at 200 - 230 million years old, while the remains of prehistoric people who lived in the forest some 7500 years ago are also to be found in the numerous mountain caves.
Landscape and climate
Cuc Phuong is situated in the foothills of the northern Annamite Mountains. The park consists of verdant karst mountains and lush valleys. Elevation varies from 150 meters (500 feet) to 656 m (2,152 feet) at the summit of May Bac Mountain, or Silver Cloud Mountain. The limestone mountains house numerous caves, many of which are accessible for exploration.
The average temperature in Cuc Phuong is 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit), with a mean winter temperature of 9C (48F). High temperatures can reach above 30C (85 F) and lows are just above zero (32 F). At the low elevations in the valley the temperature is hot and humid while at higher elevations the temperature drops and frostbite is a threat. On average it rains more than 200 days a year and the average annual rainfall is 2,100mm (7 feet). The dry season is November to February, the driest months being December and January.