VN02 Cuc Phuong NP.
Vietnam’ s first national park,designated in 1962, Cuc Phuong is a popular destination close to Ha Noi. One of the very few remaining areas of lowland and limestone forest in the north, the national park is a globally important example of a terrestrial karst ecosystem and recognised as a global centre for plant diversity.
Cuc Phuong forms the easternmost park of a limestone range that runs westwards from the park across north–central Vietnam to Pu Luong Nature reserve and beyond to the Son La Plateau. The park is inhabited by the endangered Delacour ’s Langue, found only in this region of northern Vietnam. It is a good birdwatching site also.Visit the Cave Prehistoric Man, see ancient trees and climb the partly rocky terrain of the highest mountain in the park ,Silver Cloudy Top (676m). Highly recommended is the 5 hour trek from Xon Bong through the valley of the park for stunning mountain views and for an overnight homestay at a Muong village (Xom Khanh).
Birding : Bird the main road from Bong heading back in the direction of the park entrance especially the botanical garden on the left hand - side of the road. Key species : Red–collaredwoodpecker : along the first section of the Loop trail . Red–vented Barbet : along the roadside near the Bong ranger – station. Blue-rumped Pitta : along the Loop trail. Bar–billied Pitta : along the valley trail with luck. Silver–beasted Broadbill : search in the botanical garden (grid trail) near Bong ranger station. Ratchet–tailed Treepie : try looking on valley trail . Morone Oriole : along the road from Bong Sub-station near the Grid trails. White-tailed Flycatcher : in the forest along the Loop trail. Limestone Wren- Babbler : on the Valley trail . Lineated Barbets and Red–headed Trogons are frequently seen on the road close to the Visitor centre.
Other interesting species include the Silver Pheasant, Grey Peacock Peasant, Brown Hornbill Ruddy Kingfisher , Pied Felconet , Eared Pitta , White Winged Magpie , Indochinese Green Magpie, Pale–Backed, Black–breasted and Japanese Thrushes (Nov- Mar), Fukien Niltava , Rufous–Throated and Brown–Cheeked Fulvettas .
Facilities : Guesthouse accommodation and a small restaurant are available at the tourist entrance gate and at Bong .Order meals in advance, the speciality is chicken cooked with medicinal herb.
When to go : Best in the dry season from September to April.