Cuc Phuong National Park

With over 300 species of birds, 97 species of mammals, 36 species of reptiles, 17 species of amphibians, 11 species of fish, a whopping 2,000 species of vascular plants, not to mention the thousands of species of insects, it's no wonder that Cuc Phuong National Park was the first national park consecrated in Vietnam, and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations. Visitors who love the outdoors and want to catch a glimpse of a rare or endangered species should definitely plan to visit Cuc Phuong National Park when they come to Vietnam.

Mammals in the Park

Unfortunately, poaching and over-hunting have wiped out most of the wild dogs, tigers, and Asiatic black bears that used to be plentiful within the park. However, many rare and endangered species are still present and fighting to survive within this huge nature reserve.

McKay SavagePrimates abound within the park, including the endangered langur. Within the park is also the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, or EPRC, which is dedicated to rehabilitating, breeding, and researching the unique primates found within the park. The EPRC is home to 140 primates within 15 different species and sub-species, including several varieties of Critically Endangered langurs. Visitors to the park can volunteer at the EPRC, spending time working near these incredibly rare primate species during the day and eating delicious Vietnamese food with other volunteers and workers at night. Volunteering does take some commitment, however; the minimum volunteer stay is 3 months.

Other mammals within the park include the unique black giant squirrel, a squirrel that can grow as large as two feet in length, with another two feet of tail. Leopards and jungle cats may still exist within the park, but these too have been nearly wiped out by poachers.

A Bird Watcher's Paradise

For bird watchers visiting Vietnam, Cuc Phuong National Park is a veritable paradise. Over 300 species of birds call the park home; some of these are migrant species, while others remain in the park year-round. From finches to pheasants, barbets to babblers, the park is rife with birdsong throughout the day and night.

Park Facilities

As the oldest National Park in Vietnam, as well as one of the nation's most popular sites for tourism, Cuc Phuong National Park has plenty of resources for the visitor. At the park's entrance are lodging and restaurant facilities; the modern rooms contain hot water, television, and air-conditioning, and rent for only £7 to £17 per night. In tourism office, you can find out more about the different trails that wind through the park, and bicycling enthusiasts can hire a bike. For a fee, park rangers can also offer you a guided tour of the park. The Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Centre is also a fun place to visit that children would certainly enjoy.

In all, it's easy to understand why Cuc Phuong National Park is such a popular destination for tourists. After you've had a chance to relax on some of Vietnam's more famous beaches, make your way to some of the national parks, such as Cuc Phuong and Phong Nha-Ke Bang. If you and your family enjoy outdoor adventures, you'll be glad you made the effort to see some of these natural gems of Vietnam.