Behold Cuc Phuong National Park – The Oldest National Park in Vietnam
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Cuc Phuong National Park is located in Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa Provinces. This is the oldest national park in Vietnam that makes it a must to see when it comes to ecotourism, nature reserves, and national parks. The Site has the irreplaceable importance with limestone karst landscapes, culture, biodiversity, and remarkable achievements. In fact, more and more tours to Cuc Phuong have been operated and experienced by visitors worldwide.

Scientific Information about Cuc Phuong National Park

  • The location of Cuc Phuong National Park belongs to three provinces: Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa. Its map coordinate is 20°14′ – 20°24′ N, 105°29′ – 105°44′ E
  • It covers an area of 22.200 hectares.
  • Its terrace is of the ecological agriculture zone of the Red River Delta. The Site is situated at the end of the southeastern karst mountains running from Son La District. The karst mountain has elevations of 636m, which creates the natural topography advantages amid the plains. The karst surrounding the National Park is 25m long and 10km wide. Besides, there is a mixed system of groundwater that flows through the small ravines on the two sides of the Park.
  • Cuc Phuong was the first National Park in Vietnam. There have been many documents about the history of this Site. Based on Decision No. 72/TTg of the Prime Minister, dated 07 July 1962, the Cuc Phuong Park was established, with an area of 25.000 hectares (MARD 1997). Following this Decision, FPD decreed the Decision No. 18/QD-LN dated 08 January 1966 regarding the establishment of the management board and the construction of Cuc Phuong National Park.
  • Then, the additional borders of the National Park were defined according to the Decision No. 33/QD-LN dated 23 May 1966.
  • On 09 August 1986, Cuc Phuong was re-included in the list of the Special-use Forest in pursuant to Decision No. 194/CT of the Chairman of the Council of Minister. The park got the highest management level as the 25.000-ha National Park (MARD 1997).
  • According to Decision No. 139/CT dated 09 May 1988, the border of the National Park was redefined and the entire area was 22.200 hectares, including 11.350 hectares in Ninh Binh Province, 5.850 hectares in Thanh Hoa Province, and 5.000 hectares in Hoa Binh Province.
Primate species are protected at Cuc Phuong National Park

Primate species are protected at Cuc Phuong National Park

Biology, Local Population, and Conservation Topics in Cuc Phuong National Park Vietnam

This first National Park in Vietnam owns the dominant vegetation types of forest on the karst mountain. Some areas are highlighted with the 5-level canopy forest, and the highest point is above 40m. Cuc Phuong is suitable for the large timber species to grow such as Terminalia myriocarpa, Shorea sinensis, and Tetrameles nudiflora. These high-value timber species are being protected. This Site is also rich in herb and valued timber, resulting in the affluent flora system. About the number of plant species, the most dominant ones are Euphorbiaceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae, Rubiaceae, Asteraceae, Moraceae, Lauraceae, Cyperaceae, and Orchidaceae vμ Acanthaceae (Davis et al. 1995).

What’s more, the fauna system in Cuc Phuong is protected, which includes some globally endangered animals such as the Trachypithecus delacouri and Hemigalus owstoni (CPCP, 1999). Along with that, there were more than 20 species of bats and 313 species of birds recorded in this Site. In fact, Cuc Phuong was ranked one of the most important avifauna areas in Vietnam (Tordoff 2002). Other marine species studied were the species of snails, fish, and butterflies.

In Cuc Phuong National Park established since 1962, there have been 500 people living in the villages centered in the areas of the Park, such as Mac, Dang, Dong Con, Dan, Men, and Bong Villages. In pursuant to Decision No. 251/CT dated 06 October 1986 of the Chairman of the Council of Minister, the inhabitants were asked to move out of the National Park. The first movement was finished at the end of 1990, six villages with 650 people were transferred to inhabit in Doc Suon Bo, outside of the protected Park. However, there remain around 2.000 people residing on the sides of the Buoi River inside the National Park. There will be plans to help these people settle in different places. Furthermore, around 50.000 people live in the buffer zones, and most of their livelihoods depend on the natural resources within the Park.

Timber species and other forest products have been heavily exploited in Cuc Phuong National Park Vietnam. Some locals catch snails and get mushroom, for example, inside the Park for daily food. Also, illegal hunting activities for commercial purposes degrade the number of wild mammals, birds, and insects in the place. The forest areas bordering the inhabitant zones are being seriously destroyed due to the timber cutting, unplanned cattle raising, and clearance for agriculture. There have been conservation projects to help protect the flora and fauna in Cuc Phuong. Also, programs to improve the locals’ and tourists’ conservation awareness have been operated. What’s more, there is a project to preserve the karst mountain landscape Pu Luong – Cuc Phuong, committed to safeguarding the limestone scenery and wildlife on the spot.

March and April period is the season of butterfly at Cuc Phuong National Park

March and April period is the season of butterfly at Cuc Phuong National Park

Tourism in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong is amongst the most attractive ecotourism destinations in Vietnam that appeal to both domestic and overseas tourists. The Park provides beautiful forest and authentic wildlife which help improve the locals’ environmental awareness. The tourism potentials in the Site have been recognized and expressed by practical activities. As an illustration, the Tourist Center in the National Park has been in operation since mid-2000. Moreover, Cuc Phuong embraces the historical values and serves as the archaeological site. The caves inside the Park recorded the prehistoric relics of 12.000 years ago.

The Site also provides cultural opportunities to meet the Muong ethnic group and visit their stilted houses, bamboo rafts, waterwheels, and brocade looms. Tours in Cuc Phuong National Park can take place from one to four days which involve lots of interesting experiences in culture, history, ecosystem, and wildlife. Let’s get to Cuc Phuong to discover the rich flora and fauna, behold beautiful nature, attend eco-activities, and go camping, adventure, study history, and more.