Chào bu?i sáng (Good Morning)! After a short stay in Ha Long Bay we made a 6-7 hour trek west to Cuc Phuong National Park. Located near the Ninh Binh province Cuc Phuong is Vietnam’s first national park and largest nature reserve. Established in 1962 (by Ho Chi Minh) Cuc Phuong has a fascinating geological history and is home to some of the rarest animal and plant species in all of Asia. The bedrock consists largely of limestone (which
contributes to the underground “rivers” found throughout the park) and the area is pretty much a combination of dense forest and tropical jungle. Up until recently the area was home to a number of Muong tribes, however, for a variety of reasons a number of people have been relocated to settlements and villages outside of the park.
During our stay we were treated to a number of exciting hikes including a night hike to search for rare and interesting insects and a day time hike through the center of the park. Both hikes were amazing, though, I did particularly like the daytime hike through the middle of the park. Despite my best efforts, my feet and arms become home to a few leeches (no worries, pharmacy these leeches are terrestrial and not as disgusting as the
ones we have in the states, which are mostly aquatic). They aren’t dangerous, just annoying. In addition to the hikes we had a chance to visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center (operated by the Frankfurt Zoological Society). The EPRC is home to more than 15 species of primates and currently has 6 species found nowhere else in capacity. The six species (sub-species) are all langurs and include the Delacour, Hatinh, Black, Lao, Cat Ba and Grey-shanked Douc langurs. Although we were not fortunate to experience a langur sighting (particularly the Delacour langur) in the wild, we were very lucky to see them in captivity.
Our stay may have been short (2 days) as we left wanting to see more. Perhaps that is good as it will perhaps push us to make a return trip at some point int he future and continue exploring the biodiversity and geology the park has to offer.