Head to Van Long Nature Reserve for a boat trip. Covering an area of nearly 3,000 ha, Van Long is the largest wetland nature reserve in the North of Vietnam and a 1.5 hour boat trip by traditional sampan is the perfect way to see this area. Van Long’s fauna includes 39 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Some of these species have been classified as globally endangered animals such as the white-breeched langur which can be seen occasionally early morning or late afternoon.
From Van Long it is a 40-minute drive to Cuc Phuong National Park which was the first national park of Vietnam and is one of the few remaining tropical rain forests left in the country. Originally created by President Ho Chi Minh in 1962, hundreds of species of animals and plants can be found here, including several endangered species. On arrival at the Cuc Phuong National Park take a tour around the interesting Visitors Center which will introduce you to some of the park’s valuable natural resources and its unique environment. Set up by British NGO FFI, the centre aims to increase the conservation awareness of visitors as well as local Vietnamese students.
Even though some large animals like panthers and bears make Cuc Phuong their home, they are rarely seen. Instead the park is also home to the Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Centre which homes species like the Delacour’s Langur, Golden-headed Langur, Tonkin Snub-nosed Langur and Black Crested Gibbon. The Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Centre are two research facilities vital for the breeding, rehabilitation and preservation of animals rescued from poachers. Both centres are open to visitors during the day and a stop will be made here after visiting the main Visitors Centre. Have a simple, local style Vietnamese lunch at the National Park Headquarters. There are dozens of nature trails available from the avid to the recreational hiker. In the afternoon spend time walking into the centre of the Park’s forest to learn more on the flora and fauna of Vietnam.