Hanoi and Cuc Phuong National Park (3 nights)

HCM 403-102
Highlights
  • Cultural sites in Hanoi
  • Visit Van Long wetland natural conservation
  • Trekking through the primary Cuc Phuong forest
Program Overview
Country: Vietnam
Depart: 02/10/2017 1315
Return: 02/13/2017 2230
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Strenuous
Capacity: Min. 15/ Max. 30
Program Fee
$970 (early booking: $914)

Field Work Conflicts
  • Art 492A: Seminar: Art History
  • GR 330: Urban Geography

Often referred to as Ha Long Bay on the land, Ninh Binh province is characterized by lush green paddies and the striking limestone outcrops. Within the province, Van Long is a legendary land and an amazingly beautiful landscape for tourism, while at the same time, the largest mangrove nature reserve in the northern delta. There are nine reptiles listed in Vietnam’s Red Book such as grass-snake, varan, slow and harmless boas, and geckos. Together with Van Long, Cuc Phuong national park is also one of the country’s most important protected areas. Once at the park, you will visit the Endangered Primates Rescue Centre, learn about the langur breeding program that ensures the protection of several species of this long-tailed Asian monkey including Delacour’s langur, Black and Lao langur, and the Grey-shanked Douc langur. Afterward, hike with your guide and take in the flora and fauna of the National Park, learning something of the botanical richness of the forest. Cuc Phuong was a settlement of generations of Muong minority people with their own unique culture. Homestay overnight in the village and enjoy the traditional songs and dances performed by young Muong girls and boys; it will bring you closer to Muong minorities and their culture.

Heading back to Hanoi – the capital on the last day, you will spend the day to visit to three Vietnamese culture iconic places. Included are the 11th century Temple of Literature, the heart of the Confucian education system, Tran Quoc pagoda, and Quan Thanh Temple. Enjoy a Vietnamese water puppetry show, a traditional performance that dates to the 11th century when villagers would wade into the flooded rice fields and entertain one another with puppet play. Before leaving Hanoi, try a bowl of Pho – the quintessential Hanoi street food.

Itinerary

Day 1

*All times are approximate and subject to change. Please be flexible. 

  • 13:15 Transfer to Saigon airport for your flight to Hanoi
  • 18:30 – 19:30 Meet your guide then transfer to local restaurant for dinner
  • 19:30 – 20:30 Dinner at local restaurant
  • 20:30 – 21:00 Transfer to hotel for check-in

Day 2

  • Breakfast at hotel then check-out
  • 07:30 – 09:00 Transfer from Hanoi to Ninh Binh (Van Long stilt house)
  • 09:00 – 09:30 Arrive Van Long Stilt house and have your bike ready
  • 09:30 – 10:45 Cycling through village (pass by temples, local market, school …)
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Arrive at local house – join with family farming activities
  • 11:45 – 13:45 Prepare lunch together with local family & having lunch
  • 13:45 – 14:45 Continue biking through countryside paths to Van Long boat pier
  • 14:45 – 16:45 Boat trip into Van Long wetland natural conservation
  • 16:45 – 17:15 Cycling back to Van Long stilt house
  • 17:15 – 18:00 Transfer to Cuc Phuong National Park
  • 18:30 – 19:30 Having dinner at restaurant in the park
  • Overnight at Cuc Phuong national park guest house (very basic) 

Day 3

  • Breakfast at national park restaurant
  • 08:30 – 10:30 Visit Turtle Conservation Center, Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Small Carnivore & Pangolin Conservation Center
  • 10:30 – 11:00 Drive to Park center
  • 11:00 – 17:00 Trekking 12km through Cuc Phuong Primary forest to Muong minority village (one way trek) – Picnic lunch in the forest  
  • 17:00 – 18:00 Arrive at Muong village and free leisure time
  • 18:00 – 20:00 Have dinner & enjoy traditional music & dance performance
  • Overnight at homestay Muong minority village (very basic – mattress & mosquito net – one local long-house)

Day 4

  • Breakfast at local house
  • 09:30 – 12:00 Short leisure walk from the village then you will reach the historic Ho Chi Minh trail where the coach is waiting to pick you up then transfer back to Hanoi  
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Having lunch at local restaurant in Hanoi
  • 13:00 – 14:30 Visit Temple of Literature, Quan Thanh temple, Tran Quoc pagoda
  • 14:30 – 15:00 Transfer to Thang Long theater
  • 15:00 – 15:45 Enjoy 45min water puppet show at Thang Long theater (subject to availability)
  • 16:00 – 17:30 Transfer to Hanoi airport for flight to Saigon. Light dinner at local restaurant en route with a bowl of Pho.
  • 21:45 Upon return to Saigon, meet your local guide then transfer to the SGN port

Meals Included

3 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 4 dinners

Special Note

– Children under 12 yrs is not recommended due to hard trekking
– Hard trekking – student under 16 is not recommended, students should have previous experience jungle trekking abilities.
– The trek through Cuc Phuong primary forest gets through a non-touristic area. Weather in February is cold and sometimes foggy.
– Good trekking shoes, rain gear, warm clothes, especially in Jan & Feb and insect repellent are highly recommended.
– Jungle trekking approximately 6 hours.
– Personal luggage should be no more than 6kg while trekking.
– Casual clothes should cover shoulder and knees for pagoda and temple visit.