Getting to Cuc Phuong National Park, you can takes about three to four hours by road to reach the park from Hanoi and you can go by bus, car or motorbike.
Buses depart for Nho Quan from Hanoi’s Giap Bat bus station at 08:00, 09:00, 12:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:00 and cost 75,000 to 100,000 VND (75,000 VND is the listed price but don’t be surprised if you’re charged more). From Nho Quan you will need to take a taxi (around 160,000 VND) or motorbike taxi (around 80,000 VND) to the park reception; we’d recommend a motorbike as you’ll get a better view of the scenery on the way. There is also one bus a day that goes direct from Giap Bat to the park, which leaves Hanoi at 15:00 and returns at 09:00.
Buses run more regularly from Giap Bat to Ninh Binh, but you’ll have to change to get to Nho Quan or you can take a taxi — it’ll take about an hour. Getting the bus direct to Nho Quan or Cuc Phuong is recommended, but if you’re staying in Ninh Binh it’s a relatively easy trip.
Alternatively you can hire a private car: Cuc Phuong National Park will arrange this for return also, which is a bit cheaper than the agents in Hanoi were asking. It’s not a cheap option, but if there’s a group of you and budget’s not tight it’s worth considering.
The other option is to go by motorbike. The route via Highway 1 (directly south) is not recommended as it’s a particularly busy and unpleasant road, but it is the quickest way. For those happy to detour a bit for better scenery and quieter streets, head out of town towards Ba Vi and then take the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The scenery along the way is quite something — some might say it’s better than in the park itself.
April and May are ideal months for a visit as the park is alive with butterflies and the weather is likely to be hot but dry. Other than that, any time is good as long as you are prepared for the weather: remember it gets chilly December through February.
If you’re interested in botany or have a fondness for primates then it’s a must-visit. For anyone else it’s a pleasant diversion and escape from the city if you have time. If you want to explore the area further, Cuc Phuong is only about an hour from Ninh Binh and the attractions near there, such as Tam Coc and Hoa Lu. Van Long Nature Reserve, where langurs can be seen clambering over the karsts, is nearby.