Leaving Tam Coc, Rob and I first stopped at the Bah Dinh Pagoda, a massive Buddhist Complex built on a hill. They force you to park quite a ways from the site then take an electric cart for 30k vnd/person each way. Since it was a Sunday, the site was packed and required way more walking than Rob and I had anticipated. We were wearing our motorbiking clothes and were not prepared for hiking around in the heat.
Our next stop was Cuc Phuong National Park, where we finally lunched at last, then visited the Endangered Primate Research Center and Turtle Rehabilitation Center. We’d read mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. The animals are in cages, but they try to transition them to the wild if possible. Also, many of the langurs are endangered, so they run breeding programs. It was pretty cool seeing many of the unique langurs. There were some gray langurs that were completely gray except for white mustaches.
The turtle center wasn’t as exciting. They had a tank of red eared sliders which are native to the US and invasive in SE Asia, so they tell you that if you if have it as a pet, don’t release it.After finishing with the animals, we took a scenic drive on the main park road hoping to spot butterflies. Rob and I finally spotted some that were weirdly attracted to a pile of dead butterflies in the road. The road was slick and steep in spots so we didn’t make it all the way to the end, stopping at the Cave of the Prehistoric Man. The hike to the cave was up a several flights of steep slippery stone stairs. The cave isn’t lit so it’s byol, bring your own light.
We stayed at the Cuc Phuong Hotel just a few kilometers outside the park entrance and had a great dinner at the hotel restaurant. He served us a feast of pork, tofu, veggies, and the local specialty: snail. The stir fried snail was actually quite delicious with different herbs and spices. We ended the evening with a nice Canadian couple and some happy water.