Birding and cultures in South & Central Vietnam

Combination of birding & cultural tours
Sai Gon, Mekong Delta, Cat Tien, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Bach Ma, Hue
21 days
3-5 stars
1700 - 4800 USD/person

Although many westerners still imagine Vietnam through the lens of war, it is in reality a country filled with captivating natural beauty and tranquil village life. Its highlands and rainforest regions, far from being devastated, continue to yield new species and teem with exotic wildlife. Its islands and beaches are among the finest in all of Southeast Asia, and its cuisine is very possibly the most delicious you will ever find. Over four decades

have passed since Vietnam was officially reunited, and in that time it has done a remarkable job of healing its wounds. Today, our beautiful and graceful country is an outstanding travel destination.

Through this journey, Wildtour will introduce visitors some of Vietnam's most beautiful landscapes as well as amazing wildlife. We will spend about 1 week for wildlife-watching and 2 weeks for cultural tourism ans sight-seeing and relaxing.

Day 1. Arrival – Mekong Delta

The tour will start from Ho Chi Minh City. If you arrive in Ho Chi Minh city this day in the morning, we can pick you up at the airport and drive to the Mekong Delta, stopping en route at several sites to see local people’s life, arriving at Tram Chim National Park in the afternoon.

Overnight Monet Garden villa, a new mini-hotel near the national park

Day 2. Tram Chim National Park: Sarus Crane and waterbirds watching

We will visit Tram Chim National Park in the early morning to see a number threatened large water birds such as Sarus Crane, Lesser Adjutant, Woolly-necked and Painted Storks. Other birds are common and easy to see, including the Purple Swamphen, Broze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns, Spot-billed Duck… then drive back to My Tho in the afternoon.

Overnight Chuong Duong hotel

Day 3. Go Cong – Cat Tien

This morning, we will visit Tan Thanh beach in Go Cong district, a famous site for the rare and endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank and some other common shorebirds.

Afternoon drive northwards towards the renowned Cat Tien National Park.

Overnight at the Cat Tien National Park Headquarters (2 nights)

Day 4. Cat Tien

Cat Tien is the premier national park in South Vietnam and is located in Cochinchina in the Da Lat foothills. It boasts an impressive mosaic of forest and seasonal wetlands which largely escaped the defoliants used in the Vietnam War. We will bird by jeep track and forest trails to seek out the endemic Germain’s Peackock-Pheasant, other spectacular birds such as Siamese Fireback, Green Peafowl and Scaly-breasted Partridge, both endemic Pittas, the endemic Grey-faced Tit-Babbler and a host of other species also known from Malaysia and Thailand.

The park is host to several primate species, with our main targets being Buff-cheeked Gibbon and Black-shanked Douc Langur. Other mammals such as the huge Gaur, Sambur, Wild Boar and Pig-tailed Macaque are also possible.

Day 5. Cat Tien – Da Lat

In the morning we will take the relatively short drive from Cat Tien up to the Langbian Plateau and the charming hill resort of Da Lat. We will stop at any interesting patches of habitat en route and also see several charming waterfalls. Da Lat is situated at a delightfully cool 1475m (4800 feet) asl in a temperate region dotted with lakes and waterfalls and surrounded by forest, including various native pine woodlands.

Overnight Monet Garden villa (3 nights)

Day 6&7. Da Lat Endemic Bird Area

We have two full days to explore the Da Lat, Plateau including the 2169m (7100 feet) asl Mt. Langbian, cloaked with evergreen forest right up to its peak and accessed by a progressively-steeper footpath. Our efforts should be rewarded, however as this is the home of the spectacular endemic Collared Laughing-Thrush, as well as Yellow-billed Nuthatch and the Vietnamese forms of Cutia, Rufous-winged (Black-crowned) Fulvetta and Black-throated (Grey-crowned) Tit, which are sure-fire bets for splitting into two species before long. The elusive and handsome Green Cochoa is also here and should be vocal at this time of year; a number of other Asian and wintering birds will also be encountered.

Nearer to Da Lat itself is Ta Nung Valley, famous for the relatively recently re-discovered Grey-crowned Crocias, which is regularly encountered here. Other endemics such as Black-hooded and Orange-breasted Laughingthrushes and Vietnamese Greenfinch are also possible.

Day 8. Da Lat – Nha Trang

Leaving Da Lat in the early morning, we visit Bi Doup – Nui Ba National Park on the new road to Nha Trang, here is the best site for a rare Blyth’s Kingfisher, near endemic Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Yellow-billed Nuthatch.

Overnight Sunrise beach resort (5 nights)

Day 9 - 12. Nha Trang city, with the most beautiful beach in Vietnam

4 full days relaxing on the beautiful beach and visiting many islands for diving (optional)

Day 13. Nha Trang: Da Nang – Hoi An

This morning we take flight at 9:45 to Da Nang, visit Cham Museum before driving to Hoi An, an ancient town for another 4 days relaxing on the beach and seeing the sights in this peaceful city.

Overnight Hoi An beach resort (2 nights)

Day 14. Hoi An

Either relax on the beach or visit the ancient town of Hoi An and enjoy the traditional tour.

Day 15. Hoi An – Da Nang – Bach Ma

Today we will drive north to visit the Charm Museum in Da Nang city and then head further north to Bach Ma National Park in the afternoon.

Overnight on Bach Ma Mountain summit (Phong Lan villas)

Day 17. Bach Ma National Park

A morning day on Bach Ma mountain (1400m/4600 feet asl), this park is just opening after being closed 3 years for road construction. Here we will have our best chance for Indochinese Wren-Babbler, Chestnut-collared (Indochinese) Yuhina, Black-throated Laughingthrush, and Rufous-throated Partridge.

In the afternoon we will access the mid ranges of Bach Ma where we will search in particular for the endemic but elusive Annam Partridge. Later we do some foothill birding to look for the Mask Laughingthrush.

Later afternoon will we drive to Hue city.

Overnight at Parkview Hotel in Hue

Day 18. Hue city tour

The traditional Hue city tour is to visit the city's Citadel, tombs and pagodas. We will see Khai Dinh tomb, Dong Ba market, Thien Mu pagoda and, of course, the Citadel.

Overnight at Parkview Hotel

Day 19. Fly to Ho Chi Minh City in the mid-morning. Shopping opportunities abound here, and we will visit some sites in HCM City.

After arriving at Ta Son Nhat airport, you will transfer to the Majestic Hotel for check-in. In the afternoon we will visit Ben Thanh market and downtown Sai Gon. Later on, the water puppet show is the highlight of the day.

Overnight at Majestic Hotel

Day 20. Cu Chi tunnel

One of the popular tours from Ho Chi Minh City is to visit the Cu Chi Tunnel, a renowned historic site some 50km from Ho Chi Minh City center. Located here is a part of the huge and complex underground tunnel system used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. While we are on the tunnel site, we will also have chance to see many common birds.

Overnight at Majestic Hotel

Day 21. Tour conclusion and departure from airport