What to Expect
Day 1: Hochiminh city - Arrival (D)
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer for hotel check - in. The rest of the day is free for leisure.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2: Hochiminh city - Nam Cat Tien National Park (B)
Drive to Cat Tien National Park, 170 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City in the Dong Nai Province. Once off Highway One, the road passes through large areas of rubber plantations before branching off to the national park. Check in to a park guest house on arrival and the driver and car return to Ho Chi Minh City. An incredible diversity of birds and mammals live in the forest and wetland habitats of Cat Tien, including an estimated 230 species of birds. Endangered birds that can be found here include Germains Peacock-Pheasant, Green Peafowl and the very elusive orange-necked partridge. Mammals that can sometimes be seen include wild boar, samba deer, the rare black-shanked duoc langur, a yellow-cheeked and crested gibbon. The afternoon is free for birding along the road or trails. Overnight in Nam Cat Tien National Park
Day 3: Cat Tien National park (B)
A full day of birding along the road and forest trails of Cat Tien. A jeep can be hired at the park headquarters to visit areas further afield such as Bird Lake to look for visiting waders or Crocodile Lake where green peafowl, lesser adjutant and purple heron may be seen. During the walk through the forest to Crocodile Lake look out for bar-bellied and blue-rumped pitta, red and black and banded broadbill, and orange-breasted trogon amongst others. Overnight in Nam Cat Tien National Park.
Day 4: Cat Tien National park (B)
Another full day to enjoy the rich bird life of Cat Tien. Species to look out for include woolly-necked stork, Siamese fireback, scaly-breasted partridge, bar-bellied pitta, blue-rumped Pitta, grey-faced tit-babbler, great slaty woodpecker, white-bellied woodpecker and heart-spotted woodpecker.
Overnight in Nam Cat Tien National Park
Day 5: Cat tien - Da lat (B)
A final morning of birding along the trails or perhaps the headquarters road where green-eared, blue-eared, lineated, and if you are lucky, red-vented Barbet, can often be seen perched high up in the roadside trees. Check out of the park guest house and meet up with the driver before leaving for the 150 kilometer drive to Da Lat. It is a scenic drive through tea and coffee plantations to the cooler climes of the former colonial hill station. Transfer to hotel on arrival in Da Lat. The driver and car are available for transferring to birding sites around Da Lat over the next three days. Overnight in Dalat.
Day 6: Dalat (B)
A full day of birding at Mount Lang Bian where the evergreen forests are home to many interesting species including some endemics. Key species to be found at Mount Lang Bian include silver pheasant, indochinese cuckooshrike, eurasian jay, yellow-billed nuthatch, mugimaki flycatcher, cutia and red crossbill. This is also the place to see two of Vietnam’s sought after endemics, the collared laughingthrush and the Vietnamese greenfinch. Mount Lang Bian is best avoided at weekends and holidays when it is a very popular destination for local tourists. Overnight in Dalat.
Day 7: Dalat (B)
Tuyen Lam Lake, only 3 kilometers from the center of town, is Da Lat’s other hotspot for birders. Take a boat to the far side of the lake where a track leads through the pines to areas of remnant tropical evergreen forest. The rare and endemic grey-crowned Crocias was re-discovered here a few years ago after not being seen for nearly 60 years. Other interesting species here include slender-billed oriole, maroon oriole, rufous-backed sibia, black-hooded, and white-cheeked laughingthrush. Overnight in Dalat.
Day 8: Dalat (B)
The Ta Nung Valley, around 15 kilometers from Da Lat, holds a few pockets of remnant evergreen forest where many of the Da Lat specialities can still be found including grey-crowned crocias, black-hooded and white-cheeked laughiingthrush, grey-headed parrotbill, blue-winged minla and black-throated sunbird. Overnight in Dalat
Day 9: Dalat - Hochiminh (B)
Transfer by road the 300 kilometers back to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival in Ho Chi Minh City transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure in Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Hochiminh - Hue - Bach ma national park (B)
An early transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Hue in central Vietnam. On arrival at Hue Airport follows the coast for 45 kilometers south down Highway One before turning inland on the road that leads to Bach Ma National Park, 20 kilometers away. On arrival the driver and car return to Hue and transfer by park vehicle to the summit guest house. The road from the park entrance to the park guesthouse near the summit is very scenic with sweeping vistas of undisturbed rainforest and the coastal plain. The park accommodation is in renovated colonial villas and the ruins of once grand holiday homes and hotels are scattered along the trails from this point up to the summit. There are many good trails for birders and for non-birders alike with several waterfalls and small lakes. Overnight at Bach Ma National Park.
Day 11: Bach ma national park (B)
Bach Ma National Park is a very well-run operation and knowledgeable park guides can be hired if required. Over 330 species of bird have been recorded at Bach Ma and specialities include the Annam Partridge, Crested Argus, Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo, Blyth’s Kingfisher, Ratchet-tailed Treepie and Sultan Tit. Overnight at Bach Ma National Park
Day 12: Bach ma national park (B)
Another full day to explore the trails of Bach Ma. Other desirable species include Bar-bellied and Blue-rumped Pitta, Red-collared Woodpecker and White-winged Magpie. Overnight at Bach Ma National Park
Day 13: Bach ma - Hue - Hanoi - Tam dao (B)
There is time for some early morning birding before meeting up with the driver and transferring to Hue Airport for the lunchtime flight to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi transfer directly to Tam Dao, a hill station an hour and a half by road from the airport. Transfer to hotel on arrival in Tam Dao. The driver and car return to Hanoi. Overnight in Tam Dao
Day 14: Tam dao (B)
There are several good trails in the hills above the town, the Water Tank Trail and the Radio Transmitter Trail in particular are normally quite productive. Species to look out for here include the Grey Laughingthrush, Chestnut Bulbul, Black-chinned Yuhina and Fork-tailed Sunbird. Overnight in Tam Dao
Day 15: Tam dao - Cuc phuong national park (B)
Another full day to explore the forest above Tam Dao. Winter visitors that are possible to see here include Black-breasted Thrush, Japanese Thrush and Fujian Niltava. Overnight in Tam Dao
Day 16: Cuc phuong national park (B)
Time for some early morning birding before meeting up with the driver and transferring by road to Hanoi and continuing on to Cuc Phuong National Park, three hours south of the capital. The driver and car return to Hanoi. Overnight at Cuc Phuong National Park
Day 17: Cuc phuong national park (B)
The first national park to be established in Vietnam, Cuc Phuong is an area of limestone hills covered with large tracts of primeval rainforest. Key bird species here include Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Bar-bellied, Blue-rumped and Eared Pitta, White-winged Magpie, Limestone Wren-Babbler, Fujian Niltava and Pied Falconet. Overnight at Cuc Phuong National Park
Day 18: Cuc phuong national park (B)
A full day’s birding on the trails of Cuc Phuong. The birding is good at Cuc Phuong with over 300 species recorded in the park. endangered mammals such as Indochinese Tiger, Clouded Leopard and the rare Delacour Langur also inhabit the forests of Cuc Phuong though they are seldom seen. Other possible bird species include Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Ruddy Kingfisher, Silver-breasted Broadbill and White-tailed Flycatcher. Overnight at Cuc Phuong National Park
Day 19: Cuc phuong national park - Hanoi - departure (B)
A final morning of birding before meeting up with the driver and heading back to Hanoi in the afternoon and transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure flight.
B = Breakfast included
D = Dinner included