Birding Tour Vietnam: Southern and Central Vietnam Endemics and Specialties
Dates and Costs
15 – 29 March 2022
Spaces Available: 2
Price: US$4,944 / £3,898 / €4,589 per person sharing– based on 5 – 6 participants, which includes the domestic flights.
Single Supplement: US$490 / £386 / €455
* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.
14 – 28 March 2023
Price: US$5,439 / £4,288 / €5,047 per person sharing – based on 5 – 6 participants, which includes the domestic flights.
Single Supplement: US$540 / £425 / €501
(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)
Duration: 15 days
Group Size: 5 – 6
Tour Start: Ho Chi Minh City
Tour End: Ho Chi Minh City
Meals (from evening meal on day 1 until lunch on day 15)
Bottled water (2 bottles per day per person)
Accommodation (based on 2 sharing)
All entrance fees to national parks, nature reserves, bird blinds/hides etc.
All ground transport while on tour
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
Alcoholic and soft drinks
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)
Featured Guide:Andrew Walker
Birding Tour Vietnam: Central and Southern Vietnam Endemics and Specialties
This exclusive small-group (maximum six people) birdwatching tour of Central and Southern Vietnam starts and ends in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. The tour focusses on finding as many of the endemic and specialty birds of the region and provides excellent opportunities for anyone wanting to photograph Asian birds.
Bar-bellied Pitta, one of the stunning targets on this exciting tour (photo Phuc Lee)
We will visit the well-known sites of Cat Tien National Park, the Da Lat and Di Linh Plateaus, Mang Den, and Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve as well as some less-well-publicized sites for specific target birds. By being in a small group we will be able to utilize a series of bird blinds (hides), which will allow for some excellent photographic opportunities and close-up views of some of the key species outlined below. A small group will also be beneficial when birding within the forest environment, enabling everyone to stand a higher chance of gaining great views of the many birds that are possible on this very exciting tour.
Some of the key species we will look for during the tour include, but are certainly not limited to, Bar-bellied Pitta, Blue-rumped Pitta, Blue Pitta, Rusty-naped Pitta, Siamese Fireback, Silver Pheasant, Green Peafowl, Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, Orange-necked Partridge, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Indochinese Barbet, Necklaced Barbet, Green Cochoa, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush, Golden-winged Laughingthrush, Red-tailed Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Red-tailed Minla, Indochinese Fulvetta, Dalat Shrike-Babbler, Black-crowned Barwing, Indochinese Wren-Babbler, Indochinese Green Magpie, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Vietnamese Cutia, Grey-crowned Crocias, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, and plenty more.
The striking Indochinese Green Magpie is often seen on this tour (photo Phuc Lee).
Itinerary (15 days/14 nights)
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
We’ll arrive at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport and transfer to our hotel, with the rest of the day at leisure. We will have a group welcome meal in the evening.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2: Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Tien National Park
After breakfast we will head northeast to Cat Tien National Park, one of the best-protected lowland forest reserves in Vietnam and all of Indochina. We will arrive for our three-night stay at lunchtime, and we will have the afternoon to start our exploration of the area.
Overnight: Cat Tien National Park
Days 3 – 4: Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien was the first national park to be established in southern Vietnam. The park has an impressive list of bird species, more than 300 species, including several globally endangered species and Indochinese endemics, such as Blue-rumped Pitta, Bar-bellied Pitta, Siamese Fireback, Green Peafowl, Pale-headed Woodpecker, Banded Kingfisher, Grey-faced Tit-Babbler, Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, and (with luck) Orange-necked Partridge.
Other species we will hope for during our stay include Orange-breasted Trogon, Banded Broadbill, Black-and-red Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Violet Cuckoo, Great Hornbill, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Woolly-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, White-crested Laughingthrush, Great Eared Nightjar, Large-tailed Nightjar, and Blyth’s Frogmouth. In addition to birds Cat Tien’s forests are an important refuge for Black-shanked Douc, one of the most colorful and least-known primates in Asia, and Red-cheeked Gibbon and we will look for both.
Overnight: Cat Tien National Park
Seeing Banded Kingfisher is always a highlight.
Day 5: Cat Tien National Park to Da Lat
We will have a final morning birding at Cat Tien National Park before we head north to the Da Lat Plateau during the afternoon. We will arrive in time for our evening meal.
Overnight: Da Lat
We will look for Blue-rumped Pitta during the tour (photo Phuc Lee).
Days 6 – 7: Da Lat Plateau
We have two full days to explore the excellent birding sites around Da Lat, and we will focus on Ta Nung Valley, Ho Tuyen Lam (Tuyen Lam Lake), and Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park.
Ta Nung Valley is a small remnant evergreen forest patch, where we will look for the rare and endemic Grey-crowned Crocias along with White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Blue-winged Minla (a distinct local subspecies), Rufous-backed Sibia, Black-headed Sibia, and Black-throated Sunbird, all of which can be found here.
Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park is one of the five largest national parks in Vietnam. Vietnamese endemics found here include Black-crowned Fulvetta and Collared Laughingthrush. Other target birds in this national park include Rusty-naped Pitta, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, White-spectacled Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Spotted Forktail, Hume’s Treecreeper, Grey-bellied Tesia, and a very distinctive endemic subspecies of Red Crossbill.
Collared Laughingthrush is a beautiful Vietnamese endemic (photo Phuc Lee).
Ho Tuyen Lam (Tuyen Lam Lake) is a man-made lake just outside the town. Vietnamese endemics found here include Vietnamese Cutia, Grey-crowned Crocias, and Vietnamese Greenfinch. Other target birds from this area could include Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Black-headed Sibia, Black-headed Parrotbill, Burmese Shrike, Black-collared Starling, Vinous-breasted Starling, and Slender-billed Oriole, as well as many others.
Overnight: Da Lat
Day 8: Da Lat Plateau to Di Linh (Nui San Pass)
We will have a final morning of birding around the Da Lat area. Later we will drive to Nui San Pass (Deo Suoi Lanh near Di Linh town), a forested pass along the road from Di Linh to Phan Thiet. This is the most reliable site for the endemic Orange-breasted Laughingthrush and the near-endemic Black-headed Parrotbill, along with Blue Pitta, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Red-vented Barbet, and hopefully one of the most beautiful birds in the region, Indochinese Green Magpie.
Overnight: Di Linh
Day 9: Di Linh (Nui San Pass)
We will have a full day birding at Nui San Pass to look for Blue Pitta, Indochinese Green Magpie, Black-crowned Parrotbill, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Red-vented Barbet, Bar-backed Partridge, Collared Babbler, Yellow-vented Green Pigeon, Silver Pheasant, Rufous-backed Sibia, Maroon Oriole, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, and Red-headed Trogon.
Overnight: Di Linh
Blue Pitta is a stunning bird, and we hope to see it during the tour (photo Phuc Lee).
Day 10: Di Linh to Mang Den (via flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Pleiku)
We will make the most of a final morning of birding at Nui San Pass. After lunch we will drive back to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport to connect with our flight to Pleiku airport, Kon Tum Province in Central Vietnam. After arrival at Pleiku we will drive to Mang Den, our first birding stop in Central Vietnam.
Overnight: Mang Den
Day 11: Mang Den
We will spend a full day birding at Mang Den, where the recently discovered endemic Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush is the star bird and the main target. Other specialties of Mang Den, of which there are many, include Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Indochinese Wren-Babbler, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Rufous-faced Warbler, and Grey-headed Parrotbill.
Overnight: Mang Den
We will search for Black-hooded Laughingthrush while at Mang Den (photo Phuc Lee).
Day 12: Mang Den to Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve
There will be time for some early morning birding at Mang Den before we head north to Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve. This is a really special area where two species new to science (Golden-winged Laughingthrush and Black-crowned Barwing) were described as recently as the 1990s! These new species were originally found by BirdLife International expeditions to the remote Mount Ngoc Linh (2,598m), which is the highest peak of the Central Highlands.
Overnight: Tu Mo Rong
Day 13: Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve
We will have a full day of birding at Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve. The main targets here are Black-crowned Barwing, Indochinese Fulvetta, Red-tailed Laughingthrush, and the very elusive Golden-winged Laughingthrush. Other specialties are possible, including Green Shrike-babbler, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Red-tailed Minla, Black-throated Parrotbill, Green Cochoa, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, and Rusty-capped Fulvetta.
Overnight: Tu Mo Rong
One of our targets at Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve is Black-crowned Barwing (photo Phuc Lee).
Day 14: Ngoc Linh National Park to Son Tra Peninsula
After some final birding in the Ngoc Linh area we will drive to the Son Tra Peninsula near the city of Da Nang. Here we will look for one of the most spectacular monkeys on the planet, the Red-shanked Douc. There are bound to be plenty of birds around too.
Overnight: Da Nang
Day 15: Son Tra Peninsula, flight to Ho Chi Minh City, tour concludes
The final morning of the tour will be spent bird and mammal watching at the Son Tra Peninsula. After lunch we will fly back to Ho Chi Minh City, where the tour will conclude back at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in the midafternoon.
Overnight: Not included
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.