Southern and Central of Vietnam

  • Category:Long birding tours
  • Tour name:Southern and Central of Vietnam
  • Destinations:Can Gio - Cat Tien - Da Lat - Yok Don - Mang Den - Lo Xo - Bach Ma - Phong Nha
  • Duration:17 days
  • Hotel:Standard
  • Price:Contact for group booking

This tour is shorter version of The best comprehensive birding of Vietnam which is ignored the northern part as many people don't have such a long vacation but others can do northern extension if they wish.

Day 1 (D)

Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), transfer to Tan Hai Long hotel

Optional

If time permits Go Cong beach, a river mouth in Mekong delta, this mudflat is home for some interest targets such as “White-faced” PloverNordman Greenshank, other common shorebirds and especially Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Welcome dinner and briefing

Overnight at Tan Hai Long hotel, Ho Chi Minh City

Day 2 (B, L, D)

After an early start we will drive northwards towards the renowned Cat Tien National Park for first exploration of this superb National Park in the afternoon.

Overnight at the Cat Tien National Park HQ guesthouse (3 nights)

Day 3 & 4 (B, L, D)

The premier National Park in South Vietnam, Cat Tien is located in Cochinchina in the Da Lat foothills and 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, endemic Pittas, the endemic Grey-faced Tit-Babbler and a host of other species also known from Malaysia and Thailand.

Key species

Orange-necked Partridge, Germain's Peacock Pheasant, Siamese Fireback, Green Peafowl, Wreathed Hornbill, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, Pale-headed and Black-and-buff Woodpeckers, Black-and-red, Banded, Dusky Broadbill, Blyth’s Frogmouth, Grey-faced Tit Babbler

Day 5 (B, L, D)

We leave Cat Tien for the relatively short drive to Di Linh. Certain birds can be easier to locate here at the Nui San Pass than in Da Lat including Blue and Rusty-naped Pittas, Spotted Forktail, White-cheeked, Black-hooded and Orange-breasted Laughing-Thrushes, Vietnamese Cutia and “Black-headed” Parrotbill, a probable split from the more widespread Grey-headed

Overnight Bao Phu hotel, Di Linh

Day 6 (B, L, D)

After an early morning return to the Nui San pass (which will give us our first chance for the elusive Green Cochoa) we will drive up to the Langbian Plateau and the evocative hill resort of Da Lat. We will stop at any interesting patches of habitat en route and also see several attractive waterfalls. Da Lat is situated at a delightfully cool 1475 metres asl in a temperate region dotted with lakes and waterfalls and surrounded by forest including various native pine woodlands.

Overnight Hoang Anh Gia Lai Resort, Da Lat (3 nights)

Day 7 & 8 (B, L, D)

We will explore the Da Lat Plateau including the 2169 metre 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 before too long. The elusive and handsome Green Cochoa is also here and should be vocal at this time of year and 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

Key species

Bar-backed Partridge, Silver Pheasant, Red-vented Barbet, Black-browed Barbet (Annam Barbet, Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Rusty-naped Pitta, Blue Pitta, Burmese Shrike, Indochinese Green Magpie, Eurasian Jay, Slender-billed Oriole, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Rock Thrush, Green Cochoa, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Blue-and-White Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Lesser Shortwing, White-tailed Robin, Spotted Forktail, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Grey-crowned Tit, Grey-bellied Tesia, White-spectacled Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Collared Laughingthrush, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Streaked Wren Babbler, Eyebrowed Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Vietnamese Cutia, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler, Da Lat Shrike-Babbler (split from White-browed), Blue-winged Minla, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Indochinese Fulvetta (no chance on this itinerary), Grey-crowned Crocias, Rufous-backed Sibia, Black-headed Sibia, Black-headed Parrotbill, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Red Crossbill, Brown Bullfinch

Day 9 (B, L, D)

An early morning departure for Ban Me Thuot and a stop at Lak lake for some waterbirds and wintering warblers en route. Later on we reach Yok Don national park for 1 night stay at Ban Don Tourism area. Our main target here is Mekong Wagtail but other species such as Black-headed Woodpecker, Collared Falconet, White-rumped Falcon, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch are among the specialities.

Overnight Dakruco resort, Ban Don (1 night)

Day 10 (B, L, D)

After our morning birding at Serepok river bank for Mekong Wagtail, we will head for the rarely visited Mang Canh Forest.

Overnight Hoa Sim hotel (2 nights)

Day 11 (B, L, D)

Our main target for full day birding at Mang Canh is Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush but we will also be on the lookout for Black-hooded Laughingthrus, Pale-capped Pigeon, the endemic Ratchet-tailed Treepie and we have another chance for Yellow-billed Nuthatch as well as the first chance for Brown Hornbill

Key species

Pale-capped Pigeon, Northern Brown Hornbill, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, White-winged Magpie, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Grey-crowned Tit, Rufous-faced Warbler, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Indochinese Wren-babbler, Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Grey-crowned Crocias (rare), Rufous-backed Sibia, Grey-faced Warbler, Blue-rumped, Blue and Rusty-naped Pittas

Day 12 (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will finalise our bird seen in Mang Den area. Late afternoon we will then we drive on to Ngoc Hoi town for 1 night stay before heading to Lo Xo pass.

Overnight BMC hotel (1 night)

Day 13 (B, L, D)

Lo Xo pass which has reached recent birding fame as the site to see the endemic Black-crowned Barwing. Here, at the forest edge, we have a great chance of finding this recently described species and others to look for include Brown Hornbill, Indochinese Wren-Babbler (formerly known as Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler), White-winged Magpie, Red-tailed Laughingthrush and a another chance for Yellow-billed Nuthatch.

This early morning we will drive about an hour and quarter to Lo Xo for searching our main target, Balck-crowned Barwing. Later we get back hotel, check out and have lunch before drive to Bach Ma national park.

Evening looking for Hodgson‘s Frogmouth

Overnight Bach Ma National park’s Summit guesthouse (1 nights)

Day 14 (B, L, D)

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

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 Laughingthrus.

Later afternoon will we drive to Dong Ha city in Quang Tri province.

Overnight at Sai Gon-Dong Ha hotel

Day 15 (B, L, D)

Leave early morning for 2.5 hours drive to Shamu pass via Ho Chi Minh trail western branch. This is fairly new spot near Laos border, that is home to near endemics Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrus, Indochinese Wren Babbler and a rare seen Moustached Barbet

Afternoon we drive to Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park

Overnight at Sai Gon-Phong Nha hotel (2 nights)

Day 16 (B, L, D)

Two major targets will occupy our time in Phong Nha, the near endemic Sooty Babbler (also found in similar habitat in adjacent Laos). Here we also have further chances for a range of birds including Siamese Fireback, Red-collared Woodpecker, Brown Hornbill as well as the isolated form of Sulphur-breasted Warbler now split as “Limestone Warbler”

Day 17 (B, L, D)

A pre-dawn search for two endangered primates - Black and Ha Tinh Leaf Monkeys as well as the beautiful Red-shanked Duoc langurbefore the drive to Hue city for flight HO Chi Minh city / Ha Noi. There will be onother option to fly out from Dong Hoi if it is operated day. 

Tour conclusion in this afternoon