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Welcome to an extraordinary [14 days] birding & Culture in South and Central Vietnam, which combines the thrilling adventure of bird watching with a cultural experience of a lifetime in South and Central Vietnam.
This tour takes you through the heart of Vietnam, exploring its natural beauty, rich history, and cultural heritage while offering you some of the most spectacular birding opportunities in the region.
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Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
Upon arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel. After settling in, you will start your tour of the city.
You’ll visit famous landmarks like the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. After the tour, you’ll be introduced to the local cuisine and try some of the city’s delicious street food.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – My Tho City
After breakfast, you’ll leave the city and head to the Mekong Delta, known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam. You’ll take a boat trip along the river and canals, visit a local family to learn about their way of life, and try some local fruits. Then you’ll proceed to My Tho City for an overnight stay.
Day 3: My Tho City – Nam Cat Tien National Park
On this date, you’ll leave for Nam Cat Tien National Park, one of the best places for birdwatching in Vietnam. You’ll arrive at the park in the afternoon, and have a guided tour of the park’s bird-rich trails.
Day 4: Full-day birding in Cat Tien National Park
Today, you’ll have a full day of birdwatching in the park, with a chance to spot some of the most sought-after species like the Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, Orange-necked Partridge, and Siamese Fireback. Your guide will lead you to the best spots for birdwatching.
Day 5: Full morning birding in Cat Tien National Park – San Pass
In the morning, you’ll have one last opportunity to birdwatch in Cat Tien National Park before leaving for San Pass, an important birding area in the Central Highlands. You’ll arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 6: Morning birding at San Pass – Dalat
After an early breakfast, you’ll go birdwatching at San Pass, where you may encounter species like the Grey-crowned Crocias, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, and Collared Laughingthrush. Then you’ll proceed to Dalat, known as the “city of eternal spring”, where you’ll have a city tour and visit the bird-rich Bidoup Nui Ba National Park.
Day 7: Full-day birding around Dalat Plateau
Today you’ll spend the full day exploring the bird-rich areas around the Dalat Plateau. You’ll have a chance to see many endemic species like the Vietnamese Cutia, Black-crowned Fulvetta, and Vietnamese Greenfinch.
Day 8: Morning birding and sightseeing in Dalat – Flight to Da Nang
In the morning, you’ll have one last opportunity for birdwatching in Dalat before taking a flight to Da Nang city. Upon arrival, you’ll check into your hotel and have some free time to explore the city on your own.
Day 9: Full day searching for Red-shanked Douc Langur and birding in Son Tra Peninsula
Today, you’ll head to the Son Tra Peninsula, home to the rare Red-shanked Douc Langur and many bird species like the Sooty Babbler, Pale Blue Flycatcher, and Racket-tailed Treepie. You’ll have a full day of birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
Day 10: Spend the morning exploring a local market and interacting with the local people.
Experience the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese market culture and learn about the fresh produce and ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine. In the afternoon, transfer to Hoi An, a charming ancient town that boasts a rich cultural heritage and an architectural mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences. Check-in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 11: Today, explore Hoi An and its many cultural and historical attractions.
Start your day with a visit to the Hoi An Museum, which provides a fascinating insight into the town’s past. Next, visit the Fujian Assembly Hall, an important cultural and religious landmark that reflects the Chinese heritage of Hoi An.
Continue to the Japanese Covered Bridge, which dates back to the 18th century and was built to connect the Japanese community with the Chinese community in Hoi An.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional water puppet show, a unique art form that originated in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam.
Day 12: Depart Hoi An and transfer to Hue, a former imperial capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Along the way, stop at Bach Ma National Park, which spans over 37,000 acres and is home to a diverse range of bird species. Spend the day birding in the park and exploring its many waterfalls, streams, and hiking trails. Continue to Hue in the evening and check-in to your hotel.
Day 13: Birding in Bach Ma National Park
Spend the morning birding in Bach Ma National Park before returning to Hue for a historical tour of the city. Start with a visit to the Imperial Citadel, a massive complex that served as the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. Continue to the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest and most beautiful religious structures in Hue, and learn about its history and significance. End your day at the Tu Duc Tomb, a mausoleum built for the Nguyen Dynasty emperor Tu Duc, which features a beautiful garden and intricate architecture.
Day 14: Hue City and end tour at Phu Bai International Airport
Today, enjoy a morning city tour of Hue and visit other historical and cultural attractions, such as the Dong Ba Market, the Tomb of Khai Dinh, and the Royal Fine Arts Museum. After the tour, transfer to Phu Bai International Airport for your onward flight home or to your next destination.
This itinerary offers a great balance of bird watching and cultural experiences in South and Central Vietnam. However, it can be customized to suit the specific interests and preferences of the travelers.
Birding and culture can be a wonderful combination for many reasons. Firstly, birding allows you to experience the natural beauty and biodiversity of a region, while culture provides an opportunity to learn about the people who call that region home. Together, these two elements can provide a more complete understanding of the local environment and the way in which humans and nature interact. Moreover, birding and culture can complement each other in terms of experiencing a destination. While birding can take you to remote, off-the-beaten-path locations that are rich in birdlife, culture can expose you to local traditions, history, and way of life. Cultural experiences can also add depth and meaning to birding, as it provides context and perspective on the birds and their habitats. Another advantage of combining birding and culture is that it can appeal to a wider range of interests and preferences. Some travelers may be primarily interested in birding, while others may be more drawn to cultural experiences. By combining these two elements, a tour can cater to a broader range of interests and provide a more well-rounded experience. In addition, birding and cultural tours often involve local guides, who are experts in both the natural and cultural aspects of the region. This allows for a more immersive and authentic experience, as the guides can share their knowledge and personal insights on both the birds and the local culture.