VIETNAM - Asian endemics and specialities tour 2025

Vietnam is a the most endemic rich-country in mainland South-East Asia and has 13 currently-recognized endemics and many potential future endemic splits as well! And the list of regional endemics is also very impressive when combined with around 40 other near-endemics as well. Vietnam is an amazing country with  beautiful scenery, delicious food, incredible culture and, of course, its fantastic birds. This tour concentrates on seeing as many Vietnamese endemics and regional specialities as possible and takes us to all of the premier birding sites in the area at a time of year when the local avifauna is supplemented by many wintering species. By visiting lowland broad-leaved forest, grasslands, wetland, pine woodland and high altitude semi-deciduous forest we will see an amazingly  wide variety and number of species.

Starting the tour in the capital, Ho Chi Minh City, our birding commences in the forests of Tan Phu and Cat Tien National Park where we will be looking for Green Peafowl, Bar-bellied and Blue-rumped Pittas,Orange-necked Partridge, Germains’s Peacock Pheasant, Siamese Fireback and more. We will then continue our journey northwards to the Dalat plateau where some of Vietnam’s beautiful, but difficult-to-see Laughingthrushes can be found – Orange-breasted, White-cheeked and Collared will be high on our target list here. High altitude birding in this area contains an excellent prospect of finding specialities such as Vietnamese Cutia, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Dalat Shrike-Babbler, Indochinese Wren-Babbler, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Dalat Bush-Warbler, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Vietnamese Red Crossbill and the superb Grey-crowned Crocias. Calling in to Yokdon for White-rumped Falcon we will proceed to the Mang Den Plateau where we hope to see Chestnut-eared and Black-hooded Laughingthrushes. Our next stop is at Mang Ri for Golden-winged and Red-tailed  Laughingthrushes, Black-crowned Barwing, Indochinese Fulvetta, Black-eared Parrotbill, Brown-crowned Scimitar Babbler and others. Sa Mu Pass is next up for Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush. Yet more great birding awaits us at Phong Nha, where our main targets are Red-collared Woodpecker,  Sooty Babbler and Limestone Leaf Warbler. Cuc Phuong National Park is next with its Eared Pittas and White-winged Magpie and we will end our birding during this superb tour at Tam Dao looking for Grey Laughingthrush and Short-tailed Parrotbill. And to finsh up a lovely hotel awaits us in Hanoi where the tour will end.

Sunday 5th - Thurs 27th January 2025


Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Orange-necked Partridge
  • Green Peafowl
  • Germain’s Peacock-pheasant
  • Siamese Fireback
  • White-bellied Green-Pigeon
  • White-rumped Falcon
  • Red-vented Barbet
  • Indochinese (Annam) Barbet 
  • Necklaced Barbet
  • Red-collared Woodpecker
  • Pale-headed Woodpecker
  • White-bellied Woodpecker
  • Great Slaty Woodpecker
  • Bar-bellied Pitta
  • Blue-rumped Pitta
  • Blue Pitta
  • Eared Pitta
  • Red-collared Woodpecker
  • Indochinese Cuckooshrike
  • Dalat Shrike-Babbler
  • Black-headed Parrotbill
  • Short-tailed Parrotbill
  • Grey-faced Tit Babbler
  • Annam Limestone Babbler
  • Black-crowned Fulvetta
  • Rufous-throated Fulvetta
  • Sooty Babbler
  • Vietnamese Cutia
  • Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler
  • Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush
  • Orange-breasted Laughingthrush   
  • Collared Laughingthrush
  • Black-hooded Laughingthrush
  • Golden-winged Laughingthrush
  • White-cheeked Laughingthrush
  • Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush
  • Red-tailed Laughingthrush
  • Grey Laughingthrush
  • Grey-crowned Crocias
  • Black-crowned Barwing
  • Limestone Leaf Warbler
  • Yellow-billed Nuthatch
  • Indochinese Green Magpie
  • White-winged Magpie
  • Vietnamese Red Crossbill
  • Vietnamese Greenfinch
Red-tailed Laughingthrush
Red-tailed Laughingthrush

Leaders: Nick Bray and local guides. 

Ground Price:  £4975.00 - Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi

Airfare:  £850.00 - £1050.00 (Approx) - UK/UK

Single supplement: £450.00               

Deposit: £500.00

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and maximum 7 with 2 leaders.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals, bottled water, all local transport, all park entrance fees, and services of leaders.

Not included: International airfare, insurance, visa fee, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.   

Accommodation: The hotels & lodges used during this tour are of a reasonable to good standard, all with en-suite facilities, wifi, hot water, and air-con.. We will stay in the best available lodges/guest houses as close to the birding sites as possible.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with regular birding walks along roads and well-marked trails. Most days start around 5 or 5:30am for breakfast or transfer to other birding sites. There are some long drives on this tour, with several of 4 hours and one drive of 8 hours planned. Walking is easy to medium, sitting in bird-blinds and normal easy walking about 4km on easy track and road.

The highest altitude on the tour is around 2000m.

Photography is very good on this tour with more bird-blinds where many species visit, include endemics and some really shy birds.

Climate:  In the south there are two seasons: rain season and dry season. It is hot at Cat Tien and temperatures could reach 35 °C

The Central Highlands include: DaLat plateau, Mang Den Plateau, Ngoc Linh can be cold as the highest altitude is 2000m. It also gets misty in the afternoon and early morning. Owing to the higher altitude, temperatures are lower than other regions at comparable latitudes. Winters are dry while summers are characterized by high rainfall. The temperature is around 12 -27°C.

Central includes the Bach Ma, Sa Mu Pass, Phong Nha-Ke Bang. The climate here is different, winters are characterized by cold, cloudy weather with frequent drizzle, being under the influence of the northeast monsoon. Summers are characterized by hot, dry weather owing to westerly winds. The region averages between 1,500 and 1,700 hours of sunshine per year.

The North include Cuc Phuong, Van Long, Ba Be are a bit similar with central but Tam Dao is very different. Here  winters are characterized by cold, cloudy weather with frequent drizzle, and the weather changes by hour. Temperature around 10 to 25°C.

Tonkin:  the climate is strongly influenced by the northeast monsoon. Winters are cold, cloudy (little sunshine) that is characterized by drizzle. The cold comes earlier than other provinces. Summers are hot and rainy that coincide with the rainy season. However, unlike the northwest, dry conditions are rare due to a low frequency of westerly winds. The rainy season usually lasts from May–September although its duration can vary. In the Hoang Lien Son mountains, winters are cold where snowfall and hoarfrost can occasionally occur. These mountains have the highest rainfall in the country. The average annual amount of sunshine hours is 1,400 to 1,700.

East and West Tonkin regions include Fansipan mountain, which is the highest mountain in Vietnam at over 3000m. The weather is coldest and can drop to -1 in winter but is usually somewhere  between 1-15°C.