Collared Stops-Owl


October 24 - November 16, 2023

Leader: Jan Hansen

$6,600 from Hanoi

Parakeet Auklet

Banded Bay Cuckoo

Few places in the world are as etched into the American psyche as Vietnam. The protracted war of the 1970's that dominated American media, spawned massive anti-war protests and demonstrations, devastated the economies of both countries and cost the lives of nearly 60,000 Americans and over 2 million Vietnamese continues to cast a dark shadow over the history of both nations and is impossible to ignore when attempting to interpret current relations between them. Despite this inescapable past littered with atrocities and unimaginable suffering, today Vietnam is a country at peace that is politically stable, economically viable and warmly open to western tourism. It is also one of the richest ornithological destinations in all of Southeast Asia with many endemic and near endemic species available to birdwatchers. Though the violence that persisted throughout Viet Nam through much of the 1980's destroyed much of the country's native wildlife and led to massive conversion of natural habitats to agricultural land, there remain many excellent national parks and protected reserves where one can find some of Southeast Asia's rarest and most sought after birds. Our three weeks in Vietnam will allow us time to cover the entirety of Viet Nam beginning in Hanoi in the north and ending in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the south. Along the way we will visit some of Vietnam's most famous and iconic wildlife parks including Cuc Phong NP, the country's first established wildlife reserve, where a decent paved road will allow us access to the park's interior where many its rarest birds are found. From Cuc Phong we will gradually work our way south eventually ending up in Ho Chi Minh City where the tour will end. Along the way we will visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Bach Ma National Park, Ngoc Linh, Mang Den, Yok Don National Park and Dalat, finally concluding with three full days at Cat Tien National Park. In an attempt to minimize costs while also covering all of Vietnam's best birding sites we will drive from venue to venue rather than fly. Though this will take longer it will also give participants a better window into Vietnamese rural culture and custom and a chance for more interaction with local people. Also, because the tour is long and there will be a good deal of travel involved, we have minimized the number of one night stays (there will be just two) so that people will have a bit more time to relax and unwind when we reach a destination. That said, obviously this is a tour that will have many long travel days and participants should be prepared to deal with early starts, long days and some long drives. The reward will be a chance to see some of Southeast Asia's rarest and most range restricted birds and mammals and gain new insights into this country that is so familiar to most Americans, yet also so poorly understood. Please consider joining us in 2023 as we attempt to lift the veil from Vietnam and attempt to gain a deeper understanding of its birds, people and history.

Tour Map