The big Tung Tree at Nam Cat Tien National Park
The big Tung Tree at Nam Cat Tien National Park

Vietnam Highlights and Birds – 15 Days

Exploring Vietnam tourist highlights and getting to know the amazing bird species in the best national parks and birding sites in Vietnam on a cultural and eco tour for 15 days, 14 nights.

 The tour route is a combination of classic and off-the-beaten track and the highlights include must-see tourist attractions as well as the best national parks in Vietnam in both the North and the South.

The pace of travel is mostly easy; there is a hike for 2 hours in Cat Tien National Park. The accommodation is basic at the national parks and boutique luxury in the cities. High-end luxury hotels are available in cities upon request.

Day-to-day itinerary
Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (no meal)
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tour/Free afternoon (B)
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Cai Be – Vinh Long) (B / L )
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City - Nam Cat Tien National Park (B/L/D)
Day 5 Nam Cat Tien Birding (B/L/D)
Day 6 Nam Cat Tien – Da Nang (VN126: 1330-1450) – Hoi An (B)
Day 7 Hoi An Tour/Free time (B)
Day 8 Hoi An – Da Nang – Hue/Hue Imperial Citadel (B/L)
Day 9 Hue Royal Tombs(B/L)
Day 10 Hue – Hanoi (VN1542: 1030-1145) - Cuc Phuong National Park (B/-/D)
Day 11 Cuc Phuong Bird Watching (B/L/D)
Day 12 Cuc Phuong – Halong Bay/Overnight Junk Cruise (B/L/D)
Day 13 Halong Bay – Hanoi (B / L)
Day 14 Hanoi Tour/Free afternoon
Day 15 Depart Hanoi (B)

Halong Bay in a late afternoon
Halong Bay in a late afternoon

The tour price includes
English speaking guide as on the tour itinerary;
Transportation as on the itinerary;
Air tickets for Saigon – Da Nang/Hue – Hanoi;
Accommodation as on the itinerary;
Admission and permits during the guided times;

The tour price excludes
Insurance of any types;
Drinks, laundry, phone bills or others not clearly mentioned as included;

Detailed itinerary

Day 1 Arrive at Ho Chi Minh City (no meal)
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, welcomed by Paradissa Travel tour guide and transferred to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in HCMC.

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tour/Free afternoon (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Enjoy a tour of Sai Gon taking in: The War Remnants Museum, The Cathedral, The General Post Office, The Municipal Theatre and the Central Market, Binh Tay Market and China town.
The remainder of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Cai Be – Vinh Long) (B / L )
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to Cai Be where we embark a private boat for exploring life on the Mekong River in southern Vietnam. We’ll visit families’ businesses such as making popcorn, rice paper, dried young rice… Learning about agricultural life and tools of locals.
Lunch in an orchard.
More exploring village life by bicycle or rowing boat. Rejoin our car for the trip back to Saigon in late afternoon.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City - Nam Cat Tien National Park (B/L/D)A birding trail at Cat Tien National Park
Breakfast at the hotel.
Travel by road to Nam Cat Tien National Park, 150km from HCMC in Dong Nai Province. Once off Highway One, the road uphill passes through large areas of rubber plantations to the national park. An incredible diversity of birds and mammals live in the forest and wetland habitats of Nam Cat Tien which is estimated of 351 species of birds. Endangered birds to be found here include White-winged Duck, White-shouldered Ibis, Germains Peacock-Pheasant, Green Peafowl and the very elusive Orange-necked Partridge.

In the afternoon, have 1-hour boat trip on the Dong Nai River to watch birds and monkeys on the riversides.
In the evening, embark on a vehicle for a night safari exploring
Lunch and dinner at the park.
Overnight in Nam Cat Tien.

Day 5 Nam Cat Tien Birding (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the guest house.
We start early for the 6km of walking eco tour through forest to Crocodile Lake. Species that can be seen here include Green Peafowl by Crocodile Lake in early morning or late afternoon, Bronze-winged Jacana, Lesser Adjutant and Purple Heron. On our bird-watching tour today, look out for Red, Black and Banded Broadbill, Orange-breasted Trogon and Pale-headed Woodpecker among others.
Lunch and dinner at the park.
Overnight in Nam Cat Tien.

Day 6 Nam Cat Tien – Da Nang (VN126: 1330-1450) – Hoi An (B)Hoi An riverside at night
Breakfast at the guest house.
Have free time for self-bird-watching along the trail near the park headquarters.
Transfer back to Saigon Tan Son Nhat Airport for the flight to Da Nang.

Welcomed on arrival and transfer to Hoi An Old Town.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7 Hoi An Tour/Free time (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.
In the morning, we’ll have an oriented walking tour of Hoi An ancient town. We’ll visit old merchant houses, a Chinese Congregational Hall, Hoi An Museum, and the famous Japanese covered-bridge.

You have the afternoon free at leisure for relaxing on the beach or for checking the fine silk of the region. Lunch and dinner are on our own today.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8 Hoi An – Da Nang – Hue/Hue Imperial Citadel (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.
We check out of the hotel in the morning. Our journey brings us through the scenic coast in the Central Region of Vietnam. We’ll stop on the Hai Van Pass (Pass of Sea Clouds) which offers 360 degrees of breathtaking mountain and sea view and at the Lang Co Beach with fine white sand beach against imposing mountain backdrop. Our destination today is Hue Imperial City.King Minh Mang's tomb at Hue Vietnam
Lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we'll engage into the beauty of Hue with a cruise on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda. Proceed to the Imperial Citadel.
After the visit, travel to the hotel.
Overnight in Hue at one of Paradis sa's preferred hotels of boutique luxury with pleasant ambiance and located right in the tourist quarters.

Day 9 Hue Royal Tombs(B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Full day exploring Hue’s countryside with ancient garden houses, scenic riversides and village life. We’ll visit the tombs of King Tu Duc, Khai Dinh and Minh Mang.
Overnight in Hue.

Day 10 Hue – Hanoi (VN1542: 1030-1145) - Cuc Phuong National Park (B/-/D)
Breakfast at the park.
A final morning exploring the forest trails before leaving for Hue Airport to catch the early afternoon flight to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi, travel directly to Cuc Phuong National Park, a 3-hour road journey to the south of the capital city.
Overnight in Cuc Phuong.

Day 11 Cuc Phuong Bird Watching (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the park.
Enjoy full day bird-watching. The first national park established in Vietnam, Cuc Phuong is an area of limestone hills covered with large tracts of primeval rainforest. Key bird species here include Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Brown Hornbill, Bar-bellied, Blue-rumped and Eared Pitta, White-winged Magpie, Sultan Tit, Red-Vented Barbet, Limestone Wren-Babbler, Fujian Niltava and Pied Falconet.
Overnight in Cuc Phuong.

Day 12 Cuc Phuong – Halong Bay/Overnight Junk Cruise (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hotel.
0700 A.M Transferred through the scenic countryside and the heart of the Red River Delta to the World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay. The bay offers some 3,000 mountain islands and islets towering in the Gulf of Tonkin in the East Vietnam Sea.

Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed on board our luxury junk and treated with wine and fresh local seafood. As our junk glides further into the tranquility of Ha Long Bay amid the towering mountain cliffs and on the emerald green water, you'll have relaxing time combining the fine tastes of the wine and the freshness of Ha Long Bay. During the cruise, we'll stop for visiting the amazing Sung Sot cave and the Ti Tov white sand beach before anchoring for the night.
Overnight on board the junk in the wild of Ha Long Bay.

Day 13 Halong Bay – Hanoi (B / L)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Then, we'll take a little sampan to visit a secret lagoon of Ha Long Bay while the surrounding mountains are just waking up. After that our cruise takes us further into the Bay of Bai Tu Long traveling past the Human Head Island, the Turtle Island, and the Duck Islet... to the studio site where the famous “Indochine” film was shot.

After the last feast on board for lunch, our junk travels back to the harbor for disembarkation at 12.00 A.M. We rejoin our car and make our way to Ha Noi. On arrival, we check into the hotel which is located in the heart of the Old Quarters of Hanoi.
Free time for dinner.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 14 Hanoi Tour/Free afternoon (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Have a leisurely visit of Hanoi taking in: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, One-Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature.
Free afternoon.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 15 Depart Hanoi (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure flight. We trust you had a wonderful nature tour in Vietnam with Paradissa Travel.

Note: Best time of the year is March - April. Accommodation at national parks can be rather basic.