Beginners Guide to Bird Watching in Vietnam

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Vietnam is the ideal environment for attracting birds and therefore, bird watchers. The geographical location and its climate attract birds from China, the Malay Peninsula and the Himalayan Mountains. These varied locations result in a huge variety bird species making their way to Vietnam during their migrations.

Although Vietnam has been open to tourism for many years, there are still many remote areas that have not seen a huge influx of nature lovers. Vietnam’s response to travelers of all kinds; from the bargain traveler looking for a beach to relax on to hard core trekkers looking for a vista unseen by a foreign traveler makes this an ideal destination for serious bird watchers.

Vietnam has a huge variety of birds that are would make a veteran watcher eager to hit the trail. Starting in the north near Tam Dao National Park, (the “Island in the Sky”) 70 kilometers northwest from Hanoi, the Short-tailed Parrotbill and Grey Laughingthrush are found among the large feeding flocks of diverse species.

140 km south of Hanoi is Cuc Phuong, first National Park of Vietnam, established in 1962 is home to an astonishing number of localized species, such as Pied Falconet, White-winged Magpie, Rachet-tailed Treepie, and the Limestone Wren Babbler

Among those spotted by recent adventurers in the Central Highlands are Black-crowned Barwing, Laughingthrush, Germain’s Peacock Pheasant Collared Laughingthrush, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Red-vented Barbet, Yellow-billed Nuthatch , Chinese Francolin, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Woolly-necked Stork, Bar-bellied Pitta, Indochinese Cuckoo-shrike, Grey-faced Tit Babbler, Green-backed Tit and the Red Crossbill.

These locations provide the best bird watching in Vietnam:

  1. Cat Tien National Park, about 3 hours drive from Saigon on the way to Dalat.
  2. Ho Tuyen Lam, a few kilometers southwest of Dalat.
  3. Mount Lang Bian, 10 kilometers from Dalat.
  4. Cat Ba Island, large island located in Halong Bay, northeast Vietnam.
  5. Cuc Phuong National Park.
  6. Tam Dao.

Even if you’re not a dedicated bird watcher, these locations offer any outdoor enthusiast great scenery, mild weather (check for rain though) and the great hospitality of the Vietnamese people. Cheap food and accommodations round out what attracts travelers to Vietnam.

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