Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Vietnam. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING VIETNAM: A valid passport and visa are required for U.S. citizens. The website of the Vietnam Embassy in Washington, DC, can be viewed here. Or, visa services such as CIBT can take care of your needs quickly and efficiently. Your passport, as a general rule, should be valid for at least six months after the date the tour ends. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest embassy. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour.
MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Vietnam in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Vietnam here.
HEALTH: Malaria occurs in Vietnam. The CDC suggests up-to-date tetanus, typhoid, polio, and hepatitis A protection, and, as needed, booster doses for tetanus-diptheria and measles. For further information on health advisories for Vietnam, please visit the CDC website.
PACE OF THE TOUR: This tour is relatively strenuous, requiring a good degree of physical fitness due to the high temperatures in the south, some longish walks, and a moderate amount of ascent and descent. Some days will involve walking for around six miles, for example, the walk to Crocodile Lake and back at Cat Tien National Park. However, most walking is fairly easy, and we include plenty of stops for birding. Some uphill and cross-country walking is required at the sites around Dalat as well as Tam Dao in the north on the extension.
Our birding days will normally begin around 6:00 with a quick early breakfast before birding; on some days we may have a light packed breakfast. Bird activity usually drops off by 11:00, and lunch is normally taken at the park headquarters, hotel, or a nearby restaurant, followed by a siesta and then birding from around 2:30 pm until 6:00 or dusk.
There are some drives of three to four hours, with a longer drive of about eight hours.
CLIMATE: Unlike much of Southeast Asia, Viet Nam’s climate is complex and varied. It is a mix of humid, tropical, sub-tropical, and cool at the respective locations. Our tour takes place during the spring in north Vietnam and during what is the dry season in south Vietnam. Day-time temperatures are likely to be in the range 30-35°C (86-95°F) in the south and 20°C-25°C (68-77°F ) around Da Lat. At Tam Dao, situated at 1,000 metres, and Cuc Phuong, night-time temperatures may drop to 5°C (50°F), whilst day-time temperatures are likely to be around 8°C-14°C (47-57°F). On the extension we may encounter some rain at times and quite cold temperatures.
ACCOMMODATION: At Cat Tien National Park the accommodation is in simple rooms at the park headquarters with air-conditioning, private bathroom facilities and hot water while at Dalat we stay at a cosy family-run guest house. The hotels in Central Vietnam are the best available at each location and although simple, all rooms have air-conditioning and private bathrooms with hot water. On the northern extension we stay at national park accommodations at Cuc Phuong, similar to those at Cat Tien National Park, while at Tam Dao we use a comfortable resort hotel.
DRESS: Dress is informal everywhere.
TRANSPORTATION: Land travel will be in air-conditioned mini-buses throughout.
SMOKING: We request that you not smoke in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group.
If any lodge, accommodation or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than the WINGS policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the About WINGS Tours. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to Vietnam will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Updated: June 2013