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. 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.
VIETNAM MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: An online map of Vietnam can be found here and background notes for Vietnam from the WORLD FACTBOOK can be found here. International travel notes from the U.S. State Department can be found 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 and at the two sites in the north, as well as on the extension.
Our birding days will normally begin around 5:30 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 five hours between Tam Dao and Cuc Phuong (we make a lunch stop in Hanoi). Most of the driving is on well-surfaced roads.
CLIMATE: Unlike much of Southeast Asia, Viet Nam’s climate is complex and varied from humid tropical and sub-tropical to cool. Our tour takes place during the spring in northern Vietnam and during what is the dry season in southern Vietnam. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the range of 30-35°C (85-95°F) in the south and 20-25°C (68-78°F) around Dalat. At Tam Dao, at an elevation of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), and at Cuc Phuong, nighttime temperatures may drop to 5°C may encounter rain during the tour, and the possibility of a thunderstorm cannot be discounted.
ACCOMMODATIONS: In Tam Dao we stay at a very comfortable resort, while in Dalat we stay at a cozy family-run guest house. Both have private bathrooms with hot water. At Cuc Phuong and Cat Tien National Parks, the accommodation is more basic, but all rooms have private bathroom facilities and hot water. Accommodations on the optional extension are of the same standard as those on the main tour.
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.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information and Conditions. 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: May 2013