Vietnam Nature Trails 9 Days
Vietnam Travel Agent – Vietnam Adventure Tours – Vietnam Travel Agency – This nine-day tour covers a wide range of Vietnam’s flora and fauna and designed to appeal to an equally wide range of people ranging from those with a general interest in nature to the amateur or professional specialist. For enthusiasts who wish to focus on a particular class, family or even a single species, we can customise the tour to accommodate your preference. All you need to do is tell us what you want, and we’ll make the necessary modifications. There’s no fee for making changes, and no limit on the number you make!
Accommodation in National Parks ranges from barely mid range to non-existent – most are very basic. It’s not a tour for softies – look upon it as an adventure! You’ll also need suitable clothing, footwear and equipment – depending on your itinerary and interests, we’ll advise you what to bring and, if you wish, send you advance information about local circumstances.
Day 1: Arrival at Hanoi (D, GP)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a restaurant in a restored French colonial building.
In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi/Cuc Phuong (B, L, D, G)
A morning drive takes you to Cuc Phuong National Park. You’ll be able to wander through a subtropical forest, rich in flora and fauna with thousand-year-old trees and dripping vines, visiting the Prehistory Cave. You’ll spend the night in the park.
The Endangered Primate Rescue Centre is a temporary home for many gibbons and langurs that have been injured, or been orphaned by poachers. Among them are two of the rarest species in the world, Delacourt’s Langur, now confined to two or three spots in north Vietnam, and the elegant Cat Ba Golden Langur, now reduced to a colony of around 50 individuals in Cat Ba Island National Park. Strenuous efforts are being made to conserve both species.
When those in the rescue centre have regained their strength, a carefully staged programme will release them into the wild.
Day 3: Cuc Phuong/ Xuan Thuy National Park (B, L, D, G)
In the morning, you’ll be visiting the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre. After lunch, you’ll drive to Giao Xuan Commune at the Buffer Zone of Xuan Thuy National Park. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and arranged accommodation at a local family.
In the afternoon, you’ll pick up your bike for a short ride along country lane road to visit a local market thence to the dyke of Xuan Chau village to see the migrant birds returning to the sleeping place in the mangrove forest by the dyke. You’ll stay the night with a local family.
In January 1989 Xuan Thuy was declared Vietnam’s first Ramsar site; a wetland of international importance. The Xuan Thuy Nature Reserve was established in 1995 and was upgraded to a national park in 2003.
Located in the Giao Thuy district forming part of the UNESCO Red River Biosphere Reserve, it is a rich, biodiverse coastal wetland that houses about 220 species of birds (including nine endangered species), 110 aquatic plants and 500 other aquatic organisms. Many highly valuable types of seafood like shellfish, shrimps, fish, crabs and oysters are also found in this area. It is also a critically important staging area and wintering area for migratory birds visiting and passing through Vietnam from north-east Asia and Siberia to Australia.
Giao Xuan is one of five communities located within the park’s buffer zone. The communities rely heavily on the natural resources of the park for food, shelter an their livelihoods. Unfortunately over-fishing destructive fishing and the clearing of the mangrove forests for shrimp aquaculture have resulted in a loss of biodiversity. The national park is experiencing a loss of natural resource habitat and ecological productivity, as well as coastal accretion (sediment buildup). The combination of poverty, a dependence on aquatic resources and environmental degradation has created a situation that calls for immediate action.
Since 2003, the Centre for Marine life Conservation and Community development (MCD) has been working with coastal communities to address the need for alternative, sustainable livelihoods. Ecotourism has been identified as a constructive way to improve livelihoods and help restore Vietnam’s marine ecosystem, and MCD is helping communities develop eco-business in a sustainable way working to ensure a future for all.
Day 4: Xuan Thuy National Park/Hanoi (B, L, G)
Wake up early in the morning and see how people start a day and listen to the “sounds of the country life”. You’ll then have breakfast in the local style then leave village at 8.30 and spend whole morning to visit Xuan Thuy National Park by motor boat where you can watch migrant birds and some kinds of natural life in the Xuan Thuy Wetland reserve. After the lunch, you’ll return to Hanoi for overnight accommodation.
Day 5: Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City (B, DP)
Your morning will be free until your guide and driver arrive to take you to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive, a private car will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the city centre. After checking in, you’ll be free for a preliminary wander around District 1. Your overnight will be in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City/Nam Cat Tien (B, L, DP, G)
In the morning, your driver will arrive at your hotel to take you to Nam Cat Tien National Park. After lunch at the canteen in the park centre, you’ll drive 9 km in a Jeep and then hike for three kilometres through the rainforest to Crocodile Lake – you may see some of the typical wild fauna en-route. You’ll be able to watch the wildlife around the lake in the evening when the wild animals come to the lake to drink. From your hide, you’re likely to see monkeys, deer and other small mammals, and with a good pair of binoculars, there’s a good chance of spotting less familiar fauna, such as the Siamese crocodiles after which the lake is named.
When darkness falls, you’ll row quietly on the lake with a large flashlight to see some of the nocturnal visitors to the lake and listen to the sounds of the forest. You’ll stay in the park guesthouse in the Crocodile Lake area.
About 150km from Ho Chi Minh City, Nam Cat Tien is one of Vietnam’s largest protected areas – a complicated network of wetlands and tropical forest nearly 74,000 hectares in two sections bisected by a river, the larger about fifty or sixty kilometres across in both directions. Its bio-diversity is considerable with over fifty endangered species listed in the ‘Red Book’ including the Javan Rhinoceros, the Siamese Crocodile and the Indochina Tiger. Of particular interest is its large bird population – well over three hundred species have been identified so far.
There are several trails through the forest. Although they avoid the deeper areas that are the habitat of the rarer species, they are well designed and offer good opportunities to see a wide range of flora and fauna. The best time to visit Nam Cat Tien National Park is the dry season from December to late May.
The Bird Lake is a good alternative for the Crocodile Lake for those who like bird watching. The Orange-necked Partridge is one of the rare bird species that live in the park. The best time for bird watching is from February to April.
Day 7: Nam Cat Tien (B, L, D, G)
If you can manage a pre-dawn visit to the lake, you’ll have another opportunity to spy on the park’s wildlife. If you’d prefer just ‘normal’ early, your row on the lake will be mainly to watch the park’s feathered inhabitants. You’ll then hike back to the main road and drive seven kilometres westwards for another one-kilometre hike along the forest trail to the giant Ficus Tree which covers over two hectares.
Fortified by a canteen lunch, a cruise down Dong Nai River on a motor boat takes you to Ta Lai village to visit the farms and houses of S’Tieng and Chau Ma ethnic minorities. You’ll stay overnight in the guesthouse.
The flora in the Ficus Tree area was heavily depleted by defoliation during the war, thus allowing fast growing bamboo to take over. Somehow, the Ficus tree that you’ll see survived, and has become one of the most spectacular trees in the park.
The people of Ta Lai village are now committed to protecting the forest by returning to their traditional weaving skills instead of hunting and logging. You can contribute to this sustainable development by purchasing their products.
Day 8: Nam Cat Tien/Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)
In the early morning, you’ll cycle to the nearby Ben Ngu area. After wandering around the massive trees, dripping vines, and visiting the rapids (water level permitting), it’ll be time for lunch in the canteen and your return to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B, DP)
Your time will be your own until your private car and driver arrives to take you to Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight. Vietnam Travel Agent – Vietnam Adventure Tours – Vietnam Travel Agency
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