Preamble When A Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia by Charles Francis came out in 2008 I was immediately struck by how many endemic and near-endemic primates are found in Vietnam, and I had a plan germinate in my brain about trying to see all of them in one trip. I figured three months would make that do-able, allowing me time to just wander about aimlessly as I do and spend time on the most difficult species. This trip isn't quite what I had in mind, with time and finances giving me only three weeks, but I figure I can look upon it as a starter trip - a pre-exploration if you will. At some future date, hopefully soon, I can return to visit the north of the country while with this current trip I would concentrate on the south and centre. Three weeks is a disgustingly short length of time so I just aimed for a few sites, namely Cat Tien (home to Black-shanked Doucs), Mang Den (home to Grey-shanked Doucs) and a couple of places near and north of Danang, Bach Ma and Phong Nha-Ke Bang (both home to Red-shanked Doucs). After Vietnam I stopped off at Bukit Fraser in Malaysia for a couple of days. I had read often about how difficult bird-watching is in Vietnam, and so it proved to be. Outside the protected areas there is almost no life at all, and even within them it is jolly hard work. To illustrate, I didn't see a single cattle egret or little egret the entire time I was in Vietnam. In any other part of southeast Asia these are pretty much omnipresent. In Vietnam any white things in fields or rice-paddies were either domestic ducks or flags on sticks (I assume to scare away non-existent birds from eating the crops). I barely saw any mynahs anywhere, which frankly was just bizarre. Even Tree Sparrows seemed thin on the ground. Because this was only a short trip I will do a day-to-day thread - each day will be a separate post - otherwise the thread will be over before it's even begun! Sometimes I will make reference to later days if necessary. At the end of each post I will put a list of all the birds and mammals seen that day; lifers will be in bold (there aren't many of them). The numbers will be the totalling of species seen on the trip. I had seen trip reports from bird tour companies who would cover the whole country in three or four weeks and see 350-ish species. I figured that because I wasn't visiting any wader sites or the delta, and I don't use tapes or guides - I just see what I see - I'd probably only get between 100 and 150 species which was actually correct (I ended up with 114 bird species, about half of which were at the start of the trip in Cat Tien; only 15 of the total were lifers). I had a guesstimate of 20 mammal species, and ended up on 18 (6 of them lifers), and I missed most of the primates I was hoping to find!