Scarlet-chested Sunbird - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding LLC Malayan Banded-Pitta - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding LLC


Group tours and private tours both have their advantages and disadvantages. Group tours benefit from more eyes looking for birds and from the possibility of more social interactions after hours. The disadvantage is that individuals on group tours must rotate while birding forest trails, causing those in the back of the line to miss birds others see. Private tours avoid the disadvantages of group tours due to the presence of fewer participants on forest trails. They also avoid friction among participants that occasionally arise in group tours when participants have different objectives or are interacting with sometimes incompatible personalities.

People generally assume that group tours are cheaper than private tours because the fixed costs of guide and driver are spread across more participants. However, it should be noted that normal practice is to spread these costs over the first 4 participants, with additional participants contributing more to profit margin. In addition, large companies have considerable overhead to pay for office space, staff, and tour planners in addition to the costs of conducting their tours. Exotic Birding does not have this overhead. As a result, it can offer private tours for 2-3 persons at prices comparable to group tours of larger companies. Prices of our group tours can actually be lower than that of other companies for the same reason.


Knowledgeable birders frequently want to travel on private tours with custom itineraies for the reasons stated above. Exotic Birding specializes in arranging all logistics and providing expert guides for these types of tours. Custom itineraries may be focused on seeing as many species as possible, obtaining as many bird photos as possible, or targeting particular bird species not seen before by our clients.

In many cases, clients want a private tour to countries they have not visited before. Figuring out an itinerary in such cases would require a great deal of research if one is starting from scratch. Exotic Birding has already done this research and traveled to each destination country to gain first hand experience with birding locales, guides, and accommodations. The result of this research is a set of pre-planned itineraries that we recommend for first time visitors to the destination country. Several itineraries of varying duration are usually offered to suit clients with differing amounts of time available for travel or differing budgets. We have not just worked out excellent itineraries. We have also vetted our guides and made sure they have the expertise and English language skills needed to conduct a tour. This vetting takes the risk out of having a bad experience with an unqualified guide, which could happen when working directly with a foreign guide. We know, because it has happened to us. We don't send clients to guides until we've made sure they have the qualifications needed to conduct an outstanding tour.

One final note about our custom tours. We do have the ability to open a tour to the general public. If two people prefer a custom tour but would like to travel at the group price, we can open the tour up to others and advertise it as a scheduled tour on our website.