Thailand – Tour Description
Day 1 – Arrival in Thailand
Most of international flights arrive in the early afternoon at Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. A domestic flight will take us 45 minutes to go on to Chiang Mai. This is the meeting place from where our tour starts. Our guide will meet us at the airport and transfer us (about 1 hour drive) to our accommodation, the Doi Inthanon Highland Resort (3***). We will stay here for 2 nights. The great advantage of this accommodation is its location, which is very close to the main entrance of Doi Inthanon National park
Day 2 – 3 – Doi Inthanon National park
Doi Inthanon National Park is named after the highest mountain in Thailand. The summit of this mountain is at 2565 m. The size of the park is 482 km2 and protects four major watersheds. Because of the higher elevation, this National Park support a tract of upper montane forest. It contains a large amount of quality habitat which is home to a very high number of bird species. There are many places to stop and access the forest which normally is very productive, particularly the moss-clad forest at higher altitudes. Birds seem to be in greater densities here than in many other locations in Thailand, which makes it ideal to see a large number of species in a short time.Doi Inthanon spans a number of habitats and consequently contains the birds associated with them. The summit area, is very special and one of the best birding places in Thailand. Chestnut-tailed Minla, Green-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush are very abundant in this area and both Speckled and Ashy Woodpigeon are frequently seen.
Going further down you will find Green and Purple Cochoas and many species of Flycatchers can be seen at all altitudes. Brown-throated Treecreepers, Maroon Oriole and Minivets are common.
In the rivers near the waterfalls Slaty-backed Forktail, Plumbeous Water Redstart, White-capped Water Redstart (River Chat) can be found.
The drier forest contains some birds difficult to find somewhere else. Black-headed Woodpecker, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and White-rumped Falcon are the most sought after birds here.
A visit to Doi Inthanon National Park for 2 or 3 days means that a large number of exciting birds can be seen. At the end of day 3 we will drive back to Chiang Mai (driving time is around 1 -1.5 hours), where we will stay for the night
Day 4 – 5 – Doi Ang Kang
Today we are moving on North to the Doi Ang Kang area. We will leave early and take a packed breakfast. It will take us around 2 hours and 15 minutes to arrive at our first birding stop. We will go at lunchtime to Angkhang Nature Resort, where we will stay for 2 nights.
This place nestled in the midst of a picturesque mountainous countryside, offers relaxed comfort.This resort has well-equipped guest rooms, with mountain or garden views. The Restaurant provides delicious Thai and international cuisine.Doi Ang Kang, in Chiang Mai province, is an area on the border with Myanmar. The scenery consisting of mountain peaks and ridges covered with scrubby vegetation and forest is beautiful. This region has good opportunities for walking and birding in the surrounding countryside. In this place many interesting species can be seen, which are difficult to find in other parts of the country. For many birders a place to come back to oftenSome specialities are Crested Finchbill, Red-faced Liocichla, with its striking red face. Another bird is Spot-throated Babbler which is seen by only a few, but listen out for its surprisingly rich song and it can be tracked down.
Lots of other northern specialities occur here as White-browed Laughingthrush and a good number of flycatchers as White-gorgetted Flycatcher and Slaty-backed Flycatcher. Several Parrotbills can be found as Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Lesser Rufous-headed and Grey-headed parrotbills .In this most northerly part of Thailand quite a range warblers from the genus Phylloscopus can be seen (but sometimes difficult to identify). Buff-throated Warbler, Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, Chinese Leaf Warbler and Hume’s Warbler are all common here.
Day 6 – Doi Lang
We will leave after breakfast and then head to (45 minutes drive) Fang Hot Springs, where we can get very close up to Spot-winged Grosbeaks and River Chat. The rest of the day we will spend at Doi Lang, which is only at half an hour drive. Doi Lang is very wild. It is one of the highest points in Thailand with beautiful scenery.There are lots of lovely flocks of birds here including Whiskered Yuhina and Black-throated Tit. Red-faced Liocichla, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Spectacled Barwing, Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher all come to a feeding station here. Wonderful place, wonderful birds and great photo opportunites here. Other special birds here are Chestnut-headed Tesia, Cutia, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Himalayan Bluetail, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Jerdon’s Bushchat and Collared Scops Owl. Without doubt one of the best birding sites in Thailand.We will stay at Thatorn Chalet for 1 night, at only 1 hour from the top of Doi Lang. This is a pleasant, fairly standard hotel at the foot of Doi Lang.Thaton Chalet is surrounded by the wonderful nature of Baan Thaton. The hotel is situated on the west bank of the scenic Mae Kok River in the middle of the mist mountains.
Day 7 – Return Chiang Mai
We will spend the morning up Doi Lang again. Our plan is to go back to Chiang Mai (a 3 hour drive) later this day and stay there for the night. We will use the same hotel as we did on day 3.During the transfer we will stop at some rice fields near Chiang Dao to see Wire-tailed Swallow, grey headed Lapwing and some other open country species to break up the journey.
Day 8 – Beung Boraphet
The journey to Beung Boraphet will take about 5.5 -6 hours. We should arrive at around 3.30 pm in the afternoon for some nice birds at the lake’s edge. This means leaving Chiang Mai at around 9.30-10am, meaning we can have a later morning than usual and recharge the batteries. For the super keen one with us there are a couple of birding sites around Chiang Mai where we can spend a few hours before we leave.Bueng Boraphet is a semi-natural lake which fluctuates in its water level throughout the seasons.
This place is one of the largest wetland sites in Thailand and without doubt the most famous. It is this place where the White-eyed River Martin has been seen several times. And although we certainly will not see this bird again, there are always many birds around thanks to the combination of reed beds, lotus swamps, open water, grassland and fringing woodland. Normally winter will provide the most species.We will go to the south side of the lake and do birding from a flat-bottomed boat on the lake. This will be easy and relaxing birding and we will have a lot of photo opportunities. Birds here are Oriental Darter, Glossy Ibis, weavers, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Siberian Rubythroat and jacanas.We will stay for the night in Asia Nakhon Sawan Hotel. The hotel is fairly standard and modern, but there is nothing else any better.The next day we can have an easy morning on the lake, relaxing and with lots of birds and photo opportunities.After lunch we will head to Khao Yai (about 3 hour drive). We will not have enough time to enter this National Park on this day, but we can do some birding around our accommodation. Here we should find Red-breasted Parakeet.
.Day 9 – 10 – Khao Yai
We will stay for 2 nights in Juldis Khao Yai Resort. This resort is near the Khao Yai National Park. The first resort hotel in this part of the country. A very nice play to stay.
Khao Yai National Park has been nominated as a World Heritage site. It is a quality location for bird and nature lovers. The size of the National park is 2168 km2 which makes this park one of the largest in Thailand.
The dominant habitat type here is the seasonal evergreen forest but there are also areas of open grassland. The National park has many tracks which means that there is plenty of opportunity to explore these wonderful forests and view the wildlife. These trails were originally elephant tracks, and Khao Yai remains one of the best places in South-East Asia to see these fantastic animals and with such an extensive area of quality habitat a huge number of excellent bird species can be found too. To fully appreciate the birdlife here we have planned to stay here for two full days.
Birds we are going to look for are Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Banded Broadbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, Red-headed Trogon, Blue Pitta, Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo, Green Magpie, Banded Kingfisher, Orange-breasted Trogon and Great Eared Nightjar.
Day 11 – Back to Bangkok
This will be our last day in Khao Yai National park. After lunch we will leave to go back to Bangkok, which will take us around 2.5 hours. We could drive all the way through to Laem Pak Bia, but this would result in a 6-7 hour drive in very bad and quite dangerous traffic. We prefer to stay the night in Bangkok and have a relaxed afternoon and start the next morning in time to avoid traffic jamsOur hotel in Bangkok is
Day 12 -13 – Laem Pak Bia
We will leave early in the morning before the traffic starts to be a problem. The time to reach Laem Pak Bia will be around 2-2.5 hours.Laem Pak Bia – Pak Thale is a large area of salt pans with some mangrove remains. This area is one of the best birdwatching sites for shorebirds in Thailand.
In addition to the coastal areas there are large freshwater wetlands further inland, consisting of rice paddies and fishponds which are good for Crakes, Rails, Egrets and large raptors in winter. The area is an excellent place to see a large variety of waterbirds, and the possibility of finding a rarity is high. The birds we are looking for are Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Malaysian Plover, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Chinese Egret, White-faced Plover, Indian Nightjar, Indochinese Bushlark, Slaty-breasted Rail, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Great Knot.We will stay the night at Puktien Cabana Beach Resirt, which is a natural Bali style Resort on the beach, very close to the imporant birding sites.
Day 14 – 16 – Kaeng Krachan
We will stay almost the whole day in the area of Laem Pak Bia, looking around to find more species. In the afternoon we will leave for our accommodation near Kaeng Krachan at about an hours drive. We will stay for four nights in Baan Maka near Kaeng Krachan. It is a nice place, simple but clean and good food. A very good base for birders and photographers (the owner is a bird photographer himself). The advantage is that this place is located at just a 15 minutes drive form the Kaeng Krachen park entrance gate.Kaeng Krachan National Park, is located on the border of Myanmar. It is the largest National Park in Thailand, occupying 2915 km2 and part of one of the largest remaining forests in South-east Asia. It is possible to see an enormous number of species here by getting to many different altitudes and 100 species in a day is a real possibility if you really want.Some key species we are going to look for are a.o. Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Blue Pitta, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Kalij Pheasant, Black-headed Woodpecker, Black-throated Laughingthrush, Rufous-browed Flycatcher.Kaeng Krachan is also a good place to see hornbills as the Great, Oriental Pied and Wreathed Hornbills. Rusty-cheeked Hornbill are present but more scarce, although they can be found in noisy flocks at various altitudes.With such extensive forest of such excellent quality there is still a good mammal population here. Many species of squirrel can be found including the amazing Black Giant Squirrel. Dusky Langurs, Banded Langurs and White-handed Gibbon are often seen in the canopy. Tigers, tapirs and elephants are still present in Kaeng Krachan, although seldom seen.There are so many good birds to see here that we have planned a visit of 2 full days.
Day 17 – Return to Bangkok
We will stay the last morning in Kaeng Krachan. Later we go to the rice fields, at about 1 hour drive. In the afternoon we will return to Bangkok, to catch our International flight back home
Travelling Together as friends