Central plains and National Parks + the mountains of the
Kaeng Krachan, Laem Pak Bia - Pak Thale, Beung Boraphet, Mae Wong, Mae Ping, Doi Inthanon, Doi Ang Khan, Chiang Dao, Doi Lang...
January 2023 tour report Group size ; max. 6
January 2024 ; Tour is full
February 2024 ; Custom tour, full.
12 - 25 January 2025 ; places available
Interested? Welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bangkok has long proved a great base for us doing tours in Asia. This city also is 'the' gateway for birding trips in central Thailand and with Bangkok we have some of Thailand's premier birding sites and national parks within a couple hours drive. For us this feels like home and so we would like to share our experience and offer guests on this tour an unforgettable Asian birding adventure! Central Thailand with its exceptionally diverse range of habitats is an ideal introduction to the biological riches of Southeast Asia. Mudflats and saltpans abound with shorebirds (Spoony!), both coastal and inland marshes are teeming with waterbirds and the rainforest and montane evergreen forests of Kaeng Krachan and Mae Wong offer a dazzling array of distinctly tropical specialities.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Pak ThaleGreat Barbet, Doi Lang
We dedicate the second half of our tour to northern Thailand. Numerous mixed flocks and countless specialities are a feature in the mountains. High diversity in the north and a whole new and different set of birds are our secret to a huge bird list without making this a long tour. Expect close to if not over 400 species and we don't have to make it a rush for this. Thailand's high diversity and our knowledge should make this quite an easy journey. We just hope you may get a feel of our enthusiasm and passion for the country. No wonder we will enjoy sharing our experience of a place that we are so privileged to live in, we may call Thailand home indeed.
Asian Fairy Bluebird, Khao YaiGreen-tailed Sunbird, Doi Inthanon
Pre-tour; International arrivals in Bangkok, pick-up by hotel shuttle, night in Bangkok.
We make this an early start and head straight for the wader areas of Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia ; Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann's Greenshank, boat trip for White-faced Plover... we have been visiting this area for many years on countless occasions and we may note that it's never failed to deliver a great start to a tour! Night in a nice beach resort near Hat Chao Samran!
Laem Pak Bia has a lot more on offer besides the waders and a day list close to a 100 species is well possible especially if the excellent marshes and nearby agricultural area is also visited. We'll do just that today but of course this extra day in the area would serve as a safe back-up just in case any of the important waders eluded us the previous day even though we don't expect much of a problem in this quest if the tides are favourable during our visit.
In the afternoon we first drive to our nature resort near Kaeng Krachan National Park. The lodge has no less than 5 hectares of gardens, forest and farmland filled with birds… 229 species are on the check list here. The garden definitely is worth a look before we set out to a hide by the edge of the National Park. Overlooking a waterhole here should provide plenty excitement with many birds to be enjoyed and photographed from close range.
A full day in one of the most bird-rich forests of Thailand, Kaeng Krachan NP. We will focus on the lower reaches around Ban Krang camp. The lush evergreen forests provide ideal habitat for many bird and mammal species. We may expect a long list of quality birds; Hornbills, Trogons, Kingfishers, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Broadbills, Falconet, Malkoha…
Siberian Blue Robin, Kaeng KrachanBlue Pitta, Kaeng Krachan NP
We have another full morning in Kaeng Krachan either inside the NP or for doing another hide. If Blue Pittta is on show the choice will be easy!
Later we use the hot afternoon hours for the drive to Nakhon Sawan for the night.
Another special day awaits with some very pleasant and easy birding as we go on a boat trip on Bung Bhoraphet, Thailands largest wetland. We’ll be too late for White-eyed River Martins but plenty Reed Warblers, Ducks, Terns, Cormorants, Jacanas, Pratincole… will keep us busy enough.
In the afternoon we do some birding stops en-route to Khlong Lan, our base for Mae Wong National Park.
Mae Wong NP. A scenic road leads up into the mountains and ends at the ranger station and campground. This will be a first introduction to some birds of the north in addition to some western specialties not found in other locations in Thailand. Rufous-necked Hornbill, Burmese Yuhina and Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler are most sought after but will require some luck to connect. Grey Peacock Pheasant is quite common in the area and sure we will be kept busy with some good mixed species flocks. Mae Wong is a very birdy location in general and we’ll do a good list of birds today. Birding will be pleasant again with easy walking along the road (no traffic) and we may expect nice cool temperatures as we’re up at about 1500masl.
Mae Ping NP lies about halfway between Mae Wong and Doi Inthanon NP but it’s more than just a stop-over on our journey to the north. We’ll experience some very different habitat here. The forest is very dry and open with nice broad-leafed dipterocarps providing the perfect habitat for Woodpeckers and Parakeets. Black-headed Woodpecker moves in groups of up to 15 and White-bellied WP is possible along both Flamebacks and Greater Yellownape. Grey-headed and Blossom-headed Parakeets are specialties we may not see anywhere else. Expect again pleasant easy walks.
Dawn will see us at Doi Inthanon National Park gate where we start looking for the many specialties and other goodies at the various birding sites on the mountain. Especially the tracks at km 37 and 34 will get our attention today. Just a few of the birds we'll be looking for; Black-headed Woodpecker, Collared Falconet, Green Cochoa, Dark-sided Thrush, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Ashy Woodpigeon, Lesser Shortwing, Eye-browed Wren Babbler, Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, Spectacled Barwing, Long-tailed Broadbill and White-necked Laughingthrush...
Another full day on Doi Inthanon where we will make a quest to reach the summit boardwalk before the crowds do so. Specialities to look for at these heights include Pygmy Wren Babbler (Cupwing), White-browed Shortwing, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Rufous-throated Partridge and Chestnut Thrush. With the first rays of sunlight catching the moss covered trees and rhododendrons, the flocks with Sunbirds, Bar-throated Minla etc. become active and add plenty colour to our visit. Temperature will be just above freezing and that's why the kiosk selling hot chocolate, tea or coffee is so popular while watching the Green-tailed Sunbirds flit around in the nearby flowers.
Later on we'll visit a couple waterfalls where birds as White-capped Water Redstart and Slaty-backed Forktail might be expected. We spend another night just down the mountain near the park entrance gates.
Cutia, Doi LangLong-tailed Broadbill, Doi Ang Khan
Day 10 -Sunday-
On our last full morning on Doi Inthanon we will have the freedom to choose and revisit any areas we may have found productive or we could target any bird species special on the mountain and still high on the wish lists. In the afternoon we drive to Fang, a town about 3 hours north of Chiang Mai and a good base for our visits to the excellent birding areas on Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khan. A couple birding stops in interesting habitat like forest edge, rice paddy, dry fields or open county with scattered trees may well add some good lowland birds; Red Avadavat, Citrine Wagtail, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Black-collared Starling, Grey-headed Lapwing, Wire-tailed Swallow, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Painted Snipe, Indochinese Bushlark...
Day 11 + 12 -Monday & Tuesday-
Doi Lang may need little introduction amongst birders. In a remote but easy accessible location close to the Burma border a variety of habitats are found on this mountain. Doi Lang ranks as a top Thai birding destination not for nothing; high diversity of species, plenty specialities, high bird activity which usually lasts throughout the day and excellent photo opportunities all on top of easy roadside birding with superb mountain scenery, no traffic, few people and certainly no tourists other than birders, pleasant temperatures and few or no biting insects.
Hume's Peasant, Giant Nuthatch, Crimson-breasted and Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Cutia, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Large Niltava, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Siberian Rubythroat, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, Sapphire Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Olive-backed Pipit, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Hill Prinia, Long-tailed Broadbill, Bay Woodpecker, Maroon Oriole, Speckled Piculet, Gould's Sunbird and Brown-breasted Bulbul along with a host of more common birds...just a little list we managed on a single morning on one of our previous tours!
Doi Lang; from our visit on 20/12/2014 as mentioned above, Hume's Pheasant and Ultramarine Flycatcher.
Day 13 -Wednesday-
A full day up famous Doi Ang Khan won't easily disappoint and is bound to produce a set of new birds even by the end of the tour. The mountains here support more grassy and scrubby habitats which along with the Royal Project gardens provide some different habitats with a few specialities that may be absent or scarce on DI or Doi Lang. Some goodies we'll target this morning are Black-breasted Thrush, Crested Finchbill, White-browed Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, White-browed Scimitar Babbler and Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush.
Day 14 -Thursday-
On the last morning we leave for Chiang Dao, where we have plenty time to explore the grounds of the nearby temple. That this is an excellent birdwatching site with Streaked Wren Babbler, Violet Cuckoo, Blue-bearded Bee-eater and others to look for got well proved on our visit in November 2009 when we recorded no less than 52 bird species in just 2 hours from the lookout. You may read the article here. After lunch we continue towards Chiang Mai with birding stops at Mae Teang Irrigation project, Huay Tung Tao and/or Mae Hia before we get to the airport for our flights back to Bangkok which will mark the end of our tour.
Nice rooms in good standard hotels with private facilities -- mostly easy walks at the usual slow pace good for birding -- photographic opportunities are good to excellent -- weather in central Thailand usually hot and dry in the lowlands while the north usually has pleasant temperatures throughout although mornings could start rather chilly in the mountains -- any rain would be a little unusual at this time of the year -- we’ll have air-conditioned transport throughout on very good roads -- early starts are best for bird watching -- Thai food needs no introduction and will be excellent throughout.
Black-breasted Thrush, Doi Ang KhanOrange-bellied Niltava, Doi Ang Khan
The elusive Lesser Mouse Deer and rare Stump-tailed Macaque from Kaeng Krachan National Park
Large Scimitar Babbler, Kaeng KrachanSultan Tit, Kaeng Krachan
Specialities at Laem Pak Bia; Painted Storks and Asian Dowitcher
Slaty-legged Crake, Kaeng KrachanScaly-breasted Partridge, Kaeng Krachan
Red Avadavat, Huay Tung TaoGrey-headed Parrotbill, Doi Lang