Thailand is a fascinating and bird-rich Asian country. Diverse habitats and a marvellous and extensive park and sanctuary system result in a large number of resident species, and there will be many Palearctic migrants present when we visit for our Thailand birding tour.
Our Thailand birding tour samples habitats from marshy plains, mangroves and salt pans around Bangkok to coastlines supporting the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the extensive lowland forests at Kaeng Krachan National Park where we will access very productive blinds, the beautiful forests at Khao Yai, and montane forests in the northwest near Chiang Mai to Thailand’s highest mountain at Doi Inthanon.
A splendid tour led by our guide and local guides who know the area well.
Day 1: Arrival
Our Thailand birding tour starts with arrival in Bangkok with a welcome dinner.
Night in Bangkok.
Day 2: Mahachai Mangrove Forest and Phetchaburi
We depart after an early breakfast for the 40 minute drive to Wat Chalerm Phrakiet temple and Public Park. Here, we are introduced to common open country birds such as Spotted Owlet, Coppersmith Barbet, Oriental Magpie Robin, Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Pied Starling, Common Iora, Common Tailorbird, Brown-winged Kingfisher, Asian Common Koel, Greater Coucal, Openbill Stork and the flashy Indian Roller.
Afterwards we go to Wat Chong Lom temple for Edible-nest Swiftlet and then drive 1 hour to Mahachai Mangrove Forest, looking in particular for Oriental White-eye, Mangrove Whistler, Black-winged Stilt, Brown-throated and Olive-backed Sunbirds, Racket-tailed Treepie, Yellow-bellied Prinia and Golden-bellied Gerygone.
Next is the Bang Jak rice field where bird diversity is high - Purple Swamphen, Bronze-winged Jacana, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, White-browed Crake, Asian Golden Weaver, Streaked Weaver, Long-tailed Shrike, Plain-backed Sparrow, Grey-breasted Prinia, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Pied Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Munia and more.
Night in Phetchaburi Province.
Day 3: Laem Phak Bia and transfer to Kaeng Krachan
We spend the morning birding in the Laem Phak Bia area looking in particular for the rare, endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Painted Stork, Little Egret, and Black-capped, White-throated, Common and Pied Kingfishers, and host of other waders and wetland species.
After this we bird at the nearby Royal Project - this project conducts research on polluted water caused by major cities. Here there are fish ponds, salt pans and a wooden walkway through mangrove forest.
After lunch we take a boat to Laem Phak Bia Sand Spit to look for Chinese Egret, Malaysian and White-faced Plovers, gulls and other waterbirds. As we drive to Khao Kakrao we’ll check out freshwater marshes for Black-faced Spoonbill, Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork, Milky Stork, herons, rails and whatever else we can find. Landbirds could include Long-tailed Shrike, Siberian Stonechat, Plain Prinia and Black Drongo. If time we visit Bang Taboon Mangrove forest for look for Mangrove Whistler.
We arrive at Kaeng Krachan perhaps in time for a productive session of birding at a blind set-up especially for bird photography. At dusk we look for Indian Nightjar.
Night in accommodations just outside the park entrance.
Days 4 and 5: Kaeng Krachan
We spend two productive days birding Kaeng Krachan. With an area of about 3000 km. the Kaeng Krachan National Park is Thailand’s largest national park, covering nearly half of the province. It protects mostly rainforests in the mountains along the boundary with Myanmar, but also the Kaeng Krachan reservoir is part of the park. The only significant river of the province is the Phetchaburi River.
A number of exciting species inhabit the lush forests – these include Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, Blue Pitta and Orange-headed Thrush. Roadside birding here is very productive with many species from a wide range of bird families.
In Dry Forest we look for Black-naped Oriole, Blue-winged and, Golden-fronted Leafbirds, Greater Yellownape, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black-and-red Broadbill, and Crested Serpent Eagle, along with Red-bearded and Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, and Banded and Silver-breasted Broadbills.
Higher elevation birding at Pha Nean Thung could produce Long-tailed Broadbill, Pin-tailed Parrotfinch, Great and Wreathed Hornbills, Flavescent Bulbul, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Great Barbet, Streaked Spiderhunter, Red-headed Trogon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Dark-sided Flycatcher, and mammals such as White-handed Gibbon and Dusky Leaf Langur. A daytime roost of the rare White-fronted Scops Owl will be a bonus.
Other notables include Ratchet-tailed Treepie and Swinhoe’s Minivet. In addition, the blinds at Uncle Sin’s and nearby Ban Song Nok are excellent for bird photography and obtaining close views of otherwise shy forest species and we aim to spend time taking advantage of this unique opportunity.
Possibilities abound: Bar-backed and Scaly-breasted Partridges, Red Junglefowl, Crested Goshawk, Red-legged Crake, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Eared Pitta, Emerald Dove, White-browed and Large Scimitar-Babblers, Black-crested, Black-headed and Stripe-throated Bulbuls, Racket-tailed Treepie, Green Magpie, Lesser and Geater Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Siberian Blue Robin, White-rumped Shama, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, and mammals such as Greater Mouse Deer.
Nights in accommodations just outside the park entrance.
Day 6: Transfer to Khao Yai National Park
We spend the early morning around Ban Song Nok, followed by a 4-hour drive to Pak Chong Agriculture area looking for Yellow-eyed Babbler, Yellow-capped Babbler, Green Bee-eater and more. After this we drive another hour to our hotel outside the main gate of Khao Yai National Park.
Night near Khao Yai.
Day 7: Khao Yai National Park
We spend all day birding in Khao Yai National Park. Birds are abundant here! We visit various locations in the park: Heaw Narok Waterfall for Banded Kingfisher, Pied Hornbill, Black-crested Bulbul, and Abbot’s Babbler; the Zone Thanarat Bungalow habitat of scrub, grassy, forest edge for Hill Myna, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Red-wattled Lapwing, Red Junglefowl, and Ashy Wood Swallow; Khao Khiew road for Blue Pitta, Orange-breasted and Red-headed Trogon, Silver Pheasant, Siamese Fireback, Greater Flameback, Thick-billed Pigeon, Long-tailed Broadbill, and Blue-breasted Bee-eater; Pha Diew Dai view point of evergreen forest and hill forest for Red-headed Trogon, Black-throated Laughingthrush, Puff-throated Babbler, Black Eagle, Great and Wreathed Hornbills; Pha Kaw Mai Campsite for Siberian Blue Robin and 4 species of Flowerpeckers - Yellow-vented, Plain, Scarlet-backed, and Buff-breasted; and Wang Jumpee, Buong Pai & Dong Tiew trails for Eared Pitta, White-crowned Forktail and Slaty-backed Forktail. Mammals include Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, White-handed Gibbon, Wild Dog, Black Giant Squirrel, and Variable Squirrel. The evening could produce Northern Brown Boobok, Brown Fish Owl, Wild Elephant, and civets.
Night near Khao Yai.
Day 8: Transfer to Chang Mai
After breakfast we transfer to Bangkok and then take an afternoon flight to Chiang Rai. In the afternoon we drive west (about 2.5 hours) to Doi Ang Khang for an afternoon of exploratory birding, stopping at a couple of spots along the way.
Night in accommodations near Doi Ang Khan.
Days 9 and 10: Doi Ang Khang
We spend two days birding at Doi Ang Khang. There are several special birds in this area, notably Giant Nuthatch, White-browed Laughingthrush, Spectacled Barwing, Brown-breasted Bulbul and Spot-breasted Parrotbill amongst many others.
Also, our chances of seeing many wintering thrushes and warblers will be good. The area around Ban Luang is almost completely deforested, with remaining cover on rocky ridges, and this attracts Goshawk, Hen Harrier, Daurian Redstart, Buff-throated Warbler and Little Bunting. If time permits we can look for the scarce Hodgson’s Frogmouth after dusk.
Nights in accommodations near Doi Ang Khan.
Day 11: Transfer to Doi Inthanon NP
Today we drive south to Doi Inthanon NP where we spend two nights. Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest mountain, 8,400 feet above sea level, a distinctly cool change from the hot and humid lowlands. This is an excellent site for mountain birds and can be good for wintering warblers and thrushes. Dark-sided Thrush and Green Cochoa will be two stars we’ll be looking for, but there are many more special birds here.
The lower part of the park has dry forest with a different set of birds, including Black-headed Woodpecker and Black-backed Forktail. Possibilities seem endless - Rufouse-bellied Niltava, Small Niltava, White-gorgeted Flycather, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, Yellow-checked Tit, Dark-backed Sibia, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Grey-headed Flycatcher, White-browed Piculet, White-throated Fantail, Silver-eared Mesia, Spectacled Barwing, Grey-chinned and Scarlet Minivet, Flavescent Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, and at the summit Green-tailed Sunbird , Gould's Sunbird, Rufous-throated Partridge, Grey Bushchat, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Lesser Shortwing, White-browed Shortwing, Verditer Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Ashy-throated Warbler and more.
Night in Doi Inthanon national park.
Day 12: Doi Inthanon NP
This part of northern Thailand is a very bird-rich area; dry dipterocarp forests on lower mountain slopes merge into pine stands and deforested areas which support wintering Grey Bushchats, Siberian Rubythroats, Buff-throated, Radde's and Yellow-streaked Warblers, and Chestnut Buntings.
Higher elevation evergreen forest contain patches of rhododendrons around ponds, where Red-flanked Bluetails, White-tailed and Ashy-throated Leaf-Warblers, and Scarlet Rosefinches occur. Night birding here can be good with Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Brown Hawk Owl and Asian-barred Owlet seen in the vicinity.
Night in Doi Inthanon national park.
Day 13: Return to Bangkok
We spend the morning birding Doi Inthanan before catching a flight back to Bangkok.
Night in Bangkok.
Day 14: Departure
Our Thailand birding tour ends today, you can transfer to the airport for departure flights at any time.
Departures & Prices
Tour Price Includes
- All accommodation (Good to moderate high-quality hotels and lodges)
- All meals included
- Internal flights included
- Ground transportation
- Eagle-Eye Tours guide + a local guide with 4 - 10 participants
- All park, conservation and entrance fees
Tour Price Does Not Include
- Flights to and from Bangkok
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature
What to Expect
What to Expect
Thailand at this time of year is tropical and humid; our tour runs before the start of the summer monsoon in May. Be prepared for hot, humid and sunny weather at low altitudes, with possible showers in the afternoon; we recommend bringing a light rain-jacket or poncho, although we try to avoid birding in any rain worse than a light drizzle. When in the mountains, we will experience some cooler temperatures during the morning birding. When we visit Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon, 8,400 feet above sea level, the temperature could be as cool as 0-5 degrees Celsius in the morning.
We usually have early breakfasts and some before-breakfast birding since it is best to begin birding at daybreak. Some lunches will be picnic style to maximize our time in the field. Walking conditions are moderate, there will be a couple of fairly strenuous walks, for example at Doi Ang Khang, and on several days we will walk between 2-3 miles. Trails may be muddy depending on how recently it has rained. We will be mostly on roadsides and tracks, occasionally on narrow forest trails, with some shorter walks on uneven rocky trails.
Bring mosquito repellent and/or mosquito-proof clothing because bugs can be a problem, especially at low elevations in moist humid conditions. We will probably encounter a few ticks and sandflies; leeches are usually not an issue outside of the monsoon season. You will need to bring a hat and sunblock. Our hotel in Bangkok is close to the skytrain which accesses downtown Bangkok. In the evenings we usually eat at the hotel or lodge where we are staying and review the list of birds and other wildlife that we have encountered, as well as discuss the following day’s activities.
Even though we cannot guarantee a sighting of the animals below, we feel quite confident that an encounter with the ones listed below is quite likely.
- Spoon-billed Sandpiper
- Nordmann’s Greenshank
- Grey Peacock-Pheasant
- Blue Pitta
- Black-and-red Broadbill
- Green Cochoa
- Black-headed Woodpecker
- Limestone Wren Babbler
- Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl
- Pin-tailed Parrotfinch
- Giant Nuthatch
- Himalayan Cutia
- Great Hornbill
- Black-backed Forktail
- Asian Elephant
Past Tour Checklists
Past Tour Checklists
View the list of birds and other wildlife we encountered on our past tours.