The very mention of Thailand raises visions of floating colorful markets, gilded golden pagodas and brightly clad Buddhist monks in the mind’s eye. However, other treasures await in cloud covered forested mountains with sparkling rivers and misty waterfalls, the lush tropical lowland rainforests all of which harbor some of the most beautiful birds in the world. Thailand lies at the cross-roads of three bio-geographic provinces where one can discover a diversity of Oriental avifauna representing indigenous and migratory birds and well over 900 species. From the rain forests of Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, to the cool mountains around Chiang Mai in the north, you will be accompanied by Pinit Saeng Kaew, a premier naturalist birder guide, the first birder to ever spot the Ratchet-tailed Treepie in Thailand in Kaeng Krachan National Park.
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
This area of Southeast Asia is comprised of some warm and rather humid tropical countries. The climate is marked by a pronounced rainy season lasting from about May to September and a relatively dry season for the remainder of the year. Best time to visit this area is October through March when it is not too hot or rainy. Cambodia is always hot and humid – the coolest months are January & February.
Fly to Bangkok, arriving the next day. Here, your naturalist guide will greet and escort you to your tranquil hotel situated along the Chao Phraya River, the River of Kings. MONTIEN RIVERSIDE HOTEL. (Meals Aloft)
Board your riverboat on the Chao Phya River to cruise Bangkok’s old Klongs (canals) with a brief stop at the Royal Barge Museum. Cross the river and walk to the Royal Navy Club for lunch. Tour the Grand Palace with its Emerald Buddha. During the day, listen to the Oriental Robin Magpie’s hash warning tones as you approach its perch on building ledges. Enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel. MONTIEN RIVERSIDE HOTEL. (B,L,D)
Drive along the Gulf of Thailand and explore mudflats, mangroves, and salt pans which are home to stint, sandplover, kingfisher, and the elusive Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Arrive at Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand’s largest and a notable stop for migratory birds from as far as Serbia, making this a must see for birders. Over 250 bird species will delight you, from the recently discovered population of Ratchet-tailed Treepie, six species of hornbill, the exotic Woody-necked Stork, and Long-tailed Broadbill. Glimpses of elephant, deer, monkey, and other wildlife are rare due to the density of the moist evergreen forest trimmed with hanging lianas, ferns, and orchids. Superb birding opportunities abound throughout the lush grounds of your tranquil resort with Rain Quail, Flowerpecker, Grey Spiderhunter, and numerous butterflies. KAENG KRACHAN COUNTRY CLUB & RESORT. (All Meals Daily)
En route to Thailand’s most revered national park, watch for swirling hordes of Asian Openbill Storks in the sky and trees packed with their nests. Search for over 350 bird species from the brilliant colors of the Redheaded Trogon to the fig-eating specialist, the Asian Fairy Bluebird, and Thailand’s national bird, the Siamese Fireback Pheasant. Hornbill entertainment can be found from the Austen’s Brown, Great, Orientalpied and Wreathed. See bats swarming from a cave in the late afternoon. While you trek, cooks will prepare traditional Thai lunches. As the sun sets, look for Great Eared Nightjar and Brown Boobook while enjoying the simplicity of your beautiful resort. BOTANICA RESORT. (All meals daily)
Drive to Bangkok and transfer by air to Chiang Mai. Then, embark on a scenic drive to your mountaintop resort. You will be simply astonished at the variety of birds that flock around you, from the common Redwhiskered Bulbul, to the hopeful sightings of the rare MRS. Hume’s Pheasant and the giant Nuthatch. Several hundred bird species and traditional hill tribe residents enjoy the cool climate of Doi Angkhang. Just step out your resort’s door for fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime birding encounters. ANGKHANG NATURAL RESORT. (All Meals Daily)
Your next adventure is to Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest point in the country. Early morning hours find Pied Flycatchers, Yellow-checked Tits, and Spectacled Barwings feverishly feeding on insects. At dusk, look for trunk-foraging species like the Brown-throated Treecreeper. Break through the mistenshrouded summit to catch flocks of Chestnut-tailed Minla and the endemic Green-tailed Sunbird. Black, Rufous-bellied and Mountain Hawk Eagles can be seen soaring through the sky. Your resort is set among lovely gardens which house a profusion of birdlife. TOUCH STAR RESORT. (All Meals Daily)
One last pre-dawn birding excursion and you’re off to Chiang Mai. En route, visit the Ban Roy An Pan Yang Lanna Artist Center. Later, drive to the base of Doi Suthep for incredible varieties of lowland bird species thriving in an evergreen forest. You may even see macaques cavorting in the treetops. Tonight, share with your fellow travelers your favorite birding stories at a farewell dinner. After dinner, you may want to visit the Night Bazaar for last-minute shopping. EMPRESS CHIANG MAI HOTEL. (B,L,D)
Drive to the summit of Doi Suthep for spectacular views of Black-crested Bulbul, Black Drongo, Spotted and Zebra Doves, and Lesser Whistling Ducks. Stroll around Ban Tawai village, noted for its furniture and woodcarving artisans. Return to Chiang Mai for your flight to Bangkok where the next morning you will board your flight home. MIRACLE SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT HOTEL. (B, Meals Aloft)
Extend your exotic adventure to southern Thailand. See Blue Whistling Thrushes while enjoying the limestone cliff formations of Ao Phang Nga National Park. Binoculars in hand, look for the Brown Barbet and Vernal Hanging Parrot while exploring Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary. Search for the very rare Gurney’s Pitta in Khao Nor Chuchi. View wildlife by kayak through the dense virgin tropical forest of Khao Sok. Always be on the look-out for the elusive Red-backed Kingfisher and Crested Jay.
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