Thailand bird watching

There are approximately 978 species recorded in Thailand, 96 National Parks, 48 Wildlife Sanctuaries and a numbers of Non-Hunting areas, Watershed Reserves, Forest Parks and Biosphere Reserves that have been protected by law. These areas are the main birding spots located all over the country where birds can be seen all year round.

Where and when to watch the birds.

November-February is the peak time for migrating species, most areas are good for birdwatching especially the north where the weather is cooler than other areas. The most popular destinations are Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Pui/Suthep National Park, Doi Chiangdao Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Angkhang of Chiengmai province and Chiangsaen of Chiengrai. The West and South-west areas are also good at Kroeng-Kavia and Tung Ya i Wildlife Sanctuary of Kanchanaburi province, Kaeng Krachan National Park of Petchaburi and further south at Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park of Prachaubkirikhan.

One of the most popular spots is Khao Yai National Park located in the North-eastern part and other good sites that should be included are Mae Wong National Park in Kampangpetch provice and Bueng Boraphet , a large lake at Nakhonsawan province.  The sites that are least known to foreign visitors but one of the good spots in North-eastern are Phu Khiew Wildlife Sanctuary in Chaiyapum province, Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in Loei province and Nam Nao National Park in Petchaboon province.

March-June is the second best time for both passage migrants and resident species which are in their breeding period.  Best areas are the West, South-west and the South. The birding spots extend from Ranong, Phang-nga, Krabi to Had Yai, Satoon and Narathiwat province.  The good areas such as Krabi Mangrove, Khao Nor Chuchi (or Khao Pra-Bangkam WS),Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary  in Had Yai, Song-kla province, Talaeban National Park in Satoon province and the newly established destination, Hala-bala Wildlife Sanctuary at the far south, Narathiwat province.

July-October is the rainy season, the quiet time though but good for resident species, breeding visitors and, in the later part of this period, during August-October is good time for passage migrants.
The best areas are in central plains or around Bangkok, Kampangsaen of Nakhon Pratom province and during September-October at the coastal areas near Bangkok such as Bangpu and Samutsakhon.

How to dress and what to bring

Wearing shorts for birdwatching in the tropical forest  is not advised because in some areas, there are lots of insects and thorny plants. Light cotton long-sleeved shirt and trouser are recommended for most areas during day time but some areas in the mountains during early mornings and evenings, can be cooler.  In the early mornings and evenings of Decemebr-January in the mountains of the North the weather can be very cold so sweater or jumper is needed. Solid walking shoes are necessary as well as leech-proof socks which may needed in some areas, particularly during the rainy season.  Apart from a hat, a folded umbrella (dull colour) can be very useful either to protect you from bright sunshine or from rain. Insect repellent and torch are also advised.

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