My First Trip to South-East Asia (THAILAND)

Scarlet-faced Liocichla "the most beautiful bird in Thailand" at Doi Lang East - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A group of us planned a 23 day trip to Thailand from the end of Nov to middle of Dec. Mike and Sharon Toochin, Peter Candido, Ilya Povalyaev and I set out on Air Canada via South Korea. The South Korean airport Incheon was very luxurious. We only had a 1.5 hour layover before we were en route via Asiana Airlines to Bangkok. Both Air Canada and Asiana gave us a couple delicious meals on the plane and free wine which was nice. 

Our first day we birded the grounds at our hotel: Eastin Thana City Golf resort. It was a nice and very birdy location where we saw such things as Asian Openbills, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black and Ashy Drongo, Indochinese Roller, Eastern Yellow Wagtails, Paddyfield Pipits, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Plain Prinia and Pink-necked Pigeons. However, since military personal lived in the ritzy area we got chased away by security enough that we decided to go to Bangpu Recreational Site. Photography during this trip was not easy, birds are skittish and we were often in dense and dark forest or bright harshly lit mudflats but I will share my photos nonetheless.

Plain Prinia in Bangkok- Photo: Melissa Hafting

At Bangpu we saw many new birds by the sea and in the mangrove forests. We saw our lifer Brown-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Brahminy Kite, Collared Kingfisher, Gray Heron, Swinhoe's White-eye, Gold-bellied Gerrygone, Coppersmith Barbet, Intermediate Egret, Little and Indian Cormorant, Black-naped Monarch and Asian Koel.

A Little Cormorant with Whiskered Terns at Bang Pu Recreational Centre in Bangkok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Brown-headed Gull near Bangkok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Walking through the mangroves at Bangpu - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

On the second day we hired a guide named "Jay" his real name is very long, Wich'yanan Limparungpatthanakij. He was a wonderful guy and excellent birder. He wrote the best and newest book on the birds of Thailand.

Our guide Jay (L) at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

He took us to Pak Thale the famous shorebird site to see the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.  Sharon spotted a Spoon-billed Sandpiper in about 5 mins after we got there! Phew we were all relieved and had good scope views of the bird. Suddenly it flushed off and a poor lady driving around for 6 hours apparently in search of one did not see the bird. Nearby we saw several Crab-eating Macaques. This area has quite a bit of illegal bird trapping going on but thankfully we didn't see any.


 The reason most birders come to Thailand to see the extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper - Photos:  Melissa Hafting

This shorebird site was fantastic with huge diversity and abundance. We ended up seeing 36 shorebird species that day and the highlights there were the rare Asian Dowitcher, Terek Sandpiper, Long-toed Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Lesser and Greater Sand-Plover,   Kentish Plover, Little and Red-necked Stints, Black-tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Common Greenshank and Redshanks. We also saw a very rare Chinese Egret here which was super cool.

Multiple Red-necked Stints with some Curlew and Broad-billed Sandpipers at Pak Thale - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Terek Sandpiper at Pak Thale - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Pond-herons are impossible to tell apart in non-breeding plumage but luckily we found a Javan Pond Heron with some retained breeding plumage. Later on during the trip we would also find Chinese Pond Herons.

After birding and being amazed at the shorebirds at our feet we went to eat at Mai Payung Restaurant. Here we saw my lifer Pacific Reef-Heron and over 130 Whimbrel (Siberian). We also saw Black-headed Ibis and Ashy Woodswallows. By the way this restaurant was amazing. It is a well known spot for birders. The menu is all in Thai (most people in Thailand do not speak English) but it was the best traditional Thai food we had on our trip. This is saying something because Thai food is delicious and the food was great everywhere!.

After lunch we headed to Laem Phak Bia salt pans where we saw over 300 Eurasian Curlews, it was quite sight!. Mike Toochin also spotted a beautiful Spotted Redshank. We saw many Pied Avocets here and some Ruffs and a Richard's Pipit. The highlight though was seeing 10 of the critically endangered Nordmann's Greenshanks. 

Nordmann's Greenshanks at Laem Phak Bia - Photo: Melissa Hafting

An ornate Painted Stork flying over Pak Thale - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Long-toed Stint at Laem Pak Bia - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Over 300 Eurasian  Curlews at Laem Pak Bia - Photo: Melissa Hafting

After this we went to a lake called Bang Tabun Ok. Here we saw 8 Black-headed Ibis, beautiful Painted Storks, Blake Kite, Common Kingfisher, thousands of Lesser Whistling-Ducks, Garganeys and the uncommon Spot-billed Pelicans. On the drive there we saw many Swiftlet farms. These are buildings designed for Germain's/Edible-nest swiftlets to come and nest and then the nests are sold for big bucks to rich people. The swiftlets have to nest 3 times before the farmers let them keep one nest. I can't imagine how distressing this must be for the poor swiftlets and how much energy they must use.

Black-headed Ibis at Bang Tabun Ok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Spot-billed Pelican at Bang Tabun Ok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Germain's Swiftlet Farmhouse - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Next we went to Nang Pla Lai and Thong Chai rice paddies. In these wet fields we saw many Oriental Pratincoles (a strange looking shorebird), Common Snipe, Gray-headed and Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Zitting Cisticola, Oriental Reed Warbler, Siberian Stonechat, Asian Pied Starling, Baya, Asian Golden and Streaked Weaver, Red Avadavat, Plaintive Cuckoo, White-breasted Waterhen, Oriental Darter, Yellow Bittern, White-throated Kingfisher, Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Black-browed Reed Warbler and the stunning Bronze-winged Jacana. We also got some of the rarest birds to show up in Gambell, Alaska: The Pallas's Grasshopper-Warbler and the Eurasian Wryneck. Wrynecks are such cool looking birds. They look halfway between a nightjar and a Woodpecker.

We finished our very long day at the quaint Ban Bang Home Resort. Near the hotel in the dark we found a Spotted Owlet and an Indian Nightjar!. We went to bed very tired but happy with the mind blowing realization that we had seen 36 species of shorebird.

On our third day we went to Hat Chao Samran Soi Thetsaben Wetlands. Here we saw the pretty Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Mike also found a very rare for Thailand Great Bittern!. We watched the bittern sitting in front of us via scope which was incredible. Mike also found and Indochinese Bushlark and Oriental Skylark!. Other nice birds here were Brown Shrikes, Eurasian Kestrel, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Green Bee-eater and a Red-throated Pipit.

Indochinese Bushlark at Hat Chao Samran Soi Thetsaben wetlands - Photo: Melissa Hafting


An extremely rare Great Bittern at Hat Chao Samran Soi Thetsaben wetlands - Photo: Melissa Hafting

I have always wanted to see Bee-eaters, they are such stunning birds. During this trip we would see all the Bee-eaters except for Blue-throated; which occur at this time of year much farther south than where we were.

After this we took a boat ride with the famous Mr. Dang to go see Malaysian Plovers and the White-faced subspecies of Kentish Plovers. Here we saw 15 Malaysian Plovers and 1 of the White-faced Kentish Plovers.  The way to tell Malaysian and Kentish Plovers apart in breeding plumage is by the complete black collar on the hind neck and scaly mantle on Malaysian whom have pinkish legs. Kentish have black legs and an incomplete collar with a non scaly mantled appearance. We also saw a Great Crested Tern here. 

Malaysian Plovers on the sandspit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A mixed flock of shorebirds on the sandspit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Lesser Sand-Plover (note the plastic garbage on the beach) - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Kentish Plovers (Kentish) on the sandspit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On the boat ride back we saw tons of perched and soaring Flying Foxes (bats). These huge fruit eating bats are hunted for food. They were beautiful to watch. On the river channel we saw Striated Heron, Common Kingfisher and the very rare Chinese Egret whom allowed for great views and photos. Thailand gets less than 10 of these birds every year and we had seen 2 of them!.


A rare and beautiful Chinese Egret in Phetchaburi- Photo: Melissa Hafting

Thai colourful boats on the river in Phetchaburi - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Common Kingfisher on river channel in Phetchaburi to sandspit - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Flying Foxes on the boat ride to sandspit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Collared Kingfisher on river channel in Phetchaburi - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Green Bee-eater in Phetchaburi - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Boat we took out to the sandspit to see Malaysian Plovers - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Cats at Mr. Dang's Place - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Next we were off to Phetchaburi Rajabhat University lands where we saw 20 Indian Thick-knees and a Shikra!. The Thick-knees are very uncommon and to see so many was awesome. They sure are cool looking. They like to hide in the shade and it was baking hot when we were there.


Indian Thick-knee with Red-wattled Lapwing - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Red-wattled Lapwing - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We drove straight to Kaeng Krachan Nat'l Park headquarters where we saw two cooperative Asian Barred Owlets. We also had a Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Black-naped Oriole and a secretive Cinnamon Bittern.

That evening we stayed at the beautiful Boathouse Paradise Resort. This resort is located just outside of Kaeng Krachan National Park. On a pre dusk stroll we saw Greater Coucal, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle that was holding a fish, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Hair-crested Drongo, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and Hainan Blue-Flycatcher just to name a few.

Beautiful hotel grounds at Boathouse Paradise Resort - Photos: Ilya Povalyaev

After dinner we went owling and found quite a few Large-tailed Nightjars, Collared Scops-Owls and Brown Boobooks!. Our guide said usually these owls are quite difficult, so boy did we get lucky!.

Collared Scops-Owl near Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Brown Boobook near Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On the fourth day we got up early and went into Kaeng Krachan National Park.  Our guide warned us that we must stay clear of Asian Elephants as they are the most dangerous animal in Thailand. He said at this park 1-2 tourists die every year from them. Many of these poor elephants are trapped and taken into the many elephant tourist sites where the elephants are chained, made to work and tortured. We didn't visit them. The elephants inside this park are protected but we didn't see any here. Our guide was chased in the past in this park by a wild Gaur. Sadly we didn't see any Gaurs. The wild population of them and Wild Water Buffalo are heavily poached in this country. We also didn't see any tigers or leopards clouded or regular but I never thought we had a hope on these cats.

Elephant dung but no sign of physical elephants! - Photo: Melissa Hafting


A few signs in the park asking birders to watch out for wildlife and butterflies - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We stopped at Km 9. Over the two days we spent at this park at this spot we saw Green-billed Malkoha, Chinese Pond Heron, Dollarbirds, Racket tailed Treepie, Green-eared and Lineated Barbet, Greater Flameback, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Great Iora, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Sultan Tit and Blue-bearded Bee-eater. We also saw multiple Brown Hornbills (Tickell's or Rusty-cheeked) and heard Great Hornbills. We did see a huge Asian Water Monitor swimming too!. At this spot we also saw the very cute and tiny Black-thighed Falconet. 

Racket-tailed Treepie at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Blue-bearded Bee-eater at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Ashy (White-faced/Chinese) Drongo at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Asian Water Monitor at Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Dollarbird in Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We next walked the Vanilla Trail that starts at the Ban Krang Campground.  Here we saw Gray-rumped Treeswifts, Blue-winged Leafbirds, Bronzed Drongo, Verditer Flycatcher, Brown-backed Needletail and got good looks at an Oriental Honey-buzzard flying low. We also saw tons of different bulbuls: Black-headed, Black-crested, Stripe-throated, Olive, Ochraceaous and Streak-eared. 
On the trail we also had Banded Broadbill and Black-and-Yellow Broadbills. Broadbills are such funny looking but colourful birds.


Black-and-Yellow Broadbill at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At the park after shooting a male Hainan Blue Flycatcher and looking at a cool Tokay Gecko, I went to use the washroom. I left my notebook outside and it was stolen by the time I got out. The culprits were obviously looking for cash. It was frustrating to lose my journal I bought for this trip but it could have been worse!. FYI in Thailand there is no toilet paper in the toilets and usually no soap so bring your own roll and hand sanitizer!.

Male Hainan Blue Flycatcher at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Tokay Gecko at Ban Krang Campground - Photo: Melissa Hafting

After eating lunch in the park we walked 4 kilometres each way and crossed 3 streams in the hot sun. We saw some beautiful birds on the walk and animals. We saw Dusky-leaf Monkeys and White-handed Gibbons. We saw Brown-rumped, Rosy and Scarlet Minivets. We also saw Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrikes. On the walk we encountered many bird waves which included such birds as: Gray-headed Canary Flyatcher and many difficult to id warblers. We saw Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers, Claudia's Leaf Warbler, Yellow-bellied, Radde's, Sulphur breasted, Eastern Crowned, Two-barred and Yellow-browed. We also saw Crimson, Ruby-cheeked and Olive Sunbird and Fairy Bluebirds. 

White-handed Gibbon at Kaeng Krachan National Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Dusky Leaf Monkey in Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Thai jungle - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Greater Flameback in Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Chinese Blue Flycatcher in Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We did well with Cuckoos on the walk and we saw Asian Emerald, Banded Bay, Violet and Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoos. The best bird we saw on that walk was Red-bearded Bee-eater. It's the hardest Bee-eater to get in the park and he sat there for good views too. We also had Silver-breasted Broadbill and the stunning Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher.


Red-bearded Bee-eater at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The trail also held some cool babblers like Puff-throated, Rufous-fronted and Spot-necked. Also we got to see the dazzling purple Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Orange-bellied Trogon. The trail seemed to be littered as well with Pin-striped Tit babblers and the beautiful Chinese Blue and Hainan Flycatchers. Butterflies were also everywhere including landing on all of us.

Male Orange-breasted Trogon at Kaeng Krachan NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting

On our last day at Kaeng Krachan we went to the bird hides called Ban Song Nok. There are several bird hides in the area. These waterholes were originally and sadly built to hunt the birds and animals that came to drink. Now they are used for ecotourism. We got eaten alive by mosquitoes in the hides but saw some great birds there including Red Junglefowl, Kalij Pheasant, Lesser and Greater Necklacked Laughingthrushes. We also saw Black-naped Monarchs, Indochinese Blue Flycatchers, Siberian Robins, Abbot's Babbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and Blue Whistling Thrush to name a few. Here we also heard Bar-backed Partridge. 

A stunning Kalij Pheasant at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting


White-rumped Shama at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male Black-naped Monarch - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Abbott's Babbler at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male Hainan Blue Flycatcher at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Red Junglefowl Cock at Ban Song Nok photo hide - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Indochinese Blue Flycatcher at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Siberian Blue Robin at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Taiga Flycatcher at Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Pin-striped Tit-babbler in Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Stripe-throated Bulbul in Kaeng Krachan - Photo: Melissa Hafting

As I said earlier, it is very hard to photograph birds in the jungle because the birds are skittish and the foliage is dense but at these hides it gave us good chances. We even got to shoot Oriental Pied Hornbills well!.


Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Oriental Pied-Hornbill at Ban Song Nok - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On the last morning at our resort we saw a bird I had been hoping to see a Eurasian Hoopoe. We also got Thick-billed Warbler and saw some more starlings to add to our list including a few rare ones. We saw Vinous-breasted, Chestnut-tailed and White-shouldered Starlings.

On the sixth day we stopped at a Buddhist Temple called Wat Phra Phutthabath Noi where we saw 2 rare Limestone Wren Babblers. This temple was full of feral dogs. These ones were all well fed and taken care of by the monks. Buddhists believe in reincarnation hence one reason why they feel it's important to look after every animal well (which is a great thing). This isn't the case in all of Thailand of course which has a huge illegal dog meat trade where 200,000 dogs are smuggled across to Vietnam each year (read here). On top of that many pets are simply abandoned onto the streets where they are vulnerable to abuse and to be hit by cars. With no formal spay and neuter programs and hundreds of thousands of un-vaccinated strays in Thailand, this is a big problem. 

**If you want to help the stray dogs of Thailand please donate to the Soi Dog Foundation HERE.**

At the temple we also saw a Macaque. Other good birds at this site were Burmese Shrike, Small Minivet and a Pied Harrier.

Feral dogs with monk at Wat Phra Phutthabath Noi where we saw a Limestone wren-babbler - Photos: Melissa Hafting

The limestone-wren babbler loved climbing up these limestone walls - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On the 7th-9th day we birded at Khao Yai National Park. Some of the first mammals we saw were Pig tailed Macaques (some were missing hands presumably from cars :( ), Sambar Deer (whom all had a large nasty neck parasite) and Common Barking (Red Muntjac) Deer. I was hoping to see Asiatic Black Bear since Jay said he saw them there often but no dice!.



Northern Pig-tailed Macaques at Khao Yai NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Barking Deer at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Sambar Deer with parasite on neck at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On the Pha Diao Dai Trail we saw many raptors and had a bird wave. Birds seen there were Black-throated Sunbird, Cambodian Flowerpecker, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Moustached Barbet, Allstroms and Martens's Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Hill Blue Flycatcher and Crested Goshawk. We also saw Ashy and Puff-throated Bulbul. At the Pha Trom Jai Viewpoint we had two Red-headed Trogons as well. 


Ashy Bulbul at Khao Yai National Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Black Kite (Black-eared) at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Blue Rock Thrush (philippensis) at Khao Yai NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting
Female Blue-winged Leafbird at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Cambodian) - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Hill Blue Flycatcher in Khao Yai in Thalaind - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Moustached Barbet in Khao Yai in Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Leeches are prevalent in the park even in the dry season so I put on my leech socks boy you look a bit stupid in those things but it's worth it.  Surprisingly only one of us got a leech but not surprisingly only after he took off his leech socks and his bare legs were left vulnerable.

On the Kong Kaew Trail we ran into multiple bird waves. It's basically a mixed flock of birds that passes you by quickly. They are great fun and my first experience of these was in South America. Here we saw such birds as Black-throated and White-crested Laughingthrushes, Racket-tailed and Ashy Drongos, Laced Woodpeckers, Little Spiderhunter, Grey-eyed Bulbul and White-bellied Erponis. At the nearby Chao Por Khao Khleo Shrine we saw Rufescent Prinias, Golden-headed Cisticola, Crested Serpeant Eagle and heard a Scaly-breasted Partridge.

Ashy Drongo (Sooty) in Khao Yai - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Laced Woodpecker in Khao Yai - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Later in the day we went to Haew Suwat Waterfall. This is the famous waterfall that is featured in the movie called "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This was a great spot to visit because it held a Slaty-backed Forktail and 2 Great Hornbills. Both of these birds are very uncommon and hard to see. 


The highlight of Khao Yai National Park was the Hornbills! We got stunning views of Great Hornbills and I spotted two perched Wreathed Hornbills for the group at Haew Suwat Waterfall. We went there at dawn and saw them perched up near a fruiting fig tree. Seeing a Great Hornbill is pure magic I tell you! They are impressive birds... well all the Hornbills are!. 


Seeing Great Hornbills at Khao Yai  NP was one of the most special moments of the trip - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Asian Emerald Cuckoo at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Rare Wreathed Hornbills were so cool to see at Khao Yai NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting

At the end of the day just before sunset we stopped at a reservoir in the park and watched dozens and dozens of Brown-backed Needletail Swifts come down to the water to drink. It was an amazing sight!. We then went to a nearby site to watch a Great Eared Nightjar hunt over the fields. Great Eared Nightjars look like small Harriers they are huge and built just like them. While watching the nightjar we also heard a Collared Owlet and saw a family of roosting House Swifts.

Khao Yai is famous for elephants but the time we went was during the weekend. Avoid this at all costs if you go! The place was way too packed with campers as dense as if they were in a refugee camp!. It was not too enjoyable in there because of all the people. The park was beautiful though with great animals. We got to see the endangered Dhole (wild asiatic dog), also the rarer Pileated and more common White-handed Gibbons.

An endangered Dhole at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Asian Openbill at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At the Haew Narok Waterfall Trail we saw a dazzling Blue-eared Kingfisher!. We also heard a Banded Kingfisher calling loudly. This forest kingfisher had eluded us all day so it was really frustrating to miss him. We would soon be travelling up to the north where they no longer occur. Forest Kingfishers don't sit down low by streams like traditional kingfishers. They sit up way high in the forest canopy and try as we might for hours even with playback we could not get one to come in. The best we could do was hear it calling a bunch of times. Kingfishers are one of my favourite bird families and the Asian kingfishers' beauty knock North and South American kingfishers out of the park!.

Also on this trail we found the very uncommon Van Hasselt's Sunbird. This bird only occurs in the extreme south of Khao Yai National Park. This sunbird is the most beautiful one in my opinion at least of the ones I've seen!. It has a rufous belly, bright blue turquoise cap and purple throat!.

Van Hasselt's Sunbird in Khao Yai - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At dawn at our hotel called "Balios" just outside of Khao Yai National Park we saw six Red-breasted Parakeets. They were truly stunning birds and we were delighted to see them after dipping on them twice.

On our last day at the park we got to see the brilliant coloured Common Green Magpie. Also we saw the tiny Black-and-buff Woodpecker and Greater Yellownape. We also had a very accommodating Banded Broadbill!. While we birded along the road and looking at these birds two cars stopped by to let us know that there was a male elephant in musk 200m from us! A sense of fear and delight came upon us. Some of us had never seen an elephant before myself included. However no one in their right mind wants to be in the path of an asiatic wild elephant in musk!.

Black-and-buff Woodpecker at Khao Yai NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Banded Broadbill at Khao Yai National Park - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We walked back to our car and drove towards the direction of the elephant but sadly he was gone :(. I was quite disappointed as it's a dream of mine to see a wild elephant. We would soon be heading up north the next day and there would be no more chances for elephants during our trip. However, on our way out of the park we saw a beautiful adult male Pied Harrier flying by giving us stunning views of its black and white body.

Now we were ready for tomorrow's flight out of Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The Thai Airways flight was nice. They served us a free meal with drinks for a one hour flight, unlike on North American flights. After driving 3 hours from Chiang Mai we went to Fang Hot Springs where we saw Olive-backed Pipits and Japanese Tits. 

On route we saw many babies being held on motorbikes with no helmets it was scary.  People also make U-turns into 3 lanes of oncoming traffic. Oh Did I mention people overtake each other even when oncoming traffic is coming ? Now that's scary especially if the car is coming right at you!.

We stayed at the Gumbie House in Fang. It was a lovely beautiful property with quaint restaurant on site.  The owner sadly had a Common Hill Myna in a cage which she showed to us. It was hard to see that. For this reason (the illegal pet trade) they and other species are listed as sensitive on eBird. The owners however were extremely friendly and the owner even got us into the Hot Spring National Park for free. Usually it's 300 TBH per person when you are a foreigner. On the road we saw many Black-collared Starlings.

I don't think I've mentioned yet but there are two kinds of toilets in Thailand ones that you squat over the floor or regular ones as we know them in North America. As I said earlier most of them do not have soap or toilet paper, so remember to bring your own to prevent yourself from
getting sick!. Most people use a hose or bucket with water to clean themselves. In the women's washrooms there are big signs asking people not to stand and pee over the toilet which is a big problem here.

The next morning we went to Doi Lang West where we saw 2 Hume's Pheasants. Doi Lang West was where we saw the most birders we saw during our trip. For most areas you hardly see a single birder but not at Doi Lang West. There was big signs up saying not to feed or tape birds on the road but I observed a man feeding meal worms. His worms were a blessing though since he brought in a White-browed Laughing Thrush and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler. We also saw the incredibly large- billed Giant Nuthatch. Great Barbets were calling frequently on this road too. They are huge and were so cool to see!.

Sign asking birders not to play tape or feed birds on this road. The sign was ignored by most. - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Giant Nuthatches were so cool to see! They were huge! - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Grey Buschat at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We also saw Sapphire Flycatchers, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, Yunnan Fulvettas, Dark-backed Sibia, Grey Bushchat, Grey-headed and Spot-breasted Parrotbils, Hill Prinia, Japanese, Yellow-cheeked and Black-throated Tits, Red-whiskered and Brown-faced Bulbul, a tiny Speckled Piculet, Grey-chinned, Scarlet and Long-tailed Minivets and Grey-capped Woodpecker among others. We birded right up to the military checkpoint on the Myanmmar border. There I talked to a soldier and some dogs who kept his company in this lonely stretch in the road. We also saw 3 large Yellow-throated Martens run across the road!.

Yellow-throated Marten at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Military checkpoint on Doi Lang West with photo of King and Queen of Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The second day on Doi Lang West we saw a male Ultramarine Flycatcher that Sharon spotted. We also saw Mountain Bulbuls and Golden-throated Barbets. The Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Crested Finchbills and Himalayan Cutia we found were the highlight for me.

A rare Crested Finchbill was fun to see at Doi Lang (west) military checkpoint - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male Ultramarine Flycatcher at Doi Lang West is a local specialty - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Female Slaty-blue Flycatcher at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Himalayan Cutia at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Japanese Tit at Doi Lang West - Photos: Melissa Hafting


Grey-backed Shrike at Doi Lang West - Photo:  Melissa Hafting


Rufous-fronted Babbler at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Chestnut-vented Nuthatch in Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Photographers in blinds partially blocking the road in anticipation of a Hume's Pheasant appearance 

Sooty Bulbul in Doi Lang (West) in Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Grey Buschat at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The next day we went to Doi An Kang and the King's royal project where we saw birds such as the White-headed Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Blue-throated Barbet, Himalayan Buzzard, Black-throated Sunbird,Yellow-streaked and Buff-throated Warblers. Nearby we also got to see 4 White-necked Laughingthrushes.


White-headed Bulbuls were the specialty to find at Doi An Khang - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Sooty-headed Bulbul at Doi An Khang - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Beautiful flowers at the Royal Project at Doi An Khang - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Daurian Redstart at Doi An Khang - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Olive-backed Pipit at Doi An Khang - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The next day Ilya and I split from the group and went our own separate way. We went to Fang Hot Springs. Here we found 8 Spot-winged Grosbeaks. These rare birds sit up high in the trees behind the geyser as when it explodes it puts salt onto the branches and bark that they eat. Here I spotted a mega rarity for Thailand - a Chinese Blackbird!. I called Ilya over and he couldn't believe it! We were so thrilled and the eBird reviewer told us it was a mega that people from Chiang Mai would drive the next day for! Luckily people got it too. So that was a cool ending to our day. It was such a nice place there too. People were so friendly we had a large lunch there that was tasty for only 4$ Cad for the 2 of us!. Plus many people boil eggs in the hot spring and some local Thai people gave us fresh delicious boiled eggs. They also gave us key chains and stamps with the king on it which was kind. Other good birds here were Blue Rock Thrushes, White and Gray Wagtails. Himalayan Swifts, Asian House Martins and Striated Swallows that fly low and sit by the hot springs pools early in the morning to warm up.

It was so cool to find this mega rare Chinese Blackbird on our own at Fang! - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Blue Rock Thrush (Pandoo) at Fang Hot Spring - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male Spot-winged Grosbeak are the target for birders at Fang Hot Spring - Photo: Melissa Hafting

White Wagtail (Ocularis) is uncommon in this part of Thailand (Fang) - Photo: Melissa Hafting


White Wagtail (Chinese) is the common subspecies at Fang - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Juv Mountain Hawk-Eagle at Fang Hot Springs - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Eurasian Barn Swallows warming up by the Hot Spring at Fang - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Tourists at Fang Hot Spring and a rainbow - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The geyser going off at Fang Hot Spring - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The next day we went to Mai Ai and Tha Ton Rice Paddies where we found at least 50 Yellow-breasted Buntings and 1 Chestnut-eared Bunting. We also found the very rare Black-headed Bunting which was a complete surprise! We also got to see many Bluethroats and had a good look at the Siberian Rubythroat. Yellow-breasted Buntings are critically endangered since they are poached heavily in China. It is very sad that this species like the Spoon-billed Sandpiper may soon be extinct due to humans.


An extremely rare Black-headed Bunting in Tha Ton Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Chestnut-eared Bunting at Mai Ai Rice Paddies - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Critically endangered Yellow-breasted Buntings at Ma Ai - Photos: Melissa Hafting
Bluethroats at Mai Ai Rice Paddies - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Grey-headed Lapwing at Tha Ton Rice Paddies - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Burmese Shrike In Tha Ton in Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We went next to the Kok River where we saw 5 Small Pratincoles and a
Temminck's Stint!. The Small Pratincoles are really cute and unique shorebirds. It's funny to watch them run on their tiny feet. I sadly found out from locals that there are some people that were illegally collecting their eggs. It's all about education and the govt is not doing enough to ensure that these birds and all animals in Thailand are protected. 


I have always wanted to see these funny shorebirds! Small Pratincoles on the Kok River - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Next we went to Chiang Saen Lake here we saw a Grey-headed Swamphen, Citrine Wagtail, Indian Spot-billed Duck and Lesser Whistling-Duck. More to come on this lake and the rarer ducks we saw later.


Citrine Wagtail at Chiang Saen Lake - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Gray-headed Swamphen at Chiang Saen Lake in Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

In the evening we went to a Harrier Pre-roost site. Here we saw a Lesser Coucal and watched beautiful Pied and Eastern Marsh Harriers coming into the roost. It was amazing to see some birds about 50 feet away. We saw over 60 harriers that night it was quite a sight. Sadly the more uncommon Hen Harrier never came in. A Yellow Bittern was the last bird we saw as it flushed in front of us in the dark. The owner of the property was an elderly friendly gentleman. He spoke no English but thanked us profusely for coming. The entry fee is 200 baht per person and I guess for him every bit helps.

A male Pied Harrier at the pre-harrier roost site near Chiang Saen - Photo: Melissa Hafting

I haven't yet talked about the heavy loads on pick up trucks in Thailand. These over-sized loads are illegal but rarely enforced. You see these tiny pickups with huge heavy sky-high loads it's incredible. Sometimes you also see up to ten people crammed in the back of a truck with some riding on the edge of the truck sitting or standing down the highway. It's very dangerous but I understand some people just don't have a choice.

Heavy loads in Thailand - Photos: Ilya Povalyaev

The next morning we went to Wiang Nong Lom to chase a sighting of 12 Ruddy Shelducks. We only found Indian Spot-billed and Lesser Whistling Ducks. So we went back to Chiang Saeng Lake where we found 3 Ferruginous Ducks!. They are uncommon now in the area so we were thrilled to see them!. We looked hard for the reported single Baer's Pochard, Common Pochard and Falcated Ducks but came up empty. Since you can't drive around this lake fully a boat would be your best bet at getting these rare ducks. We definitely regret not renting one. The water levels we heard were considerably lower than past years causing many ducks not to return. Water is taken out in large amounts for agriculture.

We went up Doi Tung to the Mae Fa Luang Arboretum where we saw a rare for the area Blue-fronted Redstart and Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush. There was sadly no Black-breasted Thrush or Rusty-naped Pitta coming to the feeders, as in past years. 

Female Blue-fronted Redstart at Mae Fa Luang Arboretum - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A beautiful male Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush at Mae Fa Luang Arboretum - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Blue Whistling Thrush (Yellow-billed) at Doi Tung - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Next we then went to the famous "Golden Triangle" and saw where the river divides Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. It was cool to see all three countries at once. It was the most touristy spot we visited in Thailand.


Laos across the river from us. Myanmar was visible just to the left of us - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The Golden Triangle is a huge must see for tourists - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

The Golden Triangle was cool to see - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We finished the day at Nam Kam Nature Reserve. Here we saw White-rumped Munias, Purple Sunbirds (they are huge!), Yellow-eyed Babbler, the uncommon Baikal-bush Warbler and several Chestnut-capped Babblers. The beautiful long-tailed Yellow-eyed Babblers perched up high singing for pictures but the Chestnut-capped were among the hardest birds yet during our trip to get a glimpse of. There were six birds 5 ft in front of us in tall grass and it took forever to get a glimpse of one.


Yellow-eyed Babbler at Nam Kam Nature Reserve - Photos: Melissa Hafting

This is a very nice nature reserve with blinds and lots of trails. It's almost like a corn maze so you must be careful not to get lost. Other good birds we saw here were several skulky Siberian Rubythroats, Blue-bearded Bee-Eater and Red Avadavats.

When we came back to our hotel the Viang Yonok Resort we were greeted by the owner who gave us a delicious free dinner. This hotel is beautiful with views of the lake from some of the quaint cabins. In this area of Northern Thailand at night and at the early mornings, it's very cold. Akin to a very chilly day in Vancouver. I didn't bring enough warm clothes as I expected it to be more like it was down in Pak Thale with slightly cooler mountain temperatures.  Instead a toque, gloves and down jacket can be needed at certain times. 

Did I mention yet that there are photos of the king everywhere?. Literally paintings of the king (and rarely ones with his wife) are placed all around Thailand. In fact you see them at almost every block and I even saw one being driven around in the back of a pickup truck. So these signs are as common as 7-Elevens in Thailand which also occur on every block. The current king is not universally loved like his father King Bhumibol was. In Thailand if you speak bad of the royal family you can end up in jail for as much as 20 years and this law is strictly enforced.

Photos of the current King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn are rampant in Thailand - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The next morning we got up and went to Doi Lang East. This road can be very rough and sometimes people can get stuck during the rainy season. When we went up the roads were all clear and passable in a high clearance 2WD vehicle. Here we got phenomenal views at what some in Thailand deem to be the most beautiful bird in Thailand: The Scarlet-faced Liochila. We saw two of these stunning birds up close at the army camp where birders feed them. There was also a beautiful Silver-eared Laughingthrush.

Scarlet-faced Liocichla at Doi Lang East - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Silver-eared Laughingthrush at Doi Lang East - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Dark-backed Sibia at Doi Lang East - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On this road one side is on Myanmar and one side is on Thailand so you can get birds for both countries when you stand in certain spots!. You have to cross a few military checkpoints. They are mostly checking for drugs that are trafficked from Myanmar to Thailand. In Myanmar we found a cute Asian Barred Owlet in the open. You aren't allowed to go on this road until 8 am unfortunately.

Doi Lang East (we were in Myanmar when we took the photo) the sign warns of land mines - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

This road was phenomenal for birding!. On it we saw Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, Gray-crowned Warbler, Whiskered Yuhina, Maroon Oriole and the Large Niltava, which is the largest Asian Flycatcher. I was surprised by how large this bird was about the size of a Blue-Whistling Thrush. We also saw such great birds as Himalayan Bluetail, Common Buzzard (Steppe), Slaty-bellied Tesia, Striated Bulbul, Buff-barred Warbler, Blyth's Leaf Warbler, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Pale-billed Parrotbill, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Striated Yuhina, Rufous-bellied Niltava and a Eyebrowed-Thrush!. We heard Scaly-breasted Partridge and Bay Woodpecker and got brief views of White-hooded Babbler. One of the coolest things was to see a Grey-faced Buzzard fly low right in front of us!. Doi Lang East was my favourite place I birded in Thailand during my trip.

Male Orange-bellied Leafbird at Doi Lang West - Photo: Melissa Hafting

By the way on route there we drove through a morning market in Tha Ton. I've never seen anything like that, hundreds of people filling the streets buying fresh food and wares. Our car could barely get through it was quite the scene.

Markets open at 5 am in Thailand - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Pesticide use is big in Thailand and has contributed to bird decline but thankfully organic produce is now getting slowly more popular in Thailand. A birder from the native Hill Tribe told us about the initiatives he's doing in his own community for organic crop growth and promoting education about the importance of bird and animal conservation. In Northern Thailand there are no large mammals or Hornbills left as they sadly have been poached. Poaching is a big problem still at at Doi Inthanon National Park.

We woke up and saw a Black Baza flying over the parakeet pre-roost site near Doi Inthanon National Park. Here we also saw 6 beautiful Blossom-headed Parakeets, a Black-hooded Oriole and a Rufous Treepie. 

Blossom-headed Parakeets at Doi Inthanon - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We went into Doi Inthanon National Park. The entrance fee is 300 TBH per person. It sure was worth it as in the park we saw Black-backed Forktails. On the same river we saw a Blue-eared Kingfisher.We went up to a ridge and saw a beautiful and rather tame male White-rumped Falcon, Collared Falconet and Rufous-winged Buzzard.We drove through a small village in Doi Inthanon it was the poorest village I had seen so far during my trip with tin shacks for homes but the people were still so friendly. Sadly, I also saw lots of illegal dumping in the national park which I had not seen in Khao Yai which was spotless in comparison.

White-rumped Falcon at Doi Inthanon NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Black-backed Forktails at Doi Inthanon NP - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Blue-eared Kingfisher at Doi Inthanon NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We went walking along some fast moving streams behind the hydroelectric dam and found some White-capped and Plumbeous Redstarts. Here we also saw some Slaty-backed Forktails and the hard to see Lesser Shortwing! It was nice to see a female singing her heart out. Usually birders see males singing but recent studies have proven that females sing too, so this was really neat to see.

White-capped Redstart at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Plumbeous Redstart at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Doi Inthanaon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At Siriphum Waterfall we found a cute Pygmy Cupwing. We also got good views of the difficult to see Slaty-bellied Tesia. The Tesia reminded us of a tiny South American antpitta. A bird wave came through and we got the very pretty Clicking Shrike-Babbler.

We drove to the summit of Doi Inthanon which sits at 2565 m. This is the highest point in Thailand. Sometimes there can be frost here but today it was only 9 degrees Celsius. A sharp change though from 31 Celsius in Bangkok!. Here by walking the nearby trails, including the Ang Ka Trail we found a male Himalayan Shortwing, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Ashy-throated Warbler, Green-tailed Sunbird and Chestnut-tailed Minla.

Chestnut-tailed Minla at Doi Inthanon summit - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Blue-whistling Thrush (Black-billed) at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Golden-throated Barbet at Doi Inthanon summit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

As I said before there are lots of feral dogs in Thailand and all I saw were well fed but sadly one day I watched one be hit by a car. It was heartbreaking. It happened so fast nothing could be done to save it. It was the second time I saw that happen to a dog :(. 

On a happy note, we ended the day by an area of the Rd called KM 13. Here we watched a White-bellied Woodpecker come to its roost hole. However, the best moment of the day was watching the Collared Falconet pumping and swinging his tail like a clock pendulum. This tiny falcon had a cute puffball head and it was the perfect way to end our first day in Doi Inthanon.

Collared Falconet at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The next day we got up and went to Ban Hong Wildlife Sanctuary in Lamphun to see wild Green Peafowl. Green Peafowl are endangered and hard to see in Thailand except for a few spots due to hunting and habitat loss. We saw 15 birds and the male was just stunning. They are truly one of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen in my life. A couple of them had ticks on them. These birds are best visible in December (dry season) when they come down from the hills for the mating season. We did see a few males displaying in the distance.

Green Peafowl are one of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen! - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We went up a really rough road behind a Native Hill Tribe village called Sobhad. The small houses here are built out of wood and raised above the ground. It was a REALLY BAD road and much worse than Doi Lang East. Here we had Eurasian Jay, Common Green Magpie, Great Barbet, Silver-breasted Broadbill and Asian Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher. We also heard a Red-billed Blue Magpie!. We ate lunch with a Banded Bay Cuckoo serenading us and we also watched it catch moths.

Half way up to the summit on a random side road we found 30 GORGEOUS Silver-eared Mesias and 3 beautiful Spectacled Barwings. Here we also saw a Mountain Tailorbird and a Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantail.

Spectacled Barwing at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Yellow-bellied Ferry-fantail at Doi Inthanon NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At night we went owling and found a Hodgson's Frog Mouth which was super cool. They have a cool call. Here we saw fireflies and a flying squirrel that flew right over our heads!. We also got a Brown Wood Owl!. We also heard some Barking Deer making their loud call at night which scared me!. For a little deer they sure have a ferocious call.

We got up early and went to the summit of Doi Inthanon. While driving up we saw many people stopping by the side of the road taking pictures of frost so I did the same!. While stopped here we saw one Wedge-tailed Green-Pigeon and 8 Spot-necked Wood-Pigeons!. Mrs. Gould's and Green-tailed Sunbirds filled the trees.

Imm. male Mrs. Gould's Sunbird at Doi Inthanon summit - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The frost at the summit of Doi Inthanon was a tourist attraction! - Photo: Melissa Hafting

At the summit behing the ranger station we found 2 Rufous-throated Partridge allowing clear views of these very secretive birds. Behind the men's restroom we found an Ashy Wood-Pigeon. We then walked the Ang Ka Trail and found a White-crowned Forktail!!, an Asian Stubtail and 2 more Slaty-bellied Tesias allowing good views of all!. We were especially surprised by the White-crowned Forktail being so close to the boardwalk with so many people. We had now seen all the forktails possible in Thailand except for Chestnut-naped Forktail. 

After lunch by the Wachirathan waterfall we went on a side road and bush whacked into the forest. We did this because we could hear a bird wave and boy what a wave it was!. Here we finally got terrific views of White-gorgeted Flycatcher. We also saw Buff-breasted Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing and a White-throated Fantail. There was also a Little Pied Flycatcher giving off great views. In the sky above there was a flock of cool Crested Treeswifts flying over us and calling.

White -gorgeted Flycatcher at Doi Inthanon NP - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Wachirathan Waterfall at Doi Inthanon NP - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

We ended the evening by watching a small flock of Red-billed Blue-Magpies chattering and flying by allowing for photos of a bird I really wanted to see. There was also several beautiful woodpeckers present: Black-headed, Common Flameback and White-bellied. 

Red-billed Blue-magpie at Doi Inthanon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

On our final morning in Thailand we got up to chase 2 Graylag Geese which is a mega rarity for Thailand. The birds were at Doi Lo rice paddies near Chiang Mai. This is the place we saw the most birders during our trip. Dozens of people gathered to see these rarities. We got good scope views and poor pics of the two. It was a lifer for us both.

2 backlit Graylag Geese near Chiang Mai - Photo: Melissa Hafting

This was a fantastic birding spot that we wished we had more time to explore. It had hundreds of shorebirds and many kites, kingfishers and grass birds. It definitely deserved more of our time. Between Ilya and I we ended up getting 455 species of birds during this Thai trip.

This is how we ended our trip to Thailand. We then drove to Chiang Mai Airport and boarded our Eva Air (excellent airline!) flight back to Taipei and then from there we would fly Air Canada home to Vancouver.

All in all, Thailand is a beautiful country with beautiful people and spectacular birds. It's one that every birder should put on their bucket list to visit for the shorebirds alone.

Thanks for reading.



Comments

  1. A very enjoyable read. Beautiful birds and photos. Congratulations on all of your lifers. I've never felt much interest in visiting Thailand but I do now. What a delightful place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks so much shou! you should definitely go you will love it. I loved asia and want to do vietnam and japan next!

      Merry christmas!

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  2. Absolutely stunning pictures! Sounds like an amazing experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks so much for reading the long winded report. glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  3. Wow, what an incredible trip. I'll bet this won't be your last trip to that part of the world either. You covered a lot of ground there. You did well to come away with only a purloined notebook. As usual, your photos are amazing, Kind of like in Ecuador, didi you get whiplash when the birds pop up so fast all around you ? Haven't spent much time in Thailand, but its # 4 on my travel list to get to Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.
    Glad you all had a great trip and got back safe & sound

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much ken for your kind words. no it definitely wont be my last trip to asia. i want to see much more of the continent (i need to see an asian elephant and clouded leopard). yes we covered a lot of ground hence why the report was so long winded haha! yes losing a notebook is nothing compared to what could have been lost!. yes im still sore from whiplash and warbler neck lol. i wish you a very merry christmas and happy new year! hope to see you soon!

      Delete

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