Birdwatching in Thailand-The South & The Peninsular

Thailand situated in South-east Asia, the Indo Chinese peninsula of the Oriental Region and has been described as a “zoogeographic crossroads’” because the country’s avifauna comprises Sino-Himalayan, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Chinese and Sundaic elements and large number of migrant visitors from the Palaearctic Region. There are approximately 1,012 species (BCST – Mar 2012) at... More

Thailand situated in South-east Asia, the Indo Chinese peninsula of the Oriental Region and has been described as a “zoogeographic crossroads’” because the country’s avifauna comprises Sino-Himalayan, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Chinese and Sundaic elements and large number of migrant visitors from the Palaearctic Region. There are approximately 1,012 species (BCST – Mar 2012) at present or 10% of the world species are recorded in Thailand. Thailand has a tropical monsoonal climate. Generally dry season is during November to April and the rainy season from May to October but, the far south and South-eastern provinces receive rain during November – January.                

This beautiful country with its diverse ethnic groupings, much revered, age-old monarchy and rich cultural heritage has great appeal for the traveller as well as the birdwatcher. This is one of our favourite tours, a journey through an exotic, vibrant land that has an infinite capacity to delight and surprise the visitor. It is also home to a rich and ancient culture many of whose ruins are also excellent places to look for birds. With many wonderful national parks and reserves supporting huge numbers of resident and migrant birds. This tour explores a classic Southeast Asian birdwatching destination that not only has a very rich avifauna but very friendly people, beautiful landscapes and some of the best food in the world. 

Our tour visits the marshy plains, mangrove coastline, and salt pans at Phak Tale & Laem Phak Bia south of Bangkok, where we may encounter nearly 40 species of wader including the threatened Nordmann’s Greenshank and Asian Dowitcher and the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and three splendid national parks at Khao Yai, Kaeng Krachan, Sri Phang Nga National Park and Ao Phang-Nga Wildlife Santuary in peninsular hailand, each with vast tracts of uninterrupted evergreen forest supporting a wide mix of northern and southern species as well as a wide variety of mammals.




  • Explore unspoiled wilderness and wildlife in Thailand’s three national parks: Khao Yai, Kaeng Krachan, Si Phang Nga
  • Chance to spot endangered (Spoon-billed Sandpiper), threatened (Nordmann’s Greenshank) and rare bird species (Ratchet-tailed Treepie)
  • Scout mangrove forest near Ao Phang-Nga NP by boat for chance to spot Mangrove Pitta, the huge Brown-winged Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Chinese Egret
  • Explore Sri Phang Nga National Park, in moist evergreen forest and the low altitude of the region gives birdwatchers a great opportunity to search for some of the difficult to find species from southern Thailand.
  • Unwind in the golden beaches of Phuket
  • Experience the vibrant, colourful, bustling, exciting, turbo-charged Bangkok

Welcome to Thailand! Upon arrival in Bangkok a travel-to-nature Asia guide will be at the airport to greet and take us to our hotel. Please look out for your name-card once you exit out of arrival area.

Rest of the day free for individual activities. Overnight in Bangkok.

Accommodation: Royal Princess Larn Luang

This morning we will drive southwestwards to the shores of the Gulf of Thailand at Pak Thale, an area of marshy pools, mangroves, mudflats, shrimp-ponds and salt-pans. The numbers and diversity of wintering waders from northern Asia makes a visit to this area an exciting experience. Best of all, the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper has begun wintering in this area in recent years and it is quite possible to see up to five or more of these bizarre little waders here.

Our second main quarry will be the rare Nordmann’s Greenshank, an endangered species whose world population is estimated to be just 1000 birds. Nordmann’s Greenshank breeds in the remote forest bogs of northern Sakhalin island and on the adjacent shores of the bleak Sea of Okhotsk and winters or migrates through scattered sites across southern Asia, this being one of the most accessible and reliable. Great Knot is regularly present and we also have a chance of picking up the rare Asian Dowitcher, which migrates through the Gulf of Thailand at this time of year. Overnight in Pak Thale.

Accommodation: Fisherman’s Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we will again visit Pak Thale and later we will explore Laem Phak Bia. We’ll spend much of the day birding the brackish and saltwater mudflats, sandflats, mangroves, and salt pans of Phetchaburi Province in the western sectors of the Gulf of Thailand. We’ll search for 40 or more shorebird species, including Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Great Knot, Broad-billed and Marsh Sandpipers, and Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers. If we get lucky, we may see the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (there were about three individuals here in 2015), the threatened Nordmann’s Greenshank, and possibly Asian Dowitcher. We should also find Bro wn-headed and possibly Pallas’s (Great Black-headed) Gulls, Brahminy Kite, and Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers, among many other species.

In the past several years one or two White-faced Plovers have wintered on the sand spit at Laem Phak Bia; the species was actually first collected in 1861 by Swinhoe, who described it as a new species in 1870 — after which it was forgotten for well over a century! Some taxonomists regard this as a separate species while others treat it as a subspecies of Kentish Plover. We’re also likely to see Chinese and Pacific Reef Egrets, Malaysian Plover, Great Crested and possible Lesser Crested Tern. From Pak Thale we continue on our way to Kaeng Krachan National Park for a three night s stay. Overnight stay in Kaeng Krachan National Park.

Accommodation: Baan Maka Nature Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Park/Phetchaburi Province

Kaeng Krachan National Park is situated on the eastern side of the remote Tenasserim mountain range near the Burmese border. The National Park was established in 1981, after a visit to the area by the King of Thailand, and is the largest in the country, over 3000 square kilometres (1158 square miles) in extent, encompassing a wide range of forest habitats and possessing the richest forest avifauna in the entire country.

Kaeng Krachan, with its range of habitats from drier deciduous forest to huge expanses of evergreen forest, is a wonderful place to watch birds and we’ll spend two full days and a final morning exploring this region. At our highest point we’ll be searching for Ratchet-tailed Treepie at its only location in Thailand, along with its frequent traveling companion the striking White-hooded Babbler. Black-throated Laughingthrush occur here too, and we have at least a chance of seeing Spot-necked Babbler. At this season many Oriental Honey-Buzzards should be moving north. Other raptors we might see include Black Eagle and Mountain Hawk-Eagle and with good luck an Oriental Hobby. At middle elevations we’ll search for Germain’s Peacock Pheasant (we’ll certainly hear them!), and we might also hear the rarely seen Ferruginous Partridge. Also possible is Southern Brown Hornbill and six species of broadbills, including Black-and-yellow, Black-and-red, Banded, Dusky, and Silver-breasted. Wintering Palearctic species should be numerous and might include some more southerly winterers like Eastern Crowned Warbler and Chinese Blue Flycatcher – the list of uncommon to rare species we might encounter is very long and different every year. In the drier deciduous forest, woodpeckers are particularly numerous and we could see more than ten species including Heart-spotted, Black-and-buff and possibly Great Slaty Woodpeckers.

The park harbours many mammals too, and we might encounter Asian Elephant, Golden Jackal, Fea’s Muntjac, Crab-eating Mongoose, and possibly Dhole and even Gaur. A number of cats occur, Leopard being the most frequently seen but also Tiger, although we would be exceptionally lucky to see one. Dusky Langurs are present along with a few Banded Langurs, as are the distinctive Stump-tailed Macaques. Overnight stay near the park entrance.

Accommodation: Baan Maka Nature Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we will head for Khao Yai National Park, where we will spend the next three nights. As we skirt Bangkok en route, we will stop at some marshy areas to look for Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, and Asian Golden Weaver. Afterwards the journey takes us through cultivated lowlands northeast of Bangkok where some paddy fields are still worked by water buffaloes and duck herders tend their huge flocks on roadside pools. We will keep a lookout for Asian Openbill along the way. As we approach Khao Yai the fields give way to scrub and then to tall evergreen forest as we approach the hills, where we will visit a site for the localized Limestone Wren-Babbler.

Accommodation: Balios Resort Khaoyai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khao Yai National Park protects an extensive area of forested mountains and open grassland in central Thailand, Walking the trails of Khao Yai is an unforgettable experience. Here the forest giants are quite stupendous: supported by huge buttress roots, some tower over 70 m above ground level and even the average canopy height is some 50 m. In areas where the forest floor is open one has the feeling of being inside some vast natural cathedral. Strangler figs entwine the trunks, vines and creepers hang down from the branches and brilliantly coloured butterflies flash through shafts of sunlight filtering down through the green canopy above. The incessant ‘took-arrook’ of barbets and the whine of giant cicadas is broken from time to time by the whooping cries of a troop of White-handed Gibbons. From time to time a faint twittering heralds the approach of a mixed feeding flock of anything up to a dozen or more bird species.

We’ll spend three days exploring the densely forested hills, clear rivers, and waterfalls at Khao Yai, one of the best-preserved tracts of tropical evergreen forest in all of Indochina. Khao Yai is noted particularly for larger forest birds, among which are three or four species of hornbill, including the magnificent Great, as well as Orange-breasted and Red-headed Trogons, Banded Kingfisher, Banded and Long-tailed Broadbills, and sometimes Sultan Tit. In addition we can expect a fine collection of raptors, pigeons, barbets, woodpeckers, leafbirds, bulbuls, laughingthrushes, babblers, warblers, sunbirds, and flowerpeckers. Red Junglefowl and Siberian Blue Robin haunt the undergrowth, and there is a chance of finding other, scarcer ground birds such as the elegant Siamese Fireback, Silver Pheasant, the elusive Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo or Blue Pitta. At dusk we’ll look for Great Eared-Nightjars, and we’ll make a nocturnal excursion in our hotel grounds for Brown Boobook or Collared Scops Owl as well as other night birds.

Khao Yai is also extremely rich in mammals, including Pig-tailed Macaque, gloriously vocal gibbons, Black Giant Squirrel, civets, Sambar and Barking Deer (Red Muntiac), East Asian (Malaysian) Porcupine, and Asian Elephant. Nights near Khao Yai National Park.

Accommodation: Balios Resort Khaoyai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we’ll drive to Bangkok and fly southwards to Phuket in Peninsular with our local birding guide. Upon arrival we will meet our driver and drive 35 km /45 min to Phang-Nga for an overnight stay. Rest of the day free for individual activities. Meet in the evening for dinner.

Accommodation: Khao Lak Palm Hill Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We leave early today to Ao Phang Nga National Park. Declared as a marine national park in 1981, Ao Phang Nga National Park is situated along the coast of Phang-Nga Province south of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. The popular attractions are James Bond Island, other picturesque limestone karst islands, a number of white sandy beaches and a few caves. The turquoise waters surrounding the islands are consistently calm, very ideal for canoeing. There are interesting canoeing spots that are sea level caves, leading to inland lagoons.

The park encompasses an area of 400 km², including the biggest native mangrove forests in Thailand along the mainland and many islands. The nearest popular towns and tourist destinations are Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Khao Lak and Ko Lanta.

Besides the natural beauties, the park also has a few archaeological sites that date back more than 1,000 years but also some prehistoric paintings on the cliffs. Stone tools and pottery items have been found in some sites.

Ao Phang Nga Bay is about 35 km from Rassada Pier in Phuket, about 50-65 km from various piers in Krabi and about 70 km from Khao Lak


The native mangrove forests along the coast of Phang-Nga Province of which a significant bit is within Ao Phang Nga National Park is the largest in Thailand. The mangrove forest is home to a unique habitat for some species.

Some of the mangrove plant species found along the coast are; Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora mucronata, Avicennia alba, Avicennia officinalis, Bruguiera cylindrica, Bruguiera parviflora, Xylocarpus granatum and Xylocarpus moluccensis. The islands are covered with Hopea ferrea, Parkia timoriana (the pea plant), Acacia catechu, the mulberry tree Artocarpus lacucha, Garcinia cowa, Morinda coreia, Colocasia gigantea, Pandanus monotheca and Cycas ingas.

Around 180 bird species are recorded in the park. Some rare bird species are Kamchatka leaf warbler, Von schrenck’s bittern, brown-winged kingfisher, scarlet-breasted flowerpecker, spotted wood owl, Malayan banded pitta, lesser fish eagle, thick-billed spiderhunter, red-crowned barbet, Rufous-bellied Swallow, Black-and-red Broadbill, Brown-winged & Ruddy Kingfishers, Streak-breasted Woodpecker, White-chested Babbler, Mangrove Whistler, Copper-throated Sunbird, chestnut-bellied malkoha, buffy fish and lesser cuckooshrike. The park is a great place to find mangrove pitta. The park is also an ideal place to find seven different kingfisher species. Great hornbills and Oriental pied hornbills are the only hornbill species found in the park.

First we will explore the mangrove forest by boat, where we should find the superb Mangrove Pitta, the huge Brown-winged Kingfisher and the attractive Ruddy Kingfisher, while we may encounter a Chinese Egret on the mudflats. Other birds that we should find amongst the mangroves include White-bellied Sea Eagle, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Dusky Crag Martin, Ashy Tailorbird, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. With a bit of luck we will also find the endangered Chinese Egret, which winters here in very small numbers, and Streak-breasted Woodpecker. The secretive Masked Finfoot occurs very sparingly and irregularly. Even if present, we would be very fortunate to spot one as it emerges from the shadows of the mangrove roots as they are typically extremely elusive. Crab-eating Macaques are also present in this interesting habitat.

In the afternoon we will drive to Si Phang Nga National Park. Wildlife Sanctuary for three nights stay.

Accommodation: Retreat Khaolak Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

For next couple of days we will explore Sri Phang Nga National Park, in Phang Nga province, covers an area of 246 square kilometers, stretching along a range of hills parallel to Andaman Sea coast. Most of the national park is moist evergreen forest and the low altitude of the region gives birdwatchers a great opportunity to search for some of the difficult to find species from southern Thailand.

Any location that has a stake-out for both Blyth’s and Gould’s Frogmouths has to be worth a visit even without the host of other southern specialties that occur at Sri Phang Nga National Park. This little visited location is not only home to birds such as Moustached Babbler, Drongo Cuckoo, Chestnut-winged Babbler and other small forest species but it is a good spot for finding colourful, medium-sized species like Banded Broadbill, Banded Pitta and Black-and-Yellow Broadbill. Hornbills are a highlight of any bird watching trip and Sri Phang Nga regularly provides birders with sightings of the spectacular Great and Helmeted Hornbills along with Bushy-crested Hornbill which usually travels in flocks. Night birding can be productive here too. Along with the Frogmouths, both Oriental Bay Owl and Buffy Fish Owl have been seen in the past. Other excellent birds that have been seen at Sri Phang Nga from time to time are Chestnut-naped Forktail, Pale Blue Flycatcher and Black Hornbill – a species very seldom encountered in Thailand.

Other notable species possibly seen are Wallace’s Hawk Eagle, Lesser Fish Eagle, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Crested Jayshrike, Large Blue Flycatcher, Green Broadbill, Bamboo Woodpecker, Rufous-collared & Banded & Blue-eared & Blue-banded Kingfishers

Accommodation: Retreat Khaolak Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to airport for your homeward-bound flight.

Meal: Breakfast


  • Airport (pick up/drop off) transfers by private A/C vehicle
  • Twin room sharing accommodation at all hotel/resort as mentioned
  • Daily breakfast throughout the trip and other meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Domestic flight from Bangkok - Phuket
  • Escorted by an English-speaking local professional Birding tour guide
  • All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Boat cruise on the canals and rivers
  • All  Excursions and entry fees & permits to all the national parks & monuments.
  • Applicable government taxes

Not Included

  • International flights Visa fees for Thailand
  • Visa fees
  • Travel Insurances
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal clothing and equipment
  • Tips for tour leader/guide, driver, hotel staff and porters
  • Items of personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, laundry, showers and other unforeseen expenses
  • Items/services not listed in the "included"
  • Extra expenses/payment for 'Optional' activities/programs if participated

Price: US$ 3,450 per person (Twin Sharing | Based on Minimum 4 Travelers)
Single Supplement: US$ 645

Your Feedback

Royal Princess Larn Luang, Bangkok

Royal Princess Larn Luang is a venerable local institution, situated in the heart of historic old Bangkok amidst sweeping tree-lined boulevards, centuries-old canals, the Grand Palace, ancient temples, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, United Nations agencies including Khao San Road. This charming boutique hotel offers 167 wonderfully appointed guest rooms with a gracious welcome and warm personalized service.

Fisherman's Resort, Phak Thale

An exclusive retreat set in a private enclave, the resort fronts the beach and has successfully blended the comforts and services of a luxury resort with the authentic tradition and heritage of Thai architecture. Green is the dominant colour of the landscape combined with water features, flora and attractive marine elements.

Baan Maka Nature Lodge, Kaeng Krachen

Baan Maka is a small hotel dedicated to making your visit to Kaeng Krachan as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. We offer comfortable rooms with hot showers & air conditioning. There is a restaurant on-site using homegrown produce. The lodge is situated a few kilometres from Kaeng Krachan NP in five hectares of gardens, forest & farmland.

Balios Resort Khaoyai, Khao Yai

Balios Resort Khaoyai is a comfortable 3-star hotel in Pak Chong minutes from Palio Khao Yai and close to Nam Phut Natural Spring. This hotel is within the vicinity of Bonanza Golf and Country Club and Jungle Golf Club. Make yourself at home in one of the 132 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and LCD televisions.

Khao Lak Palmhill Resort, Khao Pra Bang 

Escape the chaos of the city to the tranquility and relaxation on the hill of the Evergreen Forest. Breathe the fresh air in the tropical garden of exotic plants and flowers which is surprisingly located in the center of Khao Lak Town. Enjoy our large swimming pool and sundeck, Khao Lak Palmhill is the ideal place for couples and families.

Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, Phuket

Nestled on the picturesque shores of Markham Bay, the resort offers sweeping views of the Andaman Sea. Travelers have a choice of 211 spacious contemporary rooms, including 28 suites and 29 villas with a private pool. With just 20 minute-drive to Phuket Town, the hotel is ideally located to explore the many attractions on Phuket Island.

Trip Facts

  • Price (USD) From 3,450
  • Duration 13 Days
  • Group Size 4-12 Pax
  • Arrive Bangkok
  • Depart Phuket
  • Trip Level
    easy to moderate
  • Activity Birding
  • Meals 14 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • Accommodation 4-5* Hotel & Resort

Giving back to the communities is our responsibility!

With every trip, you also support the SWAN and thus projects for Sustainable Community development and Biodiversity protection.

Our primary NGO partner is Social Welfare Association of Nepal (SWAN), with whom we have carried out multiple CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects. Besides carrying out regular CSR activities in the areas of education and women empowerment, we have supported relief and rehabilitation initiatives in the aftermath of several natural disasters like earthquake, immediate response to COVID-19 pandemic across Nepal. 

Giving something back to the world is a special and responsible affair of travel-to-nature Asia right from its inception. When you travel with travel-to-nature Asia and SWAN-Nepal, you become an integral force for change in addressing the most pressing social and wildlife conservation issues. Your tourism funds help transform the future of under-privileged and marginalized communities and transform the future of at-risk natural places you travel. Portion of our profit flows to local communities who live with and steward nature, creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

By joining one of our holidays you are playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

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