PRICE : XXXX $US for 8 people (see the price grid in our Detailed Informations page).
Tour duration : 19 days.
Tour date : February 2018.
Group size : 4-10 people with a "Tour Leader".
Tour Leader : Marc THIBAULT.
Arrival : Bangkok.
Departure : Bangkok.
Lodging : Hotels and lodges from "standard" category to "superior" category. Hot water and electricity are available 24 hours a day.
Pace : Moderate (a few walks in muddy and/or steep terrain, a few hours of birding above 2000 m).
Possible extension : None.
Potential number of species : 450 - 550.
Photography : Moderate opportunities.
Included : all transportation, internal flights, lodging in double rooms with private bathroom (without exceptions), all meals, multilingual tour leader, drinkable water.
Not included : International flight, travel insurance, visas, airport taxes, entrance fees for some sites, alcoholic beverages, tips, "single" occupation (for the price, please refer to the Detailed Informations page).
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The Northern mountains
Any birder craving for some Asian avifauna is likely to consider Thailand as one of his first destination. This country has established itself during the last two decades as the prime destination in Asia and a classic of worldwide birding. A long list of specialties, iconic and colorful species is awaiting you during this trip, from the most fabulous Asian shorebirds to the countless resident species of tropical forests and the impressive collection of wintering birds. The country has a nice network of natural reserves and national parks, spanning a wide range of habitats, from the lowland tropical forests to the evergreen altitude forests, the coastal wetlands and the medium altitude deciduous forests.
This trip covering the northern part of the country is a great introduction to the ecosystems and fauna of southeast tropical Asia. Always in perfect settings, it will allow you to see many very iconic and rare species as well as many colorful commoner ones. Besides, compared to many other places in the tropics, the observation of large mammals is often easier here for some unclear reason, so why not even dreaming of glimpsing a Tiger or a wild Asian Elephant?
Days 1-2-3. Following our arrival in Bangkok, we will make a stop along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand to thoroughly explore its various habitats: ricefields, mudflats and marshes. Our main target here will be the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper which visit the area in very small numbers among the countless flocks of other more common shorebirds.
Days 4-5. We will then go straight to business with a two-day stay in the fabulous National Park of Kaeng Krachan, a beautiful montane park teeming with life and exhibiting some very exciting forest species. The diversity of forest species to be observed has no equivalent elsewhere in the country, and even the Tiger is seen a few times a year, though we would be very lucky indeed to see one.
Days 6-7-8-9-10-11-12. Following a short internal flight to Chiang Mai, in the north, we will then start our north-western triptych. Doi Angkhang, Doi Lang and Doi Chiang Dao are montane forest sites located at the extreme north-west end of the country. These sites host many localized and rare species that cannot be found elsewhere in Thailand, owing to the uniqueness of their ecosystems. The visit of all three of these sites will give us the unique chance to complete a clean sweep of the special species found in the region, several chances of observing the rarest and most discreet species being given us. Although somewhat overlapping, each of these sites have their own specificity and the net result should be a number of fabulous observations of unique, rare or difficult species. As a transition to our next forest destination of Doi Inthanon, we will spend time the cultivated areas and ricefields around Thaton and Fang. These mainly secondary habitats are generally extremely interesting and surprisingly productive.
Days 13-14-15. We will end up our loop in the north of the country by a visit to the renowned Doi Inthanon National Park. There, we will explore the different altitudinal levels of the highest mountain in the country. The grand finale in this park will be the visit of the summital peat bog, a very peculiar ecosystem nested at an altitude of over 2500m and hosting a very particular array of species.
Days 16-17-18-19. After a flight back to Bangkok, we will wrap up our journey by a stay in the magnificent Khao Yai National Park. Staying a few days will let us enough time to properly explore the beautiful forests covering the park and discover the many species inhabiting them. And if luck serves us we might even see one of the holy grail of tropical birders: a Ground-Cuckoo (the Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo in this instance).