On the 9th of March we flew from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai in the north to start the second part of our tour in the wonderful northern mountains of Thailand. We spent the night at the very comfortable Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel, the same hotel that Prince Charles and Diana stayed in when they visited Thailand in 1988.
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Many of the bird images are just “for the record” shots that the species has been seen and photographed.
The next morning was an early start to get to Huai Hong Krai (King’s Project) shortly after daybreak to increase our chances of seeing the rare Green Peafowl, our main target there. As it happens, we saw about four of them while we were there, albeit from a distance.
We then started our journey to Doi Inthanon National Park stopping at a few rice paddies on the way.
We also managed a stop along the way at a quaint coffee shop owned by a friend of Uthai, our local guide.
We arrived at the Inthanon Highland Resort, which was to be our base for the next 3 nights, in time for lunch and then spent the afternoon birding the mid-elevation slopes of Doi Inthanon.
Doi Inthanon National Park (“The Roof of Thailand”) is part of the Himalayan Mountain Range with elevations ranging between 800 and 2,565 meters with the highest peak at Doi Inthanon which is Thailand’s highest mountain. The flora consists of moist evergreen cloud forests, sphagnum bog on elevations over 1,800 meters, dry evergreen, pine, mixed deciduous teak and dipterocarp forests on the lower elevations. During our time there we birded from the peak right down to the lower elevations. Some of the birds seen included the following.
The next day was a travel day but soon after leaving the Intahanon Highland Resort, we stopped off a private residence whose owner had built a viewing platform in some broad-leafed woodland and was particularly known for it’s viewing of parakeets.
We then departed for the town of Fang or “Wiang Fang” which is the capital of the Fang District and lies 154 km north of Chiang Mai, among the highest mountains in the country. The Tangerine Ville was to be our base for the next 3 nights while in the district. We had two Temple stops en route, the first being Wat Ban Den.
The second was the lovely Chiang Dao Temple where we arrived early enough to explore and get in some birding in the Temple grounds.
Our base in Fang for the next 3 nights while we explored Doi Lang was the Tangerine Ville, a functional but unattractive hotel. Doi Lang, in Chiang Mai province, is actually a collection of mountain ridges within the extensive Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. This location is one of the wildest areas of Thailand that is accessible by car, with great views across into Myanmar and providing birders with kilometers of roadside birding in a variety of upland habitats. The first morning we went up the road into the western area of Doi Lang.
The next day we took the access road to the eastern side of Doi Lang via Thaton Marsh (see map above).
The next afternoon, we were due to travel to Doi Angkhang our final birding destination of the trip but in the morning we went back up the west access of Doi Lang to tie up any lose ends (birding wise) before we left the area.
Our last port of call for the trip was Doi Angkhang and we spent our last couple of nights at the Angkhang Nature Resort. Once we had checked in we paid a short Visit to a military installation right on the border with Myanmar where we picked up a few species including the Durian Redstart and a skulking Spot-throated Babbler (above).
Our last birding day was spent in the beautiful Doi Angkhang gardens.