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Thailand itinerary (1 Viewer)


What would be the best itinerary for a couple looking to mix birding and beaches in Thailand?

Could the two be happily combined using one resort as a base? Or would a road trip be the better way?


Well-known member
Hi there. I was in Phuket last year and there is good birding close by on Koh Yao Noi island. I stayed at Tabaek Viewpoint bungalows and saw pied hornbill, white bellied sea eagle, thousands of swifts, brahminy kites, plus loads of sunbirds, mynahs, orioles and flycatchers in the garden. Also close by is Khao Sok national park. Paddleasia do great kayaking wildlife tours there. Saw five species of hornbill, (with great hornbill being the most visible bird there!) fish eagles, oriental hobby, black thighed falconet on nest, buffy fish owl, flame backed woodpeckers, forktails, coucals,kingfishers, plus virtually guaranteed sightings of gibbons and a host of monkeys. All within two hours of the beaches on phuket.The scenery and food was great too.

Gary F B

Active member
A road trip is a great way to do it. The driving is fine, just look ahead all the time and drive defensively. Nick Upton's site is great (firstreesjohn gave the link)
A day in Bangkok birding at Suan Rot Fai and Lumpini Park
Next day drive south stopping at Khok Kham - Spoonbilled Sandpiper and other waders. (great seafood lunch nearby or at Don Hoy Lot), visit Amphawa floating market if it is a weekend.
Head up to Kaeng Krachan and stay at baan Maka for a few days
Eagle watch point at nong pla lai
Ban Thale and laem Pak Bia for more waders and stay at the lovely blue sky or sea sky at Had Chao Samran
Drive on to Hua hin or Pranburi for nice beach time - decent birds in hotel gardens.
Drive on to Chumphon and get ferry to Ko Tao.
If adventurous head towards Kaho Sok /Krabi (stay at bann Krut beach just north of bang Saphan Noi)
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Well-known member
If wanting to use one place as a base, I would go for somewhere around Krabi.

You can easily do
- Krabi Mangroves (Mangrove Pitta, Brown-backed Kingfisher, Nordmann's Greenshank)
- KNC - Gurney's and other Pittas, plus good night birding (best to hire Yothin for this), best to make this a couple of days trip.
- boat out to Koh Phi Phi for a day of snorkelling and looking for Christmas Island Frigatebird (go on a dive boat that is doing the dive sites of Bida Nai, Bida Noi or Bida Nok - these sites at the south end of Kho Phi Phi Ley are the area to look for Christmas Island and Greater Frigatebirds amongst the Lessers).

Best wishes



Well-known member
Might also help to know what time of the year you are planning to visit although I would say the suggestions above are all good. Migration, the weather - the south of Thailand can get very wet from May onwards and boats to the smaller islands stop running.......factors worth considering when planning a trip.


Well-known member

This is such a helpful thread.
I hope to visit Thailand for the first time in January or February with my wife who is not a birder, for about 16 days.
So far the plan is as follows:
See Suan Rot Fai on first day, then head for Hua Hin for a few days, on public transport.
I'd like to go on my own to kaeng Krachen for 2 day trips . How easy is it to get a mini-bus to the park from Hua hin? My missus doesnt want to get exposed to heat and mosquitos, so she'll be happy to mooch around Hua Hin.
Then I'd like to spend a day or two around Pak Thale/Leam Pak Bia.
Are there any decent guest houses/hotels nearby that people can recommend?

The next destination is Kho Chang island for a few days by a each with maybe some opportunities to see more birds. Any recommendations anyone?

Then back to bangkok. a trip to khok Khan and maybe to Khao Yai?

how does that sound? Any words of wisdom about getting about by publc transport. i'l alwasy happy to hire a motorbike or a car for a few days.

How can I get a guide at a reasonable price to show me khok Khan?

I've contacted a local birder through fat Birder who said he might be available. Is it the done thing to offer guide money in addition to any expenses?

again, any local wisdom would be much appreciated.




Well-known member
Sounds pretty good to me Padraig. You might consider hiring a car from Hua Hin in order to visit Kaeng Krachan; and you'd definitely want something with 4WD or some power to make it to the top. it's about an 1 hour by road....that's an hour to the entrance from HH and an hour from the entrance to HH. You might even consider staying in the area and a resort would be able to fix you up with a guide. I can make a personal recommendation for a Thai guide who comes with a 4 WD. Tombac who posts regularily here is also worth contacting as he lives in HH. The hire car would also be good for Pak Thale & Laem Pak Bia. You might also want to add Norng Blah Lai to your destinations; it's on the road from BKK to HH; and SUnday there were 3 Greater SPotted Eagles on offer and Imperial Eagle as also been seen; a Slender-billed Vulture has also been seen here this year following last year's Himalayan Griffon and Cinereous VUlture. For Khok Kham you want Mr Dtee and you should give him the proverbial "drink"!


Well-known member
Padraig I should add that you can probably get to Kaeng Krachan by public transport but I am not aware there is a direct route. You wold most likely need to get "slow" stopping buses and for instance change at Ta Yang and then get another bus to Kaeng Krachan Village; I am not aware of a service from the village to the park entrance and it is probably about 30 km so that 's difficult and expensive! And then you've got to get from the entrance.....Might take you 3 hours from HH by this route!


Well-known member

I would defiately recommend hiring a vehicle for Kaeng Krachan, especially if you only have a couple of days. As Portnoy says, you either need a 4x4 or at least something with good clearance (eg a toyota vigo).

Send me a PM before you arrive and I can tell you want's about in Suan Rot Fai.

Best wishes



Well-known member
As others have implied, you will lose so much birding time, if you go by public transport. Driving in Thailand is, on the whole, more pleasurable than in the UK; this does not apply after dark !

Consider Mr Nine as a guide at Khao Yai, for at least one day; otherwise you’ll miss seeing loads.

The Blue Sky Boutique Resort, on Chao Samran Beach, is a wonderful place for a few nights and close to the Spooners.


Well-known member
Thank you Portnoy, Gandytron and John.
Well I'd love to stay up in Kaeng Krachen but dont want to leave my sweetheart in Hua Hin on her own and she can't do heat, leeches, mosquitoes, even in a Thai winter. so a couple of day trips from HH to KK. The guide you mentioned in HH, who posts here. How do I track him down here to PM him? I used to know my way around this site but have hardly been here since 2005.
John, i'll check out that place yo mentioned near Koh Khan (sorry, I'm out of the thread now so can't refer back to it).
yes Gandytron, I'd love to make contact before I head over there. Are you based in bangkok?

Best wishes,



Mark Andrews
Well I'd love to stay up in Kaeng Krachen but dont want to leave my sweetheart in Hua Hin on her own and she can't do heat, leeches, mosquitoes, even in a Thai winter.

No leeches or mozzies up at KK at this time, pleasant temperatures, especially at the upper levels... sweetie might actually enjoy it!


Well-known member
Padraig you could camp at the top or in the middle in KK, save you paying entry on 2 consecutive days and Rockfowl is correct about reasonably pleasant conditions. There's food and they have camping gear for hire.Means you are bang in the middle of things first and last thing. Don't go near KK at weekends - it gets really busy and noisy. Search tombac in the names list here and send him a pm. also get in touch nearer the time. I'll happily show you round Pak Thale, Laem Pak Bia and Norng Blah Lai so long as you can do it at weekends as I have to work Monday to Friday.


Well-known member
You still have to pay for two days if you camp in the park. We are not talking about big money.The entrance 200thb/day/pers. Send me a PM if you want a guide for a day or give me a cal: l+66(0)810083745


Wird Batcher
Padraig, Birdbox,

I've always done Thailand with my non-birding wife and have been based at Ao Nang (coast near Krabi); Khao Lak (coast near Khao Sok & Similan Is.); north of Chang Rai for NW mtns; and Hua Hin (KK & coast).

You will find reports from all these in "Vacational Trip Reports" (search using my username within the thread), which will be of use to those compromised by the needs/wishes of the other half.

I've never used public transport and always self-drive. I have never used guides.

I'm off to Hua Hin again tomorrow - but you can pm me or ask here if you wish for further info.



Well-known member
Well its getting closer to departure time. We arrive on the 27th and go straight to Koh Chang for a week. Has anyone got advice about birding on Koh Chang? Is it worth looking for a guide for a day to go into the forest in the centre? Any bird specialties to look out for there?

After that, back to Bangkok for the weekend where I hope to link up with Portnoy for some local birds? Still up for that Portnoy?

Then to Hua Hin. Tombec is going to link me to a guide who lives near Kaeng Krachen. I'll probably spend a night there to maximise what I see.

Like I say, I'd welcome any last minute words of advice.




Well-known member
Greetings from Koh Chang to you all. We've spent a very pleasant time relaxing by the beech, with me doing a little birding. not too much I assure you!
Here's my synopsis:
First day, first dip in the sea. No birds. No gulls, terns, cormorants. Then a White Bellied Sea Eagle circling in the distance. OK, not too bad a start.
Next day, I got Black Crested Bulbul, Asian Brown Flycatcher and a Black Headed Bulbul sitting on a nest. But nothiong else, apart from distant Brahminy Kite. Next day I got Asian Palm, Pacific and House Swifts; Barn & pacific Swallows; Pacific Reef egrets were the only birds fling over the sea. Why is this? Large Billed Crows around. Tree Sparrows and Common Mynas in the village. But nothing else, a dearth of birds around white Sands Beach Resort, not good, I needed to go inland.
On Monday I had an early start with a local guide near the Klong Prao Falls.
Following the book order, we got Great Hornbill, Green Billed Malkoha,
Thick Billed Green Pigeon, Crested Serpent Eagle, Ashy & Greater Racket-tailed Drongo,
Black Naped Oriole, Ashy Minevet flocks, Black Naped Monarch, Paradise & Asian Brown Flycatcher, White Rumped Shama,Hill Myna (in ones or twos but may have seen 5), Black Headed , Black ctrested & Ochraceous Bulbul, Arctic Warbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Scarlet Rumped Flowerpecker, Purple Throated Sunbird, Long Billed Spider Hunter.

The thrill of the day was hearing Hornbills tapping (sounds like a dog barking), then have one whoosh overhead...sounds like the low roar of a 747 jet engine; 5 minutes later 2 flew back directly overhead. It looked like he went to fetch his girlfriend and came back. half an hour later a solitary bird flew south again at close quarters. My mate Toon reckoned we were exceptionally lucky to see themout at the edge of the rainforest where we were.
Dip of the day was hearing Coppersmith barbets but seeing none.

On a return trip on my own, too late in the day so dripping sweat I managed Common Kingfisher, Chinese Pond Heron on the river, Oriental Honey Buzzard over the waterfall,White Throated Rock Thrush drinking from a puddle in front of me and an Accipiter which may have been a Shikra, not Chinese Sparrow Hawk.

One interesting sounding bird turned out to be a man cutting fresh scars into a rubber tree. As I was laughing at myself, I had an interesting dialogue with a Hill Myna sat high on a tree. I saw it clearly but I dont think it knew where I was coming from as I answered its call. it looked a bit puzzled for a few minutes before it decided that enough was enough and flew away from me ('Bloody Tourists' I heard it say in Thai language as it disappeared).

For water birds I could have gone down the south east side of the island where there are mangroves and shrimp farms. Down at the end of the island on that side there's a restaurant where you can watch feeding Sea Eagles while you have your lunch; noon is apparently the best time because of thermals.

Tomorrow afternoon brief birding in Bangkok and Sunday I join Portnoy Gerry at Lam Pak Bia for a look for Spooners.
Then Hua Hin where I hope to meet Tombec, if his bad back allows it.
After that its Kaeng Krachen here I come.

Low bird score so far, but quality anything but disappointing.

Any cooments anybody?

PadraigB :)
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