21st January 2013, 06:32 PM
Birding at Doi Inthanon
Last December my wife and I took a trip to Chiangmai to visit a friend. We rented a car and went for a short birding trip to Doi Inthanon. A friend asked me to write down some tips, hence this posting. It's not that I had a particularly good trip but (a) I want to write things down before I forget and (b) hopefully, other old birds will add to the info. OK, here we go...
We stayed two nights at the Inthanon Highland Resort (Inthanon Highland, JomThong Chiang Mai Thailand). The staff was friendly (though not very strong in English), the food was simple yet delicious but the accomodation is basic. We arrived in the afternoon, so there wasn't much to do (or at least we did not discover the interesting places until later). In summary, the resort itself offers quite a bit in birding. Here's some annotation using Google Maps:
We were told December is off-peak and so there were fewer birds.
There is an interesting place near the resort:
A gentleman who speaks excellent English (coz he is a guide) owns farmland and had built his own bird watching tower. The family was really friendly (but not their dogs - watch out) and allowed us to ascend the tower to take a look. We lucked out and the parakeets did not come. But there were many other species of birds. In fact, all through the single lane track leading to the bird tower, all kinds of surprises await - especially if you catch the early morning bird wave (7-8.30am). DON'T MISS!!! Note: you will need your longest lens here.
On Doi Inthanon itself, check out as many waterfalls along the way as possible. As you ascent, you need to get tickets at Checkpoint 1, and there's another Checkpoint 2 where they will check your ticket again. We only knew later that the area surrounding Checkpoint 2 (GPS: 18.525922, 98.499341) is also famous for its birding. But we failed to check it out.
Birding at the summit is fairly easy. It is mainly in two hotspots (connected by footpath):
Hotspot 1 is the beginning of the footpath to the "Highest Point in Thailand" at the summit carpark.
Hotspot 2 is slightly lower. There is a cafe there. Besides it are two trees that are full of action! For the Mrs Gould's Sunbird, we got it at the tree just across the road from the cafe. Note: you will need your fastest birding lens (min: 300mm, I reckon) here - the birds are mostly small, fast moving and in the shade.
Basically, that's it. I definitely want to go back again to get improvement shots as well as check out those areas I missed.
Chiangmai itself is a wonderful and safe place to visit. Do consider. Good luck and happy birding!
Last edited by UncleFai; 21st January 2013 at 06:42 PM.