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Thailand Spoon-billed Sandpiper & the North

A 16-day birdwatching tour to Thailand

Our Thai birding adventure begins beside the Gulf of Thailand in search of Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other of the world's rarest shorebirds. From there, we travel north to explore the bird-rich tropical forests of the country's top three National Parks: Khao Yai, and the mountains of Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang. A visit to the remarkable Burmese border peak of Doi Lang, seeking Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Giant Nuthatch and a hatful of other sought-after specialities, completes a really splendid trip!

Tour Dates

2018

Spaces
3

Leaders
Colin Bushell
local guides

Max Group Size: 10
Duration: 16 Days

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Cost: £4895

inc return flights from London Heathrow-Bangkok, nonstop with British Airways

Deposit: £600

Single Supp: £475
Land Only: £4320

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C Slaty backed Forktail Thailand Feb 2015 Brian Small copy resized

Slaty-backed Forktail on Doi Inthanon, in Northern Thailand - one of 380 species recorded on Limosa's last tour to Thailand © Brian Small, Limosa

Our winter birding tour to Thailand offers a superb introduction to the amazing avifauna of Southeast Asia. It's a region blessed with an exceptionally rich and diverse birdlife, including an impressive list of Oriental specialities. The period from December to March also finds huge numbers of wintering Siberian passerines present across the country, while the shores of Thailand’s gulf coast boast some of the most exciting wader watching in all Asia. Our carefully planned itinerary takes in four key areas: the Gulf of Thailand, Khao Yai National Park and the border hills of Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang in the far north, before concluding with an exploration of the forests that adorn Thailand's highest peak, Doi Inthanon.

From the capital, Bangkok, we head directly to the tidal mudflats, mangroves and saltpans overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. For sheer number and variety of shorebirds this area is amongst the best in all Asia, with an array of sought-after species - but none more special than the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, at what has latterly become the best place in the world for seeing this charismatic shorebird. The endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank also occurs in winter, when other waders of note include Great Knot, Terek Sandpiper and Red-necked and Long-toed Stints. We’ll take a boat trip to look for Malaysian Plover and the 'taxonomically challenged' White-faced Plover. Also possible here is the near-threatened Asian Dowitcher, another species that passes this way en route to its breeding grounds in Siberia. All were seen on our last three tours!

Leaving the sultry coastal lowlands behind, we then drive north to the luxuriant, cathedral-like tropical forests of Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest and best-known national park. Along the way, we will try for the localised Limestone Wren-babbler. We spend three nights at Khao Yai, staying at a good hotel right on the edge of the park. The birding is brilliant, with Red Junglefowl crowing and the shy Siamese Fireback (Thailand’s national bird) often to be found at daybreak, and the harrier-like Great Eared Nightjar whistling plover-like at dusk. Enormous Great and Wreathed Hornbills, Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogons, Banded Kingfisher and Greater Flameback are among numerous specialities to watch for. The superb Blue Pitta, a scarce and tricky-to-find inhabitant of the forest, can sometimes be found, too.

Khao Yai is also a haven for mammals: Asian Elephant, Sambar and Black Giant Squirrel occur, while the wild, wailing ‘songs’ of lunatic White-handed Gibbons greet the forest at dawn.

For the second part of our holiday we catch a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, in the far north of Thailand. The montane forests of Doi Lang, Doi Ang Khang and Doi Inthanon National Parks are quite different in character to those at Khao Yai, with an avifauna that is also correspondingly different - and rich! The peaks of Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang sit amongst a scenic mountainous region on the border with Burma, with upland oak and pine forests that hold numerous local specialities. The whacky Crested Finchbill, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler, Whiskered Yuhina, the elusive Giant Nuthatch, Spot-breasted Parrotbill and Fire-tailed Sunbird are among a host of possibilities here. The beautiful Orange-bellied Leafbird and Scarlet-faced Liocichla are also present, along with numerous Palearctic migrants.

Chiang Mai is the provincial capital of northern Thailand. From here we make a special excursion to see the much declined Green Peafowl, before devoting the remainder of our time to birding the forested slopes of Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon (2565m/8415ft).

Again, the list of birds to be found here is long and includes many specialities, with the upper slopes being home to the elfin Pygmy Wren-babbler, Bar-throated Minla, Ashy-throated Warbler and jewel-like Green-tailed and Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds. Lower down, we may encounter White-rumped Falcon or Slaty-backed Forktail. Then there are other seldom-seen species to look for, such as Rufous-throated Partridge, Rusty-naped Pitta, Green Cochoa and Dark-sided Thrush. At this time of year we should also encounter many wintering Palearctic and Siberian passerines, from Yellow-browed, Radde’s and Dusky Warblers to Brown Shrike, Eyebrowed Thrush, Olive-backed Pipit and the sought-after Siberian Rubythroat - the stuff that birders’ dreams are made of!

Thailand's tropical climate is at its best when we visit, while accommodations and the delicious local cuisine are good throughout (in fact, food is something of a religion in Thailand). Last but not least, there’s the bonus of an excellent field guide to help you prepare and really make the most of the trip.

Guide Colin Bushell teamed up with our resident Thai birding expert 'End' to lead our January 2017 tour to Thailand and this will be his third visit to this remarkable country.

CK 5 Malaysian Plover m Thailand 2015 BS

If the tide is right, we will take a boat trip on the Gulf of Thailand to look for the rare and localised Malaysian Plover (above), as well as the recently rediscovered White-faced Plover © Brian Small, Limosa Holidays

Day 1
DEPART LONDON FOR BANGKOK

Our birdwatching tour to Thailand commences with departure from London Heathrow today on British Airways nonstop overnight flight bound for Bangkok.

Days 2 - 3
THE GULF OF THAILAND... SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER & MORE!

We shall be met on arrival in Bangkok on the morning of day two by our local guide and head southwest from the Thai capital to the shores of the Gulf of Thailand. A two-night stay at a comfortable coastal hotel will obviate the need to run the gauntlet of Bangkok’s traffic congested streets each morning and evening. 

Our birding destinations for these two days are the coastal sites of Khok Kham, Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia - areas of intertidal mudflats, saltpans, shrimp and fish ponds, rice paddies, mangroves and marshy pools that are outstanding for wintering shorebirds from northern Asia. Topping the bill, this area has become famous in recent years as the best place to look for one of the world’s rarest, oddest and most charismatic waders: Spoon-billed Sandpiper! December, January and February are the very best months to try for this fantastic little shorebird, which winters here in tiny numbers. The Gulf is also a reliable spot in winter to find the endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank. With a world population estimated to be less than 1000 individuals, this is another of the world’s rarest waders and we have chances to unearth both these five-star Siberian shorebirds here today, and again tomorrow.

It will come as no surprise to discover that waders generally are excellent here, with an exciting cast of migrant and wintering species present. Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers, Pacific Golden Plover, Broad-billed, Marsh and Terek Sandpipers, Great Knot, and Red-necked and Long-toed Stints are among a range of more “exotic” shorebirds we could see. With luck, we might come across the rare Asian Dowitcher, which also passes through the Gulf of Thailand at this season, while more familiar species we could see include Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Wood and Curlew Sandpipers, plus Red-necked Phalarope.

If the tide is right, we will take a boat trip out through the mangroves to a sandy spit to look for the rare and localised Malaysian Plover, as well as the recently rediscovered White-faced Plover, the latter an enigmatic bird which many authorities now regard as a separate species.

Herons, egrets and terns are numerous in the coastal wetlands that fringe the Gulf of Thailand, with both Chinese and Javan Pond Herons, and buoyant Whiskered Terns much in evidence. Heavy-billed Collared and Black-capped Kingfishers hunt crabs amongst the mangroves, as striking chestnut, black and white Brahminy Kites patrol lazily overhead. Among a wide variety of other species we are likely to come across over these two days are Pacific Reef Egret, Striated Heron, Heuglin’s and Brown-headed Gulls, Caspian, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, Pink-necked Pigeon, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Golden-bellied Gerygone (Flyeater), Pied Fantail, Asian Pied Starling, White-vented Myna, Brown-throated and Yellow-bellied Sunbirds, and Streaked Weaver.

On one evening we will visit the limestone outcrop at Na Yang, where we can marvel at the nightly exodus of millions of Wrinkle-lipped Bats from their roost high in the limestone cliffs - whilst marauding Grey-faced Buzzards and Common Kestrels pluck them from the sky. Two nights Petchaburi (Pak Thale)

Day 4
TO KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK, VIA LIMESTONE WREN-BABBLER

We leave the Gulf coast after an early breakfast this morning and head north. Skirting around Bangkok, we’ll make one or two short stops at some freshwater swamps along the way to look for Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Cotton Pygmy Goose, and Oriental and Black-browed Reed Warblers. Asian Openbill is another fascinating wetland bird - one that flourishes by breeding in the protected grounds of Buddhist temples - and something to watch out for today as we continue on across the predominantly flat agricultural plain of central Thailand.

Our destination this evening is Khao Yai, Thailand’s first and best known National Park. Rising to 1351m (4432ft), Khao Yai's protected limestone hills are cloaked in superb dry evergreen and mixed deciduous forest, with grasslands dominating the valley bottoms. Khao Yai will be our base for three nights and our comfortable resort hotel is located within a short distance of the entrance to this very fine park.

Before we reach the park, however, in the afternoon we'll visit some impressive limestone outcrops to look for the local form of Limestone Wren-babbler, which occurs only in this small region of Thailand. Night Khao Yai NP

Days 5 - 6
KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK

Set amidst spectacular scenery, our comfortable hotel makes the perfect base from which to really get to know Khao Yai. More than 540,000 acres in extent, the park is exceptionally beautiful, its cool rivers and waterfalls, and the many and varied trails that criss-cross the forest and glades, adding to the enjoyment of birding in this magical place, which in 2005 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Not only are its birds many and varied, but their very names will make us want to see them, too! Vernal Hanging Parrot, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Scarlet Minivet, Blue Whistling Thrush, Black-naped Monarch and Little Spiderhunter are among a wealth of exciting species that awaits us here! Khao Yai’s liana-draped trees are home to a wonderful array of other creatures as well: Asian Elephant, Sambar, Black Giant Squirrel, Common Palm Civet and Pig-tailed Macaque can all be found, while the whooping of White-handed Gibbons as they swing wildly and wail like demons high in the forest canopy is a sound that will forever live in your memory.      

We spend much of our time at Khao Yai birding along roadsides and trails within the forests. The reserve is home to four species of magnificent hornbill: Brown, Wreathed, Oriental Pied and the enormous Great Hornbill, the latter swishing noisily overhead as if flying on wings of stiffened canvas. Every now and then, a faint chorus of bird calls heralds the approach of a mixed feeding flock of anything up to a dozen or more species; soon, a frenzy of warblers, bulbuls and babblers will surround us, before just as suddenly moving on again.

Excitable Black-throated Sunbirds and tiny flowerpeckers whizz between the gigantic trees - which may tower up to 70 metres above our heads - as we go in search of a plethora of forest woodpeckers, barbets, kingfishers, bee-eaters, broadbills, trogons, orioles and leafbirds. Key species we shall be especially watching out for include stunning Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogons perching quietly in the middle storey, Banded and Long-tailed Broadbills, Banded Kingfisher, Blue-bearded Bee-eater and Greater Flameback.

With patience and stealth, we may be fortunate to spot the elusive Silver Pheasant, the very shy Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo or perhaps a pulse-quickening Blue Pitta with its flame-orange topknot, bounding across the forest floor. At dusk we hope to thrill at the sight of enormous Great Eared Nightjars as they whistle plaintively like plovers and float harrier-like against the evening sky, or marvel at Brown-backed or Silver-backed Needletails as they swoop to dink over a lake. One morning we will enter the park in time for Siamese Fireback, which can often be found first thing, feeding by the roadside. Two nights Khao Yai National Park

Days 7 - 8
FLY BANGKOK NORTH TO CHIANG RAI, DOI LANG & THA TON

After breakfast we bid farewell to Khao Yai and travel back to Bangkok in time to catch a flight north to Chiang Rai, in the northernmost region of Thailand. Driving from there to our riverside hotel at Tha Ton will provide us with our first views of the northern hills as well as handsome Pied Bushchats perched on roadside wires.

If time permits, we will have a brief look at the river from the hotel, where Black-collared Starlings and Stejneger’s Stonechats may be found, before paying a late afternoon visit to a local riverbed. Here we can search for wintering Jerdon’s Bushchat and Citrine Wagtail, plus Long-tailed Shrike and Pied Harrier.

The forested hills of northern Thailand extend across the border into neighbouring Burma (Myanmar), and are rich in birdlife. This is especially so in January and February, when the region’s numerous resident species are boosted by an abundance of wintering birds from northern Asia. Possibilities include Brown Shrike, Dusky Warbler, Eyebrowed Thrush and Olive-backed Pipit... and the prospect of getting to grips with an excellent selection of these over the coming days will fill our dreams tonight!

We make a very early start on the morning of Day 8 for the steep drive (about an hour) up towards the summit of Doi Lang, at an elevation of more than 2000m (6500 feet). After a picnic breakfast near a Thai/Burmese border post, we will sit and watch for birds coming into small ‘feeding stations’ set up for them. We should find many specialities: Rufous-throated Partridge, Blue Whistling Thrush, 'embarrassed-looking' Scarlet-faced Liocichlas, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Striated Yuhina and Spectacled Barwing are among the most regular at the summit. Various wintering species might also be found, including the large and distinctive Scaly Thrush, plus localised birds such as the very smart Black-throated Tit - a member of the Long-tailed Tit family - with Grey Treepie and Orange-bellied Leafbird in the flowering trees.

Gradually working our way back down, we will stop to bird along the roadside forest edge and to sit and watch at more small feeding areas. Here we have the chance for more great views of new species: lovely White-gorgeted and Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Chestnut-headed Tesias, and both Himalayan and Red-flanked Bluetails. The scarce Crested Finchbill can be locally common here and we may also find Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Whiskered Yuhina and White-bellied Redstart. As well as great birding, there are spectacular views from the escarpment over the Burmese Highlands. This is a seldom visited and poorly known corner of Thailand, with much still to be discovered and we might be lucky to spot one or two rare species, such as Red-tailed Laughingthrush or Scarlet Finch.

The pine trees up here hold populations of Cinereous and Yellow-bellied Tits, and are home also to the rare and highly localised Giant Nuthatch. The not so rare Cook’s Swift (now 'split' from Pacific Swift) breeds and roosts in limestone caves nearby and may pass overhead in huge numbers. Two nights Tha Ton

Days 9 - 10
THE FORESTED BORDER PEAKS OF DOI LANG & DOI ANG KHANG

After enjoying a further morning birding at Doi Lang we head to our next venue: Doi Ang Khang, where the Ang Khang Nature Resort will be our base for the next two nights. Set at an elevation of ca. 1500m (5000ft), we will spend the whole of the next day exploring the scenic, forested landscape. Although the extent of forest cover here has been much reduced over recent decades, thanks to government intervention some of this threatened environment has belatedly been protected and Doi Ang Khang is still home to an excellent variety of forest birds.

In the open pine-oak woodlands, we might encounter parties of Short-billed and Long-tailed Minivets, large flocks of Chestnut-sided White-eyes and Yunnan Fulvettas, the 'bandit-masked' Slender-billed Oriole and the gaudy Mrs Gould’s Sunbird. Specialities up here include Brown-breasted Bulbul, White-browed Laughingthrush and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler. In more pine woodland, if we are fortunate, the scarce and elusive Giant Nuthatch might put in another appearance, too! Two nights Doi Ang Khang

Day 11
DOI ANG KHANG TO CHIANG MAI

Our final early morning at Doi Ang Khang will be in search of any species we may have missed, or aimed at getting better views of others. A number of hard-to-see specialities are present locally and we will keep a sharp eye and keen ear out this morning for the likes of Mrs Hume’s Pheasant, Mountain Bamboo Partridge, and Buff-throated and Chinese Leaf Warblers. A visit to a lovely inhabited orchard and feeding station could bring great views of Black-breasted and Eyebrowed Thrushes, Grey-winged Blackbird and White-capped Redstart, perhaps a White-crowned Forktail or even the rufescent Black-browed and Spot-breasted Parrotbills - the latter is distinctly parrot-billed! With wintering species arriving from further north there could also be the chance of a surprise or two!

After lunch en route at another lovely Thai restaurant, we will aim to reach Chiang Mai in time to enjoy some late afternoon birding at a small wetland area on the edge of town. Here, Wire-tailed Swallow, Green Bee-eater, Burmese Shrike and Rufous Treepie should round the day off nicely. With luck, we might also encounter Rufous-winged Buzzard, Crested Bunting or the fabulous Siberian Rubythroat - and there is even a chance of unearthing a Pallas’s Grasshopper or Baikal Bush Warbler in the paddyfields. Night Chiang Mai

Days 12 – 14
GREEN PEAFOWL & DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast in Chiang Mai, we visit the Royal Project area at Huai Hong Krai. Our target bird here is the majestic Green Peafowl, a spectacular but endangered Southeast Asian pheasant that’s difficult to see elsewhere nowadays since its population has declined rapidly through habitat destruction and over-hunting. A walk along the trail here might also produce Swinhoe’s and Rosy Minivets, and Asian Barred Owlet. Or perhaps a Brown Hawk Owl will let us know of its presence via its characteristic ‘boobook’ call. The manmade pools at Huai Hong Krai can also be good places to see Lesser Whistling Duck.

After lunch we drive southwest to Doi Inthanon National Park, where we spend the next three nights at the comfortable Inthanon Highland Resort. Around the resort we might find Indian Roller, Hoopoe, Arctic Warbler and Purple Sunbird, while in the local wood and paddies we will look for the extraordinary Red-billed Blue Magpie or Bright-capped Cisticola.          

At 2565m (8415ft), Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest mountain. Encompassing more than 120,000 acres, the National Park is not only fantastic for birds but the best locality in northern Thailand to appreciate a succession of different habitats controlled by altitude - ranging from scrub and open, dry deciduous forest on the lower slopes through montane evergreen forest to moist ‘cloud forest’ at the top. It will come as no surprise to discover that the park’s avifauna is equally varied and magnificent!

The shrike-sized Collared Falconet, pint-sized Violet Cuckoo, Rufous Treepie, Blue-winged and Orange-bellied Leafbirds, Yellow-bellied Fantail, the sought-after but shy and seldom seen Green and Purple Cochoas, Large and Vivid Niltavas, tiny Snowy-browed and Little Pied Flycatchers, Chestnut-crowned and Blyth’s Leaf Warblers, Silver-eared Laughingthrush (recently split from Chestnut-crowned), Bar-throated Minla, Silver-eared Mesia, Rufous-winged Fulvettas, Dark-backed and Rufous-backed Sibias, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Yellow-browed and Yellow-cheeked Tits, and jewel-like Mrs Gould’s and Green-tailed Sunbirds are among a mouth-wateringly long list of exotic names and appearances to conjure with! Minuscule Pygmy Wren-babblers and diminutive Ashy-throated Warblers haunt the fringes of the summit bog, where we may also encounter the tiny White-browed Shortwing, Red-flanked Bluetail and various wintering thrushes, possibly including the understated Grey-sided Thrush and the timid Dark-sided Thrush with its fantastically incongruous and outrageously oversized bill.

Many of Inthanon’s forest birds rove the woodlands in mixed species feeding flocks, just as at Khao Yai further south - except here, the make up of species is different. Pin-striped Tit-babbler, White-bellied Erpornis and the restless Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher are typical flock components in the more elevated woodlands, with Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Red-billed Scimitar-babbler and Clicking Shrike-babbler (formerly known as Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler) among scarcer associates. Flighty Slaty-backed Forktails grace the upland streams, where we might also see the attractive duo of White-capped and Plumbeous Water Redstarts.

All in all, we are assured of an exciting few days exploring Thailand’s highest mountain, with the added bonus that, in February, the dry season climate is at its best, too. Nights at the Inthanon Highland Resort

Day 15         
DOI INTHANON, FLY CHIANG MAI-BANGKOK

After breakfast, we’ll enjoy a final morning of birding at Doi Inthanon, investigating the lower elevation forests that are home to noisy Lineated Barbets and whinnying Greater Flamebacks, the uncommon Black-headed and large White-bellied Woodpeckers, Black-hooded Oriole, Rufous Treepie and Purple Sunbird. With luck, we could come across Black-backed Forktail, Black Baza or White-rumped Falcon to round off our birding in style!

After lunch, we head to the airport in Chiang Mai and catch the afternoon flight back to Bangkok, where we'll enjoy a farewell dinner and overnight stay at a comfortable airport hotel. Night Bangkok

Day 16          
FLY BANGKOK-LONDON

After an early breakfast, reluctantly, we must return to Bangkok airport and check-in for our morning flight home. Late afternoon arrival at London Heathrow, where our birding tour to Thailand ends.

CK 45 Spectacled Barwing DL Thailand 2015 BS

The subtly attractive Spectacled Barwing, photographed on our January visit to Doi Lang, Northern Thailand © Brian Small, Limosa Holidays

What To Expect

A 16-day, small group birding tour to Thailand, beginning on the Gulf of Thailand looking for shorebirds - including Spoon-billed Sandpiper - before travelling north to explore the bird-rich tropical forests of the country's top three National Parks: Khao Yai, and the mountains of Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang. A visit to the equally remarkable but much less well-known Burmese border peak of Doi Lang, seeking Giant Nuthatch, Scarlet-faced Liocichla and other specialities, completes a really splendid birding trip!

Early starts are the norm for birding tours in tropical regions, where the daylight hours are relatively short (in Thailand, approx. 6.00am-6.30pm), and where bird activity is at its peak early and late but generally dies away completely during the middle of the day.

Especially in the sultry lowlands, it will be important to be in the field at dawn so we can hear the birds singing and calling as the day starts up - in some instances, this may be our only chance to discover if certain species are present or not, so we will naturally want to make the most of this opportunity.

Away from the coast, much of our birding in Thailand will be in tropical forest. We’ll spend most of the time walking on level ground, birding from paved or unpaved roads or tracks, and some forest trails with occasional steeper sections, but these are quite short. It will be warm to hot throughout, humid at times, and we may be on our feet for several hours at a stretch watching for birds - some participants may find it helpful to carry a lightweight collapsible stool.

Overall, the tour is not a strenuous one but you should be prepared for early starts to enjoy the best of the morning’s birding before the heat and humidity builds and activity starts to wane. After a lull during the hot middle part of the day, the birding tends to pick up again from mid-afternoon, so we are likely to be out until near dusk on more or less a daily basis. Our guides will be able to advise you locally about the day's events - if you wish to opt out of a particular session or walk, please don’t be afraid to ask them.

Thailand has a tropical climate. Late January/February is an excellent time to visit, when the weather is mostly hot, sunny and dry. It will be humid at lower elevations, especially near the coast. At this time of year, daily average temperatures at Bangkok are in the range 22-33C (71-91F); similar in the northwest around Chiang Mai, ranging between 17-34C (63-94F).

Our tour is timed to run during Thailand's dry season, when rainfall is low (in Bangkok, the monthly average for Jan/Feb is 20mm; lower in Chiang Mai, at 8mm); if it does happen to rain at this season, this typically occurs as short-lived tropical downpours. At higher altitudes on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang conditions can range from warm to cool, and it can feel particularly chilly here at night. Overnight frosts are possible at the summit area at 2565m (8415 feet), where it will be very cold first thing, though it warms up quickly once the sun is up.

Some worthwhile photographic opportunities, especially at the coast and in more open habitats. But generally poor/difficult for photography in the rainforest due to low light levels. At Doi Lang, Doi Ang Khang and to a lesser extent Doi Inthanon, small ‘feeding stations’ attract birds quite close at times and good photo opportunities exist in these areas.

Birds

350-390 species

Mammals

10-15 species

Accommodation

14 nights accommodation at hotels and lodges in Thailand. Hotels on this tour are of good standard, comfortable and air-conditioned, and all rooms with western-style private facilities (not the traditional Oriental-style toilets). At the Inthanon Highland Resort, accommodation is more rustic, in wooden cottages with multiple bedrooms, but each room with its own private bathroom. Most hotels can offer a laundry service.

Meals

All main meals are included in the tour price (and with drinking water also provided), commencing with lunch on arrival in Thailand on Day 2 and concluding with breakfast there on Day 16. Thai cuisine is delicious and for many travellers there meals are a highlight. Breakfast and dinners will usually be taken at the hotels. Packed lunches most days (plus the odd packed breakfast), but some lunches may be taken at a convenient restaurant along the way.

Walking

The walking effort is mostly easy. Away from the coast (where the terrain is flat), much of the birding on this tour is along roadsides, tracks and forest trails. At Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang we shall be birding at altitudes of up to 2565m (8415 feet). Inevitably when walking in the mountains, there will be some steeper sections along the roads and tracks, although these are usually quite short and, wherever possible, we will aim to drive uphill and bird as we walk back down.

Comfortable, lightweight walking shoes or boots with stout soles and good grip are recommended.

Travel

Return flights from London Heathrow to Bangkok, nonstop with British Airways.

Ground Transport  is by air-conditioned minibus with local driver.

Boat Trips

If the tide is right, we will take a boat trip at the coast, through the creeks and mangroves, and out to the sand spit at Laem Pak Bia, to look for shorebirds - hopefully including the rare and localised Malaysian Plover as well as White-faced Plover.

CK 64 Sliver cheeked Laughingthrush DI Thailand 2015 BS

A close encounter with the beautiful Silver-eared Laughingthrush on Doi Lang, northern Thailand © Brian Small, Limosa

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  AUTHOR TESTINTRO TITLE
1 IB, Thailand tour Both leaders [Colin and Sukanya] were absolutely superb... Sukanya (End) is quite special! Accommodation all v.g. or excellent - I would be more than happy returning to all of the locations. The food on this trip was outstanding and, by a long way, the best I have experienced on any tour. It is difficult to imagine how this tour could be bettered! The level of attention afforded in Thailand was outstanding. I would not hesitate to repeat the trip - the same leaders, accommodation and company would be nice!! [empty string]
2 AG, Thailand tour I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to birding in Thailand ... [empty string]
3 PF, Thailand tour I would like to congratulate your company for taking on this 'new trip', and there were few hiccups. I saw many new species, many of which were my target ones. Our total species overall far exceeded my expectations and being a world traveller, I was very satisfied, recording nearly 200 lifers. I rank this in my top 5 birding holidays. Thanks to you all again ... [empty string]
4 UL, Thailand tour Here you have a tour that will run and run. What could beat an idyllic climate, western comfort in a SE Asian setting, a bird list of 300+ in just 10 days, no malaria, no leeches - a perfect winter escape ... [empty string]
5 EF, Thailand tour I rated this trip among the top five I have taken with Limosa over the years. An excellent count of lifers (191). [empty string]
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What data ("personal information") do we gather from you?

We gather personal information such as first and last names, telephone number and email addresses that you provide voluntarily when you fill in appropriate sections of our website. For example when you complete our contact us section, you provide us with personal information which we hold and use for the purposes set out in the next section.

Use of your personal information

Our main aim in gathering your personal information is to provide you with a customised service. If you fill your details in our contact us section we use your personal information in order that we can contact you and respond to any questions and needs that you may have. We use your personal information so that we can carry out your requests. We may also use aggregate personal information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring website usage in order to help us develop the website and our services and may provide such aggregate personal information to third parties. These statistics will not include any data that can be used to identify any individual. If, at some time in the future, we wish to use your personal data in ways other than those set out in this privacy notice, then we will notify you about this and seek your permission to do so.

Sharing of personal information

We may share personal information within the Limosa Holidays family ("Limosa Holidays Family"); by this expression, we mean the Limosa Holidays group and each and any of its associates. The Limosa Holidays Family will process your personal information in accordance with this privacy policy and all privacy and communications legislation. Those selected companies are those that provide technical assistance and support and perform other functions to support our marketing activities. All selected companies may have access to personal information if needed to perform such functions, but will only be permitted by us to use such personal information for the purpose of performing that function (which may include one to which you have expressly given your consent) and not for any other purpose.

We do not currently envisage our wishing to transfer personal information about you outside of the European Economic Area, but in the unlikely event we should wish to do so in future, we will only do so to the extent that it is permitted under all privacy and communications legislation applicable within England and Ireland. Of course if we need your specific and express consent to do this, we will obtain it before transferring any personal information. In all cases, any use of your personal information by the Limosa Holidays Family which has been instigated by us (as opposed, for example, to a promotional partner), will comply with this privacy policy.

Occasionally, with your permission and depending on the purpose for and context in which you gave that permission, we will send to you by e-mail or SMS text message marketing information and news. This may include our sending to you marketing information for the products or services of a promotional partner on that partner's behalf. However, in every case, if you do not elect to receive such communications or if you elect to discontinue receiving them, then we will not send or will cease sending them to you. Also, we reserve the right to use or disclose any personal information as needed to satisfy any law, regulation or legal request, to protect the integrity of the site, to fulfil your requests, or to cooperate in any law enforcement or regulatory investigation. Save for this, we do not sell, transfer or disclose personal information we have collected from you in connection with our web site activities, to third parties outside the Limosa Holidays Family.

Please note that if we are, in turn, a promotional partner of an unrelated company (for example where we are not asking you to submit any personal information to us but are simply providing personal information on our site) and a link exists to that other company's web site where one must visit to take part in that company's promotion, offer or other activity, then the privacy policy of that other company will apply instead of ours.

Whilst we make every effort only to tie-in with reputable companies which have a similar high regard for your privacy, you should make sure you are aware of what their privacy policies say, as we are not responsible for the policies and practices of other companies, including those of other members of the Limosa Holidays Family. If, in the future, a third party acquires Limosa Holidays or substantially all of its assets (whether by merger, acquisition, reorganisation or otherwise) customer data, including personal information, may well be one of the transferred assets.

Cookies

A cookie is an alphanumeric identifier which asks permission to be placed on your hard drive through your web browser when you visit our Site. Once you agree (or your browser agrees automatically if you have set it up in that way) it enables our own system to recognise you when you visit our Site to track the pages you looked at while visiting our Site and therefore to improve our Site and tailor the service to you. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences. For example, when you visit an electronic store such as ours a cookie makes it easier to shop by allowing you to place things into a shopping basket; the basket itself is not a cookie; the cookie is placed on your hard drive and keeps track of your basket versus others in use at the same time. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Denial of a traffic log cookie may prevent you from using the Site. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better Site by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you other than the data you choose to share with us. This practice is strictly enforced. We know that people have concerns about cookies but we believe that the benefit that you and we gain from their proper use is worthwhile.

You may set up your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator) to notify you of cookie placement requests or decline cookies completely (although you acknowledge that declining them may prevent you from being able to use the Site properly or at all). You can delete the files that contain cookies - those files are stored as part of your Internet browser. To remove cookies from your web browser or to obtain further details on cookies including information on persistent and session cookies please go to www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.

This website uses Google Analytics which adds it's own cookies and is vital for our marketing and the continual improvement of the website. As such please read the Google Analytics privacy policy [www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html].

Protection of your personal information and retention

The internet is not a secure medium and Limosa Holidays cannot absolutely guarantee the security of your personal information provided over the internet. However we have put in place various security measures as set out below. The Limosa Holidays website and associated databases are protected by certified firewalls in order to protect your personal information from access by unauthorised persons and against unlawful processing. The website uses the latest technology with full backups. We also keep your personal information confidential. All outgoing and incoming email is scanned for viruses.

We also keep your personal information confidential. We will retain your personal information for a reasonable period or as long as the law requires.

Accessing and updating

You are entitled to see the personal information held about you and you may ask us to make any necessary changes to ensure that it is accurate and kept up to date. If you wish to do this, please contact us by using the methods listed below. We are entitled by law to charge a fee of £10 to meet our costs in providing you with details of the personal information we hold about you.

If at any time, you would like to correct the personal information we have about you or if you would like to change your preferences for contacts from us or other members of the Limosa Holidays Family, you can let us know by contacting us by using the methods listed below.

Changes to our privacy policy

From time to time, it may be necessary for us to change this privacy policy, so we suggest that you check here periodically.

Links

This website contains links to other websites. Please note that we are not responsible for the privacy policies of such other websites and we advise you to read the privacy policies of each website you visit which collects personal data.

Questions or complaints: contact us

We reiterate that by submitting your personal information to us you consent to the use of that personal information as set out in this privacy policy. If you have any questions, concerns, comments or complaints about this privacy policy and/or our collection or use of personal information, or if you wish us to stop processing your personal information for any particular purpose or purposes, then please contact us on [email protected] or telephone us on +44 (0)1692 580 623.

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