Northern Forests of Thailand Northern Forests of Thailand tour

Northern Forests of Thailand


Characterized by forested mountain peaks having an altitude of 1500-2500 meters, Northern Thailand has lowland wetlands and various habitats that provide birders with a broad variety of bird species. The region has a forest type that includes the moist evergreen forest, pine forest, broad-leaved deciduous forest, and dry dipterocarp woodland. All of these forest types include their avifauna and have a high level of connection to Himalayan ecosystems. The connection with the Himalayan ecosystems attracts a lot of birders who get the opportunity to view a broad range of bird species that cannot be spotted in other parts of the country, which includes a large number of migrants that escape during the winters. The region’s wetlands are highly disturbed and farmed, but they are important to the migrant species of birds, which include the scarce wildfowl.


Location: Thailand

Nearest Airport: Chiang Mai Airport

How to reach: Most places are within 1-3 hours of Chiang Mai airport

Famous for: Exotic birding

Best time to visit: December to May


Key birds: Black-tailed Crake, Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Mrs Hume’s Pheasant, Green-tailed Sunbird, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Black-throated Bushtit, Jerdon’s Bushchat, Himalayan Cutia, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Siberian Rubythroat, Baer’s Pochard, Green Cochoa, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Giant Nuthatch, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Dark-sided Thrush, Pied Harrier


This area’s geographical location helps it to house a large variety of bird species that are located at the southern tip of the global range and these birds are then added to the region’s Thai list. The region keeps discovering various varieties of both resident and migrant from time to time.


Most of the sites in this region are accessible from Chiang Mai, which makes the city the North Thailand’s perfect base for birding. Guests visit a variety of lowland and upland sites to spot a wide variety of species. The “Dois” is a must for any bird watcher visiting this region. After spending 8 or 9 days birding in the north, the guests visit most of the prime sites and spot a good proportion of the bird species of this region. Guests from all over the world can visit this region as both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have airports that are connected to various places throughout the world.



Key Destinations

Doi Inthanon National Park:TheDoi Inthanon National Parkhas an area of 482 square kilometers and protects four major watersheds and also has the tallest mountain of Thailand, Doi Inthanon, which has a summit of 2565 meters above sea level. TheDoi Inthanon National Parkis a unique park located in Chiang Mai province and is 300 meters higher than Thailand’s any other mountain. Its height allows the national park to support an expanse of upper montane forest and the only sphagnum bog of Thailand. TheDoi Inthanon National Parkhas extensive deforestation in some areas, but due to the hill-tribe population, many areas have a quality habitat that houses a very high number of species. It has a long road to the summit that provides the guests with magnificent places, including the moss-clad forest at higher altitudes. Various birds like the Black-headed Woodpecker, White-rumped Falcon, Burmese Nuthatch, etc. can be spotted at theDoi Inthanon National Park.

Doi Ang Khang: The Doi Ang Kang is located in the Chiang Mai province, on the border with Myanmar. The area consists of various peaks and steep ridges that are deforested farmland but contain a lot of forest patches and scrubby vegetation. This vegetation houses various interesting bird species, out of which many are found in other parts of the country. The scenery is the delight of Doi Ang Kang as it is the most spectacular in the whole country. The weather is often cooler than in the lowlands, and the area has some tasty fresh food. For guests looking for a relaxing outing, this region acts as an ideal place to visit with numerous opportunities for birding and walking in the surroundings. Guests get a good chance to spot various birds like the Crested Finchbill, Red-faced Liocichla, White-browed Laughingthrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Rufous-georgette, etc.

Doi Mak Lang:Doi Mak Lang lies in the Chiang Mai province, and is a collection of various mountain ridges that are located within the extensive Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. The area also includes a region that is locally known as Doi San Ju. The location of the Doi Mak Lang is one of Thailand’s wildest areas that are accessible by car. It provides birders with various miles of remarkable roadside birding in various upland habitats without any vehicular disturbance at all. The habitat area of this place is huge, and it is far north, its site hosts several species that are unique and cannot be found anywhere else in Thailand. The habitats of this region included pine forests, orchards, moist forest, and rice paddies, and therefore, the potential species of this area are very high. Some of the species that the guests can spot include the Giant Nuthatch, Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant, Himalayan Cutia, Spotted Wren Babbler, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, etc.

Doi Chiang Dao National Park: The Doi Chiang Dao National Park lies in the Chiang Mai province and is the third highest mountain of Thailand with a height of 2220 meters. Being one of the most magnificent sights in Thailand, the mountain can be viewed from the Chiang Dao village. The mountain is a giant limestone massif that has various peaks and ridges over 2000 meters shaped like a horseshoe. The mountain also has various forest types that keep changing with the altitude. The variety of the mountain’s altitude and forest types, when combined with its close proximity to Myanmar, results in a huge number of exciting birds that are found here. Since the forests of the region are intact, the birders can enjoy sights of various birds like the Giant Nuthatch, Hume’s Pheasant, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Grey-headed Parrotbill, etc.

Chiang Saen:Being a small town located in the Chiang Rai province, Chiang Saen lies next to the Mekong River, and very close to the famous “Golden Triangle.” The area is a collection of wetland habitats, that include rice fields, overgrown wet areas, fish ponds, pools, Mekong River, and open water. The habitats make the area an exceptional location for birders to spot various resident and migratory species of birds. The area is a prime site for viewing rare birds of Thailand because of its geographical location of Chiang Saen. Some of the birds that the guests get to spot here include Winter Wildfowl, Ruddy Shelduck, Spot-billed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Baikal Teal, Baer’s Pochard, etc.