DOI ANG KHANG NATIONAL PARK
CHIANG MAI PROVINCE (Fang District) (Arunothai)
19o52’32’’N 99o02’34’’E (Banluang Resort / (or Ban Luang Resort) about 25,000 hectares, 1,500 to 1,891 (or 1,928 m?) (Doi Ang Khang) Daen Lao Range some good forest both deciduous and pine but mainly scrub and cultivation
December to February (our visit late February)
Birding Site Guide
This is a fantastic birding area, which we knew nothing about before arriving in Thailand, having only researched the popular birding areas which often turn out not to even be the best but merely the easiest and most accessible.
Location (see title intro for co-ordinates) if coming on the Chiang Mai-Fang road (Highway 107), turn left at an intersection around 7 km past Chiang Dao signed to Wiang Haeng but turn off after only a few km well before there onto the 1178 heading N. When you reach an army checkpoint (with sign for Fang to right) take the left (W) fork to Doi Ang Khang National Park and you are on the 1340 (to Arunothai 8 km) but continue only for a couple of km until you reach Ban Luang. As Ban Luang is on a loop road you can also turn off left at the sign for Ban Luang onto the 1340 at the bottom of the steep hill before you reach the army checkpoint (with sign for Fang to right) if you spot it, if not continue as above from other end of loop road.
WHERE TO STAY
This is easy as there is only one cheap reasonable place to stay where you can also see good birds in the grounds. Banluang Resort (sometimes spelled Ban Luang Resort) is basic but covers the essentials Western birders' needs. As you come to Ban Luang (a small village) and at the bottom of a steep hill there is a signed lefthand turn down into a bowl area where you will see the bungalows and the restaurant/reception further on. The bungalows contain 2 double beds but not much else, though the climate is cool and pleasant during day and air conditioning is not needed, at night it can become cold (climate is like UK) so an extra blanket from reception or your sleeping bag may be needed.
The restaurant has a good menu of basic foods in English, or just ask the owner for your preference as he speaks some English. He will change money on good rates. Beer is available and you can drink on the veranda watching the birds at the feeding areas located by the stream that runs through the property. Notable species here are the White-capped Redstart and various thrushes (see list below).
For birding you can walk or drive from the resort back along the road S to the junction and bird back S from here. Just before the junction on the left is a trail up a small stream where we had the fantail and crake. At the junction going right bird along the road, and a short way on is the Chinese graveyard which is good for all kinds of rough ground and scrub birds. There are rough fields across the road too which are worth a walk around. Further along the road is a good area for Hume’s Pheasant and it is worth driving up and down this stretch slowly early morning and at sunset. We had a male fly across so close to the car we nearly had an embarrassing casualty! More amazing though were the thousands of small birds going over heading N on our first afternoon. We eventually identified closer ones as Yellow-breasted Buntings and we (two of us independently) counted a rather significant 3620+ (this was the lower figure we agreed on) coming over in waves over 1 km long that we could see along road and I would not be surprised if there were not double. Also migrating that day were Cook’s Swift of which we had over 1000 but hardly any on any other day.
Going the other way from the junction, up the hill you can drive up to the army checkpoint and take the left fork (right is to Fang) until you see some steps on the right to a temple hidden in the trees (km 21). Park here and at the base of the temple is a main path with many smaller tracks off, worth birding. The track keeps going until it overlooks a hillside and still carries on through the forest.
Back on the road and continuing further on there is a turning to the left along the loop road (1340) that Ban Luang is on. Further on though on the right just before the road forks, with a track before the right fork and this is by a stream, with a pump house further along. This is the Mae Per Trail. Park out of the way and bird along this drive and over the bridge to some buildings (park administration buildings). To the right is like a car shelter with all parts all over, some kind of maintenance shed. Go alongside this to the back and the trail continues along the valley following the stream. There are some other short paths about the building worth walking too, just explore a little.
Continuing on the road, the righthand fork goes to a viewpoint, but the lefthand goes to the King’s Project, which is just past the Amari Resort. As you turn right into the entrance road you pay at the booth. Follow the road for a while and head for the restaurant and hotel. Just past here park (there should be signs for the English Rose Garden!) and walk past the shops and to the back right side of the hotel restaurant where the veranda overlooks some gardens. The bird feeding area is here near the water pipe. Walk around the gardens and there should be plenty of birds. We had Blue-winged Minla, Silver-eared Mesia and White-tailed Robin for instance. There are doubtless other areas to bird around this huge site.
A checklist for the site can be found on Nick Upton’s website.
Also see Dave Sargeant’s website North Thailand Birding Main species we saw (not all we saw is listed)
- Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae
- Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
- Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
- Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides
- Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
- Cook's Swift Apus cooki
- Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
- Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
- Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
- Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
- Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
- White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
- Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
- Great Tit Parus major
- Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
- Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
- Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens
- Yellow-streaked Warbler Phylloscopus armandii
- Rufous-fronted Babbler Cyanoderma rufifrons
- White-browed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps
- Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Ianthocincla mitrata
- White-browed Laughingthrush Ianthocincla sannio
- Black-backed Sibia Heterophasia melanoleuca
- Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris
- Blue-winged Minla Actinodura cyanouroptera
- Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
- White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
- White-gorgeted Flycatcher Anthipes monileger
- Hill Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas
- Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
- White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum
- Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor
- White-capped Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus
- Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush Monticola rufiventris
- Gray Bushchat Saxicola ferreus
- Gray-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
- Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus
- Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis
- Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola
- Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
- Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
- Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
- Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
- Black-headed Greenfinch Chloris ambigua
? species of reptiles have been recorded.
? species of amphibians have been recorded.