DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK & LIST
CHIANG MAI PROVINCES (Chom Thong & Mae Chaem Districts) (Chiang Mai)
18o31'31''N 98o29'5''E 48,200 hectares, 800 to 2,565 m Thanon Thong Chai Range, lower montane Dipterocarp rainforest and scrub to high montane broadleaf evergreen forest, small sphagnum bog and swamp
December to February (our visit late February)
Birding Site Guide
Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand and is therefore very popular with tourists (who like to see frost in their country) there being a tarmac road right to the top. 4x4 is not required. It offers birders easy access to high elevations where different species can be found on the nature trails. Being 300 m higher than the second highest peak means much more high elevation habitat, despite some destruction by the native Hmong tribes. There is one endemic form or species present only here Deignan’s Babbler Stachyris rondolphei most closely related to Rufous-fronted Babbler. Unfortunately the popularity of the place means it can at times be difficult to lose the crowds, and being at the top of the mountain for sunrise will not help as the Thai Buddhists love their sunrises. If the speakers are on for the Tai Chee you won’t hear many birds either (we heard the music halfway down the mountain).
Having said all this the birding can still be good, there are certainly a lot of species here and a good chunk of forest. This national Park lies a couple of hours drive SW of Chiang Mai and getting to Doi Inthanon is straight forward, most signs are in English as well. Head N towards or S from Chiang Mai to Chom Thong and from here follow the signs W just over 30 km to the national park.
There is a Royal/King’s Project at Doi Inthanon at Khun Klang village next to the park headquarters. This modern agricultural project was started to help the hill tribes to grow cash crops rather than opium. Also accommodation can be found here. We stayed at Mr Daeng’s which was small, basic but nice. The main advantage of staying here is that you are inside the park, so do not need to pay to go in each morning (get a receipt from Mr Daeng to show at checkpoint 2). Other advantages of staying here is that Mr Daeng has a bird feeding area where we saw Siberian Blue Robin and White-browed Shortwing. He has a restaurant, shop and free internet access too.
ACCESS IN THE PARK From the entry point at the first checkpoint where you pay, continue up the only road, to the summit. There are trails at KM13, KM20 then there is another trail at KM34.5. There is only one minor fork just after the second checkpoint to Mae Pan where there is a trail you can bird. On the opposite side of the road to the junction (just across from a small parking area) is an opening in the undergrowth which leads onto checkpoint 2 trail (KM37.5). Further up there is a trail (Gaew Mae Trail) at the temples (Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon) at KM41.5 N end of car park) across from which the scrub around the helicopter landing pad can be worth a look. Then just before the summit on the left is a trail onto the summit boardwalk around a tiny sphagnum bog, a rare habitat in Thailand and a small trail from the summit to the cafe/shop on the opposite side of the road starting at the car park.
Besides these trails there the obvious campsite area and several waterfalls that can be birded. The waterfalls are signed the first as you enter is Nam Tok Mae Klang (KM8), second Vatcharitan (KM20.8), then Siritan Waterfall KM22 and Siriphum Waterfall (KM30).
Temperature at the summit can easily be only 10oC and frost are not unknown.
A checklist for the site can be found on Nick Upton’s website. Doi Inthanon Bird Checklist
Also see Dave Sargeant’s website North Thailand Birding
Site total 383 species, main species we saw were (not all we saw is listed):
- Green Peafowl Pavo muticus
- Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
- Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
- Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
- Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii
- Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica
- Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
- Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
- Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
- Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha
- Red-billed Blue-Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha
- Asian House-Martin Delichon dasypus
- Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris
- Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
- Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens
- White-headed Bulbul Hypsipetes thompsoni
- Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii
- Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
- Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
- Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
- Blyth's Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides
- Martens's Warbler Seicercus omeiensis
- Gray-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys
- Hill Prinia Prinia superciliaris
- Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus
- Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
- Rufous-winged Fulvetta Schoeniparus castaneceps
- Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Ianthocincla mitrata
- Black-backed Sibia Heterophasia melanoleuca
- Chestnut-tailed Minla Actinodura strigula
- Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
- White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana
- Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane
- Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
- Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla
- Dark-sided Thrush Zoothera marginata
- Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
- Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
- Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
- Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
- Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
- Oriental Pipit Anthus rufulus
Assamese macaques, Phayre's leaf monkeys, and a selection of other rare and not-so-rare monkeys and gibbons as well as the more common Indian civet, barking deer and giant flying squirrel – around 75 mammal species in all.
? species of reptiles have been recorded. Endemics to this region include the Arrow-tailed four-clawed Gecko
? species of amphibians have been recorded.