BIRDWATCHING IN CHIANG DAO
Back to Nature Week End
Chiang Dao is a small town near Chiang Mai, only 70 kilometers away. The region is well-suited for eco-tourism, with many trails framed by the beautiful view of the mountains. There are easy trekking options and longer hikes that require some preparation, which lead to the flags located on the top of the mountain.
he most popular place is Chiang Dao Cave, which was partially transformed into a Buddhist temple. Steps and handrails make it a very accessible tour. In addition, artificial lighting allows you to observe in detail the geology of the cave. If you prefer, you can also hire a local guide to visit the other sectors of the cave, which are mostly unchanged and are home to many bats.
Once in Chiang Dao be sure to visit Wat Tham Pha Plong, the temple in the forest. Despite the 500 steps up to the mountain, it is a light walk and there are many rest stops. Along the way you will
find several messages with Buddhist teachings, most translated into English. The way to the temple is colored by a large number of birds, such as the beautiful Asian Paradise Flycatcher and the discrete Violet Cuckoo. Even the most distracted visitor will not fail to notice the variety of Bulbul species.
Doi Chiang Dao National Park is the third highest mountain in Thailand. The variety of forest types and altitude of this mountain, combined with its close proximity to Myanmar, result in a large
number of exciting birds to be seen. Two species are the main target birds for most birders: the Giant Nuthatch and Hume’s Pheasant. Both of these occupy the higher areas of the national
park where they are regularly seen. Scaly Thrush is another highly sought-after bird which can be encountered at the higher altitudes.
Grey-headed Parrotbill, Crested Finchbill, various Thruses and black-tailed Crake are other memorable birds that can be seen higher up the mountain. In the gullies and damp patches around
the base of Chiang Dao, secretive species such as Slaty-bellied Tesia, Scaly-breasted Partridge, White-crowned Forktail, Hooded Pitta and Rusty-naped Pitta can be discovered with patience.
If you wish to go bird watching in Chiang Dao, there are many specialized agencies and guides available in the little town. You can also ask your hotel receptionist.
You may plan to stay only a day in Chiang Dao, but friendly and comfortable bungalows bekon you to spend a night or two. One of our favorite place is Nature Home Guest House (THB400-800/night | tel. 089-913 3911) : just a few bungalows in a large garden facing the big mountain.
Chiang Dao is located north of Chiang Mai and can be reached following highway 107 toward Fang and Tathon. It is also very accessible by public transport. Buses to Chang Dao and Fang leave from Chang Puak bus station every 30 minutes. After arriving in the city just grab a yellow Song Taew taxi to the cave, to the temple or to your chosen bungalow. Have a nice weekend!