It was our first time to go birding in Thailand. Budget birders that we are, we did not hire any packaged bird tours. What we did was book into the birding lodges in Petchaburi which is one of the prime birding areas in Thailand. Birds can be seen in the premises of these lodges and they have local bird guides which can be hired for a fee.
Kum Nangpaya Resort. We booked our one-day stay here using the booking.com website. The owner, Nokki, arranged for us to be picked up from the airport. The accommodations are very nice with hot shower even. Breakfast was also included in the daily rate. The resort grounds had plenty of birds. The local guide, Nuy, took us to a hide where we saw the Blue Pitta. The fee was 250 baht per person.
Baan Maka Nature Lodge was where we stayed the next 4 days in Thailand. We contacted them and made our booking via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). They always replied promptly to our questions. When we were already back in the Philippines and reviewing our bird pictures they even helped us identify some of the birds we saw at their place when we emailed them for help. Our lodge was very nice with airconditioning, hot showers, and some amenities. They also arranged for our ride to the airport hotel on our last day and instructed our driver to stop over by the ricefields so we could take photos of the birds there. The owners, Ian and Games, are both birders. Games also conducts occasional birding tours being a guide herself. She also arranged our visits to the different hides in the area and a half day trip to Kaeng Krachan Park. Depending on the place, the entrance fee to the hides varies from 200 to 300 baht per person. The rates for the use of local guides depend on the length and destination. The premises are also good for birding. Here is their Facebook page:
Both lodges are highly recommended.
One of the hides we went to was the Baan Songnok. The owner, Auntie Ek, was very friendly and knowledgeable of the birds in and around her property.
Prior to our departure back to Manila we decided to stay at a hotel near the airport since our flight would be in the morning. We stayed at the Miracle Airport Hotel, which provides a free airport transfer.
Traffic: What surprised us was the traffic coming from and going back to the airport. Although we are used to the terrible traffic jam in MetroManila, we didn't expect it to be that bad in Bangkok. For one thing, the roads are wide and well paved, very similar to the freeways of California (unlike that in Manila). Another thing is that there were very few public vehicles (the bane of traffic in the Philippines). There were no jeepneys or tricycles and only a few (very few) buses.
Birding: Although we did not see our target birds (Black-and-red Broadbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, and Orange-headed Thrush) we still garnered 47 lifers! Most of our birding was done around the area where we stayed and in various hides recommended by Nokki and Games.
Food: One of my worries before going to Thailand was the kind of food that will be served in the lodges. I always thought that Thai food was spicy which was something my taste buds could not handle. It turned out my fears were for naught. Both lodges had an extensive menu which had a variety of dishes including Chinese and Western cuisine.
Overall, we had a good time birding in Thailand. We are thinking of going back perhaps in high season which is around April or May.
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