Birding Sites in Phang Nga
Khao Lak - Lamru Waterfall National Park
Mu Koh Ra – Koh Pratong National Park
Sa Nang Manora Forest Park
Pra Srinakarin Municipal Park
Note: Text reviews are not complete for sites marked with an asterisk.
Birding in Phang Nga
There are so many good birding sites in Phang Nga that it makes it difficult to decide where to start.
Like its sister to the north, Phang Nga is blessed to have retained much of its forest coverage. Phang Nga boasts thousands of acres of prime broadleaf evergreen forest, and is also home of the largest remaining block of mangrove forest found in Thailand, located in Phang Nga Bay. With so much rich natural habitat, many wonderful bird species thrive in the province.
Starting in the north, we find Sri Phang Nga, perhaps the best place in the country to find the King of the Forest, the brilliantly colored and fabulous Banded Pitta. Moving west we come to a string of islands in the Andaman Sea which have been branded as the Most Beautiful Tropical Islands in the World, the stunning and picturesque Similans, home to the endemic and rare Nicobar Pigeon. Back on the mainland we follow the shoreline south where we hit a unique coral beach; Laem Pakarang. Here we find a wader feeding ground which attracts both Crab Plover and Beach Thick-Knee. Heading eastward we reach a huge block of evergreen forest and find specialities such as Green Broadbill, Bushy crested Hornbill and Scaly breasted Bulbul. Moving on a bit more to the southeast we end our journey at a massive patch of mangrove forest, home to Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Whistler, Brown winged Kingfisher, Black and Red Broadbill and other wonderful birds.
Many other exciting species can be found in Phang Nga, some of which are quite rare in Thailand. Helmeted Hornbill, Black Hornbill, Bat Hawk, White rumped Woodpecker, Lesser Fish Eagle, Great billed Heron and Lesser Adjutants are some species which are now being pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction in the kingdom and known to exist in the province. Even Storms Stork, which has not been seen for years and was assumed to be extirpated, has recently been rediscovered near Khao Sok, and one cannot rule out the possibility of the species making a comeback.
For those who are interested in hiring a guide to take them around, please refer to the Guides page.
Map of Phang Nga
Phang Nga is located on the west coast of southern Thailand. It is bordered by Ranong in the north, Surat Thani in the east, Krabi in the southeast and Phuket in the south.
Phang Nga is blessed to have been spared the ravages of modernization. Much of the province is still blanketed in forests which support a healthy population of wildlife, ranging from birds to reptiles and large mammals. Many of the hills and mountains in the region have yet to be named and with few roads leading into the interior of the province, nature has not only thrived, but flourished.
Phang Nga was formerly known as Takuapah, named after the largest and busiest commercial city in the region. After peace was restored in the early 1800′s and the threat of Burmese invasions nullified with the British colonization of Burma, Takuapah municipality boomed as a result of the tin-mining trade. Most of the tin mines were relegated to the western region near the Andaman coastline, leaving the pristine forests untouched.
However, most of the plains and level lowlands have since been cleared to make way for rubber plantations and mangroves near the sea were cropped back to make room for shrimp farms. Still, much of the wildlife on the hills and mountains were left untouched and today one can still enjoy the beauties that make up this untamed province.
Since the terrain is mostly mountainous and hilly, heavy equipment needed for logging could not be brought in to clear the forests of their precious hardwood trees. Most of the forests are composed of mature trees which are hundreds of years old. Their presence allows birds such as hornbill to thrive, and Phang Nga is home to eight of the 13 species found in Thailand.
Phang Nga is also home to the largest tract of mangrove forest found anywhere in Thailand. The next largest patch is located in the northwest near Ranong province. The mangroves in the southeast portion of the province near Phang Nga Bay is home to a wide variety of creatures. It also provides a safe haven for young fish, making it the largest natural hatchery in the country.
The islands off the coast of Phang Nga are home to a unique diversity of bird life and the Andaman Sea abounds with fish and coral, making Phang Nga one of the most attractive diving destinations in the world.