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Place Category: Trip Reports
I have made several shortish trips in Thailand in June 2003 (4 nights), January 2004 (1 week), September 2004 (a week in the south), September 2006 (a weekend in Khao Yai National Park), November 2007 (for a weekend in Hui Kha Kaeng and Mae Wong), August 2008 (four nights at Hala Bala) and October 2010 (three nights at Hala Bala). I returned in July 2017 for 10 days or so checking out some new areas. While Thailand might not up there with the likes of Borneo in the S.E Asian mammal watching stakes, there is a decent network of national parks (though many are very crowded), with some nice mammals to see and with help it can be very rewarding. The food is spectacular and the Thai people are great, unless you want to watch wildlife: staying quiet for more than 10 seconds is not a national strength.
Wild Bird Eco is the nature tour operator I used on my first trips. One of their guides, Rattapon Kaichid, aka “Tu”, used to guide and may still do occasionally. Tu is a fabulous all round naturalist, knows a lot about Thailand’s mammals and is great at finding them plus he is a really nice guy. I highly recommend him. I also highly recommend Jirayu Ekkul (aka Tour) from Wild Encounter Thailand who I used in 2017 to organise and guide our trip.
In January 2004 there was a large colony of Lyle’s Flying Foxes at the Wat Pho temple on the outskirts of Bangkok. In July 2017 I saw both Eden’s Whales and Irrawaddy Dolphins in a day trip from Bangkok.
Hala Bala National Park
I visited here in September 2004, August 2008 & October 2010.Hala Bala is rapidly becoming one of my favourite parks in Asia. Black-striped Squirrel, Slender Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Polynesian Rat, Black Rat, Lesser False Vampire Bat, Malayan Horseshoe Bat, Bicolored Roundleaf Bat, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Agile Gibbon (heard), Siamang (heard only and seldom seen by anyone).
I returned in August 2008 and saw most of those species again plus Agile Gibbon, Banded Langur, Masked and Common Palm Civet, Binturong, Long-tailed Macaque, Malayan Porcupine, Slow Loris, Black and Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel, Horse-tailed Squirrel, Low’s Squirrel and we trapped some bats including Horsfield’s Fruit Bat, Naked Bat and Sunda Free-tailed Bat (Mops mops).
In October 2010 I went back to catch bats in their new harp trap and look (successfully) for Hairy-nosed Otters. In the harp trap were Clear-Winged & Least Wooly Bats, Acuminate & Trefoil Horseshoe Bats, plus Intermediate, Diadem & Bicoloured Roundleaf Bats. We didn’t look a lot for other mammals but saw a few species I had seen here before plus Small-toothed Palm Civets and a Leopard Cat.
Hui Kha Kaeng
I was here in January 2004 and November 2007. This park was a major disappointment first time around. I had to apply for a permit to visit the park, but – when I arrived – they had decided to close the main road through the park to traffic. The reputedly healthy populations of cats, bears etc are deep inside the park.
The official line was that no vehicles were allowed because of the dangers posed by wild elephants. We were however allowed to walk along the road. Go figure. Burmese Hare, Pallas’s Squirrel, Asian Palm Civet, Northern Red Muntjac, Sambar. were among the mammals I saw.
I returned in 2007 and, through Tu’s connections, had a better time and saw a Banteng, elephants, Golden Jackals, Dholes, White-bellied (Temminck’s) Flying Squirrels, Variable Squirrels, a Burmese Striped Tree Squirrel, Grey-bellied Squirrels, Long-tailed Macaques and a Northern Tree Shrew as well as most of the species I had seen there in 2004.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
During a very wet day in July 2017 I saw Spectacled Langurs here and a Golden Jackal. Definitely somewhere to return to in the dry season.
Khao Kapruk Wildlife Sanctuary
In January 2004 I saw a Burmese Har and Stump-tailed Macaques here, which are common and hard to see elsewhere in the country.
Khao Sok National Park
I visited in January 2004 and September 2004 and saw Grey-bellied Squirrels, Himalayan Striped Tree Squirrels, Indochinese Ground Squirrels, a Whitehead’s Spiny Rat (trapped), an Asian Palm Civet and a Short-nosed Fruit Bat (probably Greater).
There were Black-bearded (and possibly some Long-winged) Tomb Bats, Intermediate Horseshoe Bats, Intermediate Roundleaf Bats in the bat cave that adjoins the Buddhist temple in the village. I also saw Dusky Leaf Monkey, White-handed Gibbon and a Pygmy Treeshrew.
Khao Yai National Park
I came here in June 2003, January 2004 and September 2006. I saw Black Giant Squirrel, Grey-bellied Squirrel, Finlayson’s Squirrel, Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel (outside my cabin at the nature lodge), Small Indian Civet, Dhole (pretty uncommon here – in the grasslands near the viewing hide), Tomb Bats (Theobald’s and possibly Black-bearded), Wrinkle-lipped Freetail Bat, Long-tailed Macaque, Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, White-handed Gibbon, Pileated Gibbon (rare but findable), Wild Boar, Sambar, Northern Red Muntjac, Common Palm Civet, Malayan Porcupine, and Yellow-throated Martens (which in 2006 were guaranteed near the sentry point).
Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
I was here in September 2004 – what a fabulous place! I saw a Leopard Cat, Smooth-coated Otter, Yellow-throated Marten, Large Flying Fox, Sunda Slow Loris, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, White-handed Gibbon, Lesser Mouse Deer, Northern Red Muntjac, Sambar.
We spent 3 nights here in July 2017 at the wonderful Other Side Villas. Although I was too busy relaxing to mammal watch much, we saw Sunda Colugo, Sunda Loris, Common Treeshrew, Long-tailed Macaque, Malaysian Woodrat, Lesser Sheath-tailed Bat and Bicoloured Roundleaf Bat.
In July 2017 I visited a temple near town to see Phayre’s Langurs, and also saw Greater Roundleaf Bats and Least Horseshoe Bats.
Mae Wong National Park
I was here in January 2004 and November 2007. It is a nice park and pretty quiet too, with a long road that leads right down to the base of the mountain that is good for spotlighting. In January 2004 I saw Asian Red-cheeked Squirrel, Pallas’s Squirrel, Himalayan Striped Tree Squirrel, Bowers’ White-toothed Rat (huge!), South China White-bellied Rat, Malayan Porcupine, Yellow-throated Marten, Temminck’s Tailless Fruit Bat, Bengal Slow Loris and Northern Treeshrew. I returned for a night in November 2007 and saw another Slow Loris, my first Binturong, a Common Palm Civet and a couple of small flying squirrels one of which was probably a White-bellied (Temminck’s) Flying Squirrel. The temple at nearby Khao No is good for bats with both Long-winged Tomb Bats, Horsfield’s Myotis and Wrinkle-lipped Bats.
Pang Sida National Park
In June 2003 I spent a couple of nights here. It is quieter than Khao Yai with some good mammals, especially Gaur. I saw Grey-bellied Squirrels, Finlayson’s Squirrel, Temminck’s Flying Squirrel (in the trees behind the restaurant), Malayan Porcupine (again behind the restaurant), Large Indian Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Leopard Cat, Lesser Dawn Bat, Wrinkle-lipped Freetail Bat, Bengal Slow Loris, Long-tailed Macaque, Northern Red Muntjac, Gaur.
Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
In less than 24 hours here in July 2017 I saw Hog Deer, Sambar, Rhesus Macaques, a White-handed Gibbon, Grey-bellied Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel and – my target – a Phayre’s Langur.
Sakaerat Research Centre
A night in January 2004 produced Finlayson’s Squirrel, Indochinese Ground Squirrel, and I trapped a Red Spiny Rat (Maxomys surifer).
Sai Yok National Park,
I visited in January 2004 and saw some great bats in the caves here. Mammals included Grey-bellied Squirrel, Indochinese Ground Squirrel, Large Indian Civet, Bumble Bee Bat (at the time only known from here), Least Horseshoe Bat and Great Roundleaf Bat.