thaibirding.com             by Nick Upton
    birdwatching in thailand    
Google
Main Menu
Tools
Facebook
Twitter
Donations towards the cost of running and developing thaibirding.com are gratefully received.

Buy on Birds of Thailand on Amazon.co.uk from 16.34
 
Site Map ; Contributors
   
Sri Phang Nga National Park
(Updated 09/05/16)
 Introduction
Sri Phang Nga National Park, in Phang Nga province, covers an area of 246 square kilometres, stretching along a range of hills parallel to Andaman Sea coast. Most of the national park is moist evergreen forest and the low altitude of the region gives birdwatchers a great opportunity to search for some of the difficult to find species from southern Thailand.

A pleasant place to stay with some good birding along the access track, along with a number of short trails into the forest, Sri Phang Nga National Park is a nice place for those wanting to spend a day or two in some good quality Southern forest. Additionally, this location is a good place to relax amongst attractive surroundings, with some nice views across the forest from the well-kept campsite.

Sri Phang Nga's close proximity to Khao Sok National Park, Khao Lak and Kuraburi (the departure point for Ko Surin) mean that it is an ideal location to spend a few days at if visiting any of these areas.
 
Malayan Banded Pitta
(Photo by Nick Upton)
Sri Phang Nga National Park is part of a much larger complex of forest which is still home to most of the large mammals characteristic of the area. Although species such as tiger, elephant and tapir are unlikely to be seen, White-handed Gibbon and Dusky Langur are frequently spotted.
About Google adverts
 Birding Highlights

Chestnut-naped Forktail
(Photo by Nick Upton)
  There are a few exciting species which can be more easily seen at Sri Phang Nga than at most other locations and perhaps the biggest draw for birders here is Malayan Banded Pitta. This species is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Pittas that occur in Thailand and can frequently be seen at a stakeout along one of the trails here. It is also frequently heard and seen at all points along the trail network too and is usually one of the more confiding Pittas in Southeast Asia.

The streams at Sri Phang Nga contain some real highlights too with Chestnut-naped Forktail being quite abundant and relatively easy to see if you sit quietly in a likely area alongside a stream. Blue-banded and Blue-eared Kingfishers also use the stream network although getting a view of either one of these while perched can be very tricky.

Hornbills are a highlight of any birdwatching trip and Sri Phang Nga is home to the spectacular Great Hornbills and Helmeted Hornbill along with Bushy-crested Hornbill which usually travels in flocks.
Night birding can be productive here too. Along with both Gould's and Blyth's Frogmouths, Oriental Bay Owl and Buffy Fish Owl have been seen in the past, although time restrictions and walking along the access track may prevent birders from accessing the best night-birding areas these days.

Apart from these stand-out species Sri Phang Nga is a good site for getting to grips with many of Southern Thailands commoner birds by birding in and around the campsite - Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, Spectacled Bulbul, Cream-vented Bulbul, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Lesser Green Leafbird and many others.
Click here for a checklist of the birds of Sri Phang Nga National Park
  Bird Watching Trips:
If you need help organizing a bird watching trip to Thailand, take a look at the suggested itineraries for ideas on creating a tailor-made trip and contact me for advice: Thailand bird tours.
 Travel Information
Use the interactive map below to plan your route to Sri Phang Nga National Park. The blue line shows the route from Surat Thani Airport (A), Phuket Airport (C) and Kuraburi Greenview Resort (D) to Sr Phang Nga National Park HQ (B).
Sri Phang Nga National Park (Pronounced Sree Pang Ngar), although not one of the most visited parks, is in fact easy to get to. The entrance is clearly marked from the main Khuraburi (pronounced KooRa BooRee) - Takua Pa (TakooWa Par)highway (Highway 4), 30 km south of Kuraburi, or 20 km north of Takua Pa. From the signpost for Sri Phang Nga National Park, drive along the access road for 4 kilometres until reaching the headquarters.

For those without their own transport, there are plenty of buses running along this road, coming from Ranong to the north or from either Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga or Khao Lak to the south; these buses originate from all nearby provincial capitals, including Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Ranong and can be stopped anywhere on the road. Ask the bus conductor to stop at the sign for the national park, leaving 4 more kilometres to park headquarters. Four kilometres is a bit far to walk in the hot weather with luggage, but it may be the only option. If a vehicle is around, try hiring it, but it may be better for those without transport to organise a lift from either Takua Pa or Kuraburi where songthaew drivers will be available.

For those staying at Khao Sok and moving on to Sri Phang Nga it is possible to organize transport from a guesthouse - just ask the staff at the guesthouse you stay in. Organizing transport from a hotel or guesthouse for those staying at Khao Lak or Thai Muang should also be possible.
 Finding Birds
A number of trails and tracks offer good opportunities for general birding at Sri Phang Nga, with the campsite and the track from headquarters to the picnic area being particularly good. However, as with any location, there are a few spots that provide the best chances of encountering some of the highlights.
Campsite: The large, open campsite area is a good place to get excellent views of the surrounding forested hills and is a nice spot to have a rest while looking for flying hornbills and raptors. Before 8am birders are restricted to birding this area as park staff do not currently allow people through the barrier that gives access to the dirt track and trails. Fortunately there is plenty that can be seen here and the magnificent Great Hornbill is regularly observed from this campsite in the early morning; listen out for their "Gok, Gok" call to locate them. Helmeted and Bushy-crested Hornbills are both sometimes seen in flight over the hills from this spot and Wallace's Hawk Eagle is a regular in this area.

There can be a good amount of bird activity in and around the campsite in the early morning with many smaller birds feeding, and several fruiting trees can attract large numbers of birds to feed in them. Many species of Bulbul can be seen here including Black-headed, Spectacled, Cream-vented, Red-eyed and Black-crested Bulbuls are common and Streaked frequently comes to feed here too. Lucky birders might even come across the very handsome Grey-bellied and Scaly-breasted Bulbuls too as I did in April 2016. Flowering trees in the campsite also attract Orange-bellied, Crimson-breasted and Yellow-breasted Flowerpeckers as well as Little and Grey-breasted Spiderhunters.

Crow-billed Drongo
 
Malayan Banded Pitta

Large Blue Flycatcher
 
Grey-eyed Bulbul
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  In the early morning Banded Woodpecker can often be heard calling here and it is possible to track it down for a sighting of this beautiful bird. This is probably also the best spot to get a view of Gold-whiskered and Red-throated Barbets as they call from isolated trees or feed on fruit.

Behind the accommodation block has been a favourite place to look for Blyth's Frogmouth at night and in the trees here a White-throated Rockthrush has spent the winters of 2013/14 - 2015/16.

Dirt Track: Birding along this flat track can be rewarding, although like most forest birding in Southern Thailand it takes patience to make the most of it. Purple-naped Sunbird seems unusually common along here and in the bamboo stands Yellow-bellied Warbler, Rufous Piculet and even Bamboo Woodpecker occur, although seeing the latter will require some luck. Flocks of birds along here will include most of the commoner Bulbuls and these are likely to be joined by species such as Chestnut-winged Babbler, Raffle's Malkoha and Rufous-fronted Babbler. If they are vocal both Green Broadbill and Rufous-collared Kingfisher are wonderful birds that there is a chance of finding in this area.
Flycatcher Trail: This small and, initially, steep trail is a spot where I was told there had been a number of sightings of Large Blue Flycatcher and indeed I found a male here in late 2015. Sri Phang Nga seems to be the most reliable site in Thailand for this little-known species. A very short way into the trail is also a good spot to look for Gould's Frogmouth.

Pitta Trail: A small but easy-to-follow trail proceeds alongside a small stream, crossing it several times; shortly after the fourth crossing is a stakeout for Malayan Banded Pitta, one of the most stunning birds to be seen at Sri Phang Nga. Alongside this stream is also one of the best spots to see Chestnut-naped Forktail and although it is a shy bird, sitting quietly will usually result in a sighting of this lovely bird. Blue-banded Kingfisher also races up and down the watercourse, listen out for its high-pitched call as it flies past - only a very lucky few ever get to see this species perched. Other species likely to be seen along here include Abbott's Babbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Raffle's Malkoha and Brown-cheeked Fulvetta; listen for the call of Rufous-collared Kingfisher which has been seen along here too. The trail veers away from the stream and heads uphill, forming a loop trail back to the picnic area; this trail is the steep trail.

Steep Trail: It's been said that this trail isn't for the unfit, but it does provide a good opportunity to get into the forest for those who like a bit of a hike. Take plenty of water if walking this trail as the high humidity will make you sweat a lot. Great Argus and Helmeted Hornbill are heard frequently from the area that this trail goes through although seeing either of them will probably require a huge amount of luck.

Black-and-yellow Broadbill
 
Wallace's Hawk Eagle

Asian Brown Flycatcher
 
Dusky Broadbill
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  Picnic Area & Wier: These small open areas within the forest and next to the stream adjoin each other and form one of the easier spots to see birds within the forest. Although I have never seen a huge abundance of birds here, by hanging around and revisiting this location several times over the course of a morning it is possible to get good views of a number of exciting birds including Black-and-yellow & Dusky Broadbills, both of which seem to be regular here.

The open sky here is a good place to spot Swifts including small numbers of Silver-rumped Needletail which sometimes come down quite low. Brown-backed Needletail, Pale-rumped (Germain') Swiftlet and Pacific Swift are also frequently seen and Whiskered Treeswift seems to favour the treetops in this area to launch its hunting sorties.

In the past the weir has been frequented by Buffy Fish Owl but has not been seen regularly for some time, but the abundance of large fish in the stream would suggest that it would be a good place to look for this species' I have also had excellent views of Wallace's Hawk Eagle in the trees here as have others.
A number of small fruiting, flowering and seeding trees around here attract small birds such as Spectacled Bulbul, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Plain Sunbird, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker and many others while flocks of foraging birds are likely to include Crow-billed Drongo and sometimes even Grey-and-buff Woodpecker.

Waterfall Trail: This slightly undulating trail goes through some nice forest but finding birds is difficult due to the thick foliage and noise from the rushing water in the nearby stream. Green Broadbill and Rufous-collared Kingfisher are possible in this area of forest while I have seen Bushy-crested Hornbill and Banded Woodpecker along here. Streaked Bulbul was unusually common on this trail on one of my visits and Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Plain Sunbird and many others are all likely.By mid-morning this trail can get quite busy with day-trippers visiting the waterfall.

Nocturnal Birding: For those wishing to look for nocturnal birds it will be necessary to stay in the national park bungalows or camp. Currently birders are not allowed along the dirt track at night and so are restricted to birding around the campsite where several species can be found including Blyth's Frogmouth.
 Facilities
The campsite at Sri Phang Nga is a pleasant and spacious affair with public toilets provided, although campers must bring their own equipment. For those without their own tents, there are a few clean and comfortable bungalows available for rent, negotiate these with the park staff on arrival or you could attempt to organize them in advance using these contact details: Tel. 08 6952 5246, 08 9473 5007, E-mail reserve@dnp.go.th. Good luck if you try that, you'll need it. Food and drink is available at the cafe at the campsite but it does not open until after 8am and close at 5pm although if you arrange it in advance the staff will cook a packed dinner for you to eat later.

There are several local guesthouses along the Takua Pa-Kuraburi highway that would be cheap and fairly comfortable places to stay outside of the forest and I would expect that tasty local food would be available at these locations too; Ban Khun Ta Resort would seem to be a decent option.
 
Kuraburi Greenview Resort
For those who prefer a bit of luxury, the Kuraburi Greenview Resort, 16 kilometres north of the national park, is a pleasant option for those with their own transport into the forest in the morning. This hotel has a variety of rooms and all are very clean, with nice showers and air conditioning; there is even a small swimming pool to help you cool down.
About Google adverts
 Some Useful Books
 Other Related Pages
Sri Phang Nga National Park Bird Checklist

Birdwatching Tours

Other Southern Thailand Birding Locations

Jan Wilczur's Bird Art: Gurney's Pitta, Banded Pitta & Rufous-collared Kingfisher
 Photo Galleries
Select the thumbnail photos to see larger images.
Tamnang Waterfall
Tamnang Waterfall
Fish at the waterfall
Fish near the waterfall
Jungle and Blue Sky
Forest Canopy
Sri Phang Nga Entrance
National Park sign
  Birdwatching Trips:
Sri Phang Nga National Park is a great location to see a few species that are scarce or difficult to see in other sites. It is alos a far more accessible site than many locations making it an ideal addition for both long and short Southern Thailand birding itineraries with Malayan Banded Pitta and Chestnut-naped Forktail being the main attraction.

Look at some suggested itineraries, Thailand bird tours, or contact me for more information: nickupton@thaibirding.com.
 Trip Reports
Southern Thailand, 5-16th April 2016

Southern Thailand, 3rd-17th June 2007
  by Nick Upton

by Bob & Jessica Allen
 

About Google adverts
  I Hope You Enjoyed This Page
If you found the information you were looking for here please let others know by liking this page on Facebook and Tweeting it.



 Donations
If you found this page useful, please consider making a donation.

   
A Guide to Birdwatching in Thailand. Copyright © 2004-2016 thaibirding.com. All rights reserved.
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites