Time flies when you’re having fun. Days 11 and 12 of the Thailand Rockjumper birding tour were spent on Doi Inthanon. It is Thailand’s highest peak at 2565 meters (8,415 ft) and is protected by a National Park covering 482 km². A hill tribe village is included within the park consequently there has been hunting within the park and significant loss of forest, now mainly put to cut flower cultivation. Larger mammals, elephants, tigers and gaurs, have been lost but gibbons, deer and serow are still present, though not necessarily easy to find.
The summit is 300 meters higher than anywhere else in Thailand which makes it cool enough to boast the country’s only sphagnum bog, it’s surrounded by rhododendrons, and makes it a little outpost for a more himalayan avifauna such as the Bar-throated Minla. This is where you look for White-browed Shortwing, Pygmy Wren Babbler and Dark-sided Thrush.
The forest on the lower slopes is also productive for the birdwatcher.
As befits the highest mountain in the land royalty has had a long association, King Inthawichayanon, one of the last kings of Chiangmai, ordered that his bones be placed on the mountain and that its name be changed from Doi Luang to Doi Inthanon. There are also a couple of stupas on the mountain that commemorate the 60th birthdays of the recently deceased king and queen.
The park has some attractive waterfalls, best from May to November but worth a look all year. This is Wachirathan Falls …
The orchids that I encountered were enough to make me think of going on an orchid watching trip one day …
The serious birdwatcher will once again visit Nick Upton’s web page which is excellent value especially if planning an independent trip.