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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Thailand: The North

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING THAILAND: A valid passport and an onward air ticket are required. Tourist visas are not necessary for U.S. citizens for visits of 30 days. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Thai embassy. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour.

ARRIVAL DATE: Since the journey from the U.S. to Thailand is tiring we recommend you consider arriving a day or more prior to the start. We can arrange lodging at our hotel next to the international airport. Call the WINGS office for details.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Thailand at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/th.html.

HEALTH: Malaria in Thailand is chiefly confined to a few lowland areas bordering Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar -- areas we do not visit. The CDC, therefore, does not feel that a malaria prophylaxis is necessary. There are no immunization requirements for entering Thailand.

Although minor intestinal problems do occur in the tropics, Thailand is largely free of these complaints. We are served bottled water everywhere and we’ll always have bottled drinking water available in the vehicles.

Troublesome Insects: Mosquitoes may occur in the plains around Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and we’ll probably encounter a few ticks. There are a few midges or sandflies in the mountains of the north and possibly on the beaches on the extension.

Smoking: We request that you do not smoke in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group.

If any lodge, accommodation, or location, where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than WINGS’ policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.

PACE OF THE TOUR: We will start our day's birding early so as to take advantage of the first rays of sunlight: 05:00 breakfasts are the norm much of the time. Bird activity will nonetheless continue at a fairly high level all day. Generally, however, following the early starts, we do not bird right through to dusk unless we have been able to take a leisurely lunch break in the middle of the day. Since we will have multiple vehicles there is usually the opportunity to send a group back to the hotel for those that wish to have a shorter day and have time off to relax. Walking is fairly easy: mostly on roadsides and tracks, occasionally on narrow forest trails. Generally, we will seldom be more than a few hundred yards from our vehicles. There are a few moderately strenuous walks of about a mile each at Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang but these will each be done over several hours. Fruit and other snacks and soft drinks and bottled water will be available throughout.

CLIMATE: Thailand is tropical and humid and has a distinctly monsoonal climate, most of the rain falling between May and October during the southwest monsoon. Our trip takes place at the end of the "cool" and dry months and daytime temperatures are unlikely to rise above 35 C (about 94 F). At Chiang Mai, it can be cool at night and the temperature may drop to as low as 13 C (55 F), but is nearly as warm as Bangkok during the day, though less humid. When we visit the summit of Thailand's highest mountain, Doi Inthanon, 2565 meters (8415 feet) above sea level, it could be distinctly chilly (probably no lower than 42ºF but windy). Nights at Doi Ang Khang can also be chilly (to 40°F)

On the extension it will be a bit hotter and certainly more humid on the coast with highs being about 90 degrees and with much of the time being exposed to the sun. Kaeng Krachan National Park will be somewhat cooler.

ACCOMMODATIONS: In Bangkok, we stay at a modern business and traveler’s hotel. There are swimming pools, a sauna and a health club. In Pakchong we will be staying at a resort which possess extensive grounds at the foot of Khao Yai and is conveniently located about 10 km outside the north gate of the park. We have a half-hour's drive from the resort ascending through the park to our main birding areas. In Chiang Mai we stay in a standard tourist hotel, located near the Night Market. Our next three nights will be spent in a resort near the entrance to Doi Inthanon National Park. Our rooms are in Swiss-style wooden chalets, nicely furnished clean and attractive, each chalet having up to 4 or 5 rooms. Bedrooms are air-conditioned. Bathrooms have hot water and towels provided. While visiting Doi Ang Khang we’ll stay in a luxury hotel set on attractive grounds, situated in the cool montane zone on Doi Ang Khang, near the Burmese border. Rooms are furnished with all expected modern conveniences including hot water. The proximity of the accommodation to prime birding areas means we’ll be able to take a welcome break in the middle part of the day. While at Tha Ton, we use a simple resort along the banks of the Mae Kok River with air-conditioned rooms on a terrace, accessible by a wooden walkway. For the final night, we’ll stay at another luxury hotel, adjacent to the international airport. There are private (en suite) bathroom facilities at all the hotels and resorts used on the tour.

On the extension we will spend two nights at a very comfortable resort on the Gulf of Thailand with luxury rooms and a perfect swimming pool. At Kaeng Krachan we’ll stay at either a luxury hotel, or stay closer to the park entrance in spacious comfortable air-conditioned bungalows.

FOOD: In Bangkok and Chiang Mai hotels, there will usually be a choice of Thai or Western food. In country resorts (e.g. Inthanon and Ang Khang, and at the Morakot on the Pitta tour) usually only Thai food will be available for lunches/evening meals. Thai cuisine provides a wide range of dishes, catering for palates from spicy to unseasoned, and is almost uniformly delicious. Breakfasts are usually termed "American breakfast” consisting of ham and eggs, toast, fruit or juice and coffee-tea. Cereal is usually available in the bigger hotels (e.g., Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and Juldis-Khao Yai) but not usually in up-country resorts. Those wishing to avoid a high-cholesterol breakfast can settle for delicious rice soup "congee" with chicken, pork or shrimp for breakfast instead. Some days we'll take picnic lunches and some days we’ll have restaurant lunches. Pplease note that not all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary needs should bring appropriate foods with them. Lunch and dinner times are adjustable depending on the birding pace of the day. The breakfast time is fixed – as early as possible. Participants who need to eat according to a particular schedule should bring supplemental food.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Some internet facilities and international telephone services are available at most of the accommodations.

TRANSPORTATION: Land travel will be in air-conditioned mini-buses throughout.

Created: 29 May 2014