Site logo

The Best Bird Watching Spots in Thailand

Seen Above: The Asian Openbill, which birdwatchers sometimes see in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand’s lakes and reservoirs.

Thailand has a beautiful and diverse population of over 1,000 bird species. It’s thus no surprise that the Kingdom attracts bird watching enthusiasts from around the world. The best bird watching spots in Thailand include the Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, the Khao Yai National Park in Korat (Nakon Ratchasima), and the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi — all of which are famous locations that attract lots of visitors.

However, if you are the intrepid tourist who wants to travel off the beaten track in Thailand, one of the best bird watching habitats is the Northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon, which is known for its beautiful landscapes and mountains, exotic forest temples, and diverse birdlife, as well as ancient Khmer temple ruins such Phra That Phu Phek.

One of the most popular bird watching places in Sakon Nakhon is Phu Pha Lek National Park, which stretches into the neighboring provinces of Kalasin and Udon Thani. This Thai national park covers an area of over 200 square kilometers and is home to many bird species, including the Siamese Fireback, Rufous-winged Buzzard, and Blue-bearded Bee-eater.

Another popular bird watching location in Sakon Nakhon (Thailand) is Nong Han Lake. This enormous freshwater lake is an important habitat for migratory birds and is home to many species such as the Spot-billed Pelican, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, and Black-crowned Night Heron. One of the best bird watching spots at the lake is Nong Han Viewpoint, which has a long cement walkway that stretches over a portion of the lake to a little island, which if not the best bird watching spot in Thailand, is certainly one of the most secluded and serene.


Sakon Nakhon Thai Bird Watching
Walkway that leads to Nong Han Viewpoint island, one of the best birdwatching spots in Thailand

Another great bird watching spot is just down the road from Nong Han Viewpoint: the island of of Don Langka (ดอนลังกา), which is reached from a walkway that extends from Don Kham national park. Chorlada Suppaso, the Matthayom Head of the Vithidham School, recently took a group of volunteer teachers on a bird-watching excursion to Don Langka. They were delighted by the amount of different bird species they were able to identify with the help of their guidebooks. These included:

1. เป็ดคู้ต Eurasian Coot
2. ยางเปีย Little Egret
3. ยางกรอกพันธุ์จีน Chinese Pond Heron
4. อีโก้ง Purple Swamphen
5. อีล้ำ Common Moorhen
6. อีแจว Pheasant-tailed Jacana
7. นางแอ่นบ้าน Barn Swallow
8. แอ่นตาล Asian Palm Swift
9. ปากห่าง Asian Openbill
10. กระสาแดง Purple Heron
11. กระสานวล Grey Heron
12. ยางควาย Eastern Cattle Egret
13. ยางโทนใหญ่ Eastern Great Egret
14. จาบคาเล็ก Little Green Bee-eater
15. ยอดหญ้าหัวดำ Eastern Stonechat
16. อีเสือสีน้ำตาล Brown Shirke
17. เหยี่ยวรุ้ง Crested Serpent Eagle
18. เป็ดแดง Lesser Whistling-Duck
19. เป็ดผีเล็ก Little Grebe
20. กระจอกบ้าน Eurasian Tree Sparrow
21. เอี้ยงสาริกา Common Myna
22. เอี้ยงหงอน White-vented Myna
23. เขาชวา Zebra Dove
24. อุ้มบาตร White Wagtail
25. เด้าดิน Common Sandpiper
26. แซงแซวหางปลา Black Drongo
27. ปรอดสวน Streak-eared Bulbul
28. กระจิบธรรมดา Common Tailorbird
29. กะปูดใหญ่ Greater Coucal
30. อีกา Large-billed Crow
31. อีแพรดแถบอกดำ Pied Fantail
32. ชายเลนน้ำจืด Wood Sandpiper
33. พริก Bronze-winged Jacana


Thailand Bird Watching on Phu Pha Lek Mountain

As we mentioned, Phu Pha Lek National Park is one of the best places to bird watch in Thailand. They have an excellent bird watching spot just opposite the parking lot. While there is a 100 baht admission to the national park, the bird watching nest is before you enter the park and free. There is signage posted for some of the most common birds that are often sighted, including the Crested Serpent Eagle, Greater Racquet-Tailed Drongo, Black Crested Bul Bul, White-Faced Jay, and Shikra.

Phu Pha Lek is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from downtown Sakon Nakhon. It located in the Song Dao district, which is one of the most beautiful mountain areas in Northeast Thailand. In addition to bird watching, we suggest visiting the nearby temple Wat Tham Apai Damrongtham and the beautiful Chedis (pagodas), including Phra Chedi Wihan Pariniphan, which are located on a small, cliffside road just outside the temple complex.



So, if you are an avid birdwatcher planning a trip to Thailand, and you want to escape the tourists crowds for an authentic Thai experience, while doing lots of bird-watching, do consider adding Sakon Nakhon to your itinerary. If you do come and take a trip to Nong Han Viewpoint or the little island of Don Langka to do your bird watching, the best time to go is just after sunrise.