Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan NP located in Petchaburi province is the biggest and by far one of the most popular birding venues in Thailand. From Bangkok it is only a few hours driving along Highway 35 (AH2) , turning left onto Highway 4 going south. About 10km on an overpass bridge to the left takes you over the road to the right. It's well signposted from there on.
Park Gate to Bang Krang.
The newly surfaced road to Bang Kran has now been completed. Although this has made getting to the first campsite easier, it has also created more and faster traffic, especially at the weekends. undoubtedly it is still worth a walk about around the parking areas but one really needs be more careful when walking along the road. Weekends are best avoided due to the amount of day trippers, but in saying that there are always plenty of Thai birders about that are always more than helpful with sharing locations.
Bang Krang Campsite.
Early morning is undoubtedly the best time at the campsite with many birds present. Blue-bearded Bee-eaters are quite common in the tree tops with plenty of Flameback and Yellownape Woodpeckers climbing and flying from tree to tree. Blue-winged and Golden fronted Leafbirds and Flowerpeckers are usually present. Black & Red, Silver Breasted, Banded and Black & Yellow Broadbills also frequent this area.
Violet, Indian & Emerald Cuckoos are also often seen here. Asian Pied Hornbills are often seen flying over and sometimes landing in the trees at dawn and again in the early evening. The evening brings out Long-tailed Nightjars and a little later Brown Hawk Owls and Collared Owlets can be heard and seen if lucky. Across the stream is a good spot to find Blue & Blue-winged Pittas. The list here is endless, with many more species ever present.
Bang Krang to The Dam
One has to cross over three small streams to reach the dam area, with plenty of excellent birding all the way along the road. It's well worth driving and stopping just before or after each stream and spending a few hours between each. Between the campsite and Stream 1, is a good place for Javan Frogmouth and Blue-bearded Bee Eaters. Further along between Streams 1 - 3 is the usual place to find Banded Kingfishers and the stunning little Black Backed Kingfisher. There are many other birds to be found here including various Barbets, Dusky Broadbills, Green Magpies, Orange-breasted Trogons and many woodpeckers including ; Crimson-winged, Laced , Heart-spotted and Great Slaty Woodpeckers. Tickell's Brown Hornbill have nested along here for many years. For those lucky enough, another seldom seen resident is the Crested Jay. Blue, Blue Winged and Hooded Pittas are also easily seen after they begin to breed around June. Also a pair of White-fronted Scops Owls are usually resident at Stream 2.
Up to Panoen Tung
The road up to Panoen Tung is largely unsurfaced and rough, so a 4x4 is preferable. Saloon cars and vans are no longer allowed to make this journey . This road has time restrictions for going up and coming down so please check the time before setting off.
At Km27 point along this road there is a small parking area marked with an old sign depicting a bird. Parking up here and taking a walk along the road can be extremely rewarding. Along the road here is also great for Long-tailed Broadbills, Red-headed Trogon and Red-Bearded Bee Eaters. Walk a little further up the road near the big tree and you could be rewarded with possibly one of the best sightings here, The Ratchet-tailed Treepie. This tree often also hosts Great and Wreathed Hornbills when it is in fruit.
At the Panoen Tung HQ and camping area various Barbets are always heard, including the Great Barbet. At the HQ restaurant area Orange-bellied Leafbirds, Flycatchers and Streaked Spiderhunters are usually resident. Along the road to Km36 Pin-tailed Parrot Finches can be seen amongst the bamboo when it is in flower. There are some great view points along here where many Raptors including Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Crested Goshawk and Sparrowhawks can be observed. At the end of the road at the car park a pair of Red-bearded Bee Eaters usually nest here every year.