by Nick Upton
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Hat Nopparat Thara

Collared Kingfisher
(Photo by Peter Ericsson

Hat Nopparat Thara, in Krabi province, is a long, sandy and shallow beach lined by casuarina trees, and is part of the Hat Nopparat Thara - Ko Phi Phi National Park, although this doesn't seem to offer any protection against holiday resorts being built upon it. The tide goes out a fair distance here and exposes a stretch of sand/mud flats which attracts small numbers of wading birds. At the northernmost end of the beach is the National Park Headquarters and just off of the beach are three small islands, the nearest of which can be walked to at low tide, and it is possible to wade across the river at this point, but perhaps not advisable.

Had Nopparat Thara is an ideal place to go with a non-birding partner or friends if staying at the nearby Ao Nang or Krabi, to see a few nice birds and enjoy the beach. If low tide coincides with dusk then this is a lovely spot to spend the last few hours of light, taking a walk and waiting for birds to fly into the offshore islands to roost, before heading back to Ao Nang or Krabi for dinner..

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 Birding Highlights

Although Hat Nopparat Thara is not one of Thailand's birding hotspots, it does provide the opportunity to see one of Thailand's most uncommon winter visitors: Pale-capped Pigeon. This species has been seen on several occasions in March and April at dusk when flying in to roost (equally, a visit at dawn would see them leaving to feed).

Pale-capped Pigeon is by no means the only species of note here. As at many coastal locations in southern Thailand, both White-bellied Sea Eagle and Brahminy Kite are commonly seen and are both spectacular sights. Collared Kingfisher can be found calling from coastal vegetation and provides a splash of colour as it flies away. A few Waders, Terns and occasional Egrets turn up on the sand flats at low tide and if there is bad weather out to sea there is the potential for interesting seabirds to turn up and some nearby mangroves provide an opportunity to explore.


Pale-capped Pigeon
(Photo by Chukiat Nualsri)

Click here for a checklist of the birds of Hat Nopparat Thara
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 Travel Information
Hat Nopparat Thara

Getting to Hat Nopparat Thara is easy from Krabi: for information on getting to Krabi see "Krabi River" page. Songtaews go from Krabi to Hat Nopparat Thara before heading on to Ao Nang. These songtaews leave from the main street in Krabi, but drive slowly around town picking up passengers before heading out towards the beaches, the journey takes only 20 minutes or so.

It is also easy, and quite fun, to hire a motor scooter in Krabi or Ao Nang and tour around all of the beaches, stopping at various points to view birds or to take a break for food and drink. If staying in Ao Nang it is possible to walk to Hat Nopparat Thara and back and this will probably reveal a few more birds, particularly if walked in the late afternoon.

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 Finding Birds

Finding birds at Hat Nopparat Thara is not a very taxing affair, simply turn up and look acroos the sandflats towards the islands, although there are a few corners that might be worth further investigation.

Beach : The beach here doesn't usually get that busy during the day (weekends excepting) and at low tide sand/mud flats are exposed. Small numbers of waders feed here, including Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover and Lesser Sand Plovers with the occasional Pacific Reef Egret at the shoreline; White-faced Plover has alos been seen here several times. The casuarina pines that line the beach don't attract many birds, but Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters do use them for their insect-catching sorties.

Beach Mangroves islands  

Mangroves : Some mangroves in this region may be worth exploring for birds. There are usually some boatmen in the vicinity of the HQ that could take birders for a trip into the mangroves. Brown-winged Kingfisher is almost certain and Mangrove Pitta, Ashy Tailorbird and Ruddy Kingfisher are possible. Most birders take their mangrove trip in the larger area near Krabi town, but the mangroves at Hat Nopparat Thara might be a decent alternative or worth doing as an extra.

Islands : These islands are the chief ornithological attraction at Hat Nopparat Thara, being the roosting place of up to 23 Pale-capped Pigeons in March/April at least. It is a good strategy to stand in a place where all three islands can be seen and wait for dusk. About 1 hour before dusk, small parties of pigeons (Pale-capped and species of Green Pigeons) fly onto the islands to roost and can sometimes fly in quite low, just a metre or two above the water. If the tide is out, it is possible to walk some way towards the islands to get a better view, particularly of birds coming from the north of the beach. Other birds likely to be encountered here are Collared Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Lesser Sand Plover and White-bellied Sea Eagle.

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At Hat Nopparat Thara itself there are some National Park bungalows, but I wouldn't suggest anyone stay in them when Krabi, Ao Nang and Railey beach are so close; Krabi Hotel Reservations. Hat Nopparat Thara has a lot of tourist kiosks and a few foodstalls which cater for day visitors, selling sarongs, postcards, noodles and simple rice dishes. Ao Nang is only a few kilometres away and it is full of good accommodation at reasonable prices. There are lots of great restaurants selling Thai and Western food as well as bars and McDonald's along with as many tourist shops as you can manage. If coming to Hat Nopparat Thara it is likely that Krabi will have been visited first and this provincial town has everthing that one could need; post office, internet cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, markets etc. For more general tourist information on Krabi see

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 Other Related Pages

Birdwatching Tours

Other Southern Thailand Birding Locations

Shorebirds in the Hand

Leg-flagged Shorebirds in the Inner Gulf of Thailand

Jan Wilczur's Bird Art: Gurney's Pitta, Banded Pitta & Rufous-collared Kingfisher

 Photo Galleries

Hat Nopparat Thara

\View from Hat Nopparat Thara

Hat Nopparat Thara

Hat Nopparat Thara

Local Restaurants
 Trip Reports

Hat Nopparat Thara, 16th March 2004


by Nick Upton

 Useful Books

Mangroves and Sediment Dynamics Along the Coasts of Southern Thailand

Thailand's Islands and Beaches

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