Mae Hong Son is Thailand’s most north westerly province, bordering
Myanmar. The province still has roughly 70% forest cover, and has
many ethnic minority groups (“hill tribes”) amongst
friends’ and colleagues recommendations to visit Mae Hong
Son, I finally went in March 2005 for a short trip, and realising
what a fantastic part of the country it is, I returned in December
2005 for another short trip.
Travel to Mae
Hong Son town is straight forward - you can fly from Chiang Mai
for about 3,000 Baht return with Thai Airways, the flight takes
about 25 minutes…the alternative is to drive (this takes about
I stayed at
the Fern Resort http://www.fernresort.info/index.asp
about 7km out of Mae Hong Son town, rooms vary in price depending
on the season, but start at about 1,300 Baht. The advantage of the
Fern Resort is that it is right by the entrance gate to Nam Tok
Mae Surin National Park, on the only road through the Park and is
surrounded by deciduous forest, and has a good selection of birds
which specialise in this habitat (most notably White-rumped
Falcon). The road through the National Park requires a 4WD
and I hired a Suzuki Caribian through the Fern Resort for 1000 Baht
per day (you can pick them up for about 700 baht p.d. in Chiang
Mai, but then you have to endure the 6 hr drive!).
- Seen once in December, along the road between
the National Park gate and Fern Resort.
Woodpecker - Seen once in March, in area where the
metalled road turns to dirt track.
Bee-eater - Seen once in March, along the road between
Fern Resort and the National Park gate.
Bay Cuckoo - One singing in secondary growth between
the Fern Resort and the National Park gate, in December.
Parakeet - A noisy flock seen in December on the
edge of agricultural land where the Fern Resort nature trail meets
the road through the National Park.
Pigeon - Three birds (1m, 2f) seen in fruiting trees
near the National Park gate, in December.
Baza - A pair seen once in March, along the National
Buzzard - Seen once in March, from Fern Resort nature
trail (circling over adjacent hillside).
Falcon - In December a pair (the
female seen well at close range for 2 minutes) at 750m a.s.l on
the road through the national park (approaching the viewpoint).
What was thought to be another W-r F was heard calling close to
the National Park gate (go through gate, road turns left and bird
was calling from forest circa 300 metres beyond bend – a pair
of Collared Falconets also seen in this area).
Blue Magpie - Common. Seen on both visits, but more
regularly in December. Seen both around Fern Resort and along lower
part of National Park road.
Oriole - Seen once in March, in forest along roadside
where the sealed road turns into a dirt track.
Cuckoo-shrike - Seen once in March, where National
Park road turns to dirt track.
Wood-shrike - A small group seen along the National
Park road circa 3km from National Park gate, in December.
Laughingthrush - Flock of circa 7 birds seen in
overgrown orchard where Fern Resort nature trail meets road through
the National Park, in March.
Babbler - Fairly common, seen in March and December
along Fern Resort nature trail, and along road in National Park.