Most Popular Places for Birdwatching and Birds Photography in Asia
If you plan to visit Asia for birdwatching or bird photography, these places are highly likely to help you complete your list.
- Quick Read
- #1 Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
- #2 Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand
- #3 Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia
- #4 Taman Negara, Malaysia
- #5 Hokkaido, Japan
- #6 Lore Lindu National Park, Indonesia
- #7 Tangkoko National Park, Indonesia
- #8 Caohai, China
- #9 Qinghai Lake, China
- #10 Hustai National Park, Mongolia
- Quick Read
- #1 Iceland
- #2 Tuscany, Italy
- #3 Patagonia
- #4 Guilin, China
- #5 Torres Del Paine, Chile
- #6 Meteora, Greece
- #7 New Zealand
- #8 Valensole, France
- #9 Alaska, USA
- #10 Machu Picchu
- #11 Dolomites, Italy
- #12 Gasadalur, Faroe Islands
- #13 Norway
- #14 Switzerland
- #15 The Old Man of Storr, Scotland
#1 Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Situated in southern Thailand, this park is recognized as one of the most excellent birdwatching locations. It is especially recognized as the “hornbill capital,” where sightings are frequent, and one can observe a diverse range of tropical bird species. The park is home to almost 400 bird species, and one can enjoy birdwatching and bird photography while paddling in the reservoir.
#2 Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand
Doi Inthanon – Thailand’s Highest Mountain
Doi Inthanon, located in Chiang Mai province, is Thailand’s highest mountain. Its summit stands at an elevation of 2565 meters above sea level, making it a popular destination for hikers and adventurers.
The mountain is named after King Inthawichayanon, one of the last kings of Chiang Mai, and is a part of the Himalayan mountain range. The peak of Doi Inthanon provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding valleys and hills. It is also home to various flora and fauna, including several species of birds, butterflies, and orchids.
Apart from hiking and trekking, visitors can explore the mountain’s various waterfalls, including Mae Klang, Wachirathan, and Siriphum. These falls offer a serene and relaxing atmosphere amidst the mountain’s lush green forests and misty climate.
The mountain also has several hill tribe villages where visitors can experience the unique culture and traditions of the local communities. The Karen Hill Tribe is one of the most well-known communities and is renowned for their traditional dress and handicrafts.
In summary, Doi Inthanon is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The mountain’s scenic beauty, diverse flora and fauna, waterfalls, and hill tribe villages offer a unique and unforgettable experience.
The high density of birds in this area compared to other locations in Thailand makes it an excellent destination for observing a wide variety of bird species in a short amount of time. It is considered one of the most remarkable birdwatching locations in Thailand.
mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng
#3 Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia
Fraser’s Hill, situated in the Titiwangsa mountain range, is a popular highland resort destination that offers a diverse range of bird species to observe, including Tufted Ducks, Silver-eared Mesias, Malaysian Eared Nightjars, Indian Cuckoos, Black Eagles, and Reddish Scops Owls. For a detailed list of birds that can be found at Fraser’s Hill, please click here.
Fraser’s Hill, a former tin mining hill station, is not only a popular destination for birdwatchers, but it also hosts the annual Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race. This exciting event brings together bird enthusiasts from around the world to observe, identify, and document as many bird species as possible. It’s an enjoyable experience for nature lovers and families alike.
The Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race is a fun competition that challenges participants to spot and record as many different bird species as possible within a specific timeframe. The event is held annually and attracts birdwatchers of all levels of expertise, from amateurs to seasoned professionals.
Apart from the bird race, Fraser’s Hill offers visitors an opportunity to explore its lush green forests and pristine nature trails. The region’s cool climate makes it an excellent place for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and nature walks.
In summary, Fraser’s Hill is an excellent location for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and families. With its unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and exciting bird race events, it is sure to leave visitors with unforgettable memories.
phoochan.com / Phoo Chan
#4 Taman Negara, Malaysia
Taman Negara, located in Malaysia, is a top destination for bird watching enthusiasts due to its diverse bird population that comprises over 450 species. Visitors have the chance to witness some rare bird species like the Malaysian Peacock Pheasant, Great Argus, Crested Fireback, and Helmet Hornbill. Although birds can be easily spotted in Taman Negara, especially during the boat ride across the Tembeling River, birders are advised to take a few trails to explore the park fully. Some of the popular trails include Jenut Muda Trail, Berkoh Waterfalls, Forest Loop Trail, Swamp Loop Trail, Tahan Hide Trail, and the newly introduced Hornbill Valley Trail. These trails offer excellent opportunities to observe and record bird sightings.
If you are planning to visit Taman Negara, it is advisable to carry a birding checklist, binoculars, and a camera to record your findings. You can start your birding adventure at Kuala Tahan, where you can easily spot a variety of bird species. As you explore the park, you will discover different types of habitats, from dense forests to open meadows, which support an array of bird species.
Taman Negara is a perfect destination for birdwatchers of all levels, from beginners to experienced birders. If you are a nature enthusiast, the park offers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Malaysia’s flora and fauna. Additionally, Taman Negara is an excellent place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the peacefulness and tranquility of nature.
mercierzengphotography.com / Mercier Zeng
#5 Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan, is known for its sparse population and largely untouched natural state. Because of this, it is considered one of the top destinations in Japan for viewing a diverse range of bird species, making it a go-to location for many birdwatchers.
Kushiro marshes, located in eastern Hokkaido, Japan, is one of the most significant birding spots in the region. With its expansive wetlands, forests, and grasslands, it provides an ideal habitat for a diverse range of bird species. The marshes are known for their rare and nearly extinct birds, and a massive conservation effort has yielded considerable results.
One of the most famous birds found in the Kushiro marshes is the red-crowned crane. These majestic birds are considered a symbol of longevity, happiness, and fidelity in Japan. The marshes are one of the few places where they can still be found in their natural habitat. The Kushiro Marshland is the only habitat in Japan where the red-crowned crane can be seen throughout the year, making it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Apart from red-crowned cranes, the Kushiro marshes are also home to many other bird species, such as Steller’s sea eagles, Blakiston’s fish owls, and black woodpeckers. Some of the best places to spot these birds are the Kushiro Wetland Observatory, Hosooka Observatory, and the Tsurui-Ito Tancho Sanctuary.
In addition to birdwatching, the Kushiro marshes offer many other activities, such as canoeing, hiking, and fishing. Visitors can explore the marshes on foot or by boat, and experience the beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife up close.
Overall, the Kushiro marshes are an excellent destination for anyone interested in birdwatching and nature. Its vast wetlands and diverse bird species make it one of the most unique and unforgettable birding spots in the world.
Japan’s red-crowned crane is a bird that is synonymous with the country. Watching their elaborate mating dance is an unforgettable experience. If you’re planning to visit Japan, be sure to check out this stunning bird between February and March, when they perform their mating dance.
The red-crowned crane, also known as the Japanese crane, is a symbol of good fortune, longevity, and fidelity in Japanese culture. It is an endangered species, with a population of around 2,700 birds. However, a conservation program has helped protect and increase the number of cranes in the wild.
One of the best places to see the red-crowned crane is at the Akan International Crane Center, located in eastern Hokkaido. This center offers guided tours and observation platforms where visitors can watch the cranes up close. The center also provides information on the crane’s behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts.
Another great place to see the red-crowned crane is at the Kushiro marshes, located in eastern Hokkaido as well. This vast wetland is a protected area and home to many rare and endangered bird species, including the red-crowned crane. During the winter, hundreds of cranes gather in the marshes, making it an ideal spot for birdwatchers and photographers.
In conclusion, if you’re planning a trip to Japan, don’t miss the opportunity to see the mesmerizing mating dance of the red-crowned crane. Whether you visit the Akan International Crane Center or the Kushiro marshes, witnessing these magnificent birds is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan, is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Aside from the red-crowned crane, many other bird species visit the island during migration season. Some of the other species include the Steller’s sea eagle, the white-tailed sea eagle, the black woodpecker, the Japanese pygmy woodpecker, and the long-tailed tit.
The Steller’s sea eagle is a majestic bird of prey that can be spotted along the coastlines of Hokkaido during the winter months. With a wingspan of up to 8 feet, it is one of the largest eagles in the world. The white-tailed sea eagle is another impressive bird of prey that can be found in Hokkaido. With its distinctive white tail, it is easy to spot as it soars through the sky.
For those interested in woodpeckers, Hokkaido is home to both the black woodpecker and the Japanese pygmy woodpecker. The black woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in Japan and can often be seen in mature forests. The Japanese pygmy woodpecker, on the other hand, is much smaller and can be found in a variety of habitats, including parks and gardens.
Finally, the long-tailed tit is a cute and small bird that can be spotted in flocks during the winter months. With its distinctive long tail, it is easy to identify, and its small size makes it a favorite among birdwatchers.
Overall, Hokkaido is a must-visit destination for birdwatchers looking to spot a wide variety of bird species. Whether you are interested in birds of prey, woodpeckers, or small songbirds, Hokkaido has something to offer. So, pack your binoculars and head to Japan’s northern island for an unforgettable birdwatching experience.
finnature.com / Jari Peltomäki
#6 Lore Lindu National Park, Indonesia
If you are a birdwatching enthusiast, then you must visit the national park in Central Sulawesi, which is home to hundreds of exotic bird species. More than 50% of the bird species found here are endemic to Sulawesi. While the park is vast, the best bird watching spots are concentrated around Lake Tambing and Anaso Track. A leisurely walk around the lake will almost guarantee you sightings of Blue-fronted Flycatcher, Malia, Cerulean Cuckooshrike, and if you’re lucky, the elusive Great Shortwing and Maroon-backed Whistler.
For those who want to venture further into the jungle, the Anaso Track lies upwards from the lake. As you walk upwards, the bird habitat changes gradually, offering a chance to spot Satanic Nightjars, Geomalia, and Great Shortwing after about 2-3 km. The park is a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike. So, don’t forget to pack your binoculars and camera and be prepared for an unforgettable bird watching experience in Central Sulawesi.
#7 Tangkoko National Park, Indonesia
Rewritten: Tangkoko Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi is widely considered one of the top bird watching destinations in Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is located about an hour’s drive from Manado and boasts a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals, including a wide variety of exotic bird species. Among the unique bird species found here are the Maleo birds, Spot-tailed Goshawk, Pygmy Hanging Parrot, and Sulawesi Nightjar, all of which are endemic to the region. The reserve is also known for its vibrant night life, with Minahassa Owls, Speckled Hawk-Owls, and other nocturnal birds making appearances.
#8 Caohai, China
Caohai, located in Guizhou province, is a popular destination for birdwatching due to its status as the largest natural freshwater lake on the plateau. It is home to a diverse range of bird species, including the black-necked crane, a rare waterfowl that relies on the wetland ecosystem of the area.
Due to the shallow and clear waters with mainly silt at the bottom, Caohai boasts a variety of water plants. Every year, over 200 migratory bird species make their way to Caohai to spend the winter. The prime time for bird-watching at Caohai is from December to March.
#9 Qinghai Lake, China
Bird Island, located on Qinghai Lake, is renowned for being a stunning attraction on the plateau with a mild climate and exceptional natural environment. As the largest inland lake in China, Qinghai Lake offers a unique bird breeding ground in Asia, and Bird Island is among the top eight largest bird sanctuaries in China. During the spring breeding season, a large number of bar-headed geese, cormorants, and seagulls flock to the island.
Located in the northern part of Japan, Hokkaido is a paradise for birdwatchers. The region’s natural beauty and sparse population make it a haven for various bird species. One of the best places to observe birds in Hokkaido is the Kushiro Marshes, a vast conservation area that serves as the habitat for several rare and endangered bird species. Among the most popular species in the region is the red-crowned crane, and visitors can witness the bird’s incredible mating dance from February to March.
Aside from the red-crowned crane, Hokkaido is also home to several bird species that visit the region during migration season. The island is a popular destination for birdwatchers due to the diverse bird population it attracts. In addition to the birds, Hokkaido boasts of scenic landscapes that make bird watching an unforgettable experience.
Visitors to Hokkaido can also observe Whooper Swans between November and February. The best bird-watching season, however, is between May and July when over 160,000 birds migrate to the region to live on the islands. Bird lovers can explore the island’s different trails and locations to get the best view of the various species. Hokkaido is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts.
#10 Hustai National Park, Mongolia
Hustai National Park is a protected area in Mongolia that boasts a diverse landscape of mountains and steppes. One of the highlights of the park is the Prezewalski horse, a species of Mongolian wild horse that can be found here. In addition to the horses, visitors can also observe a range of wildlife including foxes, deer, and roe deer, as well as a variety of bird species such as Golden and Steppe Eagles, Saker and Amur Falcons, Cinereous and Himalayan Vultures, Meadow Bunting, Daurian Partridge, Isabelline and Brown Shrike, and Mongolian Lark. During migration season, visitors may be lucky enough to spot Eye-browed and Dusky Thrushes, Pallas’s Leaf and Thick-billed Warblers, among others.
Planning to photograph these destinations?
Are you planning a birdwatching trip in Thailand, Japan, or China? If so, you may want to consider hiring a local birding guide to help you find the best birding spots and maximize your chances of spotting unique bird species.
One company that offers birding guide services in these countries is We Are Guides. They have experienced and knowledgeable guides who can take you to the best birding locations and provide you with information about the birds you encounter.
In Thailand, you can explore the lush forests and national parks in search of bird species such as the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the colorful Pitta. We Are Guides also offers birding tours in Japan, where you can witness the majestic mating dance of the red-crowned crane and spot other unique species such as the Japanese Robin and the Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker.
In China, you can explore the diverse habitats of the country and search for birds such as the Black-necked Crane, the Chinese Crested Tern, and the Chinese Monal. We Are Guides also offers tours to specific locations such as Qinghai Lake, known for its large number of migratory birds.
Hiring a local birding guide not only enhances your birdwatching experience, but it also supports the local community and conservation efforts. So, consider We Are Guides for your next birding adventure in Thailand, Japan, or China.
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