Ang Ka Nature Trail – Doi Inthanon

The Ang Ka Nature Study trail is a ca. 360 mm wooden boardwalk near the top of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand (2,565m), which was reportedly designed by a Canadian biologist. It is very popular with bird watchers as well as other visitors wanting to experience a walk through the moist evergreen forest at the top of this beautiful mountain and admire the flora (especially the red rhododendrons, in season around January). The trees are covered in ferns and other epiphytes; sphagnum moss also covers many of the trunks in a mossy wrapping.

Fern-covered tree on Ang Ka Nature trail
Fern-covered tree on Ang Ka Nature trail
Tree covered in ferns and epiphytes on the Ang Ka trail
Tree covered in ferns and epiphytes on the Ang Ka trail

Unsurprisingly, it is often misty when walking this trail as it is near the top of the frequently cloud-covered summit.

Ang Ka Nature trail, Doi Inthanon (2)
Ang Ka Nature trail, Doi Inthanon (2)

When the sun does come out however, it reveals the colour and beauty of the forest.

Beautifully coloured trees on the Ang Ka Nature trail
Beautifully coloured trees on the Ang Ka Nature trail

Ang Ka4

According to one of the signs along the trail, Ang Ka means crow’s pond, but I don’t think there are any crows there! What there are, are a variety of Himalayan bird species, such as White-browed Shortwing (a regular), Green-tailed and Mrs Gould’s sunbirds, Rufous-winged fulvettas, Chestnut-tailed Minlas and many others. There is a very active population of Chestnut-crowned Laughing thrushes, which I have seen on every visit. These are very active and vocal birds, with a delightful variety of calls. They can often be seen moving along the wet forest floor, tossing aside leaves to look for invertebrates to eat.

Chestnut-capped Laughing thrush hunting for food on the wet forest floor.
Chestnut-capped-laughingthrush hunting for food on the wet forest floor.

One very active and noisy (courting?) couple jumped onto a branch so close in front of me that I had to quickly change my camera lens to get a half-decent shot!

Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes (Garrulax mitratus)
Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes (Garrulax mitratus)

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