Wildlife travel: What animals can I see in Thailand?

It’s not all beaches and parties – there’s a host of dynamic wildlife in this popular holiday destination. 

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Illustration by Dawn Cooper

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1.  Long-tailed broadbill, Doi Inthanon National Park

Long-tailed broadbill in Doi Inthanon NP © Mallardg500/Getty

Nestled in the Himalayan reaches of Northern Thailand, Doi Inthanon is one of the country’s birding hotspots. This colourful and gregarious broadbill – the only member of its genus – makes a satisfying sighting.

2. Asian elephant, Khao Yai National Park

Asian elephant in Khao Yai NP © Bloomberg/Getty

Enjoy close encounters with these giants in the monsoon forests of Thailand’s oldest national park, just a few hours from Bangkok.Other mammals to spot here include barking deer, macaques and otters.

3. Flying fox, Wat Pho Bang Khla

Flying fox in Wat Pho Bang Khla © Iqbalsiddiqui/Getty

The trees around this vivid Buddhist temple are home to a staggering 6,000 flying foxes. Their dusk emergence  is quite spectacular.

4. Manta Ray, Similan Islands National Park

Manta ray in Similan Islands NP © YamMo/Getty

The 11-island archipelago is renowned for its marine life, with Koh Bon in particular regarded as a diver’s Mecca. Manta rays feed in the rich waters and are best seen March–May (the park closes May–October).

5. Bride’s whale, Gulf of Thailand

Bryde’s whale in the Gulf of Thailand © Vichan Sriseangnil/Getty

Sightings may be fleeting, but these slender, 15m-long cetaceans visit the northern waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Tours operate from Bangkok, but as whale-watching is in its infancy here, caution is advised.

6. Dusky leaf monkey, Kaeng Krachan National Park

Dusky leaf monkey in Kaeng Krachan NP © Anup Shah/Getty

Only found in Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, the dusky leaf monkey is relatively easy to spot. Particularly close views can be had a short walk from the Ban Krang campsite. 

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