Top 10 Birdwatching Vacations in Asia and the Far East
Dancing cranes in Japan, swooping ospreys in Nepal, nesting seabirds in Siberia and monkey eating eagles in the Philippines are part of the smorgasbord of birdlife in Asia.
Winter is the season to visit Japan for its three great birding spectacles: the white-naped and hooded cranes that congregate in their thousands in Kyushu, elegant Japanese cranes dancing in the snow in Hokkaido and Steller’s sea-eagles gathering on the sea-ice around Lake Furen. A real birding dream.
- Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
This steamy Inner Terai national park is not just famed for its big game but also the variety of birdlife. There are over 400 migrant and local species birds recorded including cormorants, herons, egrets, storks, cranes, woodpeckers, hawks, ospreys, falcons, kestrel, ibises, kites, kingfishers and many others.
Birding in this remote Himalayan kingdom is truly spell-binding. Some of the most extensive tracts of forest and mountainous terrain remaining in the Himalaya are home to some 600 species of birds. With doors newly opened to tourism and a field guide to help you sort out the species, this is the time to visit Bhutan.
- Bharatpur wetlands, Northern India
This world heritage site is arguably the greatest water bird sanctuary in Asia. It lies on the migratory path for waterfowl crossing to Central Asia or the Pacific and its 11 square miles of wetland, woodland and scrub are full of birds, including the endangered Siberian Crane that winters here. Aquila eagles, bluethroats, owns, hornbills, herons, cormorants and many other birds can be seen hunting, feeding and flitting from dawn to dusk.
- Sulawesi, Indonesia
Birding in Sulawesi is amazing with nearly 100 of the 330 recorded birds being endemic or near endemic. Most of the birds can be seen in just three areas: Tangkoko, Dumoga-Bone and Lore Lindu National Park.
- Kamchatka, Siberia, Russia
This remote peninsula of Siberian Russia has a variety of habitats that cater for a diverse number of bird species. Snow covered peaks, forest, tundra, bog and meadow are home to pelagic cormorants, tufted puffins, impressive seabird colonies, sea eagles, gulls and other birds. Charter a boat, walk the beaches or hike through forest to do your birding.
- Lake Kenyir, Malaysia
Despite its man made status, avid bird lovers will find this region spectacular with 1000 species flitting amongst the islands, rivers and waterfalls. colorful hornbills, circling eagles and the call of birds can be heard and seen on nature and jungle treks or on the lake itself.
- Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
This park is one of the best bird watching destinations in southern Thailand. It’s also the hornbill capital where sightings are actually common and a great place to see a wide variety of exotic tropical birds. Close to 400 species reside in the park and paddling the reservoir is a good way of bird watching.
- Wrangle Island, Russia
This is a popular stop on most arctic expeditions because of the fabulous flora and fauna here. There are 40 different species of bird that fish, nest and make it home including flocks of snow geese and gangs of bald eagles.
- The Philippines
The superb forest of this archipelago is home to many stunning birds from hornbills and kingfishers to pittas and the endemic rhabdornis. There are 190 birds found nowhere else in the world. Visit them on the forested islands of Palawan, Luzon and Mindanao, home to the rare Monkey-eating eagle.