Chiang Dao Nature
Chiang Dao is well known in Thailand for its cave. The cave system is very long
and deep (said to be the largest and deepest of Thailand).
But often it is
overlooked that Chiang Dao is home of Thailand's third highest mountain (2200 m
asl). The limestone mountain is surrounded by pristine montane evergreen forest,
a forest type that is not so common anymore in Thailand.
Also other habitats are present. There are deciduous forests, mature bamboo, open & half-open
woodlands, grasslands and alpine vegetation. All ranging from 500 to 2200 m.
Perhaps the only vegetation type that is missing is real lowland
forest. Arguably it is Thailands best trekking area.
Consequently, there is a rich fauna and flora. There are lots of species of
orchids (some endemic, especially at the higher parts of the forest) and an
abundance of butterflies. But probably it is best known for its birds. Around
300 species have been discovered. Some of them are quite rare.
As in most
areas in Thailand nature suffered from human pressure. Only 20 years ago there
where still tigers living in the area.
As a reaction to the rapid loss of nature, a Wildlife Sanctuary was established. This has undoubtedly reduced
hunting and logging, but surely not enough. An example: around the villages of
the hill tribes, who inhabit the sanctuary, there are virtually no birds.
met hunters in the WS even at 150 m from a checkpoint! They hunt with their long
front-loaded rifles on anything that is useful for them.
Rumours are spreading that some of the tribes have to leave the Sanctuary. Particular those
who arrived after its establishment.
Let's also look at the bright side. One morning I saw a group of Thai
tourists watching at a adult Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis) who was
sitting next to the stairs at the monastery. Apparently they bought it on Chiang
Dao market and released it here.
So there are people, who are aware of the
While exploring the region I stayed at Malee's Nature
Lover Bungalows. It is a beautiful place in the middle of the nature. I made
a seperate page that gives you more information.
Hopefully you will enjoy Chiang Dao's nature.
Newt (Tylototriton shanjing)
Thailand lives only one species
of salamander, which is called the Orange-striped
Newt (Tylototriton shanjing (=T. verru-cosus)).
It is a species that prefers cool woodlands
in the vicinity of slow-moving water. Therefore
it is only found on the highest mountains
of Thailand, such as Doi Chiang Dao. More..