Our final week in Thailand and we chose this remote island on the Andaman Sea; off the beaten track, secluded and great value. The journey started with a lift to the centre of Chumphon, where we bought our sleeper tickets for the journey back to Bangkok at the end of the week. From there we took a minivan for 200 baht each which crossed the narrowest point of the Malay Peninsular then went south along the Myanmar border next to the long estuary of the Kraburi river to the border town of Ranong, where we stopped overnight.
|The Slow Boat, Ranong to Ko Phayam|
|Large Flying Fox Pteropus vampyrus|
At the pier on Ko Phyam we hired a scooter and got ourselves over to The Rasta House set next to a small abandoned rubber plantation close to the southern end of Ao Khao Kwai, the bay on the NW side of the island. Really friendly hosts and a fabulous bungalow high on stilts at a great price meant we were extremely happy here. It was incredibly hot and there was no air conditioning but we'd become quite well acclimatised over the previous 2-3 months and were able to sit on the balcony watching the wildlife and take morning and evening walks down to the beach.
The Spotted Gliding Lizards were particularly entertaining as they flew between the rubber trees. One or two Oriental Pied Hornbills visited often and a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds were nesting right by the house.
|Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris|
|Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis|
|Ao Khao Kwai|
At low tide the mud flats had armies of small crabs swarming across them and that attracted Pacific Reef-herons, Little Egrets, Striated Herons and Pond Herons, including one or two Chinese Pond Herons coming into breeding plumage. There were some larger crabs too and a curious Box Fish, unfortunately dead.
|Land Hermit Crab Coenobita sp. probably rugosus|
|Horned Ghost Crab Oxypode ceratophthalmus|
|Horn Nose Boxfish Ostracion rhinorhynchos|
A flock of Lesser and Greater Sandplovers were on the flats at times. Some of the Greaters were starting to come into breeding plumage.
|Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii|
At the western end is an inlet and the start of a small mangrove forest. Common Sandpiper and Collared Kingfishers were here and a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles on a nest just on the other side.
|Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris|
|White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster|
Just before the bridge was the richest area in terms of birdlife. Sandy scrub and a mix of woodland held a lot of interest and there was evidence of the start of migration through here. Oriental Pied Hornbill, Pink-necked Green-pigeon, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Vernal Hanging-parrot, sooty and white-headed Ashy Drongos, Olive-winged Bulbul (plus Red-eyed, Yellow-vented and Streak-eared), Asian Brown Flycatcher, Thick-billed Warbler, an Arctic Warbler type and Brown-throated Sunbird.
|Ashy Drongo (Chinese White-faced) Dicrurus leucophaeus [innexus Group]|
|Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus|
|Pink-necked Green-pigeon Treron vernans|
46 species recorded here: