Absolutely wonderful experience with Randy! We are a family of 5 with little kids aged 2,3 & 7. We... read more
Absolutely wonderful experience with Randy! We are a family of 5 with little kids aged 2,3 & 7. We... read more
Jackie and Grace make a great team. Jackie's eye for spotting and identification, plus Grace's... read more
If you want to find birds, go with All Thailand Experiences. My wife and I have been birding on several continents (Costa Rica, Peru, etc) and have never had a better birding experience. The staff is extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful. My wife, a trained biologist, was amazed by their ability to take us places with a diversity of birds (some rare). “It’s like they keep the birds in a cage and release them when we show up!” (Not true, of course, but that is how good this organization is.). We will return in one year to take a longer birding tour with them, as well as a one of their cultural tours.
Thank you Bremer family for your kind review. Jackie, Grace and I had a lot of fun birding in Chiang Mai and at Doi Inthanon national Park with you. We are looking forward to your birding tour with us to Chiang Dao and Doi Lang next year. We will also squeeze in some hill tribe and local Thai culture for you.
See you soon,
We are a couple of amateur birdwatchers, birding in Asia for the first time. Contacted Randy after seeing his Facebook page, where he advertised expert English-speaking guides. Booked months in advance and were very much looking forward to the trip.
In the meantime I reached out to him with a few questions, asking about certain birds and to recommend a field guide book. His terse response was unhelpful and unfriendly, but I just assumed he was busy.
Come day of the trip: we had two days of birdwatching with Randy and his guide, Jackie. Just minutes into the ride, Randy managed to insult my girlfriend multiple times- first by telling her that her clothes (long sleeve shirt over a tanktop and long pants) were too revealing and that the locals were going to think she was a prostitute; and next by ridiculing her for not being more prepared for the trip (took every opportunity to point out how he could tell we were tourists...) Not a great start, by the time we arrived at the first destination we felt awkward and unwelcome.
During the birdwatching portion, Randy waited in the car and smoked cigarettes while we wandered around with Jackie- who was very friendly and knowledgeable except he did not speak English. Whenever he saw a bird he would have to fumble around in the book to identify it for us. We also had a hard time understanding him when he was trying to describe the location of the bird. Nevertheless, he did show us some great birds and we were very satisfied with the birding itself.
We were very clear about our target birds and told Randy that we were not just aiming for high quantity of species, but rather that we wanted quality photos of some of the more colorful, common birds. For us, even the most common "boring" birds were lifers. At one point, we took a bathroom break and when we came out, saw a bird that was a lifer so the two of us spent a couple minutes photographing it. Randy immediately reprimanded us and lectured us about how we missed a rare bird for this boring common bird, and that we would see this common bird many more times (we didn't, so we were glad we got the photos on our own). Unpleasantness aside, we managed to see some great birds. However I will note that both guides rushed us and actually caused us to miss photos of a few birds by micromanaging our photography style. It was super awkward and distracting being criticized on our every move, rather than being given the freedom to do our usual thing.
The next day he took us to the highest mountain in Thailand, a beautiful National Park that we were beyond excited about. Despite arriving at the park early, they would not stop to allow us to take photos of the breathtaking sunrise that we drove past. The first stop for birding was on the shoulder of the road. We stood there while trucks idled and motorcycle engines revved, inhaling black smoke while Jackie frantically gestured at tiny birds high up in the trees. When we asked him to identify the birds, he took out the book and pointed to the pictures, and then he tried to explain the birds location using sign language. Randy, who had been waiting in the car, approached after a while to ask us how we were doing. My girlfriend expressed discomfort, but Randy's exact response was "get used to it!" I politely said that we were getting dizzy from the car exhaust fumes, and asked if it was possible for us to hike away from the road a little bit and see if we can find some closer birds. Randy lost his temper at me, accused me of not being a real birder, and told us he would leave us at the park if we wanted to hike. It was extremely uncomfortable, and even Jackie was trying to diffuse the situation. Back at the car, Randy apologized for his outburst while passive- aggressively informing us that we are clearly not serious birdwatchers and that in 25 years he had never had someone complain. I reminded him that we are not "listers" and that we preferred quality over quantity. He told us, sure, he can take us to other areas, but that it would be boring and we would miss all the rare birds.
So we went to the summit, drove around the park and stopped at a few strategic spots. This part was highly enjoyable and we saw lots of great birds up close, including a rare bird that Randy himself had not seen in 5 years. We appreciated that he was flexible and allowed us to photograph the birds that he thought were boring. Occasionally he would even join us as we scanned for birds but repeatedly made remarks such as "I'd show you this bird but you'll say it is too far away" and "we can go over there but there will be cars..." We ignored those comments but it was still pretty insufferable. He just created a toxic atmosphere with awkward energy, made us both feel very uncomfortable and afraid to make requests or attempt conversation. Nevertheless, we had a few peaceful moments and saw many of the birds we came to Thailand to see. However, it was frustrating when we saw a hawk soar overhead and I got a photograph with clear visible details, but he wouldn't even really try to help me identify the bird. He just gestured to the book and said "there are hundreds of raptors in there... take your pick". All this time while claiming to be better than all the other guides out there...
His arrogance would have been tolerable if we hadn't arrived home and compared our photos to the field guide and consulted with actual experts, only to discover that several of his identifications were incorrect.
Overall, we enjoyed some great birding (cannot deny that he helped us see most of our target species), a comfortable van, delicious food, Jackie was a super nice guy, and Randy had a few good moments... but unless you have super thick skin I would recommend choosing a different company.
I am sorry to hear you had such a disappointing trip. No matter how hard we try we know we cannot please everyone. From the time we picked the clients up I thought this tour could be difficult On the way to the park I told them that Jackie would be the birding guide not me, he is very good and passionate about birding. I also said I had an accident a week ago and could not walk much as I injured my back and knee and was on medication. Another thing is I didn't sit in the van and smoke. I walked with them as much as I could listening to their comments to Jackie and watch as Jackie tried to point out birds. The clients knew in advance that I was in pain at times and could not walk far. They also knew Jackie was the guide not me.The thing was they would not stay with Jackie most of the time but wandered on their own looking for birds they heard that we close up, mostly seeing the same birds over an over again. I kept telling them to stay with Jackie.
After an hour or so they mentioned they only wanted birds that they could photograph close up and I knew that could be a problem as many of the birds were in the trees or in the distance which is not a problem for most as binoculars offered an excellent view however their small lens camera could not photograph them. This caused them to complain most of the tour saying "the birds are too far away". For this reason we took them to areas we knew the birds were close enough for their camera and they took some wonder photos.
I go along on the trips to monitor what is going on and make recommendation to Jackie or our other birding guides on when and where to bird with the clients depending on their comments and bird activity. We did everything we could for them to get the photos of bird they wanted.
I summary we have taken hundreds of clients birding and almost always give us a 4 or 5 star rating. They enjoy my company and the job our birding guide do.We also have clients who return to Thailand to bird in other areas with us such as Doi Lang and Chiang dao with excellent reports. I am sad they felt their time with us was disappointing but like I said we can't please everyone no mater how hard we try.
All the best,
We had a great day with Randy and his driver/birding guide Jackie. We are a family of four (two young adult children, two parents). We spent the morning near a reservoir not far from Chiang Mai, and the afternoon in a city park. We saw 21 species of birds. Randy and Jackie were competent and knowledgeable, took us to a great restaurant for lunch, and were flexible around the family's interests. Randy and Jackie also shared their binoculars as not all in our group brought them.
Thank you Tina for your kind review. 21 species pretty good for rainy season with no flowering trees, fruits or seeds.No need to travel far from Chiang Mai city to go birding and see beautiful species.
Jackie and Randy
The birdwatching tour was a very pleasant experience. We saw and identified 40 species of birds, including rare and endemic ones. At the birdwatching spots we could take our time and admire the colorful birds :) We were given a list of species in order to check the ones that we saw - very useful if you are new to exotic birds. The tour was well organised. We were offered cooled drinking water and had a tasty thai lunch at a local place. I recommend it to all bird-lovers!
Thank you Kat for the kind review. We are very passionate about bird watching and pleased to hear you had as much fun as we did. If you return to Thailand in the future try birding with us for 3 days or so in different areas to view more different species. Again thank you for your kind words.
My wife and I booked a 3-day/2-night birdwatching trip into Doi Inthanon. We were picked up promptly at 5:30 AM from our hotel in Chiang Mai by Randy and our driver, Jackie. As we were driving to drop off Randy. we were reminded by Randy that we owed the remaining cost in cash. We had neglected to read our invoice completely when it was sent at the time of booking. So we didn’t have the required cash. We stopped at an ATM and discovered our card had been suspended, which is another story. Randy was patient and flexible, and we ultimately got the matter resolved.
There were many aspects we liked about the birding trip. The scenery was great. We saw 96 species of birds in 3 days. Boontom was an excellent birder and Jackie was a safe and lovely driver. The food was delicious and plentiful (some of the best Thai soup we’ve ever had). However, the accommodation in the riverside bungalow was rough. The bed was like concrete with a single fleece blanket. There was no heat, so it was cold at night with lows in the 40s. My wife and I stayed plastered to each other all night to stay warm. The bathrooms are very basic and are “wet” bathrooms with demand hot water - not a place to linger. However, to put it in context, these bungalows are in a remote area, which is part of a village in the national park.
We are casual birders who didn’t prepare at all for this trip. Despite that, Boontom was very patient with us. He is excellent at locating birds and can quickly identify them by sight and call. Jackie enjoys birdwatching and photography and takes wonderful bird photos. They both took great care of us. Although we were happy to return to more comfortable accommodations in Chiang Mai (we are no longer young, budget travelers) this was a memorable trip and we are glad we did it.
Thank you for your kind review.
as the bungalows in the park are not being well maintained and service has gone down and no longer meet our standards plus their raising prices we no longer offer overnight birding trips to Doi Inthanon National Park. Most of the bungalow are now catering to the Chinese visitors who's standards are well below ours.
We still do day birding trips to Doi Inthanon National Park and near Chiang Mai with professional birding guides but return clients to their hotel in Chiang Mai nightly.
Thanks again for birding with us,
Despite the cost which may be a lot for many , if you would like an unique & tailored made experience of the culture and people of north Thailand region including serval different hill tribes, this is a trip you will enjoy.
We had a chance to meet and do a short walk with "uncle Dum "who speaks perfect English and can answer all your questions with a smile and good humour.
Our driver Bobby was a great and safe driver who also had a wonderful smile.
On our 2 day trip we saw a beautiful sunrise from a temple, stayed in a " home garden" near a river ran by a kind family with good food and saw a tea plantation after a beautiful drive high into the mountains.
Thank you for the kind review,
Price depends on how many persons in your party and type of accommodations. There were 2 in your party and overnight was at a small family owned resort in a beautiful air conditioned bungalow on the Kok riverside. If there were 4 persons the price would have been cut in half per person and doing the Home Stay at Uncle Dum's home instead of the resort would have cut the price further.
To make sure our clients enjoy a wonderful experience we only do private tours away from the normal tourist crowds. Our clients feel the experience is well worth the price. There are hundreds of tour operators that do the normal cookie cutter tours very cheap in Thailand. We provide experiences you will remember for a lifetime making friends while enjoying the local culture and nature.
Thank you again for the nice review,