Asia advice for wildlife trek

Hello everyone! I am hoping to get some savvy mammal heavy travel advice regarding a few of my upcoming trips. I have just found out that I have 2 weeks free in late December early January and I am trying to put together a hiking trip in South or Southeast Asia to see as much wildlife as possible in cat territory (I am studying my MS to be a felid conservation biologist).

I am currently living in Thailand and so nothing is too far. My original ideas of Sumatra or Sabah have fallen through based on rainy seasons and so now I am looking into Bardia or Chitwan National Park in Nepal. I have read trip reports here that some people have taken multi-day guided hikes through Bardia and I was wondering if anyone has any contact details regarding a professional guide that you recommend?

I would also be willing to hear suggestions if anyone has a good connection here in Thailand as well for Huai Kha Kaeng, Krang Krachan NP, etc.

Lastly… this upcoming June I am heading to the Pantanal in Brazil and I have been trying for months unsuccessfully to get in touch with guide Julinho Monteiro of Pantanal Trackers (http://www.pantanaltrackers.com.br/). Anyone know of another guide with an excellent reputation (and one that is affordable)?  Thank you!

Evan

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12 Comments on “Asia advice for wildlife trek”

  1. vdinets Says:

    I’ve been in Sabah and Taman Negara during the rainy season and it was really nice. But if you’d rather avoid rain altogether, you can do long hikes along the border of Sasan Gir in Gujarat – just get to the village at the main park entrance and talk to park rangers privately. Something similar might also be possible in Yala in Sri Lanka.

  2. tomeslice Says:

    Hi Evan,

    Sorry I don’t have much info on South East Asia (aside from the places you’re avoiding due to the rainy season)

    But as far as the Pantanal goes – for the Northern Pantanal, there’s Eduardo Falcao of Jaguar Eco Lodge:
    rejaguar@bol.com.br

    He knows his mammal watchers, and is the contact I used for my short trip in the Northern Pantalan (7 days Pantanal+Chapada dos Guimaraes).

    Hope this helps!
    Tomer

  3. Steve Firth Says:

    Hi Evan,

    In 2010 we visited Chitwan and the Guide we used was Mr Tika Ram Giri (info@gaidalodge.com). He is an excellent bird guide, but also is very good on mammals. He told us at the time that he also did trips to Bardia.

    With regards to the Pantanal, it is unlikely that you will find a guide that fits into your description of “affordable”, if you do find one please post the details.

    We used Eduardo Falcao in July this year in the northern Pantanal and he is very good. In the south of the Pantanal we stayed at Fazenda San Francisco (contact Roberta Coelho ropcoelho@gmail.com). This was more affordable and we saw ocelot on many occasions and a pantanal cat. They do sometimes see Jaguar (and even puma) but nowhere near as regularly as they are seen from Porto Jofre in the northern Pantanal. Our trip report is on the Brazil section of mammalwatching.com.

    Good luck,
    Steve


    • Thank you very much Steve. I will email Mr. Tika Ram Giri and see what he says about trips to Bardia and Chitwan. I hope that Nepal’s current political situation doesn’t make a trip impossible. There is quite a bit of unrest along the border of India at the moment from what I hear.

  4. PandaSmith Says:

    Hey Even – loads of options here in Thailand. Huai Kha Khaeng is epic but getting in to the core area is next to impossible. But there are interesting species to be seen in the visitors areas near the HQ – but even that would need a visit to the Forestry Department well ahead of time for the permits. It’s just not meant for tourists. IT is mostly for VIP’s and scientists and the otherwise well-connected. Khaeng Krachan is great too and is easier to enter. You will definitely need wheels to get in and around though – but you can get to the western most camping grounds for some great mammals. Khao Yai will give you ten or so species fairly easily. Koh Lanta is good for Sunda Slow Loris and Colugo, etc. A lot would depend on your time and budget. A vehicle is a necessity for sure – a good guide would be advised too. When are you coming?


    • Thank you for the comment! I have 2 weeks to play around with in late December of this year. I would love to go to Huai Kha Kaeng, but like you said, I am having trouble finding a connection that can get me into the core area. If Nepal falls through, I may try to get to Kaeng Krachan. Do you know a good guide that can get me off the beaten path and into the forest? Thanks!

      • PandaSmith Says:

        Som and I work only with ourselves here in Thailand since we’re locals, but the guides listed in Jon’s Thailand trip reports are supposed to be excellent although I have never personally worked with them. But they are the ones I would recommend based on others’ experiences. They can more than likely get you in to the buffer zone at HKK as well. That is worth the trip for Banteng and jungle cat and Asiatic jackals and others. We are going to be in Lanta Island in late December and would be happy to take you out spotlighting in that time if you are interested – there is a small stretch that is good for loris…. But that time of year will be packed with Europeans on holiday too so that is a consideration…

    • evangreenspan Says:

      Thank you so much for the offer to take me out spotlighting on Lanta in late December. That is incredibly kind of you! I am still unsure of my plans yet. I am trying to organize my trek in Nepal (but things move slow) with a friend of mine from the USA. If I end up staying in Thailand, I very well may accompany you. I will keep you informed for sure! Thanks again.

  5. Miles Foster Says:

    test

  6. Miles Foster Says:

    Hi, Evan,

    PANTANAL: Stayed with SouthWild both at Fazenda Santa Tereza and on the houseboat in 2011 – highly recommended – terrific jaguar-watching, giant otters, hyacinth macaws etc. Our guide was the excellent Benedito de Freitas – don’t know if he is still guiding or works freelance but SouthWild could advise.

    BARDIA: Visited 2013. We were told wildlife depleted in recent years by poaching. Saw one tiger – others were luckier – and two one-horned rhino. Tiger Tops organisation – probably outside your price bracket – but does organise treks and Chief Naturalist at their Bardia Lodge, Ram Din Mahato, might be able to recommend a guide.

    Miles Foster

  7. Paul Carter Says:

    Hi Evan. I am based out of Phuket but a WCS friend of mine living in Bangkok might have info for you. Email me at pcc66xx @ gmail.com and I can put you in touch with him. Paul Carter


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