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THE MALAY PENINSULA

Birdquest’s Malay Peninsula, West Malaysia birding tour explores one of the richest areas for birds in Southeast Asia, featuring Kuala Selangor, Bukit Tinggi, Fraser's Hill, the famous Taman Negara National Park and Panti Bird Sanctuary. If you have birded Southeast Asia further north you will have been struck by just how many species in the field guide are limited to the Malay Peninsula. Here is the chance to see the great majority, including a series of specialities. This is the best tour for seeing the strange Rail-babbler, now a monotypic bird family, the splendid Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, Mangrove Pitta and many other great birds.

Thursday 18th July — Sunday 28th July 2019
(11 days)


Panti Forest & Rail-babbler Extension: Sunday 28th July — Thursday 1st August (5 days)

Leader: a Birdquest leader

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

We'll try hard to find the shy but magnificent Rufous-collared Kingfisher (this is the male) (Pete Morris)

We'll try hard to find the shy but magnificent Rufous-collared Kingfisher (this is the male) (Pete Morris)

The long, narrow Malay Peninsula, which encompasses both West Malaysia and southern Thailand, offers some of the most exciting birding in South-East Asia, possessing an enormously rich avifauna. For birdwatchers it is the awe-inspiring rainforests that still survive here that are the prime attraction. Rainforests are the richest habitat on earth and those of South-East Asia are thought to be the oldest of all. There are more tree species found here than in the forests of Amazonia and this floristic wealth is reflected in the remarkable diversity of the forest avifauna. Formerly the entire peninsula was covered with these lush forests but clearance for rubber and oil-palm plantations and other uses has taken its toll. Nonetheless, extensive areas remain.

The Malay Peninsula is definitely a classic destination for anyone wanting to see tropical Asian birds: after India and the Himalayas, Thailand and Vietnam, the next obvious gap on the Asian mainland is here. Good accommodations and food, and pleasant travelling conditions, makes birding in the area a pleasure. This comprehensive tour concentrates on the finest areas for birds in West Malaysia.

First we shall visit the mangroves and coastal habitats at Kuala Selangor, where specialities include Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and, with luck, Buffy Fish Owl.

From the coast we will climb up into the highlands to visit Bukit Tinggi, where the once near-impossible Mountain Peacock-Pheasant has become much easier to see!

Afterwards we will move on to Fraser’s Hill, an attractive hill-station. The excellent broadleaved evergreen forests surrounding the resort offer a sharply contrasting avifauna to that of the lowlands, including many species of Himalayan origin such as Pygmy Wren-Babbler and Long-tailed Sibia, as well as more localized specialities like Fire-tufted Barbet, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Javan Cuckooshrike, the endemic Malayan Whistling Thrush, Rufous-browed and Pygmy Blue Flycatchers, Blue Nuthatch, the handsome Black Laughingthrush and the endemic Malayan Laughingthrush (split from Chestnut-crowned). More difficult specialities include the endemic Malayan Partridge, Ferruginous Partridge, Yellow-vented Green Pigeon, Rusty-naped Pitta and Marbled Wren-Babbler.

Finally, after travelling by boat into the interior of the peninsula, we shall come to the immense Taman Negara National Park. The reserve protects by far the largest remaining tract of virgin rain forest in the Malay Peninsula and is widely considered to be amongst the finest reserves in the world. A visit to Taman Negara is a profound experience for any naturalist. On entering the forest one is immediately overwhelmed by the awesome tranquillity and timelessness of this vast natural cathedral. Lofty evergreen trees with their huge buttress roots, luxuriant lower storey undergrowth, clambering lianas, spectacular butterflies and strange-looking insects are all integral features of this superbly-balanced and stable environment which is the end-product of millions of years of evolution.

The bewildering variety of birds, ranging from the stately Crested Fireback and magnificent Rhinoceros Hornbill to forest floor gems like Garnet Pitta and Striped Wren-Babbler, includes the full range of South-East Asia’s lowland forest families. Other specialities we have a good chance of observing include Black-thighed Falconet, Large Green Pigeon, Black-bellied Malkoha, Blue-rumped Parrot, Reddish Scops Owl, Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Banded Woodpecker, Banded Pitta, Black Magpie, Crested Jay, Black-throated and White-necked Babblers, Large Wren-Babbler, Long-billed Spiderhunter and Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker. We should also come across at least one of Taman Negara’s most difficult specialities, which include the extraordinary Great Argus, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher.

During the optional extension we shall visit Panti Bird Sanctuary (also known as Panti Forest Reserve), close to the Singapore border, where the key target is the strange and wonderful Rail-babbler, a species so unique it is now placed in its own family. Naturally this has made this unusual species even more sought-after by birders than ever before. Panti is probably the most reliable site for this species anywhere, but is also home to an excellent array of other lowland Sundaic forest species, some of which are unlikely to be found elsewhere on the tour, including Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon and Red-crowned Barbet.

Birdquest has operated tours to the Malay Peninsula since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are of good standard throughout. Road transport is by small coach and roads are good.

Walking: The walking effort is easy to moderate.

Climate: At lower altitudes many days are hot, dry and sunny, but overcast and rainy weather is not infrequent. At higher altitudes at Fraser’s Hill conditions are similar but temperatures range from warm to cool. It is often very humid in the lowlands.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: BORNEO (SABAH & SARAWAK)

These are provisional prices

Tour Price: £3090, €3650, $4050 Kuala Lumpur/Kuala Lumpur. Rail-babbler Extension: £1180, €1400, $1550.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £430, €507, $563. Extension: £160, €189, $210.

Deposit: £400, €480, $520. Extension: £150, €180, $200.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

The magnificent Crested Fireback at Taman Negara (Doug Ormston, tour participant)

The magnificent Crested Fireback at Taman Negara (Doug Ormston, tour participant)

Reddish Scops Owl is regularly seen on this tour  (Pete Morris)

Reddish Scops Owl is regularly seen on this tour (Pete Morris)

Streaked Spiderhunters are often photogenic at Fraser's Hill (Chris Kehoe)

Streaked Spiderhunters are often photogenic at Fraser's Hill (Chris Kehoe)

... as are superb Silver-eared Mesias (Doug Ormston, tour participant)

... as are superb Silver-eared Mesias (Doug Ormston, tour participant)

Whiskered Treeswift is a common but attractive species (Pete Morris)

Whiskered Treeswift is a common but attractive species (Pete Morris)

The female Rufous-collared Kingfisher is almost as impressive as the male! (Pete Morris)

The female Rufous-collared Kingfisher is almost as impressive as the male! (Pete Morris)

Bee-eaters do not come much better than the gorgeous, forest-loving Red-bearded Bee-eater (Pete Morris)

Bee-eaters do not come much better than the gorgeous, forest-loving Red-bearded Bee-eater (Pete Morris)

The wonderful Taman Negara is still cloaked in virgin forest (Chris Kehoe)

The wonderful Taman Negara is still cloaked in virgin forest (Chris Kehoe)

Rhinoceros Hornbill is one of those unforgettable birds  (Chris Kehoe)

Rhinoceros Hornbill is one of those unforgettable birds (Chris Kehoe)

With luck we'll come across a rarity such as the reptile-loving White-crowned Hornbill (Pete Morris)

With luck we'll come across a rarity such as the reptile-loving White-crowned Hornbill (Pete Morris)

As is Orange-breasted Trogon  (Dave Farrow)

As is Orange-breasted Trogon (Dave Farrow)

A series of colourful tropical kingfishers is likely to include Rufous-backed Kingfisher  (Pete Morris)

A series of colourful tropical kingfishers is likely to include Rufous-backed Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

...Banded Kingfisher  (Dave Farrow)

...Banded Kingfisher (Dave Farrow)

and the impressive Stork-billed Kingfisher  (Pete Morris)

and the impressive Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

Broadbills are a feature of the tour. This is a Banded Broadbill  (Pete Morris)

Broadbills are a feature of the tour. This is a Banded Broadbill (Pete Morris)

Just as impressive is Black-and-yellow Broadbill  (Pete Morris)

Just as impressive is Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Pete Morris)

Crested Fireback in display  (Doug Ormston)

Crested Fireback in display (Doug Ormston)

Spectacled Laughingthriush is a speciality of Fraser's Hill  (Doug Ormston)

Spectacled Laughingthriush is a speciality of Fraser's Hill (Doug Ormston)

... and here we will look for the tiny Pygmy Wren-Babbler (or Cupwing) (Pete Morris)

... and here we will look for the tiny Pygmy Wren-Babbler (or Cupwing) (Pete Morris)

And there is a good chance of the splendid Buffy Fish Owl  (Simon Harrap)

And there is a good chance of the splendid Buffy Fish Owl (Simon Harrap)

... or the smart Broon Hawk-Owl (or Boobook) (Pete Morris)

... or the smart Broon Hawk-Owl (or Boobook) (Pete Morris)

A good variety of flycatchers are possible including the scarce Grey-chested Jungle-Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

A good variety of flycatchers are possible including the scarce Grey-chested Jungle-Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

... the smart but skulking Rufous-browed Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

... the smart but skulking Rufous-browed Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

... and the widespread Little Pied Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

... and the widespread Little Pied Flycatcher (Pete Morris)

Fruiting trees attract a great variety of colourful pigeons, such as this Thick-billed Pigeon (Chris Kehoe)

Fruiting trees attract a great variety of colourful pigeons, such as this Thick-billed Pigeon (Chris Kehoe)

... and barbets, such as this Black-browed Barbet (Pete Morris)

... and barbets, such as this Black-browed Barbet (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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