For about five weeks during October and September I went MIA from the forum (that's "Missing In Asia"). I've been saving for quite a long time already for my next trip but because that one will be a Mega Trip and not just a Big Trip - and because there have been a few unexpected things I have had to fork over lots of money for - I suspected I wouldn't have enough money by the time the intended departure date came around at the start of 2020, so I've pushed it back another year to somewhere around the start of 2021. I hadn't been overseas for TWO years though - I came back from my last trip in mid-2017 - and that's not really acceptable. Therefore I planned out a quick trip where I would basically jump around a few different places, mostly targeting specific mammals I hadn't seen yet but for which I'd found (supposedly)-reliable sites. You could legitimately say this trip was mostly just a mammal-twitching trip (and I got nine new mammals, so it worked out quite well). I was trying to keep my pack weight down so I left my laptop at home and consequently was absent from the forum and out of contact with the world for most of the trip. That's why the writing of this trip thread is so far removed from the actual trip date. I find it much more difficult writing reports after the trip than I do during the trip, because all the normal work-life routines get in the way. Plus it is much easier writing about interesting things soon after they happen as opposed to months later. Hopefully it will all work out. Probably don't expect constant posts though - maybe one per week if lucky. My bag was still a bit heavier than I wanted even without the laptop - my check-in pack weighed 9.6kg (or 10kg on some airport scales, even with exactly the same contents) and my carry-on weighed about 4kg. The carry-on bag is for the "essential" breakables like camera and binoculars, but there was enough spare space in my main pack to put everything in there when not on a plane (i.e. I didn't have to walk around carrying two bags). It's funny how much very little ends up weighing. Normally in my trip threads I like to keep some mystery about where I'm off to on each step, but I've already posted the route and lists in the Big Year thread (and cannibalised that post for this post). So below is the outline of the trip: SYDNEY I had one night and the following day in Sydney, so I spent them at Warriewood Wetlands and Centennial Park. Targets: Sugar Glider and Southern Long-nosed Bandicoot at Warriewood; and Powerful Owl at Centennial Park. SINGAPORE There were two main objectives for my two days in Singapore. Firstly to visit Jurong before it closed, and see the Spix's Macaws, Lear's Macaws, and Philippine Eagles (I saw the last two, but the Spix's refused to show). Secondly to look for a pangolin. There is a particular spot where more than a handful of mammalwatchers have seen a Sunda Pangolin. One of those people was @lintworm and it is totally unacceptable for another moderator to have seen a wild pangolin when I have not. I know almost all the moderators have seen captive pangolins (it is a requirement of becoming a moderator) but a wild pangolin is a whole different ball-game. I wasn't actually that hopeful of seeing one, but I had my fingers crossed. Targets: Sunda Pangolin. MALAYSIA After Singapore I crossed over the strait to Peninsular Malaysia and headed to the Panti Forest for general animal-watching (mainly to try and see the local subspecies of Banded Leaf Monkeys), then went all the way up to Taiping to visit the Taiping Zoo (hoping their Marbled Cat was still on display, which it was). I also spent a day-ish at Maxwell Hill for Agile Gibbons, then a couple of days at Bukit Fraser, and then flew to Thailand. Targets: Banded Leaf Monkey and Agile Gibbon. THAILAND A couple of years ago (right after my last trip ended, annoyingly) I had found out about a couple of temples in the north of Thailand which are visited by habituated Assamese Macaques and Indochinese Grey Langurs respectively. I was in Thailand for less than three days, solely to visit these two spots. I felt a bit stupid going there just to dash between two temples to see habituated monkeys (the macaques in particular only come there for food), but I'd been waiting for a trip that I could tie them into and this was it. Targets: Assamese Macaque and Indochinese Grey Langur. LAOS The second of the aforementioned Thai temples is at Loei, which is not far from the main border-crossing with Laos, so it made sense to add that into the mix as well. This was the only "new" country of the trip. I went to a place called Ban Na Hin which has not fared well with poachers apparently and I saw very little, so I bailed and went back to Thailand. Targets: Laotian Langur and Bald-headed Bulbul. THAILAND again The original intention here was to just be passing through Thailand, basically travelling down from Laos to Bangkok the day before my flight homewards. However I had a bit longer here than anticipated (due to abandoning Laos) and managed to get in some birding at some of the local spots around Bangkok with wavering success. Targets: none. BRISBANE When sorting out the travel plans for this trip I discovered that there are now direct flights between Bangkok and Brisbane with Thai Air Asia, which only started in June this year. I'd only been to Brisbane once before, in 2008, and it rained every day I was there, so I was hoping to add at least a few new species to my life lists on this visit. Targets: Greater Glider, Squirrel Glider, Little Red Flying Fox, Dugong, and Australian Humpback Dolphin. I'd count the trip as successful. Of my thirteen "target mammals" I saw eight of them which, given that I generally only had one or two chances for each one, was a better-than-expected total. I only had one real "target bird", which was Powerful Owl, but the "always reliable" birds at Centennial Park in Sydney hadn't been seen in a few weeks so I missed out on those. I saw ten other life-birds though - three in Asia and the other seven in Queensland. Because there was rather more "travelling-between-places" than "being-in-places", relatively few of the days in Asia could be used for all-day birding - in fact, in Thailand (the first time I went through) there were no birding days at all, and literally all of the birds I saw were from bus windows or while walking along the road. So the three life-birds I did see in Asia were a welcome surprise. Out of interest, I counted up how many of the birds in my southeast Asia field guide I have seen. The book contains about 1290 species including all the vagrants and stragglers. Of those I have seen 860 species - two-thirds - hence why I see so few new birds when travelling there. There are still a handful of common birds which somehow I haven't managed to see yet, but mostly the ones I'm missing are species which have very restricted distributions, are reclusive rainforest-dwellers, or are just vagrants which I'm unlikely to see anyway.