Once I had heard a student mention about wild pink dolphins in Thailand, I put it to the top of my Thailand bucket list and made it my mission to seek these pink dolphins out. One of the things that continues to amaze me, even after three years of living in Thailand, is both the range of species and wildlife that lives here and also how quiet and untouched by tourism some areas still are. If you are looking for the real unseen Thailand with no tourists, then consider a visit to Nakhon Si Thammarat province. There is so much more that I want to explore here, so watch this space. I spent a weekend down in Khanom with the aim of seeing the pink dolphins and they did not disappoint!
The moment when two pretty big dolphins approached our boat!
How and Where to see Pink Dolphins
We arranged a private long tail boat with a local fisherman through our guesthouse. We had a basic and reasonably priced bungalow (around 600 baht) and down a small green path was the empty stretch of 4km Nadan beach, which I think must be the quietest beach in Thailand! Bear in mind because this is a non-touristy destination there will not be many options for restaurants and cafes. On Saturday and Sunday the place will be busier but weekdays there was nobody around, a great less touristy place in Thailand.
Pink Dolphin Tours and Boat Trips
For the pink dolphin trip, I recommend booking through your hotel. If you are lucky or in a group, there is a full day trip costing around 1000 that includes dolphin spotting, waterfalls and some small island exploring and lunch. It was so quiet that this tour did not have enough people to run, so my friend and I paid 700 baht each for a morning pink dolphin spotting boat trip. Turns out no-one else was on the boat so we ended up on a private long tail boat. Remember a tip goes a long way in Thailand and it is always appreciated (even though people may not show it at first!).
The Pink Dolphins
In all honestly, the dolphins did not look SUPER pink, though I have seen some pinker dolphins in photos. Not that much is known about these pink dolphins who are a sub-species of white Chinese dolphins. It is thought there are around 2000 in the wild and around 150 in Thailand. It felt a completely ethical animal experience, which can be rare in Thailand.
I was lucky enough to spot around 8 pink dolphins in two areas, not far from the mainland. The only other boats we could see were longtail fishing boats – about 2 of them which was so refreshing. Compared with other busy dolphin watching trips I have taken in places like Indonesia and the Philippines, it felt really good to be the only people there and not be ‘chasing’ the dolphins. The dolphins were much bigger than dolphins I had seen before and at one point even came really close to the boat. We could hear them making noises through the blowholes and at one point even heard them ‘squeak’ to each other. We also spotted a baby pink dolphin. It’s magic moments like this that make me fall in love with Thailand a little bit more.
Where to stay in Khanom to see the pink dolphins
We stayed in a guesthouse, called Bansomnee Guesthouse really close to the beach and I recommend doing this so that it is easy to get around. I always compare prices for guesthouses and look at reviews on booking or agoda.
Want to see wild pink dolphins for yourself?
Useful Advice for Seeing Pink Dolphins
How to get to Khanom to see the wild pink dolphins
I did the ‘fly and ride’ service with Nok Air from Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat airport which then includes a transfer minivan to Khanom itself. (Thanks to Emily for this useful information!) It’s a sleepy spread out village with a small amount of accommodation and mostly advertises pink dolphin watching.
What else to do in Khanom, Nakon Si Thammarat
After our dolphin spotting experience, our boat driver took us to visit a few uninhabited islands with some very unusual rock formations. Some of them have layers which give them the name ‘pancake’ rocks and another tiny island has a Buddhist shrine and great viewpoint to look at.
Well named ‘pancake’ rocksInterested in more untouched and non touristy areas in Thailand? Read my post here
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