Chantaburi – Swim and play with real Dolphins

Written by Frank on December 9th, 2009

© Frank P. Schneidewind

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The Town and Province of Chantaburi in Eastern Thailand borders the Gulf of Thailand between the Trat and Rayong Provinces. Laem Sing is a seaside Resort town with an unspectacular but nice beach, about 15 to 18 miles east of Chantaburi Town. Laem Sing offers one of the most underrated Tourist attractions west of Koh Chang and East of Pattaya.  Swimming and interacting with dolphins! Holiday folks from either place can contact local businesses to be ferried and brought back safely. On Koh Chang contact for example the reception at the Top Resort in White Sand Beach up on the Southern cliff, or any tour company/provider. A great daytrip fun for everyone as adults and kids enjoy this alike. I can recommend them as reliable organizers, which handle all needs and transport requirements including pick-up from your hotel!

Hourly artistic shows daily with a variety of fish are being held inside a larger stadium within Oasis Ocean World, a large park with 2 distinctive dolphin pools. One for the hourly show and one for the “Swimming with dolphins” attraction. Laem Singh dolphins are a real attraction.

The show is a Thai style copy of what you expect to see in Orlando’s or San Diego’s “SeaWorld” Themeparks, minus the whale-show of course, but mind you – admission here costs about 10 % of what you fork over the counter there! I have had the privilege to experience both of these American Water Theme Parks in the 90’s, which were mind blowing back then! But I also liked the local flair offered here. It’s a good “bang for the buck” and also a nice daytrip from either Koh Chang or Pattaya away.

Irrawaddy Dolphins were common once in Thailand, but only small colonies survived overfishing and pollution (Song Khla Lake). That they can be trained, was new to me, so we watched the show here, before our own pre-booked personal one.

Bottlenosed Dolphins are all over the world in tropical waters, they are probably the most intelligent marine mammals. You can shoot a lot of pictures during the show and it’s not a rip-off feature, like in the much applauded “Sanctuary of Truth” in Pattaya.  That one left an impression with us to be nothing, but a sad, overpriced tourist trap.

They are playful and show their repertoire in tricks and stunts. Laem Singh dolphins appear to be well trained.

 

Trainers seem to know what they are doing and announcements were done in English! To swim with dolphins, should be an upcoming highlight for us.


There is a set of rules and regulations, which must be followed and adhered to strictly, if you plan to participate in the Dolphin swimming option! In Thailand, swim with dolphins, was no longer a dream for Melona now.



Piercings on a persons body, zippers on garments worn or anything that can possibly damage the delicate skin of the dolphins has to be removed or taken off.

This interaction requires a small surcharge, but it is surely worth it, do not be disappointed if you desire to interact with the dolphins, but come in high season without a pre-booking! (Attention, prices were rumored to have escalated into the rip-off regions after our visit there)

4 people from the crowds get the chance at a time to undergo the small course in dolphin training, everyone takes care of “his” dolphin. The lucky 4 swim to a platform in the large pool and stay there for the duration of this. 2 persons at a time are doing the performance under supervision of a dolphin trainer, with another 2 people standing by for their turn!

The “reward” for the animal is always a small fish, given to the intelligent creature as an incentive to perform. Buckets kept near, contained these rewards. Everything seems to be well managed but the water quality itself needs a major improvement! Chlorine and other algae-combatants from the swimming pool industry can’t be used, because this is the habitat of sensitive marine mammals. The greenish waters are o.k. and safe for the animals, but it appeared a bit brackish to me and was absolute borderline for submerging in it. Showers for personal use before and after the show are provided on-site.

One person at a time has the option to be dragged by a Dolphin back to shore, which is a great experience and the finishing climax of the Dolphin interaction. A staff member will take your digicam and shoot some pics for you from this final event. It’s all over too sudden and really fun. Not comparable to swim with dolphins off Maui on Hawaii or interact with the mighty whalesharks near Sorsogon in the Philippines, but much more affordable for anybody and suitable for schoolkids as well. I’ve done it all in my past, but this attraction here is not just a cheap copy for a fraction of the price elsewhere. You go home with an experience that remains a very memorable one for long.



The transportation is gentle, not wild and the ride a real thrill to all. Your dolphin was pulling you like a torpedo!

Melona was only afraid to get any of that murky water in her mouth, the park owners need to improve this situation badly.


The beaches are only a few Kilometers from the Park entrance, but so are the Phliu Waterfalls inland from here. Talk with one of our recommended agents or one of your choice to book the Dolphin-Swim Adventure, when you are on Koh Chang or in Pattaya, it is worth the daytrip!

Dolphins in captivity are a controversial point of discussion, they sure belong into open oceans. But here the also nurse wounded creatures, which got caught in nets by fishermen and introduce the species to humankind in a decent manner. The pools are large and deep enough in my opinion, if compared to commercial aquariums. Vets and Dolphin handlers here seem to have the expertise to take good care of the animals and these appear joyful. I have not been able to witness any cruelty or mismanagement with these majestic creatures here at Oasis Sea World and was quite pleased with their operation. I appreciate their strict rules for any contact with them and hope that no questionable methods will be used to get these lovely creatures here. It is a great opportunity for all children and interested persons to meet these gentle giants, without a dangerous ocean trip to experience them in their natural habitats.

 

10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mike Phuket says:

    I have been in Thailand along time and never seen a dolphin show before so it is good to see it and it looks like alot fun.I will go there this year.I hope there are good hotels nearby.

    • SIAMPEDIA says:

      @ Mike Phuket

      Accommodation is to be had plentyful in Chantaburi itself! Just go there and inquire locally. You may also combine your trip with a visit to Koh Chang to get an idea, what Phuket was like over a decade ago 🙂
      Dolphin-swim-trips are also offered from resorts and hotels on K.C. island 😉

  2. Kasyna Po Polsku says:

    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material!

  3. Teresa says:

    Is this show available every year? We also had a similar show in our area but they only stayed for two years and then moved to a different location.

  4. Ilai says:

    I love dolphins! I remembered the first time I saw one of them was in the Philippines. Dolphins just swam beside the sailboat, that I could almost touch them! They are really cute creatures. 🙂 Perhaps, I could visit this place soon. 

  5. Ze Queen says:

    This is a must visit! Will try to fly here soon!

  6. lisa says:

    This is something I've always wanted to do…Are kids allowed to swim with the Dolphins also?

  7. SIAMPEDIA says:

    Unfortunately this attraction never reopened after their “closed for refurbishment” announcement. At least so far. We will keep checking if this changes as we are now a lot closer to it geographically (Koh Chang).

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