The Irrawaddy dolphins or freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Information on Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin between Laos and Cambodia. Time of year to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins

Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins

The most popular animal Si Phan Don It is the Irrawaddy dolphin, conmunmente called the Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin. These freshwater dolphins are named in honor of the Irrawaddy River (Irrawaddy) located in Burma, and although they also live in other parts of Southeast Asia, are frequently spotted in the waters of the river Mekong between Laos and Cambodia.



Information on Irrawaddy dolphins


Irrawaddy dolphins (or Irrawaddy dolphins) are a few mammals of blue-gray color, which can be up to 2.5 meters and normally live in groups of 6 in a 190-kilometer Strait between the islands of Don Khon (Laos) and the island Kratie (Cambodia).

Although freshwater dolphins are called and effectively ply the waters of the Mekong River, they are only able to survive in brackish water, i.e. water that it is more than freshwater, dissolved salts, but it is less salty than the sea water.

Although these dolphins are very popular in the South of Laos, also live in other parts of Southeast Asia, as for example in Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh), India, Cambodia, the River Mahakam (Indonesia), Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and the Philippines.


Tour to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins


Tours to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins are based on the Don Khon Island first thing in the morning. Hire a boat to sail the river mekong in search of Irrawaddy dolphins cost some 40,000 kip per person (approximately 4€), although the most popular tour is a 1 day tour where you visit the Khone Phapheng Falls, the Li Phi Falls and navigating the Mekong to try to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. These tours can be arranged in Pakse or directly on Si Phan Don.

When the Irrawaddy dolphins sighted?


The best time to spot the dolphins is first thing in the morning (between 7:00 and 10:00) or late in the afternoon (from 15:00 to 17:00), so 1 day tours leverage the Central hours of the day to visit the falls of Don Khon.

Irrawaddy dolphins can spot with relative facilididad during the dry season (December to may), since during the rainy season the water level rises very much and the water tends to be choppy and with a darker color due to the mud.

The dolphins need out of the water to breathe, they often come to the surface every 70-150 seconds, this small moment is the only time that we can see the Irrawaddy dolphins.

Related to Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin

  • Si Phan Don 4000 Islands of the Mekong River, south of Pakse route to Cambodia
  • Pakse Pakse City, the starting point for visiting Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
  • Li Phi Falls cataracts Somphamit calls, regular stop to see the Irrawaddy dolphins
  • Khone Phapheng Falls Falls near Irrawaddy dolphins