Prachuap Khiri Khan is a fishing town by the sea about 240 kilometres south of Bangkok. It is not the sea that has lured us here, but a small colony of Dusky Monkeys. We have always wanted to see these monkeys with the orange babies.

Baby Dusky Monkey
Baby Dusky Monkey

We stay on the beachfront at Sun Beach Guesthouse. Our room on the top floor has ocean views. We wake up to gorgeous sunrises fringed by limestone cliffs and colourful fishing boats bobbing in the sea.

dusky monkey
This is one adorable monkey.

The sea isn’t azure with white, sandy beaches lined with palm trees, but it is laid back and a nice place to relax. On the esplanade, a few local restaurants look over the ocean. If you love seafood, you will be in paradise. We eat at a few local restaurants including a cosy pizza place that makes the best and freshest pizzas, including vegetarian. There isn’t a lot of vegetarian options on the menus but most restaurants will happily create something special for vegetarians.

Prachuap Khiri Khan sunrise
Prachuap Khiri Khan sunrise

The Dusky Monkeys inhabit Ao Manao Beach, which is situated inside the Air Force Base about five kilometres away. The entrance is via the base, and you register when you enter and depart. The first morning we walk from Sun Beach Guesthouse and it takes about one hour. The next day we hire a motorbike from the guesthouse for 200 Baht a day. Bicycles are available for 50 Baht a day.

dusky monkey on our motorbike
This Dusky Monkey makes himself comfortable on our motorbike.

Ao Manao Beach is a lot nicer than the beach in town. The sheltered water is clear and remains shallow for a long distance out, which makes it great for families. On the beach, there are cool shady trees, food stalls and umbrellas. Further south, there is white sandy deserted beaches.

dusky monkey
They have a beautiful nature

The monkeys are wild but habituated. When they come down from the sacred mountain, they hang out on a rocky outcrop on the northern end of the beach.

Dusky Monkeys after eating dragon fruit
Dusky Monkeys after eating dragon fruit

The Duskys love human company. They approach closely and like to touch, but they are very gentle. Black arms of the older monkeys encircle fluffy orange babies tight to their chests until the older ones trust us. Black or grey, a long tail, black human-like hands and feet, this is one adorable monkey!

dusky monkey baby in mum's arms
Between six and ten months they will start to darken

Also known as the Spectacled Langur, they have vivid white circles around dark eyes that gaze serenely. Very affectionate with each other, they hold hands and hug. When one is told off, it is with a point of a furry black finger rather than aggression.

Dusky monkey baby playing
Dusky monkeys are very social.

Babies are born bright yellow or orange, and between six and ten months of age, they will start to darken. It is not known why they are born so bright; one theory is they play, wander away, and get lost, and being so bright they are found easily by the adults.

dusky monkeys sit on shoulder
Ray and dusky monkeys

The babies are popular among the troop and get passed around and fought over like little rag dolls. Even the males want their turn with these cute orange babies. Smothered with affection, the babies end up looking a little battered and bruised after the rough and tumble.

dusky monkeys and a baby
Babies are popular among the troop

We spend a couple of days watching these endangered primates. Their behaviour is endearing, and we have them and this little part of paradise mostly to ourselves.

dusky monkey sits in a tree
Dusky Monkeys are endangered

As cute and gentle as they are, they are not beyond thieving. So keep an eye on your belongings.

local thai food
Most local restaurants will prepare vegetarian meals. Here we have vegetables in red curry and vegetables with cashews and coconut rice.

Ao Manao is one of the best places to see a Dusky Monkey in the wild. A world away from the more popular beaches, Prachuap Khiri Khan is a nice escape from the touristy crowds and makes a nice stopover while travelling south.

Dusky monkey and baby in tree
The Dusky Monkeys inhabit Ao Manao Beach.
How to get to the Dusky Monkeys

From Bangkok

Taxi 3000 Baht.

Bus or minibus 500 Baht. Mini buses leave every couple of hours from the Victory Monument.

Trains depart twice a day from Bangkok 200-400 Baht.

Sunbeach Guest House
Sunbeach Guest House

We stay at Sunbeach Guesthouse. It is pretty and sparkly clean with gorgeous views. It’s also in a great location. The restaurants are within a few hundred metres along the esplanade. An Ocean view room is 1100 Baht for a night.

Sunrise Prachuap Khiri Khan
We wake to this beautiful view.

More of our Thailand Travel Stories

4 Responses to “Dusky Monkeys of Prachuap Khiri Khan”

  1. Marie Bell

    What a beautiful blog! How special! And who would know such unique creatures and out-of-the-way paradises exist without the contribution of people like you two? I have to say that you are both equally special! I have only just discovered this blog, but I will be following it from now on. I am truly impressed. As much by the concise and valuable information as the unbelievable (and obscure) variety of animals you have found and researched. For us couch potatoes to share! Fact. You bring magic into the realm of possibility. Or find it in ways that only the truly gifted can envision and present. Thank you so much for sharing! Your love for these special creatures is so obvious in your writing and the photography is superb! You inspire me to get off the couch and go see! I thank you on behalf of the animals, too. I don’t doubt that your efforts inspire others to join in the fight to save endangered species and their habitats. Well done! My best wishes to your endeavours, always, Marie Bell.

    Reply
  2. Ray & Sue

    Hi Marie thanks for your comment. We are glad we have inspired you! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about this or any of our other trips.

    Reply
  3. That baby monkey is adorable! I didn’t think anything could be cuter than the puppies at the Puppy Bowl, but I have been proven wrong. He looks so sweet, cuddled up with his mother. I have always wanted to go to Thailand but haven’t had the opportunity yet. These pictures are definitely the right motivation, though. Actually, one of my college roommates was from Bangkok and she invited me to visit her. After looking through these pictures, I think I might have to take her up on her offer. It’s definitely time to take advantage of those vacation days. Thanks for the great pictures!

    Reply
    • Hi Natasha. They really are so adorable! You are guaranteed to see them if you visit as they are humanised. Thailand is a great place to visit whether you want to go off the beaten path or the usual touristy places. If we were you, we would definitely take up your college roommate’s offer. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Reply

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