Whale vomit worth millions


When Narit Suwansang was taking a walk along Laem Thalumphuk beach, the last thing on his mind was becoming a millionaire.

But as luck would have it, the 60-year-old fisherman stumbled upon a huge chunk of what seemed to be a beige mineral-like object. What he didn’t know was that he had found ambergris – or simply, whale vomit -; a highly valuable substance that would bring him a fortune.


Couldn’t carry it on his own


whale vomit
Narit Suwansang found the whale vomit end-November while at Laem Thalumphuk beach in Nakhon Sri Thammarat
Image credit: Wartakotalive.com

Coconuts Bangkok reported that Suwansang had returned home to get his family members’ help to carry the strange object he’d found. However, he turned to Google to find out what it was. To check if he’d really found whale vomit, he brought a lighter to the mass – it then went waxy like a candle, which is typical of ambergris.

The chunk found by the fisherman weighed up to 100kg – one of the heaviest discoveries ever. This brought its worth up to ~฿100 million (~USD3.3 million), making Suwansang an overnight millionaire.

He shared that a businessman in Phuket had offered to pay him ฿960,000 per kg depending on the quality of his find. Experts in the field have also been invited to inspect the chunk of chunder.


Not the first time in Thailand


whale vomit
Image credit: Yahoo News

If you want to have a go at becoming a surprise millionaire, Thailand’s beaches might be your best bet. In 2019, fisherman Jumrus Thiachot fetched ฿10.5 million, (~USD 470,000) after finding a 6.5kg chunk of ambergris in Koh Samui.

Ambergris rakes in the dough due to how much it is valued by perfumers as a “fixative”. This refers to it being used in fragrances to make scents last longer. It is made up of a secretion of the bile duct in sperm whales and takes years to form, making it a rare and precious find.

whale vomit
Image credit: The Sun

In the same year, scavenger Surachet Chanchu was walking along a beach in Songkhla looking for recyclables when he found 16kg of whale vomit on the beach that was worth ~฿20 million. Other cases have been reported throughout the years as well.


Precious whale spew worth millions of dollars


The moral of the story is that something so seemingly gross can actually end up being a precious find worth millions; one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure!

Who knows – you may be the next lucky “winner” and planning a retirement on Thailand’s islands might not be that unrealistic after all.


Featured images adapted from: Wartakotalive.com, Sanook

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