If you’re thinking of diving in Thailand, you may be wondering if sharks are present in the waters. Sharks can be found throughout Thailand, although different species inhabit different areas. If you’re looking to dive with sharks, there are a few locations where you can do so safely. Keep reading for everything you need to know about sharks in Thailand!
What shark species are in Thailand?
Thailand is home to over 20 species of sharks, including whale sharks, leopard sharks, nurse sharks, reef sharks (Blacktip, Whitetip, and Grey reef sharks), Zebra sharks, and Grey Bamboo sharks.
There aren’t any Great White sharks in Thailand, but very rare seeings of Tiger and Bull sharks. Usually, divers can’t come across them here, because they prefer to stay in deep waters.
Best places to scuba dive with sharks in Thailand
If you’re looking for a safe way to dive with some of these amazing creatures, there are several locations that offer guided tours. In Phuket, Similan Islands National Park offers boat trips out to nearby reefs, where you can observe reef sharks in their native habitat. In Krabi, you can take a day trip to the Ao Nang islands and dive with nurse sharks that are often seen resting in caves during low tide.
The famous Maya Bay from the movie The Beach featuring Leonardo DiCaprio on Koh Phi-Phi is known for Blacktip Reef Sharks. In fact, coral recreation projects in recent years brought many sharks back. Also, Maya Bay was closed for tourists during Covid to let the reef heal.
Although you may have better chances to see the Blacktip reef sharks on a snorkeling trip here, you can spot them swimming by. I personally saw them better from the surface. They love the shallow, rocky waters.
Leopard sharks can also be found along the coasts of southern Thailand, while reef and nurse sharks tend to inhabit deeper waters near coral reefs.
Whitetip and Zebra sharks are nocturnal hunters, meaning they hunt at night and sleep during the day. Therefore, they are rare to see on a scuba diving trip.
Whale sharks in Thailand
Whale Sharks are the largest species that can be found in Thailand, with specimens reaching up to 18 meters in length! These gentle giants are a common sight in the waters around Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui, as well as Koh Lipe, where they feed on plankton near the surface.
The best chance of seeing this fascinating animal is between March and June.
Reported shark attacks in Thailand
It’s important to remember that while some species of shark have been known to attack humans, these incidents are extremely rare. Since the recording of 1900 there have been 5 reported shark accidents in Thailand:
Unfortunately, two of them were fatal. The latest shark attack in Thailand to kill a human was in 2000.
By following the advice of experienced dive instructors, it is perfectly safe for divers of all levels to observe these incredible animals in their natural environment.
Sharks are an integral part of the marine environment in Thailand and can be a thrilling experience for any diver. To ensure your safety, always follow the advice of knowledgeable dive instructors and never venture out into shark-inhabited waters without proper supervision. With some luck and patience, you may even get to see one of these majestic creatures up close!