Not many animals are both loved and feared as much as sharks. We divers love sharks and cherish our encounters with them, while most of the (as yet) non-diving community live with a phobia of these creatures.

In this article we will list the varieties of shark in Thailand that divers are likely to come across, but it is not just an article for divers.

It is also for you, our non-diving friends, so that we may demystify and hopefully take away some of your fears concerning sharks. Swimmers and snorkelers, you too can learn to love these animals and come to realise that there is nothing to fear 🙂

diving with whale shark thailand

 

So, what kinds of shark are there in Thailand?

First, a little background. There are around 440 different species of sharks worldwide. Sharks live in all seas around the world and are found both near the coast and in the open water. There are also shark species that live in the shallow waters and others that reside in the deep ocean. In Thailand, 14 different species of shark have been identified.

These includes the following 8 species, most of which scuba divers encounter more or less regularly.

 

8 shark species you can see while diving in Thailand

The following 7 shark species are those which we regularly encounter at dive sites in Thailand. Sharks can be seen at almost all the sites frequented by Sea Bees Diving. Some spots are more suitable than others, so here we list not only the shark species, but also indications on when and where you can see them best.

 

Leopard Sharks

Leopard sharks are among the most common sharks that divers experience around Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands. This species, which we commonly refer to as Leopard shark, is officially called Zebra shark, the name inspired by its colorings as a juvenile. Zebra (or Leopard sharks) are up to 2.5 metres in length and live in depths of 5 to 30 metres, occasionally deeper.

They spend most of the day resting on sand or gravel surfaces. At daytime, you will only tend to see them swimming if they have been frightened by another dive group and are moving to a new place.

Leopard sharks are active at dawn and during nighttime, feeding on mussels, crabs, shrimps and snails. They are completely harmless to humans and very popular with divers as they can be carefully approached and observed from a close distance. Best places to dive with leopard sharks are, among others, Shark Point, Phi Phi Island and Koh Haa  

Leopard Shark, Phuket, Thailand

 

Blacktip Reef Shark

While Leopard sharks do not fit the classical idea of what ​​a shark is “supposed” to look like, the Blacktip reef shark does. With their sleek, slender form and greyish color, they are precisely what most of us imagine when we think of sharks.

They are named for the black-colored tips on their dorsal and pectoral fins. Blacktip reef sharks grow 1.6 – 2 metres long and are mainly found in coastal areas up to a maximum depth of 60 metres. Because they also like being in shallower waters, the Blacktip is one of the shark species that even snorkelers will often get to see.

Their diet consists of fish and invertebrate animals, but they will also hunt smaller sharks and rays. They are completely harmless to humans. Blacktips are very interesting for divers because they are often found in small groups and are not very shy.

They are happy to swim circles around divers and view them from a safe distance. Best places to dive with Blacktip reef sharks are at the Phi Phi Islands and the Similans.  

blacktip reef sharks thailand    

Bamboo Sharks

The next shark species often encountered when diving in Thailand are Bamboo sharks. Bamboo sharks have numerous subspecies; the one represented here in Thailand is the Gray Bamboo Shark.

This is a shark which is small in size and is anything but terrifying. They have a body length of 80 centimetres maximum. These little sharks, who usually gather in groups under corals or in small columns are actually very cute 🙂

Because of their similar appearance, they are sometimes confused with their much larger cousins, the Nurse sharks. Although they are not uncommon, they are best spotted with the use of a lamp as they are often found hiding under corals, in car tires and the like.

Best places to see Bamboo sharks are: Shark Point, Anemone Reef, Koh Dok Mai and the King Cruiser Wreck.

But they are pretty much everywhere.  

bamboo shark, Phuket, Thailand  

Whale Sharks

Let’s go from the smallest shark to the largest one. Largest not only in Thailand but in all of the world. Whale sharks are the biggest sharks on the planet with lengths of over 12 meters.

And they are at the top of the wish list for many divers. Whale sharks are huge, and completely harmless to humans. These gentle giants feed exclusively on plankton and not on other fish.

For divers and snorkelers, they do not pose any danger. In fact, they are very friendly and even want to be close to us. In Thailand, the chances of diving with whale sharks is not bad.

The best places for Whale sharks in Thailand are Koh Tachai and the Richelieu Rock, which can best be reached on diving safaris to the Similans, which depart from our diving base in Pak Meng, as well as in the south at Koh Haa, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang.  

whale shark diving similans    

Whitetip Reef sharks

The Whitetip reef shark, like the Blacktip reef shark, is named for the distinctive markings on the tips of its fins. However, unlike Blacktips, Whitetip reef sharks usually lie inactive on sand or gravel bottoms during the day.

They are nocturnal and hunt in small packs for crabs, cephalopods and small fish. Whitetip reef sharks are around 2 meters long and live in coastal waters of up to 40 meters deep. They also are harmless to humans.

They are an ideal shark for divers to encounter because they are approachable and not so easily spooked. Best places to see Whitetip reef sharks are at the slightly deeper dive sites of the Similan Islands.  

white tip reef sharks thailand  

Gray Reef sharks

Another shark species with the classic shark silhouette and characteristics is the Gray Reef shark. They grow to up to 2 meters in length and live in depths from 0 to about 300 meters. They feed on smaller fish, squid and crabs.

They too are harmless to humans.

Grey Reef sharks are usually shy but may also swim circles and examine the diver from a distance. In Thailand, encounters with Gray Reef sharks are rather rare.

Opportunities for sightings are at the lower dive sites of the Similans, such as Christmas Point, Deep Six or Elephant Head, which are also visited during day trips to the Similans.  

gray reef sharks thailand  

Nurse sharks

You have already been introduced to its smaller cousin, the Bamboo shark. Now meet the real Nurse shark. The species of Nurse shark which is found in Thailand, is the Indo-Pacific Nurse Shark, which can reach an impressive length of up to 3.5 metres.

They are nocturnal and feed on sea urchins, crayfish, crab and squid, which they sift into their mouths. During the day, divers might encounter them sleeping in caves, under large coral blocks or overhangs.

Nurse sharks have become rare in the last years in Thailand and are not often sighted. Best chances to meet one are around the Similans and north of it, on a diving safari over several days.  

nurse sharks thailand  

Bull sharks

Last but not least, we want to present the only shark in our list that could potentially be dangerous for human beings – in most cases, these sharks do not represent a great risk.

Since 1958, there have been less than fifty Bull shark attacks reported. Bull sharks are a very special species because they live not only in the sea, but also spend some time in fresh water (like in San Francisco, for example).

Growing to over 3 metres and sporting a heftier silhouette, they are easily recognizable and impressive to look at. Knowing they can pose an element of danger makes an encounter with a Bull shark an unforgettable experience In Thailand, Bull shark sightings while diving are very rare, but with some luck they might be spotted along parts of the Gulf of Thailand, as well as Hin Daeng and Hin Muang.  

bull shark diving in Thailand

Image by Pterantula, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2242657 

 

Danger from sharks in Thailand

 As you’ve read, most of the shark species found in Thailand and close to the coast are harmless to humans. The world’s most dangerous shark, the white shark, does not exist in Thailand!

Of the more than 400 species of sharks worldwide, only 5 species are potentially dangerous to humans. Two of these species (bull shark and tiger shark) are found in Thailand, but sightings are extremely rare.

In Thailand, there has only been a single confirmed case of a shark attack in the last 500 years! Worldwide there are less than 100 confirmed shark “attacks” on humans per year. On the other hand, the number of sharks killed by humans is 80 to 100 million per year.

A very sad statistic and one of the reasons why the number of human encounters with sharks in Thailand has declined. However, divers and sharks can continue to look forward to some shark species that are sighted more or less regularly in Thailand. Would you like to find sharks with us?

Contact us now for more information about our offers!  

In terms of tourism, the seasons in Thailand can be divided into 2: The dry season and the wet season.

 

Most divers come to Thailand during the dry season for obvious reasons.

 

But what is diving really like during the rainy season?

 

Is it even possible to dive in Thailand during the rainy season?

 

In a nutshell, the answer is: yes it is.

 

However, not always and not everywhere.

 

In this post we will cover where to dive in Thailand during the rainy season, what points to consider, and how you might even prefer to come to Thailand during the off season for your diving holiday.

 

Thailand’s weather patterns and seasons are strongly defined by the monsoon winds. These winds divide the Thai year into two major seasons:

 

The dry-hot season and the cool, rainy season.

 

Bear in mind, this is an over-simplification as, in the northern part of Thailand for example, there are actually three seasons, with the third being a relatively cooler winter.

But the best diving happens mainly in the south so for the sake of this post, this is what we will focus on.

Here is how the monsoon winds influence the weather:

 

From November to April the wind comes over land from the north-east. During these months it is dry and in December and January relatively cool, then gets increasingly hot. This is especially true for the months of February and March.

 

From May to October, the wind comes in from the south-west, over the Indian Ocean. The southwest monsoon brings more rain and storms.

 

But that does not mean that the rain never stops during the rainy season.

 

When does it rain in Thailand and how often?

 

This differs slightly from region to region. On the Andaman Sea coast, where the Sea Bees diving schools are located, the high season runs from November to April and the low season from May to October.

 

In the high season, the average rainfall is 18 days in November and 11 days in December. From January to March it’s around 5 days per month, making this the driest and most popular time to travel.

 

In the off-season, the wettest months are toward the end of the rainy season, September and October, with an average of 22 and 25 rain days and around 300mm rainfall per square metre.

 

During the rest of the rainy season, just over half the days are actual rainy days.

 

The probability of a few rain days during a holiday is relatively high, but at the same time there will also be a lot of dry and sunny days. Even in the rainy season, for example, Phuket still offers 6 to 7 hours of sun per day.

 

What is the diving like in Thailand during the off-season?

 

Now you know statistically how often it rains in Thailand. But how will it affect your diving? And is it a worthwhile time for a holiday?

 

As I said at the outset: yes it is worthwhile, albeit with a few restrictions.

 

 

What is most important to know is that some diving spots are closed during the off-season.

 

Similan National Park is closed in the low season

 

This is especially true for the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock – dive sites that we also frequently visit. For this reason, our Similan diving safaris only take place during the high season.

 

Diving in Khao Lak itself is also only possible during the high season, so we recommend booking directly in Phuket during this time.

 

Because scuba diving in Phuket is actually possible all year round.

 

What about waves in the rainy season?

 

We already mentioned that the monsoon winds during the rainy season can also lead to storms.

 

On many days, there are more waves out there which will affect swimming at some beaches. On the other hand, this is great news for surfers.

 

For divers this is only a small problem, because at many dive sites it is possible to find a an area protected from the waves.

 

For example, Racha Yai and Racha Noi and the Phi Phi Islands are all dive sites on the east side of the islands, protected from the wind and waves and thus very good for diving. The same applies to Koh Dok Mai.

 

3 reasons to dive Phuket in the off-season

 

1. Lower Prices

During low season just about everything tourist-related is cheaper than in peak season. This doesn’t just apply to our Palm Garden Resort, but for all of Phuket in general. In most hotels, you will find discounted rooms, flights are often cheaper and there are all sorts of deals and bargains on offer.

 

2. Less Tourists

Obviously, the off-season is quieter than the main season. Less guests in hotels, smaller crowds on the beach, less divers on the dive boat and underwater. And just in general, a lot less traffic on the island.

 

3. More to See

At the same time, however, some dive sites are busier, not with people but with animals. When there are fewer divers in the water, the shier animals are less hidden. Leopard sharks, rays, etc. are often observed.

 

leopardenhai tauchen phuket

 

For whom the off-season is nothing – and for whom it is good

 

Straight up: The rainy season is not the ideal time for sun worshipers.

 

If you can only enjoy a holiday of 14 straight days of blazing sunshine and will only appreciate diving in absolutely flat seas and no clouds in the sky, then you will be disappointed if you come during the rainy season. There is always the possibility that it may storm for a few days and the rain just pours.

 

On the other hand, if you do not have a problem with the chance of  a few rainy and sometimes even stormy days, you will have a great time in Phuket – even in the low season. You will be rewarded with still plenty of sunny days, when the weather is as good as in the high season, but with a fraction of the usual holidaymakers.

 

Many other excursions on the island are also excellent in the rainy season. And when it rains then you dive just before you get wet 🙂

 

An extensive variety of marine animals abound in Thailand’s rich waters — a wonderland for divers. Here we have put together our top 20 list of highlights to introduce you to what you can discover when diving in Thailand.

 

From Frog Fish to Whale Sharks – the who’s who of marine creatures in Thailand

 

1. Whale Shark

 

tauchen mit walhai thailand

 

The largest fish on the planet is not only at the top of our list, it is also an absolute highlight for most divers. No wonder then that we get daily enquiries about when and where to find and dive with whale sharks.

In Thailand there are spots where lucky divers can come across these magnificent creatures. But of course, there is always some good fortune that plays a hand in being at the right place at the right time, and to be looking in the right direction.

And if you do find a whale shark there is no need to worry; just like manta rays, although they are colossal creatures, they are perfectly harmless plankton eaters.

Continue reading Diving Highlights in Thailand: From Frog Fish to Whale Sharks

Buying or renting scuba dive equipment

Once you start your scuba diving you are likely to never want to stop. Exploring the ocean is a hard habit to kick once you’ve taken the plunge and your addiction comes with some expenses. Scuba diving is impossible without the diving equipment.

 

Every piece of your gear needs to be in  top working order, whether it is your regulator or mask strap. One of those two is considerably more expensive than the other, but you need both to go on a dive. When you start diving, you will likely use rental gear, and perhaps after you have caught the diving bug, might start to consider putting together your own set.

 

Here are a few words of advice on what to think about in general when looking at dive gear, whether it is renting a full set, buying a full set, or anything in between.
Instinctively, many people wait a bit before buying the whole package, and rightfully so. It’s quite an investment to make right when you’ve first started!

 

Furthermore, it is a lot of stuff to carry with you when escaping to a nice warm destination for a diving vacation. Many experienced divers will still rent some parts of the equipment just for this reason. So what considerations are there when looking at the whole package?

 

In this ‘whole package’ you’ve got quite a few elements:

 

Your mask, fins and snorkel, followed by the wetsuit, BCD, regulator and dive computer.

 

Most dive centers will have all of these things available. Whether a dive computer is included in a standard set of rental equipment depends on where you go, but even these are widely available. So take your experience level, the distance you have to travel, and the details you find yourself being picky about into consideration.

 

 

The big question: Buying or renting scuba dive equipment?

 

The development of dive gear over the past ten years has been incredible. If you take care of new equipment, you can use most dive gear for a lifetime. Wetsuits are probably one of the only things that will stop functioning after a significant amount of use but this is an exception to the rule.

 

Your experience level will dictate what you need. If you have gained quite some experience and have developed personal preferences about different types of gear and configurations, it is a good idea to put together your own set. On the flip-side, when you come right out of your open water course, it’s probably a better idea to wait with all the expensive bits. Do a few more dives and figure out if you want to really take this further.

 

Does this take you into colder waters eventually, or perhaps to greater depths with different gas mixes? These potential limits are what should come into play when deciding which equipment to buy. Some regulators and BCDs are really only suitable for the warm tropical water we have here in Thailand, so if that is all you plan on doing, why spend more?

 

Conversely, if you suspect you might one day take the plunge in cold water, a proper cold water regulator is an absolute necessity. A mask, fins and snorkel are something many divers buy immediately as they are quite personal items and affect the immediate comfort of your dive. These also fit into your luggage quite easily! This brings us to travelling. If you plan to dive every day of your trip, you probably don’t need much more than a few t-shirts and your dive gear so luggage allowance isn’t a problem.

 

Only diving on holidays? Buy only the essentials and rent the rest!

 

However if, like many holiday makers, you just want to do a few dives throughout your vacation, it’s quite a lot of hassle to drag a full set of dive gear with you. Fins, BCDs and wetsuits are often the heaviest part of your equipment that aren’t so easily hidden in your hand luggage.

 

As they are available for rent just about anywhere, the decision to leave them at home depends entirely on how picky you are about using rental gear during a short dive trip! Regulators and dive computers are of course considerably more compact, so as long as you can act as if your small carry on weighs less than it does, these are usually pretty easy to walk onto a plane with.

 

So whether to rent or buy any of these things, weigh up what you can afford against how often and where you will be using it! Just bear in mind, if it’s between compromising or saving a little bit longer, whatever you end up buying, if you take good care of it you will likely have it in working order for the majority of your diving life!

 

And by the way: Of course you can rent all your scuba diving equipment at any of our locations here in Thailand.

 

Got any questions? Please don’t be shy and get in touch with us now!

 

Diving with Big Fish in Thailand is a dream of many scuba divers

 

Whale sharks and manta rays…deep down we all want to see one of these beautiful giants at some point in our diving life. So enormous yet utterly harmless, having an encounter with such an animal is unforgettable for anyone and everyone. Here in Thailand you have a chance to experience this. Your chances depend heavily on the location and time of the year, so with a bit of careful planning you can help your luck significantly. However,when diving with these creatures you also have a to adhere to a certain level of responsibility and respect!

 

While diving out of Phuket leaves your chances significantly slimmer than out of Khao Lak, manta ray sightings off of the south of Koh Racha Noi do occur. Particularly between the start of December and the end of January, East Coast Bay, Maritta’s Rock and The Plateau (also called the South Tip) are dive sites where Manta rays fly by for a few minutes or even do a few circles over our heads!

 

Out of Khao Lak, from January until the end of March or even the beginning of April, chances are high to have manta encounters of up to 45 minutes at Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. Sometimes they circle down to the northern parts of the Similan Islands.

 

Out of the 22 dives that we do from our liveaboard, the MV Marco Polo, up to six dives are at these manta hot spots. During the peak of the manta season, it is possible to have encounters on all these dives! Whale shark sightings are far less predictable, but during the peak time for mantas they make their appearances on the same dive sites and both further south into the Similans and north up to Richelieu Rock. The Boonsung Wreck off the coast of Khao Lak does tend to claim the prize for the most whale shark sightings every season!

 

Now, as will be heard during any dive briefing at these sites, there is a code of conduct to follow when diving with mantas or whale sharks. A diver breaching this code because of sheer excitement or simple carelessness is something that affects everyone involved…everyone meaning the manta or whale shark and the other divers.

 

How do you properly dive with one of these gentle giants?

 

It is extremely simple, though understandably difficult to stick to if it’s your first time. It is your responsibility to give them space and time to approach you, if they choose to do so.

 

When a manta appears, stay close whichever medium you are diving on. Whether this is a sandy bottom, around a cleaning station, a ridge or pinnacle, stick to it and let them approach. If you are directly on top of a cleaning station, get clear of this slowly so as not to disturb them if they are coming in for a good scrubbing.

 

These naturally inquisitive marvels can even be described as playful. If they are not feeding or cleaning there is a good chance they will swoop down to have a look. If just one diver goes up to chase or even try to touch a manta or whale shark, it will take more distance or shy away altogether.

 

This both ruins the encounter for all other divers and, more importantly, stresses out the animal. If this occurs on a large scale from more groups, over a long period of time, it has the potential to disturb their long term habits entirely.

 

That very important fact makes it crucial that you as a diver hold these animals in high regard. Respecting and giving them adequate space and time serves the dual purpose of allowing them their natural habits and ultimately giving you more time and enjoyment with them! Allow them to approach you and they will reward you for it!

 

Time for recovery – Discover the beautiful beaches on the island of Phuket

Even a hardcore diver needs a break.. Is there a better place to relax and dream of the next dive adventure than the beach? Few islands can boast of such an abundance of sandy beaches and clear waters as Phuket, but which one is the best beach in Phuket? Well, that is not a simple question to answer as it depends on who you ask..

Phuket is not only the biggest island in Thailand, Phuket is also the most popular. And it’s not hard to see why. Phuket is famous all over the world for it’s beaches, the coastline with a length of 22km and a width of around 50km is full of beaches. Most of the picturesque beaches in Phuket are on the west coast of the island.

 

Mai Khao Beach – discover the turtles

Mai Khao Beach is situated on the northwest coast of Phuket. This 11km-long straight beach is still blessedly undeveloped as it is part of the Sirinat National Park. The sand of Mai Khao Beach – the name translates as “white wood” – is possibly the coarsest of any on Phuket, but is also practically deserted a lot of the time, making it possible to walk for kilometers without seeing a single other person. Interesting to us divers is that on this beach leatherback turtles can sometimes be found as they come here to lay their eggs. Mai Khao is a protected sea turtle nesting area.

 

 

 

Beaches 2

 

 

 

Nai Yang Beach – natural beauty

Nai Yang, where we have one of our dive centers is just a five-minute drive south of Phuket airport and is very popular with the Thai locals. Here you’ll find what beach life is all about. Fringed with Casuarinas trees providing picnic areas for the locals, it’s also a shady spot for souvenir and food vendors. Laid back to the extreme, most people who stay here find absolute relaxation. Parts of the of the beach are inside the Sirinat National Park which also includes the reef at the north end of the beach is popular for divers and snorkelers..

 

 

 

Beaches 4

 

 

 

Surin Beach – trendy

Fine white sand and turquoise water has ensured that the picturesque beach is very popular with tourists and Thais alike. Enjoy the sunset after a diving day at Surin Beach and if you still have enough of energy, you can dance barefooted in the sand to chill- and house music until midnight.

 

 

 

Beaches 1

 

 

 

Kata and Katanoi Beach – charming

The elongated and quiet Kata Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Phuket. The beach is separated into 2 sections, Kata Yai and the smaller Kata Noi Beach. It’s the perfect place for divers to relax in a quiet atmosphere, take a walk along the soft sand, snorkel or swim. It’s long been a popular spot for surfers in the monsoon season.

 

 

 

Beaches 8

 

 

 

Nai Harn Beach – popular

Nai Harn located in the south of the west coast and is one of the island’s most popular places with in-the-know locals. The white, sandy beach is a good place to relax after a diving day, as only a couple of hotels are situated on the beach.

 

 

 

naiharn-1024x680

 

 

 

Patong Beach – touristic

Patong Beach is an astonishing combination of breathtakingly beautiful white sand beach edged by the glittering Andaman Sea, and the most concentrated area of tourist accommodations, shops, nightclubs, restaurants and attractions. Divers who search for action, this is the right place – you will find a lot of it.

 

 

 

patong-1

 

 

 

Kamala Beach – Family fun

Kamala Beach lies just north of the hustle and bustle of Patong and is a quieter stretch of sand with a more relaxed feel and is excellent to build sandcastles on. This well-enclosed bay and fishing village surrounded by forested hills is one of the most beautiful places in Phuket.

 

 

 

The stunning bay of Kamala Beach in Phuket Thailand

 

 

Leam Singh – a perfect dream

Laem Singh Beach is one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches and hides on the west coast between Kamala and Surin beaches. ‘Laem’ is Thai for ‘cape’ and this 150-metre beach is indeed situated under a steep promontory. Nestled in a hidden bay, surrounded by palm trees and dotted with giant boulders, it has a feeling of a secret beach.

 

 

 

laem-singh-beach-1

 

 

 

Karon Beach – quiet

Karon features the third longest beach on Phuket Island. Located on the west coast, between Patong to the north and Kata (with which it shares a common municipality) to the south, the fine sandy beach itself has excellent snorkeling (and even diving) spots at its southern end. And this beach is long enough for beachgoers to never feel crowded.

 

 

 

Beaches 7

 

 

 

Attention- be careful!

As beautiful as the beaches are in high season, as dangerous can they be during the low season (April – November). As the wind is coming from the sea during this time, it creates high waves, which creates strong currents and even rip currents, especially in the Kata/Karon area.

Non-swimmers and inexperienced swimmer do best by staying out of the ocean during this time and if entering the water, only do so in designated, patrolled areas. Do not enter the water if there are red flags! Follow the instructions from the Phuket lifeguards, every year they have to save hundreds of lives but everyone are so lucky. There are multiple drowning victims every year.

Also the Portuguese man o’war jellyfish can be a risk during the monsoon season. Same as the Phuket beaches, it is as beautiful as it is dangerous.

Team Sea Bees 🙂

We as divers have a natural interest in the natural world and all it’s wonderful inhabitants. Scuba diving brings us close to our marine friends so that we can observe them in their natural habitat doing whatever they were doing before we came along on our dive.

 

The goal is to have as small of an impact on their environment as possible and we spend hours training to achieve the best possible position and buoyancy for that to happen. All though scuba divers do occasionally accidentally touch the reef (or purposely, but not on Sea Bees watch) it is still a much more eco friendly activity than others.

 

We are also putting pressure on each other as dive operators and diving professionals to keep reducing our environmental impact and “name & shame” pages on facebook etc are not unheard of. We affiliate with various organisations in Thailand to financially support the work of those actively working to save the marine world.

 

But, as a diver on holiday whether in Phuket, on Phi Phi, in Khao Lak or any other location in Thailand you might not dive every single day but also do other tours. If you love nature and animals as much as we do, here are some dos and dont’s when it comes to the many exciting tours offered to you around Phuket, Khao Lak, Phi Phi and elsewhere in Thailand.

 

Don’t: Thailands only Dolphinariumin Phuket

Who doesn’t love dolphins? They are so cute and intelligent. They are also wild animals that belong in the sea. Three of the dolphins in the dolphinarium in Phuket are born in captivity and shipped in from Ukraine; the other five are directly link (caught) in the annual slaughter in Taiji, Japan. By going to see this show, you support the activities there. If you are not familiar with the slaughters of dolphins in Taiji check out the documentary “The Cove” (not for sensitive viewers).

 

epa04032473 A handout picture provided by the Sea Shepherd Conservation organization shows the selection process of dolphins, during the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan, 20 January 2014. According to Sea Shepherd, Japanese fisherman rounded up more than 250 dolphins, including babies and juveniles, into the cove on 18 January, the largest round-up in years. Taiji town claims the hunt is an important ritual dating back centuries. Dolphins captured in the cove are either sold into captivity, or slaughtered and sold for consumption, despite pleas from animal conservationists around the world against the event. EPA/SEA SHEPHERED / HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: SEA SHEPHERED CONSERVATION SOCIETY HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Do: Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Center

Around Thailand you can bump into various animals kept by touts who offer you to take a picture with the wild animal, do not do this. Most of them as juveniles and to capture them the touts shoot down their mothers and then it’s easier to catch the babies. However, there is a place you can go to see these amazing animals. In the north of Phuket, in Thalang, there is a rehabilitation center for Gibbons. There is a few which will never be rehabilitated and those you can visit and take pictures of and support a good cause at the same time.

 

Tourism 3

 

Don’t: Elephant trekking Thailand

It doesn’t matter which Elephant camp you choose or however nice the mahout seemed, all the elephants currently working with carrying tourist around in Thailand have been abused in order to “kill their spirit” so that they will obey their trainers. This is normally a very painful and stressful experience for the elephant where they keep them awake for several days by hitting, stabbing, pulling and even using fire to scare them. It’s also been calculated that on Phuket there are 216 elephants serving over a million tourists yearly. That’s 30-40 tours a day carrying 2-4 people per elephant!

 

Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) captured and chained without water and food. Tesso Nilo, Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.

 

Tourism 4

 

Do: Phang Nga Bay tours

The natural beauty of Phang Nga bay and all the islands, lagoons and limestone formations there is truly mind blowing! A lot of tour agents arrange kayak tours in the areas including some swimming, walking, caves, and amazing views. You have a good chance of seeing monkeys and birds in the wild and there’s even been dolphins and whale sharks spotted from the boats in the area!

 

Tourism 5

 

Don’t: Tiger Temple

As much as these animals do need our help as their natural habitats are getting smaller and smaller and there are not many places left in the world where they can live undisturbed, they do not need their picture taken together with tourist all day every day whilst drugged to not “misbehave”. Recently the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi (near Bangkok, Thailand) was closed and the authorities found various items to prove that the people responsible keep the tourist version of the tiger temple as a cover for an illegal and highly unethical trade of tiger skins, teeth, meat and even pickled tiger babies. Do not support this kind of trade and treatment by going to the Tiger temples around Thailand.

 

Tourism 1

 

As a general we suggest that when you book a tour or activity that in any way involve animals (wild or not), do ask yourself:

  • Does this activity truly benefit the animal?

If not 100 % sure that the answer will be yes, investigate further by searching the Internet, ask your diving instructor or simple don’t do it.

 

Nature, Thailand, the animals and all of us at Sea Bees Diving thank you for choosing carefully what you do on your holiday, nothing will change until the demand changes!

 

Team Sea Bees 🙂

We have a lot of handsome, smart and fun instructors in our team. One of them is Chok, born and raised in Thailand. As it is not very common for Asians to learn any kind of water sports and end up teaching them we thought that this is a unique story tell. We interviewed Chok and got a little idea about his life.

 

 

JOWD Boot 3 - pic 7

 

 

When did you learn diving and what make you interested in diving?

Chok: I started diving 8 years ago because of my friend. She was already a diving instructor at this time and I made the Open Water Course with her. During my first few dives I wasn’t quite sure if I even liked it. After a while I really started enjoying myself diving and the marine life and that’s when I decided to do my divemaster course and I just loved it.

 

JOWD Under Water 1 - pic 2

 

When did you decide to make diving a career?

Chok: After I became divemaster I wanted to get more experience by working as a divemaster. Getting more experience with a regular job is pretty difficult because of the time you need to invest. But because Thai divemasters and instructors are rare my chances were good and I could earn some money with my hobby. 3 years later I decided to step up another level and become an instructor.

 

Pool Chok 4

 

JOWD 2 Pool 7

 

What did you do before working as a pro diver?

Chok: I did several jobs. For 1 year in worked in a hospital with HIV patients, which was very interesting. I also taught art in a school and after that I moved back to my hometown and worked in a hotel as a receptionist.

 

How did you become an instructor and where?

Chok: My instructor course took place on Phi Phi Island with 4 other candidates, which is also where I started working as a divemaster. Right after that I started my career at Sea Bees Khao Lak and now I am working for Sea Bees Diving Phuket in Chalong.

 

Chok 6

 

Schok 8

 

 

What do you love most about diving?

Chok: I love the marine life, it fascinates me and even for a professional and experienced diver the underwater world keeps surprising me. Customers are also a huge part why I enjoy my job a lot. Meeting different people from different countries never gets boring and being able to present to them Thailand’s marine life is my great pleasure.

 

What do you like most about working with Sea Bees?

Chok: Working with Sea Bees Diving means first of all working in a team. Being with your friends and doing what you love – it doesn’t even feel like work 🙂 Sea Bees Diving is very organised and we have the comfort of our own boats, our own customers, which creates a great family atmosphere. Last but not least I very much appreciate the food on all of our boats. Every day our cooks wake up early in the morning and go to buy fresh ingredients for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner to service our customers and us.

 

Schok 7

 

Schok 9

 

What is your future plans?

Chok: I enjoy working with Sea Bees a lot! My future plan is to do what I already do 🙂 To give our customers the best dive experience in the Andaman Sea and be part of great memories.

 

When you got affected from so much diving passion send us an Email to info@sea-bees.com and book your next dive adventure wit Chok and fantastic team of dive instructors.
Happy Divers everywhere – Team Sea Bees 🙂

 

Chok 5

 

 

As a diver you choose your holiday destination based on dive spots. You have to have priorities, of course! Nobody understands you better than us☺

 

But Thailand is worth a visit not only for its beautiful dive sites such as the Similan Islands, Phi Phi Island and Phuket. But also for it’s landscape, temples and much more. Let’s So join us on an imaginary trip through the country. We start in northern Thailand, in Chiang Mai.

 

Chiang Mai

 

Chiang Mai is not only the largest city of Thailand’s north, but at the same time one of the most important cultural, economic and infrastructural centers of the nation. A little over 700 years ago, the city was built as the capital of the kingdom of Lan Na (1296 – 1768). Although the city has been occupied, conquered and even completely abandoned before it is still in certain respect considered self-governed. Although the city has always been a part of the great Thai nation, it nevertheless enjoys a certain special status. From the view of the river “Ping” the city gives an incredibly picturesque and tranquil impression. Except for the underwater world of the south of Thailand, the landscape surrounding Chiang Mai is considered the most impressive of Thailand. Lush green meadows, winding rivers, the reflection of the sky in the surface of the green rice fields gives a particularly impressive image, which you can only see in very few places of the world as easily as here.

 

Chiang Mai Landscape

 

Chiang Mai Lights

 

With our dive equipment packed we make our way south and stop 440 km before Bangkok in Sukothai. From here, it is still a long journey to dive in Khao Lak or Phuket, but it is well worth a stop.

 

Sukhotai 2

 

This ancient city with its UNESCO world heritage historical park is a spectacular walk in Thai history. The kingdom of Sukothai existed between 1238 and 1583. It’s believed that monks of this kingdom invented the Thai script. It’s a great idea to rent a bicycle and cycle around the park and enjoy the impressive remains and this great piece of Thailand’s history and culture.

 

Sukothai Monk

 

Sukhothai 1

 

The Sukothai kingdom eventually fell to the more powerful Ayutthaya kingdom (called Kingdom of Siam by foreigners), which is out next stop. The former capital of the Kingdom of Siam is the impressive city of Ayutthaya, almost completely surrounded by water (not time to dive yet though…) The river Chao Phraya wraps around the city to the west and south, the Pa Sak river to the east and in the north is a small offspring of Lop Buri river. This area is wetland and used for growing rice and breeding shrimps. The water also offered the ancient city protection from hostile nations. Finally after 35 different kings had ruled the kingdom, in the late 18th century the city was almost completely destroyed by Burmese army. What we have left today is a beautiful, historical site, which shows the amazing development of Thai architecture and art.

 

Ayutthaya 2

 

Ayutthaya 3

 

Ayutthaya 4

 

We want to get closer to the ocean and head to Phang Nga, just north of Phuket. Nevertheless, the diving equipment remains in the bag for the time being☺ The main attractions of the province are related to the extraordinary geological formations in the area. This have produced a numerous of islands, caves and bizarre rock formations. The perhaps most famous one being the Marine National Park of Phang Nga bay (James Bond island). But inland you can find caves, waterfalls, temples and archaeological sites in Ban Thung Tuek, also worth a visit.

 

Phang Nga 1

 

Once you arrived in the south there is nothing to stop you from going diving! The most beautiful part of the south are below the surface, whether it being the granite formations in the Similan Islands, the reefs of Phuket or the stunning walls of Phi Phi that flicks your switch, here is something for everyone!

 

Phuket 1

 

Visit Thailand, visit us and enjoy YOUR holidays to the fullest!

When you hear divers talk about diving. Whether it’s new divers or divers who’ve been diving for years it’s all about the fish!

Different dive destinations around the world have their own specialty when it comes to fish. “Come dive with us and manta rays” etc.

The worlds’ oceans do hold some rather spectacular life forms, and divers are eager to collect as many of them in their logbooks as possible.

And diving here, in the Andaman Sea you could well tick some empty boxes as we have both big and small rarities around Phi Phi, Phuket and Similans.  

Manta by Megan

  But, I want to give a shout out to the common guys. The fish you will see on almost every dive, the fish that doesn’t get their story told in any logbooks.

 I recently had a conversation with a very experienced diver, who has done most of his dives in an area where they have a lot of weird stuff. This is what he got used to and came to expect, so not too surprising this is what he expected on this dive.

Now on the dive we did together there was some super cool stuff like a seahorse and a nudibranch he hadn’t seen before so he was very content.  

Seahorse by Johnny   Nudi by Johnny

We came to talk about what we liked to see underwater. He wants to see Whalesharks and Frogfish, well don’t we all?

I have worked in diving for many years and all over the world so my logbook is full of super amazing creatures that I have been so fortunate to see, but when he asked me what my favorite thing to see underwater is, I think he got surprised by my answer; ‘Longfin Bannerfish’.

Because still to this day, there is almost nothing more beautiful to me than a school of them on a nice blue background. I can just sit there and look at them forever!  

Longfin Bannerfish  

Hopefully I opened his eyes to ‘the common fish’. Plus, it is a known fact that when you least expect something it is more likely to happen, so on your next dive study the reef fish, pick a favorite and say Hi from me! (And you never know something big might pass by!)  

Happy diving everyone! Maria & Darren, Team Sea Bees Diving Mai Khao

If you are a scuba diver or a snorkeler you have probably experienced many beautiful days onboard a daytrip boat in different places all around the world. But have you ever thought about the people “behind the scenes” who make it all work?

 

First of all you need an experienced international team that works together very smoothly, you need your colleagues to be professionals you can rely on and have fun with at the same time. It is this spirit we are working in here at Sea Bees Diving Khao Lak. Or can you imagine one person alone carrying the up to 140 tanks per day on and off the boat by himself? Or all the fresh fruit and vegetables and – in the evening – wet towels, all the things that spoil our guests during the day? No, you really need strong partners for enjoyable tasks like these…

 

One of our most important team members is a person no one thinks of at first: it is our fantastic cook. She creates miracles in the tiny galley that is referred to as a kitchen. Fresh european style breakfast and thai style lunches are prepared on a daily basis to keep guests and crew members cheerful and strong on our daytrips to the Similan Islands.

 

MV Stingray

 

The Captain and boat crew are also on hand to help guests (and some of the staff) in and out of the water as well as for driving the “Stingray” and providing surface cover in our Zodiac. By the way, getting into the Zodiac can provide for some hilarious sights, normally at the expense of our tour leader…

 

Sprung

 

What we enjoy most, though, is when our guests just cannot stop telling about all the astonishing marine life they have just seen here in Thailand’s most famous region for diving and snorkeling and cannot wait to jump again into the warm and clear waters of Thailand’s Andaman Sea – we do have many guests returning to us year after year.

 

1529-Yellow-tail-sergeants-at-Koh-Bon-Cove-diving-Andaman-Sea-DPI-1529

 

1711-Red-tooth-trigger-surrounded-by-I-don't-know-what-at-Hin-Pusa-diving-Andaman-Sea-DPI-1711

 

We know that it is not nature’s beauty by itself that make them come back. Every single one of us contributed to this success by choosing the most beautiful dive sites, giving comprehensive briefings, guiding our guests safely through the underwater world and infecting them with our passion for diving in and around the Similan Islands.

 

1672-Turtle-at-last-at-Ko-Payu-West-of-Sweden-diving-Andaman-Sea-DPI-1672

 

Our job is nothing for wimps; we work hard and long hours and often do not remember our last day off. But: we love our jobs and would not change with anyone in the world. Being a diving professional in Khao Lak and spending everyday among diving enthusiasts from all over the world for us is all we ever wanted.

 

Our aim is that going on a daytrip with Sea Bees is not just another day of diving, but we would like our guests to remember this experience as a very special occasion, a highlight of their holidays. In this case then, we feel that we deserve the last task of the day: enjoying a drink together in one of Khao Lak’s cozy cafes or bars – knowing we are part of one of the best teams you can imagine.

DSC_0128

 

5 Sea Bees Instructors vs. 10 Junior Open Water Students – Round 3

 

Day 3 of the course, the day our SSI Junior Open Water students had been waiting for! Today they would be going on the MV Aragon, one of our two day trip boats in Phuket. MV Aragon and MV Excalibur II are not just the only beautiful yellow dive boats around, but also some of the few actually custom built dive boats, and certainly the safest and most comfortable.

 

With a limited amount of holiday time, unfortunately Katie had to postpone her open water dives, but the rest of the gang arrived at 9 o’clock as usual at the dive centre. Accompanied by some parents and siblings this time, they met up with the instructors and took off to the pier where the Aragon and it’s crew were waiting for them! All on board and straight for the freshly cooked breakfast buffet! Once on the way to Racha Yai (bay number 3)and after breakfast, Anita, Marcel, Chock, Alex and Dominic took the students down to the dive deck where each of their red boxes had a place under the benches, on which they also found some fun sized tanks! The instructors had them prepare their equipment for the first dive just as they had for the pool dives, but on a moving boat some extra caution must be taken! They listened very well and were ready for their first ever open water dives out at sea.

 

JOWD Boot 1 - pic 1

 

 

JOWD Under Water 1 - pic 2

 

At the beginning of each dive, the relative skill sets necessary to be an SSI Junior Open Water Diver were repeated, followed by….of course…some time to just swim around, explore the reef, and look at all the colourful fish!

 

DCIM100MEDIA

 

 

JOWD Day 3 1 - pic 5

 

 

After nearly an hour under water, the eager little divers resurfaced, climbed back aboard and had to be stopped from immediately attacking the lunch buffet to first review how the dive had gone, the importance of the skills, and to change their tanks in preparation for the second dive. After lunch and several front flips off of the back of the boat (some instructors may also have taken part…who do you think had more fun??), the boat crew called them all back aboard and they sat down for their second dive briefing.

 

JOWD Boot 2 - pic 6

 

JOWD Boot 3 - pic 7

 

 

This dive had somewhat fewer skills and more time for fun diving! Puffer fish, parrot fish, barracudas, triggerfish and even a few stingrays were spotted and pointed out by the kids…some of them even knew the names of these fish before they were told!

 

DCIM100MEDIA

 

 

After finishing up a last bit of reviewing, taking apart and cleaning the equipment, they headed back for Chalong harbour. Once back at the dive shop they could not wait to tell their parents all about their first diving experiences and it can be said with a relatively high degree of certainty that they all slept very well that night! How did they get on in the final day of their course on their second set of open water dives? Coming up in our next blog post!

 

JOWD Under Water 3 - pic 9