Are There Sharks In Thailand

Thailand, with its stunning coastal waters and diverse marine ecosystems, is home to various shark species. Divers exploring the waters around Thailand have the opportunity to encounter several fascinating shark varieties, each contributing to the region’s rich biodiversity.

8 Shark Species That Divers May Encounter In Thailand:

  1. Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus):

    a. Characteristics: The whale shark, the world’s largest fish, is a gentle giant with a distinctive checkerboard pattern of spots and stripes on its back. It has a wide, flat head and a mouth that can reach up to 1.5 meters in width.

    b. Habitat: Whale sharks are often spotted in tropical waters, and certain areas in Thailand, such as the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, serve as popular destinations for encountering these majestic creatures.

    c. Diving Locations: Popular diving spots like Richelieu Rock, the Surin Islands, and the Similan Islands are known for whale shark sightings, especially during specific seasons.

  2. Leopard/Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum):

    a. Characteristics: The leopard shark, also known as the zebra shark, features a distinctive pattern of dark spots and stripes on its body. It has a slender appearance and a long tail.

    b. Habitat: Leopard sharks prefer shallow coastal waters and are commonly found near coral reefs. They are known for their nocturnal habits, often resting on the seafloor during the day.

    c. Diving Locations: Dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand, such as Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi, are popular spots for encountering leopard sharks, particularly during night dives.

  3. Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus):

    a. Characteristics: Blacktip reef sharks have a distinctive appearance with black tips on their dorsal fins and pectoral fins. They are relatively small in size, typically reaching lengths of around 1.6 to 2 meters.

    b. Habitat: These sharks inhabit shallow, nearshore waters and are often found in coral reef environments. They are known for their agility and are commonly observed patrolling the reef edges.

    c. Diving Locations: Popular dive sites in Thailand, including the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, provide opportunities to encounter blacktip reef sharks in their natural habitat.

  4. Bamboo Shark (Hemiscylliidae family):

    a. Characteristics: Bamboo sharks are small, bottom-dwelling sharks with slender bodies and a distinctive pattern of lines and spots. They are known for their nocturnal habits and are commonly found resting on the seafloor.

    b. Habitat: Bamboo sharks prefer shallow coastal waters, and their benthic lifestyle makes them well-adapted to sandy or muddy substrates.

    c. Diving Locations: Divers may encounter bamboo sharks in areas with sandy bottoms, such as the seafloors around the Similan Islands and other dive sites in the Andaman Sea.

  5. Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos):

    a. Characteristics: Grey reef sharks are medium-sized sharks with a grey body and a white underside. They have a streamlined shape and are known for their active and curious behavior.

    b. Habitat: Grey reef sharks inhabit coral reef ecosystems and are often found patrolling reef edges, channels, and drop-offs. They are more commonly encountered at deeper depths.

    c. Diving Locations: Dive sites with strong currents, such as those in the Andaman Sea, provide opportunities to encounter grey reef sharks. Popular locations include the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock.

  6. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier):

    a. Characteristics: The tiger shark is easily recognized by its dark stripes and spots on a lighter background, resembling the pattern of a tiger. It has a broad, blunt head and is known for its voracious appetite.

    b. Habitat: Tiger sharks inhabit a wide range of oceanic environments, including coastal waters, open seas, and even deep oceanic habitats. They are known for their migratory behavior.

    c. Diving Locations: While encounters with tiger sharks are less common compared to other species, they have been reported in the waters around Thailand. Divers may occasionally spot them in open water.

  7. Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrnidae family):

    a. Characteristics: Hammerhead sharks are known for their distinctive hammer-shaped heads, called cephalofoils. This unique head shape provides them with enhanced sensory capabilities.

    b. Habitat: Hammerhead sharks are often found in tropical and temperate waters. They prefer deep offshore areas, but some species may approach shallower coastal waters.

    c. Diving Locations: Hammerhead shark sightings are rare, but certain dive sites in the Andaman Sea, such as Richelieu Rock and the Similan Islands, have reported occasional encounters with scalloped hammerhead sharks.

  8. Silvertip Shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus):

    a. Characteristics: Silvertip sharks are characterized by their silver-tipped fins, giving them a striking appearance. They have a slender body and are known for their preference for open water.

    b. Habitat: Silvertip sharks are often associated with deeper waters and oceanic environments. They are commonly found near underwater pinnacles and drop-offs.

    c. Diving Locations: Divers exploring underwater pinnacles and drop-offs in the Andaman Sea may have the opportunity to encounter silvertip sharks, although sightings are infrequent.


In conclusion, Thailand offers a diverse range of shark species for divers to encounter, from the majestic whale shark to the sleek leopard shark and the elusive hammerhead shark. While certain species are more commonly encountered in specific regions and dive sites, the underwater world around Thailand provides a rich tapestry of marine life that continues to captivate and inspire divers from around the globe. As with any wildlife encounters, responsible and sustainable diving practices are crucial to ensure the well-being of these magnificent creatures and their habitats.


Similar Posts