Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water... it is. Rumours about there being great white sharks in Thailand are greatly exaggerated.

One of the search phrases that regularly brings people to my regular travel blog Travelhappy is "great white shark Thailand". Presumably these searchers are checking up to see if their tropical holiday in Thailand is going to be cut short by a great white shark attack off the beach at Phuket or maybe while scuba diving in Koh Tao.

The short answer is: no, there are no great white sharks in Thailand. I am not a great white shark expert, but I am pretty confident that great white sharks have never been seen in Thai waters. It's simply too warm for them.

Great whites generally prefer colder waters - hence why they're found concentrated around South Australia in the AustralAsia region. (You can go cage diving with great white sharks in South Australia - see my Great White Shark videos and my interview with great white shark survivor Rodney Fox). There have been reports of great whites seen as far up the Australian coast as Townsville - which is Great Barrier Reef territory - and also around Ningaloo Reef half way up the west coast of Australia, so whites clearly move around in warmer waters too. In June 1993 John Ford was fatally attacked by a great white shark while scuba diving with his newly wed wife in Byron Bay. [detailed in Hugh Edwards' book Shark: The Shadow Below]. In November 2000, a businessman was fatally wounded by what was thought to be a great white while taking an early morning swim at Cottesloe, one of Perth's most popular beaches. So definitely exercise caution in the water in Australia.

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Comments by other travellers

Actually Great White Sharks can also tolerate warm tropical waters, and have been found in places like Hawaii, Florida, Mauritius and Zanzibar, all warm to tropical regions with water temperature ranging from 21c to 30c. Recently a Great White Shark was caught in Vietnam. So to answer your question, you could spend a life time searching for a Great White in Thailand and would probably never see one, but that does not mean its not possible for them ti swim into that region.

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  • Chris Mitchell

    My site, www.Divehappy.com is a personal guide to scuba diving in South East Asia and Australia edited by me, Chris Mitchell, a…

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