One of the things our customers ask most often is whether they will be able to dive with Whale Sharks during their stay with us. We very much hope so, but unfortunately we can never promise specific marine life sightings.
Despite what some online sources and business operators say, there really is no such thing as ‘Whale Shark Season’, and no guaranteed shark diving on Koh Tao to be honest. We do get the occasional sighting of black tips as well as whale sharks, but it can never be guaranteed. There are dive sites where they are spotted more frequently than others, and a few trends at times of year when its statistically more possible, but it basically comes down to luck – being on the right dive site on the right day at the right time!
In recent years we’ve seen the most Whale Sharks in March-May, September-October and then again around Christmas and New Year time. However do be aware that visiting during these months will not necessarily mean you get to dive with one. And they are frequently seen sporadically outside of these months too – for example in the last couple of weeks there have been a few spotted out at some of our deeper dive sites. When we do see them, they tend to be solitary encounters though, unlike in other destinations such as the Philippines, where at certain times of year you can dive/snorkel with many at the same time.
2017 was a particularly epic year for sightings of our favourite blue spotty fish, with an unprecedented number of sightings throughout April and May – which we dubbed Whale Shark Central. the Department of Marine Conservation released statistics that they had identified over 90 different individual Whale Sharks in the Gulf of Thailand last year! This is great news, so we are hoping they will all stick around this year and going forward in years to come!
The dive sights where you are statistically more likely to have an encounter with one of these gentle ocean giants are the deeper sights such as Chumphon Pinnacle, South West Pinnacle and Sail Rock, although they have also been spotted at intermediate dive sites such as Green Rock and Hin Pee Wee. Very occasionally they have been seen at shallow dive sites like Twins, but generally to increase your chances of a sighting you’d need to be deeper, so being Advanced Open Water Diver, or at least having completed a Deep Adventure Dive.