Whale of a time: Thai tourist’s video reels in awe with rare shark sighting near Koh Samet (video)

A fin-tastic encounter unfolded yesterday as a Thai tourist shared a video capturing the rare moment when a whale shark made a splash near Koh Samet beach in the eastern province of Rayong.

A Facebook account, Tanakorn Boontaram, shared a video of a whale shark making a surprise appearance near Koh Samet beach in the eastern province of Rayong, yesterday, January 31. Tanakorn said in the caption…

“Abundant nature #KohSamet #LoveSea”

The beach in the video is said to be a private one owned by Samet Seaside Resort on Koh Samet, an island in the eastern province of Rayong. The video shows foreign tourists gazing at the majestic whale shark swimming close to the shore.

The video swiftly amassed over 1,200 reactions and 200 comments and garnered 621 shares by Facebook users. Tanakorn engaged with netizens in the comments, confirming that the shark featured in the video was indeed a whale shark. Thai social media users lavished Tanakorn with envy, expressing their admiration for the video and his remarkable close encounter with the shark.

Thai marine scientist, Thon Thamrongnawasawat, shared the video on his Facebook account, saying it was an extraordinary event. He had never seen a whale shark swimming so close to the beach before.

Thon explained that whale sharks only come close to the shore when they are sick but this whale shark looked perfectly fine in the video.

Thon admitted that he could not guess why the whale shark got close to the beach like this and said a close monitoring of it and other whale sharks might provide the answer. Thon added that there were several reports on the recent appearances of whale sharks in Rayong province but most of them were spotted in the deep spots.

Tanakorn and his friends also issue a friendly warning to fellow tourists in Rayong. They advised everyone to double-check the surroundings before swimming for the safety of both themselves and the animal.

The whale sharks often appear at a popular diving site in Rayong called Hin Pleng. Last year, a 7-metre whale shark swam and played with tourists for more than five hours. It even followed a tour boat back to shore. One dive instructor told the media that he has seen the same whale shark return to the same dive site every year.

For those wishing to see whale sharks in Thailand, the Similan Island in the southern province of Phang Nga and Surin Island in the southern province of Phuket are the recommended dive sites.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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