Whale Sharks. Uttering those words to any diver is like mentioning the moon to an astronaut, with the chance to dive with one forming an integral part of the ultimate diving experience.
Chance encounters with the oceans biggest fish are largely reliant on the shark’s migratory movements, with these spectacular creatures preferring warmer, more temperate waters. Luckily for PADI divers this means that the opportunity to dive with one of the ocean’s greats is accompanied by the prospect of visiting a range of bucket list destinations!
With a significant selection of whale shark locales in the Asia Pacific region, we’ve deliberated over the best spots to come face to face with these majestic beauties.
Ningaloo Reef and the coastline of Western Australia.
Not only is this part of the world home to stunning topside scenery to tantalise any travellers wanderlust, but the crystal clear waters of the Coral Coast also provides the backdrop for many fantasy whale shark experiences. March through July is the best time to have a chance encounter with these fish as they feed on the plankton rich waters of the Ningaloo Reef.
Koh Tao and Richelieu Rock, Thailand.
Both the east and west coast of Thailand offers a range of dive sites where the prospect of seeing a whale shark increases. Two well-known areas are Chumphon Pinnacle near Koh Tao on the east and Richelieu Rock, originally discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, in the west. At Richelieu Rock, whale sharks are known to cruise by the northeast edge of the dive site, so be sure to keep an eye out when diving here. Chumphon Pinnacle near Koh Tao is easily accessible from the surrounding islands. The pinnacles make the perfect spot to glimpse at a whale shark swimming by.
Other noteworthy locations that whale sharks may frequent in the Asia Pacific region include;
- The Gulf of Thailand region including Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam.
- Various parts of the vast islands of Indonesia including PADI liveaboard destinations.
- Multiple sites spread over the 7107 islands that make up the Philippines.
- Indian Ocean waters including the countries of Malaysia, India and the Maldives.
It’s important that when diving in locations where whale share may be present, you adhere to any local laws and guidelines as well as directions from your PADI Dive Shop or PADI Instructor. You should also follow the Ten Ways A Diver Can Protect the Underwater Environment.
Do you know of any other locations in Asia Pacific, or around the world, that you may have a chance encounter with a whale shark while diving? Leave your comment below.
Locate a PADI Dive Shop to learn more about diving in these destinations!