In August 2014 a French boy died in Bottle Beach. While swimming in the sea the boy was stung by a box jellyfish. He died shortly afterwards. The box jellyfish is has one of the most lethal stings in the animal world. Should you be worried about swimming in the sea at Bottle Beach?
The answer is ‘no’. 2014 was unusual it that there was a very large amount of box jellyfish in the Gulf of Thailand. They are normally rarely seen in either the Gulf of Thailand or in the Andaman Sea. And it is even rarer that they sting. Box jelly fish are normally associated with Koh Lanta; Haad Nopparatthara-Mu; Ko Phi Phi National Marine Park; Nam Bor bay in Phuket province; Cha-am beach; and some beaches on Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
People can spend 10 years living on a beach in Koh Phangan and not encounter a box jellyfish. I have never seen one while swimming off several beaches in Koh Phangan. The bigger risk from nature in Koh Phangan, as people in forums have pointed out, is from dengue fever contracted by mosquito bites.
Nevertheless, after the tragic death at Bottle Beach the provincial authorities have spent resources to disseminate more information about the dangerous sea creatures. Koh Phanganers are now vigilant for the jelly fish. The above infographic is part of that program.
Box jellyfish are recognised by the box shape of their main body and by the transparent tentacles that trail up to 2 meters behind the body. It is these tentacles that hold the sting. Even if you encounter a box jellyfish it is very rare that it stings. This is not an aggressive fish.
However, be forever mindful when swimming in the sea. It is nature, and holds the dangers of danger – tides, undercurrents, and stinging creatures.