Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Fishermen off  Krabi and Phuket have found box jellyfish

Danger Jellyfish Found Off Phuket: Death in Krabi

Monday, October 20, 2008
Phuketwan joins the jelly fish search. Look for our report

URGENT HELP is being sought from Australian researchers after the discovery of box jellyfish in the sea around Phuket and a death in waters off Krabi.

While marine biologists say it is too early for tourists to be alarmed, research on the prevalence of the deadly marine creatures has become a priority.

One Swedish tourist died from a box jellyfish sting off the coast of Krabi in April this year.

A spokesperson for the Phuket Marine Biology Centre said that testing is likely to confirm biologists' suspicions that the type discovered on Phuket is not the same variety as the killer box jellyfish.

The jellyfish discovered off Phuket were caught in mangrove traps at Nam Bor Bay, near Saphan Hin in Phuket City, on the east coast of the island, on July 30.

Have you had experience with jellyfish off Phuket or Krabi? If so, please tell us in the Comment box below

Between 10 and 20 box jellyfish of the Chirodropidae family were captured by a fisherman who took them to the biology centre.

Today samples of the jellyfish are being sent to Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin at the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service in Townsville.

A previous attempt was made about one month ago to enlist the aid of Australian scientists, the biology centre spokesperson said.

In April, a Swedish girl died from a box jellyfish sting at Koh Lanta, off the coast of Krabi.

An earlier death had been reported in 2002 off Koh Phangnan, near Samui, in the Gulf of Siam, on the other side of the Isthmus of Kra.

Phuketwan has since learned that two people died from jellyfish stings there in 2002, an Australian and a Swiss.

Biologists on Phuket suspect the Swedish girl killed in the latest incident died from a strike by a jellyfish from the Carybdeidae variety, different to the non-deadly type they believe has now been found in Phuket waters.

The jellyfish involved in the death was not captured, so their conclusions so far have been based on the circumstances and the wound suffered by the victim.

Biologists went to the area in early July and captured five box jellyfish. These were the Chirodropidae family variety.

On August 22, seven more box jellyfish were captured by fishermen in that area and sent to the biology centre. These were found to be the deadly Type One Carybdeidae variety.

Both types found in waters off Phuket and Krabi are different to the species found off Australia, where box jellyfish in tropical north-east waters have been known to kill in three or four minutes.

Fishermen have told the biological centre that the jellyfish usually appear after heavy rain.

Their tentacles extend up to a metre and the jellyfish are transparent and hard to see.

A letter from Andrew Jones of Melbourne, Australia, in the latest issue of the Phuket Post describes the circumstances of his son surviving a sting ''in a remote area on the other side of the country.''

That attack is recorded as having taken place at Koh Mak, in Trat, on the Gulf of Siam.

Mr Jones adds in his letter: ''Thailand's public health facilities do not keep proper records on the subject and do not know what they are looking for. Anecdotal evidence suggests villagers are buried without official notice.

''If it was reported that deaths from box jellyfish were in the 10s annually, which it is believed in all seriousness to be (more than Australia) then obviously more people would pay attention.''

The letter adds: ''Divers aren't in the best position to spot transparent box jellyfish with a habitat of shallow sandy beaches.

''In June I pulled up dozens of juvenile specimens off Lanta (which would be fully grown by now.)''

Later Mr Jones told Phuketwan: ''There are plenty more nasty issues and things in Thailand that do a lot of killing so this has not been a priority of the authorities and just ''gets in the way'' of tourism.

''The model in Australia is that knowing about them actually assists tourism People don't want nasty surprises on holiday.''

Phuketwan is now seeking a comment from senior health authorities in Bangkok.

Jellyfish tend to increase in numbers and expand territory when the fish that eat them are being caught in great numbers.

A version of this article appeared in the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong on October 21


Comments have been disabled for this article.


End July/beginning August I got stung quite badly while swimming at Nai Harn. I didn't look around for any jellyfish as the pain was excruciating. My hand, underarm and upper arm were affected. For over 15 years I've been scuba diving and swimming at Nai Harn and other Phuket beaches three to four times weekly but never had any stings like this. The welts remained painful for a long time, I eventually went to a doctor as the swelling of my arm didn't abate and I developed burn-like little blisters. The welt-like scars have finally faded. I've heard of a friend having a similar experience at Surin Beach about three weeks ago.
Nevertheless, I'm still swimming . . ..
Cheers, Lisa

Editor: Lisa, Nasty experience. Did you take photos of the injuries? Did you friend take photos? If so, please send digital files to so we can pursue the matter.

Posted by Anonymous on October 20, 2008 12:12


My memory is that two tourists died the same weekend in 2002 from box jellyfish. It seems the risk is not significant but best to be safe than sorry as these deaths and injuries in Koh Phangnan, Koh Mak and Koh Lanta over the past few years suggest that deadly jellyfish are all over Thailand. Having a small bottle of vinegar in a bag at the beach along with water, book, etc is a good precaution just in case.
Has anyone asked the fishermen collecting these things if they know of people being killed?

I'm not going in!


Posted by Marley on October 20, 2008 17:53


Oh great... I've got a dive trip with the wife next month off Phuket and Phi Phi ... I can't tell her or she'll freak out.

Anyway here's the Australian research model on treating wounds:
Immediately flood the area with household vinegar to keep undischarged nematocysts from firing. This does not relieve pain, but prevents additional stings.
Never rub the area with sand or anything else.
Irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes. If vision blurs, or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or are light sensitive after irrigating, see a doctor.
Pluck off any vinegar-soaked tentacles with a stick or other tool.
If the victim has shortness of breath, weakness, muscle cramps, palpitations or any other generalized symptoms, take them to an emergency room.
For pain relief, apply ice packs. If pain becomes unbearable, go to an emergency room. No studies support applying heat to box jellyfish stings.
And please don't copy Joey from Friends - Alcohol and human urine are common nematocyst remedies, but both can be harmful. An Australian study reports that both alcohol and urine caused massive discharge of box jellyfish nematocysts

Some people are extremely sensitive to the venom; a few have allergic reactions. Consider even the slightest breathing difficulty, or altered level of consciousness, a medical emergency. Call for help and use an automatic epinephrine injector if available.

Posted by Den on October 21, 2008 08:44


Hmm, didn't think to take any photos of it. I'll ask my friend.
No big stingers since, just the regular, occasional mild zaps.

Posted by Anonymous on October 29, 2008 12:34


I was stung last week while swimming @ Naiharn beach. (22nd August 2009)

I was about 20 meters off shore swimming with a friend and It felt like an electric shock on my arm, when I started to swim back to shore I was stung 2 more times, I could see ALOT of jelly fish under the water & they were not the usual jelly fish I see in Thailand waters.
It was long & fin about the size of a rolled up new paper with brown spots on the top.

It took me 15 minutes to get to my car and get home to my bungalow, I doused my stings in vinegar to neutralize the sting then 15 minutes in a HOT HOT shower to help relieve the pain. (Hot shower worked VERY well)

After the shower I smeared two of my 3 stings with monofloral (100% pure honey). I put the honey on only 2 of my stings because the third sting was on my back and harder to get too + I wasn't overly confident that the honey would do anything.

The next morning the 2 stings I smeared the honey on were almost gone. The affected area on my back that didnt get any honey still had BIG red welts & was still VERY sore.

(4 days after and the welts on my back are still mildly sore.)

Yes I took a photo of the red welts)

Posted by danny on August 22, 2009 15:21


Jan 2010 just stung 2 weeks ago in Krabi. Island off Railay.
Snorkel boat tour. Stung on back of upper arm. Felt like 20 wasp stings in concentrated area. Breathing OK. 100 metre swim back to boat.

Boat owner and offsider panicked quietly and doused in straight detergent. Then fresh water and detergent mix. Lightly rubbed. Pain and burning felt like prickles over my legs and body which subsided after 2 hours. Still welt on back of arm. Painful and stinging sensation still remains.

The area now has a purplish hue and looks like it is peeling. This may be the sites of the little stings. I am going to use a campho/cortisone cream after looking at websites called 999. A Chinese cream and I think this will help. It is good for bites and stings.

I did observe that there were large clear jelly fish with an inner brownish core rein the water at a different site. There were some silly people who dived in to take photos metres from a few jelly fish!

Coming from Queensland Australia, I have a very healthy respect for poisonous jelly fish, know the use of vinegar but trusted the boat owners solution. Have since read that salt water wash is good. Glad that I had a few minutes in the water swimming back to the boat.

Editor: Judy, thanks for your winceful account. Expert advice is that vinegar and only vinegar reduces the toxicity of the most serious jellyfish stings. Every boat in the region should be packing vinegar.

Posted by judy on January 16, 2010 07:49


I was stung at Patong beach on the lower legs December 2008 and the stings were so bad they oozed and crusted over, swelling massively. I was due to fly home the next day but they were so bad the airline let me catch an earlier flight for free! There will always be jellyfish but more information and availability of medicine is needed around the beaches to help with the problem. Another girl had also been stung on the arm the same week.

Posted by Anonymous on June 16, 2010 02:47


I have been stung by jellyfish 3 times in the last 8 months in SE Asia. Twice was in Vietnam where the second stinging was so severe that the infection caused a fever for 3 days and my leg swelled up like a balloon.

The actual stings were infected with pus and fluid and the wounds took over 6 months to heal. At first there were huge pits as if flesh had been gouged out of my leg like an acid attack. The scars are now big black marks. This was a huge brownish/orange jelly with short tentacles.

In Krabi (May2010) I was stung in my face and left with a long whip mark from left to right. Luckily, with my previous experience, I now travel with a bottle of vinegar which I applied and went straight to the doctor and got antibiotics to prevent infection. Wasn't taking any chances with my face.

I did not see this jellyfish although I looked immediately after being stung (had been snorkelling and had goggles on). I guess it was white or transparent, as confirmed by the locals. They mentioned a smallish white jellyfish with long tentacles which stung.

Did I mention the excruciating pain that came in cramping waves and lasted a day and a half?

I don't have photos of the jellyfish but documented the stings over 6 months and can provide photos.

Posted by JellyHater 2010 on July 2, 2010 09:18


Stung today (1st january 2013) on north east coast of Phuket (thalong area).the sting was like a needle to my left side, it was 15:00 o clock ( early evening which is a time jellyfish are likely to surface). 3 small tentacle marks developed to a large rash within 10 minutes. Resort staff doused the area in vinegar. I arrived to hospital after 90 minutes ( precautionary as I felt ok). Doctor essentially said vinegar applied rapidly was key, take a skin allergy cream and paracetamol. I was lucky - I will now be carrying a bottle of vinegar to all the islands. I wish I knew this beforehand and I really think that signs were in place including info about vinegar. I have photos of the sting.

Posted by Kelvin on January 2, 2013 00:00


We are in Kho Phi Phi at the moment at the holiday Inn resort. Thee are literally thousands of tiny jellyfish in the sea and washed up on the shore..some are large. It is worth someone coming to look at to research whether they are a health risk or not...

Posted by Anthony on December 24, 2013 03:23


Not exactly stung by a jelly fish but just before experiencing small stinging sensations saw what looked like a large 8" x 5" long transparent object through the water that was lying on the seabed. This was seen on Bang Tao beach on 22nd February 2014.

Posted by sally hill on February 23, 2014 18:09

Saturday February 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter