Adrenaline magazine - Sept 2008
More exciting than a Versace sale, you can now swim with sharks at the mall
Forget film festivals and Armani suits: no shopping complex can compete with the latest attraction at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall - “The Ultimate Dive with the Ultimate Predator,” allowing those with nerves of steel to dive into an aquarium full of sharks.
Bangkok’s latest temple to the shopping god, Siam Ocean World (in the basement of Siam Paragon), is your chance to get thrown into the deep end and gawk at ragged-toothed sharks while your other half eyeballs Gucci shoes. The dive takes place in a three million-litre tank in the Deep Ocean exhibit - the aquarium’s fiberglass rocks were artist-designed but all the marine life, from the algae to the three-metre sharks, are real.
Films such as Jaws have fostered the modern collective fear of sharks, so turning, for most people at least, the idea of diving into a shark aquarium into an unthinkably dangerous concept.
Sounds scary? Don’t be chicken. “The most dangerous thing that could happen is bumping into a rock, which is why we’ve got you all padded up,” says Robin Lloyd, one of the friendly fellows from Planet Scuba who leads the dives. Everyone is provided with all the necessary equipment, including a full-body wetsuit with hood, gloves and boots. Divers without certification must do a morning training session in a nearby pool before taking the plunge and certified divers who have not dived in the previous 12 months must take a refresher course.
In an open water dive in the ocean there’s no guarantee that you will see any of these amazing creatures, so it’s a great opportunity to view unforgettable marine life whichever way you turn. Like a gift basket, this floral feast has been carefully packaged by human hands for maximum enjoyment.
Shark species in the tank include leopard, tawny nurse, bamboo and African-imported ragged-tooth sharks. There’s no need to wet your wetsuit because none of these sharks will attack people unless seriously provoked. Once in the water, however, there is no guarantee that that knowledge will necessarily insulate you from the primal fear of big, pointy teeth.
Dive packages range in price from 5,300 to 6,600 Baht, depending on your level of scuba- diving experience. Friends and family receive discounted tickets to Bangkok’s premier aquarium, Siam Ocean World, if they watch you dive.
Adrenaline magazine recommends that divers base thermselves in Ao Nang, which has access to all the mid-Andaman dive sites, then go on a Similan Islands liveaboard. Check out our holiday package DHL, which includes both destinations. Why dive just one part of Thailand, when with us you can dive all the best sites in the country ?
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