How to save Thailand's sharks
If you’ve ever seen dolphin documentary The Cove, you can probably imagine how shark fin ends up in a soup bowl. Nothing quite so tame as simmering some French Onion. Much closer to Jaws, actually.
Sharks and shark fin soup in Thailand
Finning sharks to make shark fin soup is a genuine horror show, and it's a devastating practice for the ocean and its healthy ecosystem. So ... where's the good news?
Thailand shark fin soup – what you need to know
Meet Thailand's good guys: On a recent Pinterest binge, we discovered the Fin Free Thailand campaign, and its accompanying 'Blue List' of Thai hotels that have pledged to keep their menus 100% free from shark fin soup. The hotels' participation in this campaign is a huge deal in a country so dependent on tourist dollars.
What's in it for you?
Infinity pools and great coffee – it's an easy vote to make. Lucky for all of us, the list of good guys is a who’s-who of the Thailand's best hotels, making ethical accommodation a very easy choice.
In this case, saving Thai sharks means five-star hotels, fine linens, incredible service and unbelievable views. It's rough work, can you do it?
Why should you care if your hotel is shark fin free?
You want to respect who you're going to bed with, right? Take a quick look at this literal blood bath and you might care – just a little bit – to side with the good guys.
Do people eat shark fin soup in Thailand?
From Fin Free Thailand: "Shark fin restaurant owners in Bangkok’s Chinatown alone have claimed to be selling more than 20,000 bowls of shark fin soup per month." Any hotel walking away from that kind of cash deserves a medal.
Why should you care about shark fins in Thailand?
A quick list of three reasons from Fin Free Thailand:
- To protect endangered species of sharks
- To protect marine ecosystems (the 'picture postcard' ocean and beaches you're coming to enjoy in Thailand)
- To protect people's health (that's you!) – shark fin soup can contain insane mercury levels
For anyone wondering about the presence of live sharks in and around Koh Samui (now that it's so easy to avoid dead ones), there are whale sharks off Koh Tao (as in the photos above). While absolutely massive – 47,000 lb / 21.5 metric tons – they're plankton feeders.
Shark-fin free hotels on Koh Samui
Is your hotel on the 'Good Guys List'? Find out! Since we first published this post in 2014, a further ten Koh Samui hotels have pledged to go Shark Fin Free – bringing the island's current total to 26 hotels:
If you see your hotel on the list below – send them a quick thumbs up on social media (#finfree) – good guys always deserve praise. If your hotel is missing from the list, ask them why.
- Amari Koh Samui
- Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa
- Anantara Lawana
- Banyan Tree Samui
- The Beach Samui
- Bo Phut Resort & Spa
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui
- Centara Villas Samui
- Centra Coconut Beach Resort Samui
- Chaweng Regent
- Conrad Koh Samui
- Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
- Kamalaya Koh Samui
- Kanda Residences
- Le Meridien
- Manathai Koh Samui
- New Star Beach Resort
- OZO Chaweng Samui
- Paradise Beach Resort
- Pinnacle Samui Resort
- Poppies Samui
- Samui Palm Beach Resort
- Saree Samui
- Six Senses Samui
- The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa
- Tongsai Bay / Tongsai Grand Villas
- W Retreat Koh Samui
Tip: For more hotel recommendations and tips for every beach, see Where to Stay on Koh Samui