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What is in the water on Phi Phi Lei, Thailand?

  • boXjellyfiSh

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2010
    Posts: 1

    The obvious answer is plastic bags! In addition to the disappointing amounts of floating garbage, a quick search of the internet reveals quite a few people who have been stung on the lips, legs, arms…but by what? The locals suggest ‘sea-lice’, and depending on the pronunciation/interpretation of this, people are reporting ‘sea-lights’ and ‘sea-lye’ on their blogs. Could there be more stores like mine?

    I was enjoying the fantastic snorkelling around noon in Ao Pileh (Phi Phi Lei) which is an emerald blue lagoon, almost entirely enclosed by tall cliffs. The numerous colourful fish, clam shells and anemones are clearly visible in the crystal waters. Suddenly I had a burning sensation all over my upper lip and left cheek. As if 50 bull-ants had bitten all at once. Seeing nothing in the water, I swam for the boat and ripped off the mask and snorkel. The tour guide quickly washed my face with fresh water and applied vinegar. I held the vinegar-soaked cotton balls to my lips for over an hour, but the pain increased, through to my gums, upper palate and left cheek. Bull-ant bites and bee-stings tend to subside after a few minutes but this crawling burning pain increased overtime. Upon my return to the resort (the nurse gave me an antihistamine tablet and paracetamol and suggested bed-rest) the pain increased over the next four to five hours. With red swollen bee-stung lips, I looked as if I had overdone the collagen treatments! No laughing matter as the pain spread from upper gums to my upper cheeks, I felt quite faint and could not move my upper-lip or open my mouth. Finally by about 7 pm the pain started to subside, I slept through the night and by morning the pain had subsided. Is this due to box jelly-fish in the Thai waters? In Australia, prevention of box jelly-fish stings requires large nets, a supply of vinegar and appropriate lifeguard training across the country. Should there be more widespread warnings and greater public awareness in Thailand?

    #1 Posted: 24/9/2010 - 19:52

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  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
    Joined Travelfish
    21st April, 2006
    Location Canada
    Posts: 1478
    Total reviews: 15
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Sounds like jellyfish. "Manga-proon." Likely not a box jellyfish, though, as their venom often kills skin and the results of your encounter would have been much worse than you described.

    #2 Posted: 24/9/2010 - 22:22


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6953
    Total reviews: 10

    Definitely sounds like a Jelly fish. Not sure of the type.

    #3 Posted: 25/9/2010 - 00:40

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1331
    Total reviews: 61

    If it was box jellyfish you would be dead.

    I get minor stings frequently when snorkelling and ocean swimming in both Thailand and Australia. I put it down to normal jellyfish tentacles which have been shredded by ocean chop. I don't have a major reaction to such stings - hurts for a bit for a while but that's it.
    But some people react differently. Like for some a bee-sting is a life threatening situation.

    #4 Posted: 25/9/2010 - 14:56

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