Thailand Beaches

Thailand always evokes images of tropical sun-kissed beaches with clear skies, azure waters and white sands.

The best time to visit Thailand is November to April, when the weather is dry and the climate pleasant. December and January are the busiest months, as that is when people leave their cold winters behind at home to bask in the Thai sun.

Each beach in Thailand has a distinct feature that distinguishes it from the rest, be it the kind of crowd it attracts, the type of water sports activities or the nightlife. We have picked the top 10 beaches in Thailand for your next vacation, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

  1. Phuket

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    Phuket, the largest and most popular of Thailand’s islands, is an exquisite getaway with its stunning mountains, rainforests, and crystal turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea that are perfect for snorkeling and diving. Connected to the mainland via the Sarasin Bridge over the Pak Prah Strait, it is easily accessible by sea, road and air. One of the best beaches on Phuket is the Pansea, which is exclusively accessible only through the luxurious Amanpuri and The Surin resorts. If you’re not staying here, there are other great beaches open to the public.

    • Patong Beach

      With a wide variety of activities and rocking nightlife, Patong is one of the most popular beaches on the island. A 3,000 m shoreline with pale sand, this is place for people interested in SCUBA diving, snorkeling and water sports. Avoid the jet skis, too many tourists have been scammed into paying exorbitantly for having “damaged” the skis while using them. You can also get a massage on the beach if the water sports have left you tired.image

    • Karon Beach

      A 5 km long strip of white sand, Karon is a quiet beach, and can get gloomy at times. At the northern end, it can be deserted at times, and you can have the entire beach to yourself. At the southern end, it runs into the livelier Kata area.image

    • Kata Beach

      Kata is a fun and lively mile-long palm-lined stretch, divided by a rocky outcrop. A good place for both families and couples to relax, Kata also has a shallow coral reef that is great for snorkeling. You can swim across the reef to reach Koh Pu (crab island). May to October is surfing season in Kata, and with mellow waves, it’s the place for novice surfers to straighten out their game.image

      The Kata Noi area in the south is a calm and peaceful bay, good for swimming and snorkeling.

    • Kamala Beach

      This well-enclosed bay and fishing village is a family-friendly place, with new resorts, casual restaurants and good snorkeling facilities.

      The famous Phuket Fantasea showcasing Thai culture in an extravagant light and sound setting is nearby.

    • Chalong Bay

      This bustling bay, the primary point for dinghy and dive trips, is always teeming with bobbing vessels of all shapes and sizes. It is a busy place with several dive shops, fishing charters, tour operators, water-sports tools suppliers, and even yoga and Reiki centres next to the pier.image

    • Cape Panwa

      The lovely peninsula Panwa to the south of Phuket town, is a peaceful place with grassy hills, coves, mangroves and tidal flats far from the crowds.image

  2. Similan Islands

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    The famous Similan Islands Marine Natural Park has some of the most beautiful reefs in the entire world. To get here, take a speedboat from Phang Nga (where the James Bond Island of The Man with the Golden Gun fame is located) or Phuket. The exceptional dive environment with crystal clear waters and white sands offers a visibility of greater than 45 m at times. The 6 islands in the north are earmarked for divers, while the remaining 3 in the south are reserved for turtles.image

  3. Koh Phi Phi

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    Dreamy landscapes with soft white sands, cerulean waters of the Andaman, limestone cliffs and polychromatic corals – spin a totem to ascertain that you aren’t daydreaming now! Parts of The Beach were shot here, on Phi Phi Leh along Maya Bay.

    • Phi Phi Don is a glamorous beach hosting crazy parties, drawing crowds from all the world over.image

    • Yao or Long Beach has the most gorgeous reefs and is a great place to swim around.

  4. Krabi

    Krabi is on the southern Andaman coast, with jade waters around the rim of pictureque beaches with limestone cliffs, and mangroves inland offering sensational views. In fact, the Kashyyyk scenes in Star Wars III were shot right here, so you can imagine what being here would be like and why it’s a favourite with honeymooners. Rock climbing is a popular activity here.

    Krabi

    Things to do in Krabi
    • Railay Beach

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      The heartstoppingly beautiful landscape at Railay makes it a crowded beach, with sea-kayaking apart from the usual diving and snorkeling activities. Inland, there’s white water rafting, elephant trekking, quad biking and rock climbing for adventure seekers.

    • Phra Nang Beach

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      Isolated from the rest of land by a wall of rock, the approach is through a cave, or a long tail boat from Ao Nang Bay. The picturesque landscape makes it one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Just swim in the temperate waters, walk along the beach, tan under the spirited sun, get a massage, indulge in fresh, mouthwatering local food by the sea – fulfil your dreams of staying on a tranquil tropical paradise here.

  5. Koh Samui

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    The queen of Thailand’s Gulf Coast, the island of Koh Samui has lovely beaches running all along its coast, with craggy karsts dramatizing the landscapes.

    • Chaweng Beach

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      It is the longest beach on Koh Samui’s east coast, with calm waters and a coral reef. 100 Degrees East and Calypso Diving offer diving facilities.

    • Lamai Beach

      It is a swimmers’ beach. At the southern end of the beach are Hin Ta and Hin Yai, the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks, strangely shaped like genitalia!

    • Big Buddha Beach

      imageOverlooked by the large golden Buddha on Koh Farn nearby, this beach near Chaweng has inexpensive stays that draw a lot of backpackers. Consequently, the nightlife is good with several beach parties running late into the dark.

  6. Koh Pha Ngan

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    A bohemian island swarming with backpackers, Koh Pha Ngan is the ultimate destination for young travelers.

    • Haad Rin Sunrise Beach

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      The Sunrise beach is famous for its wild Full Moon parties which run into the wee hours of the morning. Parties which fall on Buddhist holidays are moved around, so check the dates before you head out. Pyrotechnics, alcohol buckets and international music set the scene, with Drop-In and Cactus bars drawing the largest crowds. Remember – Thailand has strict anti-drug laws, and counterfeit stuff gets passed along quite often.

    • Haad Rin Sunset Beach

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      Quiet and secluded, the Sunset beach has the relaxing resorts to get away from the crowds.

  7. Koh Tao

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    Koh Tao is SCUBA diving paradise. Gorgeous technicolor reefs and stunning landscapes will make you want to retire and spend the rest of your life there.

    • Sai Ri Beach

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      The longest beach on the island, Sai Ri has a line of accomodation options nearby, along with restaurants and bars. A protected beach with a coral reef offering swimming and snorkeling opportunities, the northern part is tranquil whereas the southern part is a party place. Get certified at Ban’s Diving School, or go to Big Blue Diving to get going as a pro.

    • Ao Tanote Bay

      You can try snorkeling and diving here as well.

  8. Koh Mun Nork

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    The only private island beach resort in Thailand, this tiny speck in the Gulf of Siam is a quiet, secluded place with hammocks on the beach and a serene atmosphere that’s perfect for a digital detox. Of course, there is only one resort on the island which also arranges for transportation to the island.

  9. Koh Larn

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    Koh Larn, the Coral Island off the coast of Pattaya, is so small you can walk all around on foot. A busy beach with rows of tourists relaxing under umbrellas with a beer in hand, swimming intermittently and gorging on seafood and Turkish ice-cream, this is one of the best beaches in the north. You can try snorkeling or seawalking, or take a glass-bottom boat ride.

  10. Pattaya

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    A sleepy little fishing village till American soldiers came here for relaxation during their Vietnam war breaks, Pattaya is today notorious for its night life, and has a few strictly okay beaches. Pattaya derives its name from Phatthaya, the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season.

    • Pattaya Beach

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      Pattaya Beach is a long, sandy stretch within easy walking distance from the bustling shopping and nightlife in downtown Pattaya.  Pattaya Beach Road has a street life like nowhere else in the world, with food carts, scarf stalls, swim wear booths and small boutiques.

      Pattaya

      Things to do in Pattaya
    • Jomtien Beach

      Jomtien Beach is well-frequented for swimming, water sports and activities, with a wide range of good quality hotels, bungalows and guesthouses lining the road running along its length of white sands. Along the beach is also a stretch of souvenir shops, restaurants and food stalls. Go swimming or enjoy water sports such as wind surfing and water skiing, ride a water scooter, parasail or take a speed boat ride. Many tourists also come to this area to just enjoy the scenery and the beach from under their umbrellas, with a cool beer and fresh sea food.

    • Naklua Beach

      Naklua, the northernmost beach, is a small, quiet area with clear waters for swimming and surfing, and a chic waterfront.

      While watersports, off-beat museums, wildlife and amusement parks are auxiliary attractions, Pattaya has some first class golf courses which are a major draw.

      Talking of nightlife, Walking Street lined with numerous restaurants, bars, hookers and go-go bars is the hub of all activity. It can get openly sleazy there, so avoid taking kids along. It is always fun to watch Muay Thai, a traditional boxing tournament, at one of the bars there.image

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