Let me tell you that picking out Thailand’s best beaches is an impossible task. This country has THE Beach, plus several million more that are just as gorgeous. Nonetheless I am determined to persevere…
Railay Beach, Krabi
Railay Beach first ‘discovered’ by rock climbers who were drawn to the area for the striking (and challenging) limestone cliff formations. Rock climbing still a popular activity in the area, though it’s not the best place to start if you’re a beginner. Instead enjoy the jutting cliffs rising from the turquoise ocean from a more relaxed pose on the beach.
How to get here: You’ll find Railay Beach on the island of Krabi, and there are plenty of regular boat services.
Possibly Thailand’s most famous beach, and instantly recognisable as the setting for the film of The Beach (even though they altered the landscape for the film) Maya Bay isn’t the easiest of beaches to reach – but that doesn’t stop anyone from going. You have a choice of a boat ride or 20-minute walk through the woods to reach it, but the sheltered bay is worth the effort. It’s located on Koh Phi Phi Leh, part of the Phi Phi archipelago which contains many other sensational (and less crowded) beaches to visit.
How to get there: catching a boat from Phi Phi Don is probably easiest way to get to The Beach.
Haad Rin, Koh Pha Ngan
Haad Rin is set apart because it is Thailand’s premier party beach. The home of the Full Moon Party is also a stunning spot during the daytime – set on a peninsula with gently sloping soft gold sand. It’s barely recognisable after dark, filled with revellers drinking and dancing. The monthly Full Moon Party is the highlight, but you’ll find some nightlife on the beach whenever you visit.
To get here: Take the ferry to Haad Rin from Koh Samui. You can fly into Koh Samui from Bangkok.
Ko Nang Yuan
The beach on Ko Nang Yuan island may not be large but the strips of sand linking the island together are certainly something to look at. The area is also a snorkeller’s paradise, it’s shallow waters teeming with fish – you can feed the fish by hand if you wish. There are more palm-fringed beaches to explore on the neighbouring larger island of Koh Tao.
How to get there: The only way is by boat, it’s a two hour trip from Koh Samui.
Patong Beach, Phuket
It would be wrong to write a round up of Thailand’s beaches without a mention of Patong in Phuket – it is Thailand’s most popular beach after all. It’s a world away from the remote undiscovered coves of Thailand, but the development comes with its own benefits: cheap hotels, fabulous dining and a lively nightlife scene. The wide beach of white sand and warm waters still speak for themselves and explain the regions popularity.
How to get there: Fly into Phuket International airport
Ko Raya Island
If the built-up resort of Phuket gets too much for you, and you find yourself yearning for a simpler back to basics approach then escape to the island of Ko Raya. The island is still busy with tourists, but has a more rural feel, with a local community of Muslim farmers and fishermen still evident. Plus did we mention the white-sand beach is gorgeous and offers brilliant snorkelling in crystal clear waters? In fact this is one of the few places where it’s still possible to snorkel during monsoon season.
How to get there: The island is only 45 minutes by boat from Phuket, however you will have to organise the trip yourself as there are no scheduled crossings.
The teeny island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea is growing in popularity due to the huge variety of fish species you’ll find in the surrounding waters. Its location outside the Tarutao National Marine Park spurred its development, as it was outside the stricter development laws imposed on islands within the reserve. This initially caused some environmental problems, but there are more projects in place to keep the resort clean now. The beaches of the island have always been stunning – long Pattaya Beach is the most popular, but you can also catch the sunrise and sunset from the beaches on the east and west coast of the island.
How to get there: Koh Lipe is in the south of Thailand, close to the Malaysian boarder. You can catch a boat from Pak Bara, which is somewhat of a transport hub for tourists in southern Thailand.
This is but seven of the best beaches in Thailand. If you want to help us add to it, book yourself a cheap flight to Thailand and tell us all about it!