Travelers around the world flock to Thailand for the beaches that it offers, there are over 2,000 miles of coastline and 8,000 islands to choose from with many have luxurious white sand, endearing warm water and beautiful scenery.
Some islands seem to have many beaches that have made it onto the top 25 such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, and other locations not so many. With so many to choose from it is all a matter of taste so I have gone with the ones that I like the most.
1. Railay Beach, Krabi
Railay Beach in Krabi is surrounded by the Andaman Sea and accessible only by boat, the beach is framed by limestone cliffs that completely cut this section of land off from the world. The beach itself is relaxed and peaceful, not too many tourists come here as you cannot drive to the beach, instead you need to rent a long tail boat and sail here with a guide who will drop you off. There are a few places to stay the night meaning you can relax all day on the beautiful white sands and then relax all evening in a peaceful bar.
2. Ton Sai Beach, Krabi
Ton Sai Beach in Krabi offers something for the traveler on a lower budget, a beautiful sandy beach that is surrounded by cheap accommodation and some excellent rock climbing. There are two ways to get to this beach, the first and simple way is to get a lift in a long tail boat that will take about five minutes from Railay Beach, the second and complicated way is a trek through the rainforest for an hour and a half from Ao Nang. Because getting to this beach is not always the easiest thing to do the number of visitors is quite low. This will allow you to have a fully relaxing time away from the crowds.
3. Phra Nang Beach, Krabi
Phra Nang Beach was recently voted among the top ten beaches in the world, the beach is accessible by a long tail boat which you can pick up from Ao Nang, and the journey to the beach is about 20 minutes and well worth the short wait. The beach itself has beautiful white sand stretching along it entire length and at each end you find huge cliffs which add to the picture postcard look. It is a non-touristy beach despite its fame as you cannot get there by road. There is no land transport in this area at all, there are however a few food and drink stalls dotted about to make sure you don’t go hungry or thirsty.
4. Mai Khao Beach, Phuket
The Mai Khao Beach in Phuket runs for 11 kilometers and is part of the Sirinat National Park. The area by the beach is still undeveloped except for a couple of large hotel chains meaning you can walk or jog for miles and sometimes not see a person the entire time you are there. The name of the beach translates as ‘white wood’ and this is due to the coarseness of the sand, for undeveloped, unspoiled landscape this is an excellent beach to visit.
5. Karon Beach, Phuket
Karon Beach in Phuket is the third longest beach in Phuket and the second most popular spot on the island for tourists. Sitting on the west coast of the island the beach itself has golden sand and beautifully clear water, the beach is very wide allowing a lot of space for tourists to spread out so you should never get that overcrowded feel. You can go snorkeling at various spots along the beach as well as some diving. There is a lot to do around the beach including Karon Center which features many restaurants and bars as well a beautiful Buddhist temple.
6. Kata Beach, Phuket
Just a few minutes away from Karon Beach is Kata Beach, with white sands and clear water you will see why this beach made it onto the list. The top of the beach has palm trees running along it which prove to be very popular with families as they look to find themselves some shade. There are some great restaurants along the beach and an active night life, it is not a party night life though so you should stay in Karon Beach for that.
7. Kantiang Beach, Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta has various fantastic beaches but Kantiang Beach is the most beautiful, Sitting within the national park is this secluded beach that will often only have a few tourists at a time. The beach has soft golden sand and beautiful turquoise water. Just next to the beach is a little cliff with a disused lighthouse at the top. You can carefully make your way up the cliff where you can get panoramic views of the national park and the beach below you. There are quite a few monkeys in the national park but they rarely make it onto the beach. The beach itself is accessible by foot through the national park as no actual road goes directly to it.
8. Long Beach, Koh Lanta
Known to the locals as Phra Ae, Long Beach on Koh Lanta is a long stretch of white sand and has beautiful clear waters that are perfect for swimming in. The beach sits at the north of the island and is one of the most developed parts to stay in. There are various bungalow resorts that back onto the beach allowing you to get from bed to sea in just a few short minutes. There are plenty of restaurants at the top of the beach all selling cocktails and BBQ fish and meats. In the evening there are sometimes fire shows to keep the crowds entertained. Long Beach is popular but it is never crowded so there is also space to relax and sunbathe.
9. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi
Maya Bay shot to fame in ‘The Beach’ when the movie was filmed here in 1999 and it has not quietened down since. The beach has silky soft sand, underwater coral, crystal clear water and exotic fish, the word paradise simply does not do this beach justice. The bay is sheltered by cliffs on three sides and the best time to visit is between November and April to avoid the unpredictable weather that can hit these parts of Thailand. A word of warning the beach is staggeringly beautiful but the thousands of visitors every day are starting to leave their mark on the beach and it is not as idyllic as it once was.
10. Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui
Chaweng Beach is where Koh Samui comes to life, it is the biggest and most popular town on the island and has possibly the most beautiful beach. This is also the place where the nightlife is at its most hectic with plenty of bars and restaurants to keep everyone entertained. Chaweng strip is located next to the beach and stretches on for three kilometers, the strip is full of restaurants and bars all competing for your money so prices are relatively low and the competition fierce. If you are after something less noisy and more relaxing the bars that are dotted along the beach provide a quieter atmosphere, with a great view of the incoming tide and a welcome sea breeze, perfect if you are looking to wind down your evening.
11. Mae Nam Beach, Koh Samui
Mae Nam beach is a quiet beach and at present still not as developed as many parts of Koh Samui are. The Beach is about seven kilometers long and has many palm trees at the top of the beach that signify the end of the sand and the start of the land. Most popular with backpackers and low budget travelers the beach has an untouched feel to it and you will not find as many vendors or restaurants as you will in the more popular locations. There is however a few bars and restaurants around that stay open until about 11:00pm to cater for the travelers that have not hit the busy towns.
12. Choeng Mon Beach, Koh Samui
Choeng Mon Beach is made up of a series of bays all of which feature white sandy beaches. Situated about fifteen minutes from Chaweng and about five minutes from Big Buddha. The Beautiful white sandy beaches are relatively quiet and the songthaews do not come to this beach much so you will need to hire a scooter or get a taxi when you visit. The beach is famed for its water sports and you can rent kayaks by the hour as well as going swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.
13. Thongtakian Beach, Koh Samui
Also known as ‘Silver Beach’ Thongtakian Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches to visit on Koh Samui, it is only a small beach but it is currently completely unspoiled. With white soft sand and crystal clear waters it will become a favorite of yours within a short time of arriving. The beach has hilltops surrounding it along with some fabulous rocks and the occasional coconut tree. There are a few resorts in this area along with some restaurants and bars to stop for a light meal and a couple of drinks. A truly natural beautiful beach which any visitor to Koh Samui should visit before they leave the island.
14. Haad Rin, Koh Phangan
People across the globe have heard of the legendary full moon parties that happen in Koh Phangan, the place where they all originated is Haad Rin Beach. With 30,000 visitors coming to the parties a relaxing sun bathe on the beach is a thing of the past. As the full moon parties proved to be so popular with the tourists there are now half-moon and quarter moon parties taking place making this the party capital of the island. The parties can last for days and often include alcohol buckets and fire dancing.
15. Haad Yao, Koh Phangan
Described by many as the ‘perfect beach’ Had Yao is a stunning beach filled with fantastic white sand which slopes gently in the direction of the clear warm sea, the water is perfect for swimming due to its temperature and clarity. There is a coral reef about 400 meters away from the coast where you can go snorkeling and admire the marine life, there are various scuba diving schools on the island which also take divers to this sport for scuba diving. One side of the beach has many palm trees which add to the picturesque look and give it the feeling of paradise.
16. Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan
Sitting at the opposite end of the island to where all the full-moon parties take place is Bottle Beach. The beach is nestled in its own cove and there are only four sets of bungalows here making it very secluded. It is more of a hippie sort of beach with the few tourists that venture here being laid back and relaxed, there are a couple of restaurants dotted around that serve freshly caught fish and southern Thai cuisine at affordable prices. The best way to get here is to take a long tail boat from Chaloklum, alternatively you can walk through the jungle following a trail.
17. Haad Salad, Koh Phangan
Haad Salad Beach has a bit of a story behind it, the name of the beach translates as ‘pirate beach’ this is because the beach is a sheltered cove with shallow waters, this meant the Thai Navy could not make it to the cove giving the smugglers an excellent place to hide. This was many years ago, nowadays it is a haven for tourists who come to visit the pristine white sand and crystal clear waters. The beach itself is about 600 meters long and has some coral so the best time to swim is at high tide to avoid cutting yourself on it.
18. Thong Nai Pan Noi, Koh Phangan
There are two beaches right next to each other that form a double bay, Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thing Nai Pan Yai. The busiest of the beaches is Thong Nai Pan Noi which is immensely beautiful and has clear waters, there is no coral at all on this side of the island which makes for great swimming. Thing Nai Pan Noi has a bit of a legendary status among its many visitors due to its chilled out atmosphere. Next to the beach are various bars playing old school music as well as some reggae bars. There are also various tattoo shops some of which tattoo the traditional bamboo way.
19. Hat Sai Kaew, Koh Samet
Also known as Diamond Beach, Hat Sai Kaew is the most popular and longest beach on Koh Samet, although it is the longest beach it is still only 780 meters long so everything fits neatly in close proximity. The sand here is almost as white as snow and the water a green-blue color. You can try various sports at this beach such as: windsurfing, jet-skiing banana boating and snorkeling. There is a good selection of restaurants and bars on the beach front serving a fine selection of juices, cocktails and Thai cuisine.
20. Ao Prao Beach, Koh Samet
At only 200 meters long it will not take you long to get from one end to the other, but this is not why this beach is on the list. The sunset on a clear night from Ao Prao beach is said to be one of the best you can ever witness, the memories of which will last a lifetime. Once the sun has set you can listen to some chill out music at one of the nearby bars whilst watching the stars move across the darkened sky.
21. White Sand Beach, Koh Chang
The beach here is quite a wide one so if you are looking to play some sports on the beach this is the perfect location, with golden sands and beautifully clear water it is also an idyllic spot to spend some alone time as you sunbathe the afternoon away lost in your thoughts. It sits within the islands national park which keeps away all of the various water sport vendors trying to rent you their overpriced Jet Ski’s or banana boats. There are however a few locals that walk along the beach selling their wares and they can be persistent, if you do decide to buy anything always haggle as their prices are most definitely over inflated.
22. Cha-Am Beach, Petchburi
Sitting along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand is Cha Am Beach. Cha-Am Beach is a long stretch of clean sand that offers a lot of different activities to those that like to get involved in something rather than just sun bathing. There are so many activities to get involved with including pony riding, water skiing, banana rides, parasailing and wind surfing. Due to the length of the beach there are also quiet spots where you can settle down with a good book or sit under an umbrella and receive a Thai massage whilst you relax. For those who like a bit of shade there are various spots where you find a small group of trees to sit under.
23. Hua Hin Beach, Hua Hin
Stretching for several kilometers Hua Hin Beach has been set up perfectly for families to visit, unlike a lot of beaches there is plenty of parking and access to the beach has been made as easy as possible. The water is not too deep when you enter and is one of the safest beaches to swim at, it is worth noting though that there are some rocks near the main entrance that have some sharp sea shells near to them. Due to the popularity of the beach there are no shortage of vendors around trying to sell you their food and drinks as well as plenty of bars and restaurants back up on the road.
24. Hat Suan Son Beach, Rayong
With thousands of palm trees lining the beach Hat Suan Son Beach is an excellent beach for families as the beach has plenty of spots offering welcome shade. The white sandy beach here and clear water will add to the feeling of relaxation as you and the family have a picnic on the beach or head up to one of the stalls or restaurants for something to eat. The beach is particularly popular with people who live in Bangkok as they like to travel here at the weekends due to its location.
25. Sairee Beach, Koh Tao
Sairee Beach is the longest beach the island of Koh Tao has, it is about a mile long and it the one that attracts the most visitors. With soft white sand the beach has a gentle arc that faces off to the west. The beach is quiet as there are no motorboats around just the occasional long tail boat bringing in some fishermen or travelers. Surrounding the beach are some lush green hills and plenty of coconut trees.