Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Take a virtual tour of Thailand’s best beaches
Thailand is known for having some of the best beaches in Asia. These aren’t your average Instagram-worthy beaches – these rival or even surpass the best beaches of the Caribbean. Enter dreamland, where rock climbing happens on majestic cliffs not indoor walls, where the art of making pad thai is second nature, and where hour-long massages can be enjoyed beachside for $10. Here are photos of Thailand’s best beaches that will take your breath away.
Koh Pha Ngan
Hands down, Koh Pha Ngan has the reputation as the best beach in Thailand for partying – but only because of its famous Full Moon Party that welcomes 30,000 people for a weeklong celebration on Haad Rin beach. Backpackers like to dance and drink all night – but before and after this crazy week, it’s a peaceful spot for families too – though there are smaller Full Moon parties throughout the year. If you’re travelling over this celebration, you may want to join in or stay far away from this beach. Otherwise, there are water sports to enjoy, a lively night market, and Ang Thong Marine National Park.
This island is one of 70 that make up Tarutao National Marine Park. As the second largest, Koh Adang is 6km long and 5km wide. The landscape is comprised of white sand beaches with sea turtles swimming ashore, forested hills and jungles, and underwater reefs, making it decent for snorkeling. Get a view of the beach from Chado Cliff or visit Pirate’s Falls, rumored to be the freshwater source for pirates.
Phi Phi Islands
Between the large island of Phuket and the west coast of the mainland are the Phi Phi Islands. The islands can be reached by ferry from Krabi or Phuket Pier, approximately a 90-minute ride. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by stone and sand beaches with cliffs overhead – the view will not disappoint. Comprised of two parts, Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don, the most famous of all the beaches is Maya Bay and you probably know why. As the setting for The Beach, this area has become a tourist attraction, losing its serenity but keeping its title as one of Thailand’s best beaches.
Quieter than the province of Phuket, Krabi (with a town named after it as well) is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s awesome for rock climbing, elephant trekking, and dirt biking as well as exploring the limestone formations of Tham Phra Nang Nai that lead to a remarkable waterfall of gold coloured quartz. In the town, you’ll find Western restaurants and endless souvenirs – and resort accommodations along Tub Kaek Beach. The Railay Peninsula is a really beautiful place with great nightlife, seafood restaurants, affordable accommodation, world class climbing opportunities, and one of Thailand’s best beaches.
Experience complete relaxation on the small island of Ko Lipe, where banks and ATMs are virtually non-existent, and internet is only available in certain places. The remote island of Ko Lipe is part of Turutao National Marine Park and boasts picture perfect beaches and nice hotels. Beaches include Pattaya Beach, with great bars and parties during high season, Sunrise Beach, and Sunset Beach, the most serene. Snorkeling and diving tours are available to explore the protected coral reefs, as well as great seafood and nightlife options.
One of the entire continent’s finest beaches, Phra Nang Beach is located on the small peninsula of Rai Leh (or Railay), accessible only by boat that can navigate through limestone cliffs. (The journey by long-tail boat takes about 20 minutes from Ao Nang.) The stunning, massive cliffs lend themselves to rock climbing, cliff jumping, and kayaking through the caves. Bring a picnic or grab lunch cooked on the beach and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility this uncrowded spot gives. Because the area is hard to get to, there are not many resort developments in the area.
Phuket is the largest, most luxurious, and busiest island in the country with all the Western conveniences and more. Over-the-top hotels, restaurants, and spas make this island the go-to spot for package holidays. We’ve picked three beaches that will appeal to different travelers. Patong Beach is the busiest and often loved or hated. The packed sands are surrounded by a strip of nightlife, loads of shopping, and many budget-friendly hotels, for those who want to party and experience a popular Thailand tourist destination. If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach area, Kata Noi has no high rise hotels or shopping malls. It’s quiet, out of the way, and has a wide stretch of white sand. It’s good for families or those who just want to relax. The third, Naiharn Beach, is pleasantly under developed, and considered by locals and visitors to be Phuket’s best. At 48km long, there are quite a few restaurants and small shops as well as fruit vendors and beach massages available.
What do you consider Thailand‘s best beaches? We’d love to hear your thoughts.