Top 10 Beaches in Thailand
Thailand – with its bright white, soft sand beaches, crystal clear light blue warm ocean water, and enticing romantic humid air – is one of the most popular beach getaway destinations in the world. Alluring is the word that springs to mind for these mini paradises that create the western shores and islands of Thailand – a country of secrets, history, and beauty.
The beaches in Thailand are many and varied – with some offering numerous tourist activities and amenities, while others cater more to the adventurous traveler offering little more than the sand and surf to entertain.
Most of Thailand’s main beaches are easily accessible, but for those looking to get away from the crowds, there are many ferries and boats available to take you to some farther afield beaches in Thailand. Here are 10 can’t miss beaches to visit on your next trip to Thailand.
Best Beaches in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket. Just the name inspires enchanting images of beach living. Sounds of wind-chimes in the soft breeze and ocean waves lapping on the shore. This is however, a bit unrealistic, as the beaches in Phuket are among the most crowded in Thailand. But for families and travelers who maybe don’t have as much time in country, it is still possible to find your own paradise on the island of Phuket.
For the best combination of less crowded yet still good choice among amenities such as restaurants, shopping, and other activities, Kamala takes the cake. In peak seasons it will be among the more crowded beaches, but it’s just hidden and less well known enough that you may be surprised at the lack of people.
- Bang Tao Beach
Somewhat dominated by the well known eco-resort, Laguna Phuket, Bang Tao is still a lovely beach to visit in Thailand. For first time visitors to Thailand, it’s a great introduction to the Thailand beach scene. There are multiple food options, shop options, and accommodation options, and visiting the beach itself is about experiencing the mini villages and town as well as the sand and surf.
- Layan Beach
Similar to Kamala, Layan provides a nice array of choices for meals and other amenities. It’s a great Thailand beach for families. Located at the northern end of Bang Tao Beach, Layan is spacious, quiet, and calm. There are some resorts nearby, but unlike Bang Tao, they are more removed from the fabric of the beach itself.
- Laem Ka Beach
Hidden and tucked away, this is lovely gem is located in the very south of Phuket, near the larger and more well known Rawai Beach. Laem Ka needs a bit of hunting to find, but once you do you’ll be set for the day. A few venders are interspersed, but don’t overwhelm – available to sell simple snacks, beers, and of course coconuts.
The entrance to this beach is a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of treasure. A great way to enjoy a sense of solitude without having to leave busy Phuket! BONUS: Check out the charming Shell Museum nearby.
- Nai Harn Beach
In the low season Laem Ka Beach is closed, so instead you can head to nearby Nai Harn. Large enough to allow you to find a nice quiet pocket for spending the afternoon. There are multiple food options available, including fresh fruit stalls along the beach, two main hotels, and multiple shops. This is a great area for your souvenir shopping, and if you’re looking for and extended beach stay.
- Banana Beach
If you want a very local Thailand beach experience, head here to Banana Beach. For many years this small beach was a very hidden secret, but with an advent of more adventurous travelers seeking beyond the more conventional Thailand beaches in Phuket, it has entered into the mainstream.
There is one small restaurant that has been there for years and retains an authentic vibe. Serving freshly caught seafood and traditional Thai dishes, expect to pay a little more than you might expect, but the views and ambiance are well worth it.
Beyond Phuket – Best Thailand Beaches
It is arguable that the best beaches in Thailand are found beyond Phuket, on the smaller islands. Easily accessible just simply not as well known, and for that reason less crowded. More adventurous and remote, some of these islands offer luxury accommodation and private sections.
(Private beaches are technically illegal in Thailand, though on the smaller islands many resorts get around this by owning a majority of the island’s land). Some are not so exclusive, but offer less in the ways of accommodation or other activities.
Here are the top beaches in Thailand (beyond Phuket):
- Ko Lanta
Among the largest of Thailand’s islands accessible to tourists, Ko Lanta is technically its own district containing two main islands. To take advantage of both islands, plan a few days. Ko Lanta’s South Island is popular for exploring by motorbike around the islands 22 km of roads.
Also take some time to explore the national park, with the lush rainforest atmosphere and wildlife, and spend time lounging on the many and widely dispersed beaches. Long Beach is one of the best for escaping crowds. 5 trips featuring Ko Lanta
- Koh Mak
Offering a variety of activities, Koh Mak is a classically beautiful island, great for visitors looking to spend a few nice days of island living with some culture thrown in. Koh Mak is not ideal for those seeking rowdy beach time and ample nightlife, but it’s perfect for families, couples, and honeymooners.
Koh Mak is also popular with filmmakers seeking unspoilt tropical island beauty. Come for the tranquility, stay for the restaurants, local fishing villages, marine park, and buddhist temple.
- Ko Kraden
Ko Kraden is the perfect tranquil Thailand beach getaway. It takes only three hours to kayak around the entire island, a very popular activity when staying here. There is only one resort, but the beach is public, offering spectacular views of the mainland and an ocean dotted with other islands and rock formations. It’s a great destination for snorkeling. The island’s small size and safe shallow waters make it the perfect day excursion for families. 6 Thailand trips featuring snorkeling
- Koh Kood Island
The least populated island off the eastern coast of Thailand is perfect for nature lovers looking for a quiet getaway. It’s not a place for nightlife, so you’ll be there for the ocean and the beach. Kayaking is one of the most popular activities, or take a short walk inland to the Klong Chao waterfall with it’s beautiful calm pools, perfect for swimming.