Thailand is the travel hub of Southeast Asia. Most people coming into the region fly into Bangkok and make that their base for doing the circuit around Southeast Asia. With its lush jungles, famed beaches, world-class diving, amazing food, friendly and cheap prices, Thailand is one of the most amazing countries in the world!
In Thailand, most of the beaches have exactly what people are looking for which is why it’s a top destination for beachgoers and travelers. Given the amount of Islands, choosing which ones to visit is difficult so we’ve narrowed it down for you, compiling a list of the best beaches in Thailand. Although some of the beaches can get pretty crowded and touristy, catch it at the right time and you will think you’ve died and gone to paradise.
Ao Yai, Koh Phayam
Koh Phayam’s Ao Yai Beach is 2.8 kilometers of tropical perfection – surely one of the most beautiful beaches on Thailand’s Andaman coast. You can reach it by flying or taking a bus to Ranong where you can then get on a boat to reach this stunning island. Unlike the places in Koh Samui or Phuket, a trip to Koh Phayam is like going back in time.
Here you can enjoy the island without the looming amounts of tourists or vendors. No big parties, no big resorts. Just a beautiful beach and laid back island living. The sunsets in this place are also incredible. Sit back, relax, and watch the sky turn into different shades of purple and pink.
How to Get Here: Koh Phayam is a 2-hour slow boat or a 30-40 minute speedboat ride from the pier of Ranong. From Bangkok, you can either take an overnight bus/train towards Ranong or fly there from Don Mueang Airport using Nok Air.
Ko Tarutao island is the largest island of Tarutao National Marine Park in Satun Province of Thailand, close to the Malaysian border. With gnarly cliffs, former prison sites, immense beaches, and old-growth jungle thriving on mountains that reach up to 700 meters, Ko Tarutao does indeed stir up a primeval sense of awe. It’s a great place for those that are looking for both adventure and deserted beaches. The island is full of fun things to do and is perfect for those active beach enthusiasts. You can also bike, kayak through mangroves, and hike here.
How to Get Here: As Koh Tarutao is located in the Satun Islands near Malaysia, getting here can be quite a mission. Despite the tedious journey, it is highly worth it as Koh Tarutao is one of the most peaceful islands in Thailand. To get here, you can take a bus to either Trang or Hat Yai. From either point, it’s a minivan and boat ride to reach Koh Tarutao.
Railay Beach, Krabi
Railay, also known as Rai Leh, is a small peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang. It can only be reached by boat, which makes the beach even more spectacular with its high limestone cliffs in the background. West Railay Beach is the most popular side for people searching for the best beach area. Visitors can spend one week in Krabi filling their bellies with some street food and local fruit shakes.
In just one small peninsula you’ll find gorgeous white sand beaches, soaring limestone cliffs, viewpoints, caves, and a lagoon hidden inside the cliffs, shaped and fed by the changing tides. All within walking distance! At Railay, there are no roads; only footpaths. No buses, no cars, just longtail boats. The very picture of tropical paradise, with no roads and no hassle, Railay offers lazy days, adventure forays, and chilled-out evenings.
How to Get Here: If you’re coming from Bangkok, you can take a flight to Krabi and from there, Railay is a short longtail boat away. If you’re taking a bus or train, head towards Surathani.
Koh Tachai, Similan Islands
Koh Tachai Island is located at the northernmost tip of the Similan National Park. It is one of the latest additions to the National park area together with the island of Koh Bon. Its 800km pristine sandy beach faces the east while behind it is a sprawling rainforest. The waters here are world-renowned for snorkeling and scuba diving. The mighty Whale sharks, Leopard sharks, and Manta rays are often spotted here feeding in the rich waters. If you stay for the night, there are guided tours around the island where you can explore more of the animals and wildlife such as land crabs, hermits, Nicobar Pigeons, and some reptiles.
How to Get Here: While there are direct tours running from Phuket, a cheaper alternative is getting a transfer directly from Khao Lak. Direct tours from Phuket take you around 3-4 hours depending on the boat you take. If you are coming from Bangkok, most buses heading north make a stop in Khao Lak and from there, you can catch a 2-hour boat ride to the Similan Islands from Thap Lamu port.
Ton Sai Beach, Krabi
Situated right next to Railay Beach is the unassuming Ton Sai Beach. Although the beachfront is a bit rocky and isn’t ideal for swimming, the entire vibe of the island makes up for it. During low tide, people are able to walk from Tonsai Beach to West Railay Beach by walking over the rocks. A lot of rock climbers opt to stay here as the value for accommodation is a lot better compared to neighboring Railay and Ao Nang.
How to Get Here: If you’re coming from Bangkok, you can take a flight to Krabi and from there, Ton Sai is a short longtail boat away. If you’re taking a bus or train, head towards Surathani.
Koh Kradan Beach, Trang
A slender slip of an island off the coast of Trang province, Ko Kradan boasts a magnificent coral-sand beach stretching between fluffy green hills and the aquamarine Andaman Sea. The water is so clear that often, you can just sit by the shore and watch fish swim about. Also home to some good snorkeling and low tide sandbars that make for the beach walk of a lifetime, Kradan places among Thailand’s more visually spectacular islands. Compared to the other well-known beaches, this one is just slowly kicking off which means the beach isn’t as crowded as most places.
How to Get Here: To get to Koh Kradan from Bangkok, you need to fly into Trang and get a minibus to Pak Meng Pier or Hat Yao pier. Alternatively, you can also get a train or a bus to Trang where you can catch a minivan and boat connection to Koh Kradan. Boat rides are also available from Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi.
Ao Leuk, Koh Tao
Ao Leuk is lovely, a great spot for snorkeling, swimming, or sunning yourself on the beach, and makes a great day out while you are on Koh Tao. The beach is wide and sandy and the bay is perfect for swimming although there are a few rocks at the shoreline. The crystal blue waters stretch as far as your eyes can go! If you want something a little bit more remote, you can also go to Haad Sai Daeng where you have the possibility of seeing sharks when you snorkel.
How to Get Here: If you are coming from Bangkok, you have three options. You can either fly, take a bus, or take the train. If you are planning to fly, you can book a flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport which runs 5x a week or you can also book one from Don Mueang International Airport to Chumphon. For those thinking of taking a bus or a train, regular boat combos run almost daily and are available for purchase either directly in the train station or through any travel agent.
Haad Saikantang, Koh Pha Ngan
Haad Saikantang is described as a perfect beach because of its white sand, great swimming, and beautiful location. For a postcard-perfect looking beach, head over to Haad Saikantang otherwise known as Leela Beach. The clear waters are perfect for swimming, although the water is a bit on the shallow side. Diving in Koh Pha Ngan is also pretty remarkable so make sure you don’t miss it!
How to Get Here: To get to Koh Pha Ngan, you can either fly to Koh Samui from Bangkok or take an overnight bus or train to Surathani. Most travel agents sell bus and boat combos which would bring you straight to the islands after an overnight trip.
Ao Nang Beach, Krabi
Packed along a lackluster beach framed by limestone headlands, Ao Nang marks the center of tourism in Krabi province. It has the relaxed atmosphere of a small town, the beauty of a beach resort, the modern comforts of home, and the friendliness that sets Thailand apart. Phra Nang Beach a very remote beach situated in the middle of Krabi and Ao Nang. Everyone needs to take a boat to reach the beach, but once there they are able to rent kayaks, explore the many caves and take rock climbing lessons. It is located right next to Railay but is inaccessible by land.
How to Get Here: If you’re coming from Bangkok, you can take a flight to Krabi and from there, Nang Beach is a short boat ride away. Alternatively, buses and trains from Bangkok heading towards the Krabi bus terminal are easy enough to get.
Ko Kut (Ko Kood)
Located to the south of Ko Chang and Ko Maak, Ko Kut is a large, mountainous island whose interior remains largely jungle-covered and whose western and southern coasts are dotted with glorious white-sand beaches. The waters surrounding the island are crystal clear and some beaches have an other-worldly Maldivian appearance.
Ko Kut is a seasonal destination and while many of the hotels now remain open year-round, most of the cafes, restaurants, and bars close, and the weather can get pretty horrendous during the monsoon from May through to October.
In high season though, especially over Christmas, New Year, and Songkran, the island can get very busy, and make a reservation in advance can be a good idea for those not keen on walking hut to hut.
How to Get Here: Ko Kut or Koh Kood is located in the Trang Islands and is best reached by arranged transport as there are limited ferries and busses.
Sunset Beach, Koh Lipe
Sunset Beach or Hat Pramong in the local language is a small half kilometer bay along the west side of Koh Lipe facing the Butang Islands.
Sunset Beach gets its name from the stunning sunset that takes place every single night. The sun slowly descends and casts an exquisite glow all along the coast reaching far out into the horizon, an excellent way to end a long, hot day on Koh Lipe.
This amazing beach is the most chilled out area on Koh Lipe, it’s quiet, less visited, and excellent for relaxing and getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Apart from its epic sunsets, the area is known for its delicious seafood. There are a few restaurants and bars on the beach and is a short 10-minute walk to Walking Street (Koh Lipe’s main area), so whatever you want, you can have.
How to Get Here: The quickest way to get to Koh Lipe is to fly to Had Yai or Trang then take a minibus to Pak Bara. Alternatively, you can also take a train or bus from Bangkok to Had Yai. Here, Koh Lipe is a boat ride away.
Koh Nang Yuan
This beautiful island is located a shortboard ride away from Koh Tao. Koh Nang Yuan is actually made up of three little teardrops of land connected by a massive sandbar. It’s a place where postcard dreams are made: unique topography, blindingly white sand beaches, and shores teeming with fish and coral. Due to its tiny footprint, Koh Nang Yuan is the perfect size for a day trip. The island has a viewpoint that shows off the beauty of the island perfectly.
How to Get Here: From Koh Tao Island, Nang Yuan is a short longtail boat ride away. You can join any tour or better yet, just charter a boat directly and arrange for them to drop and pick you up.
Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park
This right here is the epitome of beauty! Easily accessible from either Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Samui, this national park is home to 42 different beaches and islands. Spend the day exploring the different islands on a boat or simply park yourself in one and enjoy the peace and quiet. Caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches are there to be explored and snorkeling among the shallow coral gardens makes for a popular and fascinating day trip. Most of the islands are close to each other, making a breathtaking panorama when sailing around the park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes.
Ko Wua Talap is the island that contains park headquarters as well as a tourist information center, a restaurant, Buaboke Cave, tourist bungalows as well as the famous viewpoint from where you can see the panoramic view of the National Park.
How to Get Here: The best way to get to the Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park is by boat. Daily trips run from Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui via slow boats or speedboats.
Bamboo Island, Koh Phi Phi
Located just a short boat ride away from Phi Phi Don is this stellar island with absolutely nothing on it. No fancy resorts or bars, no high rocky peak. Instead, you have a small beach of white sand that emerges from the turquoise waters. Apart from that, there is a small National Park which you can explore. As it is remote and less famous than the beach of Maya Bay, there is still some space on its beautiful beaches. Walking around the island is pretty cool (it takes about half an hour).
To watch the sunrise at Bamboo Island, alone in the world, camping tents can be rented on the beach. A small bar serves drinks and snacks.
How to Get Here: From Bangkok, you can easily catch a train to Surrathani before getting on a bus and boat to Ton Sai Pier, Phi Phi. Alternatively, you can catch a bus straight from Bangkok to the pier.
Kata Noi Beach, Phuket
This cozy little bay is found at the end of a beachside cul-de-sac, just a few minutes’ drive over the hill from Kata beach. There’s not much to do in Kata Noi apart from admiring the wonderful scenery, which is precisely the point of coming here. Despite being on the busy island of Phuket, this beach is still relatively peaceful and quiet, making it a nice getaway from the islands.
Relax, take a walk along the soft sands, snorkel, or swim. The popular Kata Viewpoint, offering a stunning vista across the three bays of Karon, Kata, and Kata Noi, is only a five-minute drive along a winding road towards Nai Harn.
How to Get There: From Bangkok, you can catch a bus directly to Phuket Bus Terminal. While you can get a train heading to Surrathani then catch another bus, the direct express buses are the best way to go by land. Alternatively, you can fly directly to Phuket airport in under an hour and a half from Bangkok.