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The 6 best beaches in Thailand

The summer months send American travelers flocking to local beaches. But if you’re in the mood for a more exotic beach getaway, where the water is a gorgeous azure, the sand is soft and powdery, and the people are incredibly friendly, why not venture to a country famed for its more than 1,800 miles of magnificent coastline—Thailand?

Thailand’s tropical landscape and warm climate make it the perfect destination for a seaside escape, but with so many jaw-dropping beaches to visit, it’s hard to select just one. If you’re dreaming of an exotic Thai vacation, here’s my list of must-visit Thai beaches.

1. Patong Beach, Phuket

Venture south to Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, to visit the famed Patong Beach. Patong’s more than two miles of white-sand coastline make it a perfect location for long days spent sun bathing and lounging by the sea. The beach is popular with partygoers, since the nearby town of Soi Bangla is famed for vibrant nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and shops. Embrace the best of both worlds. Excitement and relaxation make for the perfect vacation!

PATONG BEACH: Experience the vibrant atmosphere and exciting nightlife

2. Kata Beach, Phuket

Phuket island isn’t all about clubbing and nightlife. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Patong Beach by venturing just a few miles south to relax among palm trees and soft sand beaches. Visitors can choose between two beaches—Kata Yai and Kata Noi—and spend the afternoon sipping cool drinks under the hot Thai sun.

KATA BEACH: Lounge on white sand at Kata Noi or Kata Yai beach

3. Hua Hin Beach, Hua Hin

For a royal getaway, travel to Hua Hin Beach. The coastal city was originally founded in the 1920s as a regal spa for King Rama VII, but now it serves as a favorite escape for locals and tourists alike. Today visitors can rub elbows with the rich and famous while sprawling on the five-mile stretch of gently sloping shoreline. It’s a perfect retreat for any beach-loving traveler.

HUA HIN BEACH: Relax like a royal at this regal Thai beach

4. Railay Beach, Krabi

Railay Beach is the ultimate destination for adventurous beachgoers. Surrounded on three sides by sheer limestone cliffs, Railay Bay is secluded from the world and is considered the ultimate beach to escape the crowds and simply savor the sublime natural beauty of Thailand. Daring visitors can rock climb down the rugged cliffs to reach the shore while ferries are available for the less adventurous. Rent a beach bungalow or spend the afternoon snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the beach’s calm, clear waters.

RAILAY BEACH: Rock climb down to Railay Beach for a true adventure

5. White Sand Beach, Ko Chang

Hop a quick one-hour flight from Bangkok to the sleepy island of Ko Chang and spend a few days relaxing on White Sand Beach. While the island is considered a backpacker’s paradise, it’s also home to many upscale hotels and resorts. Travelers can lounge on sugary sand framed by palm and coconut trees before dipping into warm tropical waters.

WHITE SAND BEACH: Catch some rays on White Sand Beach

6. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Ley

Famed as the filming location for Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Beach,” Maya Bay is just as beautiful in person as it is on screen. The bay is cradled on three sides by jutting cliffs, keeping waters calm and making it the ideal spot for diving and snorkeling. Travelers can only reach the beach by boat, so it’s the perfect location for an exotic day trip. Maya Bay is quintessentially Thai and a must-see for all visitors.

MAYA BAY: Sail to breathtaking Maya Bay for an exotic day trip

Hoping to escape the crowds of U.S. and Caribbean beaches? Why not consider breathtaking Thailand for your next beach vacation? Any other sandy shores that you think should make the list? Let me know in a comment below. 

8 Comments

  1. Karen and Don Cross

    Disagree with part of your list of best beaches. We are experienced travelers to Thailand beaches almost each and every year for the past 12 years. Patong would not make our list…Kata would not make our list. Hua Hin to look at the beach is o.k. but usually the sand and water are infested with large jelly fish. You do not mention the southern end of Chaweng on Samui that has lovely gin blue water and white white sand. Perhaps Friendly Planet should research these beach areas a bit more.

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  2. Arvind P

    Do you have vacation that covers these beaches.

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  3. Thanks Karen and Don for giving us some additional beaches to check out. As you know, Thailand has many wonderful beaches, and people visit them for many reasons. We haven’t had the jellyfish experience at Hua Him, so we’ll take a second look. We would love to check out your suggestions and post our findings. Stay tuned.

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  4. Edison

    The area south of Hua Hin, Bang Saphan has a spectacular beach. Wide and surprisingly clean. Pleasant driving alngthis stretch of beach. Oops, I don’t want to spread this too much. Going back this December again for 5 night stay. Boats leave to Koh Thaylu.

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  5. Edison

    The area south of Hua Hin, Bang Saphan has a spectacular beach. Wide and surprisingly clean. Pleasant driving along this stretch of beach. Oops, I don’t want to spread this too much. Going back this December again for 5 night stay. Boats leave to Koh Thaylu.

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  6. This sounds amazing. We’re able to arrange visits to just about anywhere in Thailand, including these off-the-beaten-track beaches. But don’t worry, Edison. We won’t tell anyone about your find. Only if they ask!

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  7. I love the post. Thailand is an incredible place and whoever gets to write about it, rocks.

    That being said, I would recommend more vacationing in the area. Perhaps your company would pay. Kata Noi and Kata Yai just mean Kata North and South. Kata beach is considered one beach by the locals. I lived down the street from this beach and experienced many sunsets there. Beautiful experience to end the day. Then cross the street to snag some bananas and papaya hanging in bunches at street side markets. Pick up Som Tum, green papaya salad – one of the freshest and best salads you will ever eat, and sticky rice, of course. Turn your head the other way when your chef digs in to the rice pot by hand. Mmm thai food. One of the most delicious in the World!

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  8. Amanda Klein

    Thank you so much for the fantastic suggestions, Cassandra! Your first hand experiences make the best recommendations. We will make sure our Product Development team gets these great ideas. (And we agree, it’s hard to beat Thai food!)

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