With more than 1,400 islands, it’s no surprise that Thailand has some of the best beaches in the world. Immortalised in movies like “The Beach” and the James Bond film, “The Man With The Golden Gun”, Thailand’s beaches are some of the most visited in the world. But beyond the tourist trail, you are also bound to find some more secluded sands that are equally as scenic. In no particular order, here is our round-up of the 10 best beaches in Thailand, from the tourist hot spots to some lesser-known locations:
1. Railay Beach, Krabi
Only reachable by boat, Railay Beach in Krabi is one of Thailand’s most dramatic. Set on a rocky headland, connecting a series of smaller beaches, viewpoints, lagoons and caves, which means you can really spend a day here just exploring. You can even visit the offshore islands of Tup and Chicken by kayak, stand up paddle or even on foot when the tide is low.
2. Loh Dalum Bay, Phi Phi Island
Located on the other side of Phi Phi’s main town from the arrival pier, Loh Dalum Bay is a wide bay with shallow turquoise waters surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs. While the beach has lively bars and a fun atmosphere, it can get pretty crowded, so it is really best appreciated by climbing to the top of the viewpoint which overlooks the two bays and the town below. Railay Beach, KrabiLoh Dalum Bay, Phi Phi Island
3. Kata Beach, Phuket
Located away from the hustle and bustle of the popular Patong beach, Kata Beach offers a tranquil haven on the island of Phuket. The beach is perfect for families and honeymooners with fantastic quiet stretches and warm waters with schools of tiny fishes. A number of high-quality hotels can be found on the hill overlooking the beach for those that don’t want to have to travel too far.
4. Kantiang Beach, Koh Lanta
With just a few restaurants and hotels located on the beach, this is the perfect spot for those wanting some space and peace. Located at the southern end of the island of Koh Lanta, Kantiang Bay is regularly voted one of the best beaches in Thailand thanks to its 2-kilometre length and stunning scenery.
5. Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
The eastern side of the small island of Koh Lipe is where you will find Sunrise Beach. Perfect for early birds, the beach provides a paradise setting, especially in the morning – as the name suggests. This is also one of the best beaches in Thailand for snorkelling. While really beautiful, certain tidal and wind conditions can bring rubbish and debris onto the beach, so check the conditions before visiting.
6. Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan
Best reached by boat, Bottle Beach provides a respite from Koh Phangan’s party atmosphere. Bright blue waters and sparkling sands make this one of the iconic beaches in Thailand. There are some small bungalows here if you want to spend a remote night in paradise!
7. Karon Beach, Phuket
The longest beach on the island of Phuket, Karon is also known for having really squeaky sand! This straight stretch of sand is just perfect for those long walks on the beach, while a number of great restaurants and bars can be found alongside for those looking for a drink and some local cuisine.
8. James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay
The James Bond Island is a popular spot on the tourist trail and getting here is normally a full day journey with visits to a floating island with a traditional market. You may struggle to find enough space on the beach just to take a photo with the towering rock formation in the background, but it’s one for the bucket list. Be sure to splurge on the kayaking tour around the island and use the time to escape the crowds and explore some of the caves behind the beach.
9. Nopparathara Beach, Krabi
The lesser-known Nopparathara Beach in Krabi is located near to the pier where boats depart for trips to Phi Phi and other neighbouring islands. Linking the mainland to a small ‘island’ offshore is a three-kilometre sandspit which can be walked at low tide. There are also a number of other islands dotted around which make for some beautiful scenery and great exploring opportunities. This is a fantastic place to enjoy a picnic away from the crowds.
10. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh
The beautiful beach of Maya Bay on the tiny island of Koh Phi Phi Leh (south of Phi Phi island) was made famous by the movie, The Beach. This tiny island is pure paradise but has unfortunately been overcrowded by tourists which led to its closure to the public until at least 2021. This is to allow the natural ecology of the beach to recover.