Thailand is known for its beaches, but when you have 3,200 kilometres of coastline to choose from, it can be hard to settle on just one stretch of sandy shore. So where do you find the best beach in Thailand? The answer to that loaded question is, it depends.
What may appeal to one type of traveller may not be the best fit for another. With that in mind, this article will attempt to highlight some of the best beaches in Thailand by interests. So get ready to say farewell to Bangkok and hello to the beaches!
Best for scuba diving: KOH TAO
When it comes to scuba diving, make a bee line for Koh Tao. This little island is Thailand’s top diving destination and it’s a great place to earn your PADI scuba certification. When it comes to the number of certifications issued worldwide, Koh Tao is second only to Cairns, Australia . The island is surrounded by great dive sites where you can spot sea turtles, yellow boxfish, pickhandle barracuda, and even the majestic whale shark.
Best for parties: KOH PHA NGAN
If there’s one island that’s infamous for its parties it’s Koh Pha Ngan. This island sits in the Gulf of Thailand and every month tens of thousands of revellers descend on Haad Rin Nok Beach to take part in one of the world’s biggest dance parties – The Full Moon Party. What started out as a small beach gathering has grown into an event of massive proportions and it has become a pilgrimage for many a backpacker travelling the Southeast Asia circuit. These days, it seems there’s a party almost every weekend. If it isn’t the Full Moon Party, it’s the Half Moon Party or the Black Moon Party, and let’s not forget the Jungle Parties.
Best for rock climbing: RAILAY
If you’re looking for something a little bit more adventurous, like say rock climbing, then Railay is your destination. Even though it sits on the mainland, the Railay peninsula is only accessible via water due to the jagged karsts that surround the area. Not only does Railay’s geographic location make it feel like a hidden gem, but it also makes it a mecca for rock climbers looking to scramble up the towering limestone cliffs. Luckily for travellers, there are an array of climbing operators that cater to all kinds of climbers, ranging from complete beginner to advanced.
Best for relaxation: KOH LIPE
It’s hard to narrow the hunt for Thailand’s most idyllic beach down to just one, but the little island of Koh Lipe does come pretty close to paradise. If you want to experience the unspoiled beauty of Thailand as depicted in Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach, forget about Koh Phi Phi and the long tail boats that pack the harbour, and go to Koh Lipe instead. With its crescent white sand beaches and small town vibes, Koh Lipe is about to become a hit.
Best for family holiday: HUA HIN
Hua Hin is often nicknamed “Thailand’s original resort destination”. The town was popularized in the 1920s when King Vajiravudh and King Prajadhipok built seaside residences where they could escape the city’s heat. Today, it still remains a popular destination, especially with Thais looking to get out of Bangkok for a few days. The beaches are powdery white, the water is clear, and overall it is a great playground for families with young children. Located just 200 kilometres south of the capital, Hua Hin is easily accessibly by car and train, which makes it a great destination for a family getaway.
Have you been to Thailand? What was your favourite beach?