Maya Bay garnered a lot of attention for being the subject of the Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie 'The Beach'. The movie's popularity and its depiction of the stunning beach threw Maya Bay into the limelight and the adverse effects that the increased tourism that brought with it forced the Thai government to close the beach off until it has been restored to its earlier glory.
Known For : Rock Climbing in Railey Tham Phra Nang Cave View Point and Lagoon
Sometimes spelt Rai Leh Beach, this beach is quite a favourite rock climbing spot in southern Thailand. Its looming limestone cliffs provide not just a challenge to adventure junkies but unusual shade for those spending the day on the shore. It's one of the most famous Beaches in Thailand even though it is only accessible by boat. There are no roads here which mean there is no traffic, just footpaths for travellers and bicycles.
Best Time: November to March
This beach is approximately 7 kilometres long, making it one of the longest beaches in Thailand on Koh Samui's east coast. It is accessible through the hotels as only a few paths are leading down to the beach. You'll enjoy lounging on the golden sand under palm trees, especially if you enjoy lively beaches. The central part of Chaweng Beach is a great party location and is popular among backpackers and younger crowds. There are plenty of dive sites here, and you can arrange trips to the close-by Angthong National Marine Park.
This beach in the north west of Koh Phangan island is considered to be a bohemian getaway. It is a beautiful sandy bay with green cliffs on each side and a coral reef in the shallow waters, making it the perfect spot for snorkelling. If water sports aren't your cup of tea, you'll still enjoy wading around these warm waters as its most in-depth sections are only shoulder-deep. Haad Island has a classic beach tree swing and only a handful of hotels that provide a luxury experience at budget prices.
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Unlike the other quaint beaches in Thailand, Sairee Beach on Koh Tao is a party destination. Once the sun sets, you're bound to come across groups on their nightly pub crawls or, if it's that time of the month, Full Moon Parties. Sairee Beach is 2 kilometres of pubs, nightclubs and bars with heart-thumping music, neon lights and non-stop energy. Understandably, there are lots of budget accommodations available here. To reach Sairee Beach, you'll need to take a ferry from Koh Samui.
Located in Phuket Island, Karon Beach, is a perfect blend of natural splendour and magnificence in the form of a beautiful necklace of hotels that encircle it. For those who are looking forward to trying some water sports, Karon Beach is a must-visit. There are plenty of snorkelling and diving activities at the beach. Sprawling over a wide area, it offers a kind of peace and serenity to the beachgoers. Karon Beach is surrounded by trees all around making it a perfect place for a quiet getaway with your family or loved ones. The views of sunrise and sunsets are delightful, as are the chairs, umbrellas, drinks, markets and massage services in the area.
This is a smaller beach in Krabi that can be reached through a cave from Railey Beach or a 20-minute boat trip from Ao Nang. It's incredibly photogenic for its pristine waters, rock faces, palm trees and breath-taking sunsets. It can get quite crowded during tourist season especially in the months from November to April. At the bottom of its limestone cliffs is Princess Cave that is dedicated to a fertility goddess. Just offshore are Koh Rang Nok island and Nai island that are great for snorkelling and kayaking.
The Monkey Beach, as the name gives away, is filled with monkeys, who paddle in the sea as well as go up to the tourists to play. Located in Phi Phi Islands, the mountains next to the shore, have lush vegetation, which serves as habitats to these monkeys. The beach is not only famous for monkeys, but also for snorkelling as the crystal clear waters host colourful and vivid underwater habitats. One must not get too close to the monkeys as they snatch away bags, sunglasses and other valuables as well as bite and scratch people.
Known For : Cicada Market Hua Hin Train Station Plearn Wan Shopping Village
Hua Hin is beach in Thailand near Bangkok and a former fishing village that has developed into a popular tourist destination. Its calm beaches slope into the Gulf of Thailand while Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park isn't far. This beach has plenty of golf courses and spas to assure relaxation and gentle waters for those who aren't serious swimmers making it one of the favourite beaches in Thailand.
Best Time: November to February
Located in the heart of Phuket, Patong Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Thailand. It's got gorgeous white sand and plenty of hotels with fantastic views of the ocean. Parking can be a significant problem here, though the crowd thins as you move further north of the beach. Some great shopping locations are within walking distance, as is Soi Bangla which is known for its vibrant nightlife. Patong Beach is an excellent place for friends and singles to hang out and party the night away.
Kantiang Bay lies at the southern tip of Ko Lanta island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand with white sands, clear waters and an awe-inspiring backdrop of a tropical rainforest. This beach is famous amongst divers because of its beautiful reefs, visibility and fascinating marine life. It's not much of a tourist location but a lovely getaway for those who enjoy calming silence on their beach days. There are a handful of bungalows and stays here, including the five-star Pimalai Resort.
As the name suggests, this island in south Thailand faces east, making it a gorgeous place to catch the sunrise. On the opposite end of the island is Sunset Beach that is understandably popular in the evenings. Sunrise Beach is a party destination with plenty of bars and clubs along the beach and accommodation can be difficult to find during peak tourist season. For those uninterested in the nightlife here, Sunrise Beach is excellent for sunbathing and has tropical coves to explore.
Covered in beautiful palm trees but not the crowds of Chaweng Beach, Mae Nam Beach is a 7 kilometres stretch full of quiet spots to unwind under the sun. It's quite popular amongst expats who love to gaze out at Koh Phangan Island on the horizon. Just off the Pra Lawn Pier is Wat Na Phra Lan which is a beautiful Buddhist temple. The closest traffic cuts off nearly half a kilometre away from the beach, making this the ideal location for families looking for a private slice of paradise.
Also called Phra Ae Beach or Hsd Phra Ae Beach, Long Beach is a family-friendly beach. It stretches across 4 kilometres of plush white sand and shallow waters where children can frolic without worry. It's mostly a swimming beach as it doesn't see waves more significant than 1 metre (3 feet). Better yet, the seabed is devoid of sharp rocks or sea urchins that could potentially hurt swimmers. It does boast of a party scene, but shacks are so spread out here that the loud music wouldn't affect your slumber. For those who are interested, Long Beach boasts of a fun karaoke bar that'll entertain the whole family.
This beach is cited as a surfer's paradise in south Phuket. It has little commercial activity like hotels and malls but has plenty of beach shacks and food kiosks to assure a fun beach day. It's a fun location for boogie-boarding too. Kata Beach sees the most crowds during the off-season when surfers descend to enjoy the waves. Every September, it hosts the Phuket Surfing Contest sponsored by big brands like Quiksilver.
An island located in the marine national park of Hat Jao Mai, Koh Kradan is ideal for travellers craving tranquillity. It can be reached by private boats or ferry from Koh Mook or Koh Ngai island. Snorkelling and swimming here are great experiences, especially with the limestone rock structures that rise from the sea. A coral reef can be found 50 metres (around 164 feet) off the coast as well. Kayaking is popular here, and it would take you about 3 hours to explore the entire island. Although you can find resorts and bungalows for an overnight trip, keep in mind that there are no ATMs or nightlife at Koh Kradan.
Located on Ko Chang island, it is a quiet beach exhibiting a long stretch of sugary white sand. There are luxury resorts, mid-range hotels and bungalows around the beach for accommodation. The best time to visit the White Sand Beach is during the last few months of the year. A popular location to enjoy the classic Thailand holiday, White Sand Beach is one stop for those who wish to sunbathe, swim or play football. It is not recommended to try these activities during the low tides. There are plenty of beach vendors offering varieties in jewellery and costumes. There is a myriad of cafés and eateries in the area. The gorgeous, white sands, graced by nodding palm trees offer the most serene holiday environment.
The beach at Ko Nang Yuan is famous as a local day outing from Ko Tao. Mostly crowded, the beach has crystal white sands and clear waters. Swimming relaxed sunbathing and watching the sunrise are some of the things one cannot miss at Ko Nang Yuan beach. The nature lovers can enjoy the gorgeous green trees, along with the tropical fishes that populate these beaches. The beach also offers some of the best snorkelling spots in Thailand, because of the intricate corals, angelfish and parrotfish surrounding the shallow reefs. Dive boats are available at the beach to visit the diving sites of Twin Peaks and Japanese Gardens.
If you are visiting Thailand looking for the perfect beach vacation, then these beaches in Thailand should be must-visits on your list. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of this tropical paradise!