5 of the best Thailand beaches
What are the best beaches in Thailand? Thailand is blessed with thousands of beautiful beaches along the Gulf of Thailand and along the Andaman coast and so it is perhaps impossible to produce a definitive top 5. Of course everyone has their own personal favourite and we have chosen what we think are 5 of the best beaches in Thailand.
Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
OK so Koh Lipe is no longer a well kept secret as it once was, and hoards of tourists are making the long journey to visit the island but Sunrise beach still remains as idyllic as it always has been, with the most picturesque water imaginable. Aside from the long stretch of powder white sand, what makes Sunrise beach so special is what lies offshore in the shallow coastal water. The reef, despite the influx of tourists remains healthy as does the sheer number of sealife just meters from the shore. Snorkellers will have no problem finding stonefish, scorpionfish, morays and a wide variety of other reef fish making this perhaps the best beach for snorkelling off on Thailand. Lipe is usually reached via plane to Hat Yai, a 2 hour van from the airport to the pier and a 1-2 hour boat journey.
Railey Beach, Krabi
Railey beach has long been one of the most visited parts of Thailand for good reason. It remains perhaps the most stunning coastline setting in the country with giant karsts protruding from the sea, with an abundance of beaches, hidden coves, caves and lagoons. Railey is home to some of the best rock climbing in Thailand, some great kayaking and there are several worthwhile caves to explore. Some may consider Railey too touristy and there are certainly more foreigners than locals, but even so it is not to be missed. Krabi can be easily reached from Bangkok by plane or bus, a train to Surat Thani and a van connection is also a popular way to get to Krabi from Bangkok.
Ao Kuerk, Koh Similan
The Similan islands consists of 9 islands in the Andaman sea and part of Phang Nga province. This national park, established in 1982 is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world, as well as pristine beaches and forests, home to diverse species such as the Nicobar pigeon, mangrove monitor lizards and more. Ao Kuerk is the main jumping off point for people on day trips, but why not stay a night in a national park bungalow or tent right on the beach? You will soon have this incredible bay to yourself and enjoy the amazing crystal clear water, interesting rock formations and powder soft sandy beach. Access to the Similan Islands is easiest from Khao Lak in Phang Nga Province, but also boats come here from Phuket usually on dive excursions.
Ao Mai Ngam, Koh Surin
Perhaps the most difficult island to reach on this list, but certainly worth the effort is Ao Mai Ngam, the main beach on Surin Nuea which is where the national park headquarters are located. The archipelago, consisting of Koh Surin Nuea, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Khai, and Koh Klang is home to world class snorkelling, diving, and hiking. For those seeking solitude, this is the perfect place with no resorts, few tourists and perhaps the most spotlessly clean beaches in the country. Koh Surin is also home to a community of sea gypsies called the Moken. The Moken spend much of their lives on their boats, called “kabang” and traditionally survived through the gathering of marine animals, but more recently make a living off the trickle of tourists that pass through. Getting to Surin is quite difficult, but from Phuket it is a 2-3 hour drive North to Kuraburi which is the jumping off point to the islands. There are also various liveboard dive operations that will stop off at Koh Surin.
White Sand Beach, Koh Chang
This certainly isn’t the most beautiful beach in Thailand but there is a certain charm to white sand beach which keeps people coming back again and again. White sand beach is the first beach you will come to when heading from the pier along the West coast of Koh Chang, and is a long powdery white sand beach backed by tall palms and various resorts, bungalows and beach huts. It wasn’t long ago that most of the accommodation consisted of 80THB bungalows, unfortunately though these have made way for more up-market accommodation and a clientele from all over the world. Koh Chang remains a beautiful island with a rugged interior dotted with streams, waterfalls and primary rainforest. Jump on a motorbike and explore the winding roads that almost circle the island. Getting to Koh Chang is a doddle, a bus from Bangkok takes 5 hours to Trat, and its a further 2 hours from Trat to Koh Chang via a large ferry. Trat also has an airport if you prefer the 30 minute flight from Bangkok.