20 Best Beaches in Thailand to Spark Your Wanderlust

Written By: The Planet D

There is no denying that Thailand has the most beautiful islands in the world and on those islands, you’ll find breathtaking beaches. With endless miles of white sand beaches lining the coast of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, it can be difficult to choose which are the best beaches in Thailand to suit your needs.

Thailand kicked off our travels 23 years ago and we continue to put The Land of Smiles at the top of our favorite places on earth. After revisiting it this past November, we were reminded once again of its beauty and want to help you plan your next trip to the beautiful beaches of Thailand.

the best beaches in thailand
longtail boat at Koh Phangan

The Best Beaches in Thailand

With soft white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, surrounded by limestone sea cliffs, nothing can compare to a Thai beach holiday. These are the best Thailand beaches to add to your bucket list now!

1. Railay Beach – Krabi

best beaches in thailand railay beach
Overlooking Railay Beach from High Lookout

Railay is our favorite of all the beach destinations in the country. It is where we first went rock climbing in 2000. The limestone cliffs drew us there, but the beach is what keeps us coming back again and again. Railay’s gorgeous stretch of sand framed by enormous seacliffs is picture-perfect.

Railay Beach is not located on an island, but it can only be reached by long tail boat so it feels like an island. When we first visited, we caught a boat from Krabi Town, but you can also take short jaunts from Ao Nang.

Railay itself has four beaches to explore including the above-mentioned Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave Beach plus Ton Sai Beach which is popular with rock climbers and Railay East which has great beginner rock climbing routes. At low tide, all of them can be reached through paths in the jungle.

Where to Stay at Railay Beach

  • Railay Bay Resort and Spa – We have stayed here a couple of times and loved its location directly on Railay Beach. We have seen up and down reviews so things are ever-changing.
  • Sand Sea Resort Railay Beach – Great bungalows on Railay Beach beach, we have also stayed here as it’s an excellent location right. on the beach.
  • Diamond Cave Resort and Spa – While this is not located directly on Railay Beach, it is located on east Railay Bay below the diamond cave cliff. Gorgeous!

2. Phra Nang Beach – Krabi

best thailand beaches phra nang

I’ll never forget walking through Railay’s jungle path for the first time. As monkeys played overhead as we walked through limestone overhangs from Railay to Phra Nang Cave Beach. Phra Nang Beach is often voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With sea caves, karst islands, and perfect white sand it really needs to be seen with your own eyes.

Long tail boats line the beach filled with daytrippers from Ao Nang and Krabi Town, but to truly appreciate it, you must stay on Railay. When we first visited 20 years ago, it was deserted. Today it is overrun by tourists during the day but if you say in the area, you will have it all to yourself at sunrise.

Where to Stay on Phra Nang Beach

  • Villa Macaque and Villa Languour – Located directly on Phranang Beach this four star hotel has 2 swimming pools, Free Wifi, Spa and Wellness Center and restaurant.

Getting to Krabi from Bangkok

There are daily flights from Bangkok to Krabi Airport. From Krabi, you can take a long tail boat to Railay and a bus to Ao Nang.

3. Koh Phi Phi Islands – Krabi

best beaches in thailand koh phi phi don

I think Koh Phi Phi was the first beach in the country to really attract the international community’s attention. And with good reason. Leading up to the perfect horseshoe beach took our breath away. I recall the purest soft white sand I have ever seen lining a perfect horseshoe bay. It is a crowded beach escape, but it is beautiful. Read more: Best Things to do in Krabi

Where to Stay in Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phil Don is where you stay when exploring these islands. There are plenty of hotel choices, restaurants, shopping and nightlife.

3. Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi Leh – Krabi

best beaches in thailand maya bay

Take a day trip out to Koh Phi Phi Leh to explore the National Park and the beautiful Maya Bay. We had the good fortune of visiting Maya Bay before it was closed to tourists and the good news, it is open again as of 2022. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand with pristine white sands, crystal clear waters, and palm trees lining the shore.

It’s no wonder the Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed there. Maya Bay is located within the National Park with limited tourism and a national park entrance fee. But you can book tours to Maya Bay through Get Your Guide.

4. Laem Thong Beach – Krabi

best beaches in thailand longtail boat at sunset ao nang beach

A secluded white sand beach on Koh Phi Phi Don, Laem Thong Beach is a serene beach with clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. You can take a day trip to see the nearby Mosquito and Bamboo islands.

How to Get to Koh Phi Phi from Bangkok

To get to Koh Phi from Bangkok you can fly to Phuket and then catch a ferry to Phi Phi. You can also fly into Krabi and take a ferry from there.

5. Sunset Beach – Koh Lipe

best beaches in thailand lipe longtail boats

Koh Lipe has one of our favorite beaches (in our humble opinion.) Being the southernmost island it is less touristy than Krabi. Lipe is a fantastic chill spot to hang out for a few days with a few beaches to relax on. Sunset Beach is on the opposite side of the island from Sunrise beach and far away from the busy Pattaya Beach where you’ll come in from. as its name suggests, it is also the place to watch the sunset and it is the quietest spot on the island.

How to Get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok

To get to Koh Lipe, you will need to fly into Hat Yai and then take a ferry from Pakbara Pier in Satun.

6. Kata Beach – Phuket

best beaches in thailand phuket kata beach

When we first visited we didn’t love Phuket. But after taking a Muay Thai Kickboxing course there, we fell in love with Thailand’s largest island. It is filled with beautiful beaches and if you hire a tuk-tuk or rent a motorcycle you can spend time beach hopping to see them all.

Patong is the main town of Phuket and there is a long busy beach here as well. But we suggest getting out of Patong and going to Kata. It has lovely long beaches and calm waters.

Where to Stay in Patong and Kata

7. Kata Noi Beach – Phuket

best beaches in thailand phuket

Just a little farther south is the even more relaxed Kata Noi Beach. Known as Little Kata Beach, it’s a great day trip to take in Phuket as well. You’ll find some good luxury accommodations on Kata Noi, including The Shore at Kata Noi, an all adults luxury resort.

Where to Stay in Kata

8. Karon Beach – Phuket

best beaches in thailand karon beach lookout

Karon Beach in Phuket is a massive 5 km long white sand beach in Phuket. This is a great beach and in fact, it is the second busiest beach after Patong. Located just north of Kata Beach, it is the quieter of the two. It attracts windsurfers to the island and it is also known for its turtle hatching. There are plenty of places to stay on this beach as well.

Where to Stay on Karon Beach

How to Get to Phuket

How to Get to Phuket from Bangkok – There are daily flights from Bangkok to Phuket Airport.

9. Long Beach – Koh Lanta

best beaches in thailand long beach koh lanta
sunset in Koh Lanta

We spent a good chunk of time chilling out on the beaches of Koh Lanta during one of our many trips. Long Beach is just that; The longest beach in Koh Lanta. At 4km long (2.4 miles) it was perfect for our morning walks. Long Beach connects to Klong Dao Beach, another beautiful Thailand beach that has a good choice of backpacker hangouts, places to sip Singha Beer and to enjoy the stars.

Where to Stay on Long Beach

Layana Resort and Spa – This SHA Extra Plus property overlooks the sea with an outdoor infinity pool and direct access to Long Beach from the resort.

10. Kantiang Beach – Koh Lanta

best beaches in thailand koh lanta

Located on the southern tip of Koh Lanta, Kantiang Beach has a kilometer of white sands situated between rainforest and clear blue waters. Located far from the hustle and bustle, this is a great place to chill out with a Chang Beer or have a traditional Thai massage under swaying palm trees. There are yoga classes on offer and with 2km of silky sand, it’s a great place for a morning walk.

11. Sai Kaew Beach – Koh Samet

best beaches in thailand koh samet sunset

Known as White Sand Beach, Hat Sai Kaew Beach is the largest beach area in Koh Samet. It’s not far from the ferry when you arrive in Koh Samet, so you will be right in the heart of all the action if you stay here. It’s 1km long with and nice and wide.

12. Klong Kloi Beach – Koh Chang

best beaches in thailand swing at sunset

Also known as Bangbao Beach, Klong Kloi Beach in Koh Chang is located just a 1 hour flight from Bangkok. There are several beaches on the island of Koh Chang with some being busier than others.

Klong Kloi Beach is a hidden gem that is surrounded by lush, tropical greenery and features crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The sand is soft and white and the beach is relatively quiet, making it a perfect spot for those looking for a more peaceful and secluded vacation experience.

One of the best things about Klong Kloi Beach is that it is relatively untouched by tourism, so visitors can experience a more authentic and local way of life. The beach is home to a small fishing village, where locals can be seen going about their daily lives and selling their catches at the local market. This gives visitors a chance to see a different side of Thailand and learn more about the country’s culture and traditions.

13. Chaweng Beach – Koh Samui

best beaches in thailand koh samuisandy beach

Koh Samui was one of the first islands to receive an influx of tourists on the gulf coast of Thailand and it is the largest of the gulf islands with plenty of beaches to explore. Read more: The Best Things to do in Koh Samui

Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui’s most popular beach and with good reason. It is one very large stretch of white sand. In fact, it is so large it is broken into four parts, North, Central, South and Little. (Chaweng Noi). If you want to be in the heart of the action, this is the place to stay.

14. Lamai Beach – Koh Samui

best beaches in thailand lamai beach koh samui

Lamai Beach is second to Chaweng Beach and is definitely quieter. These days it is more our speed as it attracts a bit older and more laid-back crowd than Chaweng Beach (which we totally loved back in the day). For some higher-end accommodations, Lamai Beach is the place to stay. Check out more things to do in Koh Samui

Where to Stay at Lamai Beach

  • Lamai Samui is a luxurious retreat with villas and suites on the water. Some villas have their own private plunge pools, infinity pools, and private dining pavilions. 
  • One of the closest places to stay near the rocks is Beluga Boutique Hotel. This adult-only hotel is a secluded escape with an infinity pool, lounge bar, modern amenities and restaurants right on the beach.

14. Thongtakian Beach – Koh Samui

best beaches in thailand Thongtakian Beach koh samui

Thongtakian Beach on Koh Samui is one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. With boulders scattered along the beach, it makes for great photography options. The waters are calm and clear. 

  • Where to Stay on Koh Samui
    • Four Seasons Resort – Expensive but worth the splurge. you can never go wrong with the Four Seasons brand.
    • For other hotels on Koh Samui, check out TripAdvisor for reviews.
  • How to Get to Koh Samui from Bangkok – There are direct flights to Koh Samui island from Bangkok.

15. Bottle Beach – Koh Phangan

best beaches in thailand Koh Phangan bottle Beach sunset

Koh Phangan is famous for its full moon party that takes place each month on Haad Rin Beach. While the full moon parties create huge crowds, Bottle Beach is far away from the hustle and bustle. Like Phra Nang Beach in Krabi, it attracts day-trippers, but if you stay on this beautiful beach, you’ll have it all to yourself in the morning.

16. Haad Rin – Koh Phangan

best beaches in thailand firespinning

If you are looking for a party beach in Thailand, Haad Rin is the place. Divided into two sections, Hat Rin Nai (Sunset Beach) and (Hat Rin Nok) Sunrise Beach. Sunrise beach is the more beautiful beach of the two and it is the beach where the full moon party takes place each month.

Believe it or not, in 2000 we visited Haad Rin to escape the crowds of Koh Samui in 2000. It is now one of the busiest beaches in the country thanks to the full moon parties, but it has since calmed down due to the pandemic. It might now be the time to visit before it gets busy again!

17. Thong Nai Pan Noi – Koh Phangan

best beaches in thailand deb on the andaman sea

If you are looking for a quieter option on Koh Phangan, the beach destinations of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai are good options. The beautiful white sands of this long curved beach make it a good escape with a chilled-out hippy vibe.

18. Haad Salad Beach – Koh Phangan

best beaches in thailand koh phangan

Haad Salad Beach is located on the north end of the island as far away from the party scene of Haad Rin as you can get. With a coral reef just 80 meters off the coast, it’s a great place for diving and snorkeling.

How to Get to Koh Phangan

There are direct flights form Bangkok to Suriat Thani or Koh Samui. From both Surat Thani and Koh Samui you then take a ferry to Koh Phangan.

19. Sairee Beach – Koh Tao

beautiful beaches in thailand Sairee Beach
Koh Tao

Located on the west coast of Koh Tao, Sairee Beach is the most popular beach where all the action happens. With a coral reef located just off its shore, Sairee Beach is a good spot for snorkeling. Koh Tao is popular with scuba divers and on Sairee Beach you’ll find plenty of dive centers, restaurants, and bars. If you want to be in the action, (which we love) this is the place. Not only is it good for snorkeling, but the white sand is also easy on the feet when strolling its length of 1.85 km (1.1 miles)

20. Hua hin beach

Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin Beach stretches over 7 km. It’s popular among locals and tourists as the waters here are warm throughout the year. Well worth a visit to relax, and walk along the beach as you enjoy the beautiful coastal landscape.

Best Time to Visit Thailand’s Beaches

koh samui palm trees and boats on beach

We have found visiting the south of the country anytime between late November to early March to be great.

  • December, January and February are high season and you can expect the best weather.
  • March to May are the hotter months, but you have a beach to cool down in, so go for it.
  • The rainy season happens from June to the end of October.

And these are some of the best Thailand beaches to visit. So when we can all travel again, make sure to put The Land of Smiles at the top of your list! It is an inspiring travel destination.

most beautiful beaches in thailand

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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