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8 of the best beaches in Thailand

If you’ve seen all the stunning pictures of beaches in Thailand with gin clear water lapping against the iconic wooden long boats that look like they’re floating in space. Those pictures do not lie!

Thailand is a magnificent country. The landscapes, the people, the people, the culture – and those epic beaches! When Covid allows us to travel internationally again, I think lots of people will be looking for uncrowded places and especially beaches.

This post will show you exactly where to start in your search for the best beaches in Thailand.

You might also like to read my post on when is the best time to go to Thailand.

After days of research, reading countless unbiased reviews and talking to the people at Thailand Tourism who know, I’ve whittled this list down to 8 stunning beaches that are not yet overrun with tourists so you can bask in the sun, swim, take those fancy National Geographic photos and create memories of a lifetime.

Railay, Krabi

For the best beach in Krabi, check out Railay Beach.

Railay is a peninsula between Krabi and Ao Nang. What makes it so special is that it’s only reached by boat due to towering limestone cliffs that are a magnet for rock climbers with at least 500 trails.

You’ll find five-star resorts on West Railay, as well as bungalows and medium-priced accommodation for spending your day on the white sandy beach, cut off from the mainland.

Railay Beach, Krabi
Railay Beach, Krabi

Koh Kood (also known as Ko Kut)

Koh Kood is Thailand’s fourth largest, but least populated, island with beaches likened to the Maldives.

It is on the eastern side of the Gulf. You get to this island from Trat, considered one of the pearls of eastern Thailand, on the border with Cambodia.

There is no nightlife, so if you’re after a bit of evening hustle and bustle, this is not for you. But conversely, if that’s the last thing you want to do, then this could be the perfect spot.

The west coast has breathtaking beaches and this is where the resorts are. Visit Klong Chao waterfall where you can also swim and other activities like kayaking, hiking and motorbikes can be arranged.

Koh Kood, Thailand
Koh Kood, Thailand

Hua Hin, Malay Peninsula

On my first visit to Thailand I went to Hua Hin, 200km south of Bangkok.

If I could pick anywhere in the world to have a honeymoon, price no object – nor Covid (!) I would pick one of these three resorts in Hua Hin!

This fishing town is the holiday destination for local Thais (and royalty) who love the 8 km stretch of sand. There are several beach front resorts to choose from, a busy fascinating food and produce market, shopping and restaurants.

I took a cooking class here (beware the hot chilli peppers!) The beach is uncrowded, but the nightlife is lively enough to enjoy wandering from place to place and soak up the vibe.

Hua Hin beach Thailand
The resorts on Hua Hin beach

Pansea, Phuket

Stay at one of the posh resorts on this beach (Chedi or Amanpur) and you get exclusive access to this stretch of paradise. But as beaches in Thailand are not legally private, if you really want to play on this tiny 250-wide beach, there is a steep path that is virtually hidden next to Surin Beach.

You can’t walk through the resorts to access this beach, but you could paddle round from Surin to Pansea. Good luck!

Surin beach, next to Pansea.

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket

For those in the know, Nai Harn is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket. The good thing is, not many know!

It has great swimming from November to April (strong undertows can occur between May and December). Snorkellers and divers head just south to the sandy cove of Ya Nui.

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket Thailand
Nai Harn Beach at sunset, Phuket

Kamala Beach, Phuket

Just north of busy Patong and it’s shops, crowded beach and nightlife, is the much quieter Kamala Beach.

It is a fishing village enclosed in a bay and surrounded by hills covered in forest, is dotted in gorgeous hotels and since I popped back, it now features on my picks for the best places to stay in Phuket.

It’s kind of under the radar for most tourists, but those who like peace and quiet will love it. Get a beach massage, have swim, drink at one of the bars and eat at local restaurants.

There is also a bit of stall shopping when your wallet needs letting loose. Or you could taxi to Patong for a bit of hustle and bustle.

Kamala beach, Phuket
Kamala beach, Phuket

Freedom Beach, Phuket

Considered to be the most beautiful beach on Phuket, take a long tail boat 15 minutes from Patong to quiet Freedom Beach and step ashore onto the soft white sand in this private bay.

Snorkel with tropical fish, swim, rent a chair and umbrella. Some days it’s a bit crowded, some days you’ll get the whole beach to yourself.

Restaurants are at the southern end (where the best snorkelling is), or bring a picnic with you.

Freedom Beach, Phuket
Stunning Freedom Beach, Phuket

Lamai Beach, Samui

If you’re looking for the best beaches in Koh Samui, you need to start with Lamai beach.

It is quieter than it’s bigger neighbour Chaweng, but still with plenty to offer in terms of places to stay, eat and shop.

You’ll notice the trend of moving away from “cheap and cheerful” though into more high end offerings.

Check out Lamai Night Plaza which is a mini version of Bangkok’s Patpong with lots of cheap knock offs.

Lamai beach, Samui island, Thailand


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Marilyn Revell

Sunday 27th of March 2022

I loved Kamala beach. The sea was safe for children and gorgeous bars and restaurants along the beach. I would love a list of places to stay for when I go back again

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!