Without a doubt, Thailand has some of the most beautiful, incredible beaches in the world. An iconic Thailand beach consists of turquoise waters, white sand and usually longtail boats along the shore. Pure paradise!
There’s definitely a great mix of popular tourist beaches and secluded, off the beaten path beaches all over Thailand. You can find a private beach to relax at during the day but also find a beachfront hosting a wild Thailand island party at night.
With over 2,000 miles of coastline and over 8,000 islands to choose from, finding the best beach for your trip can be overwhelming. We’ve rounded up the best beaches in Thailand to help narrow down your choices!
1. Sunrise Beach (Koh Lipe)
Situated next to the Malaysian border is Koh Lipe, a small, charming island in the Andaman Sea. With only 800 residents on the island, Koh Lipe is the perfect place to escape the crowds of tourists to enjoy a weekend of pure relaxation.
Although Koh Lipe is home to several beaches, Sunrise Beach is the most picturesque. The long stretch of white sand is the perfect setting for watching the sunrise or sunset. You’ll find colorful patches of coral in the shallow waters, which provide shade and coverage for marine life.
The waters are ideal for swimming. It’s also a prime destination for snorkeling, which can be done right offshore; try to spot the tiny orange clownfish hiding among the corals! We suggest staying at Ten Moons Resort right on Sunrise Beach.
2. Nangyuan Island Beach (Koh Tao)
Koh Tao is known for its lush, tropical atmosphere, along with an abundance of marine and sea life. While there are plenty of relaxing beaches on the island to choose from, a short taxi boat ride from Sairee Beach will drop you off at one of the most beautiful places in Thailand.
Nangyuan Island Beach is just a 15-minute ride from the main island of Koh Tao. This little slice of paradise has a breathtaking lookout of the surrounding cobalt blue waters. The short but steep hike takes roughly 10 minutes and is definitely a highlight of visiting Nangyuan Island Beach.
If you bring your own snorkel equipment, you’ll be able to see the underwater Japanese Garden. Here, you’ll see a variety of fish and colorful coral just a few feet away from the sandy beach. Nangyuan Island Beach also has a few bars and cafes for when you get hungry, so feel free to spend an entire day on this glorious island.
3. Railay Beach (Krabi)
Visitors spending time in Krabi will not want to miss a trip to one of the most famous attractions in Thailand. Railay Beach may not be a secluded island, but due to the towering limestone cliffs, it’s only accessible by boat.
Once you arrive on land, you’ll enter a world that seems miles away from the big cities. Between the towering limestone rocks and colorful longboats bobbing in the turquoise lagoons, the landscape at Railay Beach is quintessential Thailand. Due to its picture-perfect setting, the beach is very popular with tourists and day visitors, so don’t go expecting to find peace and quiet.
However, you’ll still be able to enjoy one of the four main beaches on the peninsula. Catering to rock climbers, backpackers, and upscale travelers, Railay Beach has everything you need for a tropical vacation.
4. The Beach (Koh Phi Phi)
Made famous by Danny Boyle’s 2000 blockbuster, The Beach (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), Maya Bay has attracted visitors from all over the world. As you enter the secluded inlet, you’ll be surrounded by lush green foliage, protruding limestone cliffs, and crystal clear waters. It’s no wonder Maya Beach was chosen as the location for paradise in the movie! It is one of the best things to do in Koh Phi Phi hands down.
Despite its popularity amongst tourists, Maya Beach was shut down to the public in 2018. After suffering unfathomable ecological damage, the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conversation declared the beach to be in a state of emergency. Rehabilitation efforts are now taking place in order to save the coral and surrounding ecosystems.
Maya Beach is now open as of January 1, 2022, for tourists. Now you’re able to hire a longboat to visit this famous spot. You’ll be able to swim in the shallow waters, hike through the dense jungle, and photograph the picturesque surroundings. Until then, you’ll just need to watch the movie to enjoy the beauty of Maya Bay!
5. Khuk Khak Beach (Khao Lak)
As one of the most isolated beaches on this list, Khuk Khak Beach is a place where you can truly immerse yourself in Thai culture. Situated between Bang Niang and Pakarang Cape, Khuk Khak Beach is lined with swaying palm trees and dense pine forests. Once you find your way to this hidden beach, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy its laid-back atmosphere.
The beach is over three miles long, and there are a few luxury resorts in the area. However, you’re better off finding a local beachside cafe for lunch or afternoon drinks for a more authentic feel. After spending the day walking the long stretch of beach, there’s nothing more relaxing than watching the sunset with a cold beer or tropical cocktail in your hand!
6. Koh Khai Beach (Koh Khai)
A 30-minute ride from Phuket takes you to the pristine island of Koh Khai Nok. Despite its proximity to the city, this beach is often overlooked by livelier and more tourist beaches around the area. However, this hidden gem is one of the best islands to visit in Thailand.
Besides the warm waters and sugar sand beaches, Koh Khai Beach is known for its diverse tropical sea life. Best of all, the fish aren’t scared of humans, which means you can get very close to them in the water. You don’t need snorkel equipment to admire the variety of fish, as many of them can be spotted in the shallow waters from shore.
Unlike other beaches in Thailand, Koh Khai Beach has a vibrant market in the middle of the sand. With dozens of stalls and shops, you can do all your souvenir shopping without ever leaving the beach.
7. Maehaad Beach (Koh Phangan)
Maehaad Beach is possibly one of the most popular beaches on Koh Phangan, and for good reason. Not only are you surrounded by coconut palms and emerald green waters, but you’ll also find a variety of fun and entertaining activities.
You can get a beachfront massage, kayak around the island, or swing on a hammock. There are plenty of tourists and locals sunbathing and basking in the warmth of the sun.
One of the best things to do in Koh Phangan and on Maehaad Beach is to walk to the neighboring island of Koh Ma. During low tide, there’s a narrow sand bar that connects the two islands. Being able to walk through the shallow ocean is one of the coolest things you can do in Thailand!
8. Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park
Outdoor lovers cannot miss a visit to Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park. Covering a sprawling 97-square mile radius, the park has over 40 different islands to explore.
With hundreds of tour options, there are several different ways to visit Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park. From private sailing cruises to guided kayak trips, you can really customize how you want to spend time in this natural wonderland.
Soak in the panoramic views of Emerald Lake, hike through the remarkable Wa Tab Lab Island, and snorkel through the schools of fish and sea cucumbers.
Although a day trip is enough time to see the park’s major sites, there is still plenty to explore if you choose to stay longer. If you want to spend a few days in Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park, you can camp overnight in one of the tented sites or bungalows on the islands. You’ll have the opportunity to wake up at sunrise and see the islands before the tour groups arrive!
9. Klong Prao Beach (Koh Chang)
If you’re looking for a calm beach, then look no further than Klong Prao Beach. Located on Koh Chang, this charming spot is the definition of tranquility. As one of the quietest beaches in Thailand, you can enjoy a lazy afternoon or evening sunbathing or swimming in the water.
However, you’re still close to several restaurants and cafes, where you can pause for a quick lunch break during the day. Besides being situated next to several delicious beachside restaurants, Klong Prao Beach has a variety of shops and massage parlors close by as well.
Klong Prao Beach is also widely considered to be the best location for watching the sunset on Koh Chang.
10. Koh Lanta Ta Nod Beach (Koh Lanta)
Nestled off the coast of Krabi is Koh Lanta, which many visitors believe to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands. With miles of coastline and dozens of beaches to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more tropical destination than Koh Lanta.
Ta Nod Beach is one of the most remote beaches on the island. As part of the Mu Ko Lanta Yai National Park, Ta Nod Beach is as isolated as you can get in Koh Lanta. The idyllic sandy shore is contrasted against the dense shrubs of the jungle, and you’ll feel as if you’ve entered your own world of paradise.
There are plenty of activities to occupy your time in Ta Nod Beach. Besides swimming and snorkeling, there are also several trailheads for hiking. Climbing to the top of Ta Nod Cape will reward you with unparalleled views of the sea.
11. Lamai Beach (Koh Samui)
While visitors flock to Chaweng on Koh Samui, they often neglect to visit the laid-back resort town of Lamai Beach. Although Lami Beach tends to be quieter than Chaweng, it’s usually less crowded and more authentic than its more rowdy counterpart.
The conditions of the water are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and even surfing (depending on the wind and size of the waves). If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also rent jet skis or ATVs for a thrilling adventure.
In the evening, you can visit one of the many beachside restaurants along the shore. Many of the bars have daily drink specials; you can unwind with a cocktail while watching the sunset in the distance. Don’t miss the night market that happens every Sunday. You’ll have the opportunity to sample street food snacks and purchase a variety of cheap souvenirs to take back home.
12. Similan Islands
Venture to the Similan Islands and you’ll be rewarded with pristine beaches, spectacular rock formations, and unbelievably clear waters.
The nine islands in the Similan archipelago all have their own distinct personalities. Island No. 8 has several massive boulders that cascade down into the ocean from the beach. You can climb to the top of one of the highest boulders for picturesque views of the surrounding islands.
Island No. 9 and No. 7 have some of the best snorkeling spots, where you can swim amongst turtles and tropical fish. If you plan to spend the night, you can sleep in tents or bungalows on several of the islands.
The Similan Islands are home to the country’s most desirable scuba diving locations. Between the colorful coral gardens, underwater caves, and rocky crevices, there are plenty of spots to explore. With one of the largest collections of coral, you’ll be able to do hard coral reef dives as well as soft coral reef dives.
Best Time to Visit the Beaches in Thailand
Thailand is an incredible vacation destination no matter what time of the year you visit. However, the climate does vary throughout the country, making some places more pleasant to visit than others. Beach weather on the east coast can be drastically different from weather on the west coast.
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season, which starts in November and ends in mid-April. Traveling during the dry season in Thailand, also means you’ll be visiting Thailand during the height of peak season. Flights, hotels, and excursions can be more expensive, and the beaches will likely be more crowded. In the summer, the weather becomes unbearably hot, which can make laying on the beach slightly uncomfortable and the warm waters during this time don’t offer a great deal of relief from the heat.
You may want to avoid traveling to Thailand during the rainy season, which is from late summer until the end of October.
If you travel during the off-season or shoulder season, you’ll score better deals on travel and accommodation. Although the rain usually comes in short bursts, it can impact your vacation. You’ll need to take into consideration that storms and floods are common. Boat excursions and beach activities are often limited during the rainy season as well.