The Best Beaches in Thailand

If you mention the name Thailand it immediately conjures up images of vast expanses of pristine beach. These stretches of sand, together with the climate, are two of the main reasons why people visit the country. There are some things you can pretty much guarantee about the best beaches in Thailand; they have striking white sands (usually, anyway!) that gently slope towards the crystal clear waters. Not all beaches are the same though, far from it. Yes, some beaches, such as those around Phuket and Pattaya are popular and often crowded; but you can find ample space and tranquility on a Thai beach too, if you know where to look. There is something for everyone, from hustle and bustle, and bars and restaurants to peace, beauty and snorkeling. You can certainly live the party lifestyle in Thailand, but you don’t have to. There are plenty of beaches where you can happily spend time with the family, or stroll hand in hand at sunset. We’re going to take a look at a selection of beaches that cover everything in the spectrum. It doesn’t matter whether you want a lively party, great restaurants, stunning scenery, water sports or just a place to relax, you should find something that catches your eye in our list of the best beaches in Thailand.

Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is hugely popular, so you shouldn’t expect to get much space to yourself. It’s a beach that offers swimming, sunbathing and a variety of watersports, as well as a fun and lively atmosphere. The beach is located across three areas, North Pattaya, Central Pattaya and South Pattaya, and each area has its own features. If you want some entertainment then North Pattaya has it, with a series of entertainment complexes and restaurants. Central Pattaya is the place to go if you want to step off the beach and do some shopping. South Pattaya is the liveliest area along Pattaya Beach. No traffic is allowed along the road between 7pm and midnight so you’re free to stroll along and take a look at the array of shops selling everything from jewelry to souvenirs and sporting goods. This is also the area to go for a drink after a long day at the beach; there are dozens of bars to choose from. If you’re looking for a beach that has a lively atmosphere, where you can enjoy the sun and the water, then you should love Pattaya Beach; there is plenty to do, on and off the sands.

Kata Noi Beach

If you want a complete contrast to Pattaya Beach then the next in our list of the best beaches in Thailand is probably just what you need. Kata Noi Beach is exactly what it professes to be, an extremely beautiful beach. If you’re looking for activity on the beach then you’ll be disappointed here; there is little to do at this beach except chill out. That’s the main reason for visiting Kata Noi Beach in the first place. That being said, you can still take to the water and snorkel or swim, at one of Phuket’s smaller beaches; although swimming is not recommended between May and October. This is the period of the monsoons and the time when Kata Noi Beach becomes a popular spot with the surfing community. At any time of year Kata Noi Beach is undeniably gorgeous, with its lush tropical setting. You can choose to take to the clear and enticing waters but you don’t have to do much at all when you visit this beach. You can just walk along, with the soft sand under your feet, and relax. If you need some refreshment then you can stroll on to one of the beachside restaurants and enjoy a meal, or just a quick drink.

Sunrise Beach

This eye popping beach is situated at the west side of Koh Lipe and locally it’s known as Hat Chao Ley. The beach is around a mile and a quarter long and, as the name suggests, it really comes into its own at sunrise. This is the place to go if you want to see one of the most incredible sunrise spectacles in Thailand. The splash of color across the sky long remains in the memory. It’s not just in the sky that Sunrise Beach impresses either. The sands themselves are pristine and white and the clear waters are home to an impressive selection of marine creatures. If you want to take to the water and snorkel in Thailand then Sunrise Beach is one of the best places to do it; you can get up close and personal with all the water based wildlife. Like many of the best beaches in Thailand, Sunrise Beach is very popular with visitors during high season (November to April), but it does not have the same touristy vibe as more commercialized beaches, such as Pattaya.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach is not an island but it feels like one. It’s actually attached to the mainland at Krabi but it’s cut off from the towns of the area by limestone cliffs. This means that there is no traffic to disturb the peace. It’s an idyllic beach destination that is also often referred to as Rai Leh or Rai Lay. You can see why thousands of people choose to visit the area each year. The area of sand is not actually just one beach; there are several different beaches across the expanse, including West Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach. All of the beach areas have the same soft and shining sands and are bordered by inviting waters. If you want to just relax, and soak up the atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to do so. If you’re feeling more adventurous then there are plenty of rock climbing opportunities in the area. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never climbed before; there are instructors to help you out and you can hire boots and equipment. If you don’t like the idea of trying anything so energetic, you may want to try your hand at just capturing the natural beauty of the area with your camera. The scenery of this place is one of the top reasons why it’s among the best beaches in Thailand.

Long Beach Koh Phi Phi

Long Beach in Koh Phi Phi is one of the most popular beaches in the region; its sands are soft and white and it also offers some of the best opportunities for snorkeling. Aside from the obvious beauty of the beach itself you can also enjoy the sights of some local marine life. There is a rock called Shark Point just off the shore where black tip reef sharks gather. Long Beach is a place to relax and just enjoy the surroundings. If you suddenly feel the need to party then you can just jump on a boat to Tonsai Village which is close by, and offers the opportunity to have a drink and enjoy yourself. Of course, Long Beach is not the only area of sand in Koh Phi Phi, the beauty of the islands of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh is known the world over. They are a favored location for party goers in Thailand but you can still enjoy the area without partying, at locations such as Long Beach.

White Sand Beach Koh Chang

This area used to be a tiny village but now it’s a busy tourist area. There are two sections to the beach, North and South. The vast majority of actual sand is located at the South end. White Sand Beach is popular with families and it has all the facilities you might expect, such as fast food outlets and souvenir shops. There is also a wide selection of bars and restaurants to choose from. This beach is an excellent location if you want an easy experience. You have everything you want in one place; a good expanse of sand, calm and clear waters and plenty of places to eat or party if you choose to. Take a walk from one end of the beach to the other and you pass through a variety of areas including the section favored by backpackers and the White Sand Beach Resort. You will find a variety of beachside cafes and restaurants where you can sit down and take a break. You will also find a selection of stores where you can buy all of the essential groceries for your stay. This is a beach area where life is made easy; one of the main reasons for its family appeal.

We have taken you through our selection of the best beaches in Thailand. This is a country that is renowned for having beautiful brilliant sands and clear waters, so choosing just a few beaches was difficult. Our selection was deliberately chosen to provide something for everyone; families, party lovers and those who relish a more tranquil atmosphere. No matter what your taste in beaches you should find at least one in our list that appeals to you. If you decide to visit any of the beaches, don’t rush, just relish your time spent in a Thai paradise and create some wonderful memories to take back home with you.

Written by

I'm Peter, the founder of Thailand-Guide and someone who decided to share my experiences travelling in Thailand. There are so many amazing locations to chose from that you're probably going to want to know a little more about each place before deciding where to go, that's where I come in with travel guides and the top things to do in each destination.

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