When faced with picking a favorite beach in Thailand, the number of great choices makes for a difficult decision. That’s why we decided to make our list of the top 5 best beaches in Thailand and highlight each one.
While not every beach on the list maybe everyone’s favorite, I’m sure there will be a common consensus on the vast majority of them. We left off a number of the smaller more difficult islands to reach. While they may have some truly beautiful beaches, we wanted to focus on beaches the average tourist could get to for a typical two week vacation in Thailand.
We’ve also decided to include one very popular beach resort in Thailand, that doesn’t have the best reputation. However the beach’s available in Pattaya (oops spoiler alert) don’t have great appeal, they do have quick access to a great island nearby which is why they made the list. Without further qualifications let’s have a look at the list.
Top 5 Beaches In Thailand
The number one destination in Thailand for tourists, outside of Bangkok, is the island of Phuket. It is a large island with several distinct beach resort areas. Here you’ll find everything from high powered nightlife to sleepy beach towns perfect for a quiet getaway.
The main destination in Phuket is Patong Beach. Known for its soft white sand beaches and blue-green waters, it is very popular with visitors from all over the world. Due in part to the cleanup and anti-corruption efforts of the new government, all the beach chair vendors have been forced off the beach. This leaves miles of pristine sand available for tourists to pull up a towel and relax.
Ko Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and one of its most visited destinations. It is best known for its luxury resorts, day spas, and tropical beaches. You can spend the day in luxury at your beach resort or venture out to check out the Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai temple.
The two most popular beaches are Chaweng and Lamai. You can find they can get quite crowded, as they are located in the area of the island designated for tourists. Samui has a limited amount of nightlife and bars that are enough to keep most visitors occupied till the early hours of the morning.
Check out the video below to see what you can expect from Ko Samui Island.
Pattaya is more known for its nightlife than it is for having one of the best beaches in Thailand. While the beaches in the resort town may not be that great, it has access to a nearby island that is absolutely ideal. This more than makes up for the lack luster and eroding Pattaya Beach.
Ko Larn island is located a short (45 min) ferry ride from Bali Hai pier in Pattaya. According to pattayasanook.com the ferry runs to Koh Larn from 7:00 am and the last return is at 6:30 pm, and only cost 30 THB. It’s a cheap and easy way to get to some beautiful beaches.
But to be honest the main reason people go to Pattaya isn’t because of the beaches. It is best known for it’s nightlife and the numerous things to do in the surrounding area. If you are into bars, beers, and beautiful women with a side order of fun at the beach then Pattaya is for you.
Nightlife in Pattaya can get a bit raucous, with partying into the wee hours of the morning. I’d be surprised if most people make it to see the lovely beaches of Ko Larn. One nice thing is that it is easy to find guest friendly hotels in Pattaya that are less than a block from the beach – and they are cheap. Compared to the other resort areas on the list, Pattaya is a bargain.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island gained popularity with the backpacker crowd after being featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie the Beach. It’s fantastic setting is what most people think of when they invasion a tropical island paradise.
As a side note, the filming actually caused a lot of harm to the islands natural beauty. They imported many different types of plants and palm trees to make the island even more lush. It has gradually returned to it’s natural beauty of the devastation inflicted by the 2004 Tsunami.
Ko Pha Ngan
This is the party island for backpackers. Ko Pha Ngan has gained worldwide acclaim for the infamous Full Moon Parties that have been a main stay in gap year students travels. While it is best known for its party scene that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some drop dead gorgeous beaches…which it does.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, this island can only be reached by ferry from the mainland. Ko Pha Ngan is very mountainous with some good hikes and sightseeing opportunities outside of catching some rays on the beach.