Thailand is full of stunning sandy playgrounds and beach connoisseurs would agree, some of the very best beaches on the planet. Each stretch of sand has something special to offer but all have something in common, too - they need to be seen to be believed.
From the secluded to the well-enjoyed, we’ve narrowed down our ten favourites as the best of the best Thailand beaches. Here they are in no particular order.
Koh Nangyuan - Koh Tao
The incredible beachscape of three tiny islands connected by a white sandy bridge is one of the most photographed in all of Thailand. Just 15-minutes off the north coast of Koh Tao by longtail boat, it can only be visited on day trips, unless you’re a guest of the one resort there.
Railay Beach - Krabi
The prettiest outdoor rock-climbing gym you’ll ever see is also one of Thailand’s most picturesque sandy spots.
Accessible only by boat from Krabi, the sugary beach is punctuated by towering limestone cliffs against the azure Andaman Sea, leaving you feeling like you’ve just walked onto a postcard.
White Sand Beach - Koh Chang
Not many Thai islands have that remote deserted feel, but then again, not many Thai islands are like Koh Chang. Home to Mu Ko Chang National Park, most of the island is protected from development leaving it pristine.
White Sand Beach is the busiest, yet peaceful by Thai standards, and as the name denotes, it really is immaculate.
Hat Kuat (Bottle Beach) - Koh Phangan
Better known for the craziest beach party in the world on Haad Rin, the Gulf island of Koh Phangan also boasts one of Thailand’s prettiest beaches in Hat Kuat, otherwise known as Bottle Beach.
Its remoteness adds to its mystique and with the island’s poor roads, it’s best reached by boat from the island’s south. Once there, you’ll find that it’s the perfect place to decompress from the Full Moon madness that suddenly feels a million miles away.
Maya Bay - Koh Phi Phi
Made popular as the backdrop in the classic Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, what you see in the movie is really what you get (except for Leo - sorry).
The stunning lagoon protected by dramatic cliffs and not much more is perfect. It’ll take a boat to get you there from Phi Phi Don, and a strong will to get you to ever leave.
Lamai Beach - Koh Samui
As the largest island in the Gulf, Samui has its fair share of super stretches of sand. Some are quieter, some busier but Lamai has the perfect blend.
Dotted with beachside bars and a range of accommodation options, there is plenty to do if you ever tire of beach massages, fresh fruit vendors or playing in its perfect sea.
Had Sai Daeng Beach - Koh Tao
This is one beach worth abandoning for the sea as that’s where all the action is. With healthy, colourful reefs directly off the beach, there may not be a better place to snorkel in all of Thailand.
Glide alongside majestic sea turtles, black tip reef sharks and rays or grab a kayak and head to Shark Island, just a 10-minute paddle away.
Freedom Beach - Phuket
Relatively remote for a busy island like Phuket, Freedom Beach is your hideaway from crowded Patong. Paying a small entrance fee and hiking down the steep slope to the water’s edge is well worth it, even with having to get back to the top at the end of it all.
Hat Chao Ley (Sunrise Beach) - Koh Lipe
While not quite in step with many of Thailand’s tourist-filled beaches, or because of it, the natural beauty of Koh Lipe’s sublime Sunrise Beach can’t be overlooked.
Located in Thailand’s deep south, Hat Chao Ley is an under-the-radar gem, surrounded by colourful coral reefs and the crystal clear Andaman Sea. If you’re looking for a breathtaking off-the-beaten-path beach, Koh Lipe deserves a visit.
Donald Duck Bay - Similan Islands
Playfully nicknamed for the interesting beachfront rock formations that resemble the famous character, the tranquil bay provides a natural shelter for liveaboard dive boats that moor here. Its minimal currents make it a great spot to snorkel and night dive, and to welcome day-trippers looking for the best swimming beach in the lucky and less-visited Similan Islands.
And there you have it. Our short list of the very best beaches Thailand has to offer. If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, our Expert Travellers are standing by.