20 best beaches in Thailand

updated 10/19/2022
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The information in this article is inspired by the Rough Guide to Thailand, your essential guide for visiting Thailand.

On the hundreds of islands on Thailand’s coast, there are thousands of fantastic beaches to choose from. Whether you want to party hard with a vodka bucket, or just relax in a beachside bungalow, Thailand has it all – so, taken from the latest guidebook, here’s our rundown of the best beaches in Thailand.

Thailand, historically known as Siam and officially the Kingdom of Thailand

Hat Sai Ree, Ko Tao – one of the longest beaches in Thailand

If you’re just arriving and want to stay on one of the less accessible beaches, it might be a good idea to go with one of the touts who meet the ferries at Mae Hat, the island’s main village. To the north of the island's main landing point, Mae Hat, and beyond a small promontory, you’ll find Hat Sai Ree – Ko Tao’s longest beach.

Hat Sai Ree, Chumphon © Photoongraphy/Shutterstock

Ao Hinwong, Ko Tao

For a particularly remote, almost desolate escape, head to Ao Hinwong – one of many sheltered inlets on the east coast. As the most northerly habitation on Ko Tao, this is a deeply recessed, limpid bay strewn with large boulders and great coral reefs. It's home to a wide range of fish, including blue-spotted fantail stingrays, sweetlips pufferfish and boxfish, as well as hawksbill turtles. All the more reason for its place as one of the best beaches in Thailand.

Laem Thian, Ko Tao

In the middle of the coast, the dramatic tiered promontory of Laem Thian shelters, on its south side, a tiny beach and a colourful reef, which stretches down to the east coast’s most developed bay of Ao Ta Note. Ta Note’s horseshoe inlet is sprinkled with boulders and plenty of coarse sand, with excellent snorkelling just north of the bay’s mouth.

Ao Laem Thian, Ko Tao © Aleksandr Ozerov/Shutterstock

Ko Nang Yuan, Ko Tao

Just 1km from Ko Tao, this close-knit group of three tiny islets provides the most spectacular beach scenery in these parts. This is thanks to the causeway of fine sand that joins up the islands surrounded by a variety of sites, with assorted hard and soft corals and an abundance of fish:

  • The Nang Yuan Pinnacle, a granite pinnacle with boulder swim-throughs, morays and reef sharks;
  • Green Rock, a maze of boulder swim-throughs, caves and canyons;
  • Twins, two rock formations covered in corals and sponges, with a colourful coral garden as a backdrop;
  • The Japanese Gardens, on the east side of the sand causeway.
  • Where to stay on Ko Tao?

    • View Point Resort - SHA Plus
    • Set in Koh Tao, a few steps from Chalok Baan Kao Beach, View Point Resort - SHA Plus offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a garden. Boasting a terrace and a private beach area, this property is situated near attractions such as Shark Bay Beach, Freedom Beach and Chalok Viewpoint. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a shuttle service, room service and free WiFi.

    • Sai Daeng Resort
    • Sai Daeng Resort has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge in Koh Tao. With free WiFi, this 4-star resort offers water sports facilities and room service. The resort has a garden and offers a sun terrace.

    • Koh Tao Heritage
    • Located in Koh Tao, within 500 m of Mae Haad Beach and 700 m of Sairee Beach, Koh Tao Heritage provides accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. Certain rooms at the property include a patio with pool view.

    Ko Nang Yuan on Ko Tao island © Mix and Match Studio / Shutterstock

    continued below

    Hat Pattaya, Ko Lipe

    A shining crescent of squeaky-soft white sand, with its offshore reef and relaxed, anything goes atmosphere, Ko Lipe island ­– another of the Ko Tarutao National Park archipelago – is attracting an influx of Westerners, Thais and Malaysian backpackers and families. As so many flock to this pristine stretch of sand, it's secured a firm place up there as one of the best beaches in Thailand.

    Ao Nuan, Ko Samet

    Accessible by climbing over the headland to the north (which gives a fine panorama over Hat Sai Kaew), the secluded Ao Nuan is Samet’s smallest and most laid-back beach. Because it’s some way off the main track, it gets hardly any through-traffic and feels quiet and private.

    Ao Nuan Beach on the island of Ko Samet in Thailand © Muzhik/Shutterstock

    Ao Hin Kok, Ko Samet

    One of the many beaches on Ko Samet’s east coast, and much smaller than its busier neighbour, this stretch has more of a travellers’ vibe. Just three sets of bungalows overlook the petite white-sand beach from the slope on the far side of the dirt road – surely making this not only one of the best beaches in Thailand, but one of the best secrets, too.

    Hat Sai Kaew, Ko Samet

    Otherwise known as “Diamond Beach”, Hat Sai Kaew was named for its long and extraordinarily beautiful stretch of luxuriant sand, so soft and clean it squeaks under foot – a result, apparently, of its unusually high silicon content. Unsurprisingly, it’s the busiest beach on Samet, but the northern end is slightly more peaceful.

    Hat Sai Kaew, or Diamond Beach, on Ko Samet © Tuomas Lehtinen / Shutterstock

    Ao Noi Na, Ko Samet

    On the island’s north coast, known as Ao Noi Na – even though it’s not strictly a single bay – has a refreshingly normal village feel compared to the rest of Samet. There are an increasing number of places to stay along the narrow coastal road here, offering serene views across the water to the mainland hills, and one white-sand beach of note at the far western end.

    Ao Sang Thian & Ao Lung Dum, Ko Samet

    A favourite with Thai students, who relish the beauty of its slightly wild setting, “Candlelight Beach”, and contiguous Ao Lung Dum display almost none of the commerce of other beaches on this island. The narrow, white-sand coastline is dotted with wave-smoothed rocks and partitioned by larger outcrops that create several distinct bays.

    Part of Sang Thian beach, Samet island, Thailand © Rostovtsevayu/Shutterstock

    Where to stay on Ko Samet:

    • Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City Centre, an IHG Hotel
    • Set in Rayong, 100 m from Passione Shopping Destination, Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Rayong City Centre is set in Rayong. Boasting a rooftop pool and bar as well as a fitness centre, this hotel offer an accommodation with free WiFi and free parking.

    • Hotel Fuse Rayong
    • Set in Rayong, 20 km from Emerald Golf Resort, Hotel Fuse Rayong offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge. The property is situated 26 km from Eastern Star Golf Course, 33 km from Khao Laem Ya National Park and 38 km from Bira International Circuit Pattaya. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a shuttle service, room service and free WiFi.

    • Star Convention Hotel (Star Hotel)
    • Star Convention Hotel (Star Hotel) features a sauna, pool and fitness centre. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi in public areas. The hotel also has a nightclub, karaoke facilities and business centre.

    Our tailor made 8-day travell trip to Bangkok and Pattaya is the perfect opportunity to have a much closer look into Samets' island beauty.

    Ao Khung Kraben, Chanthaburi

    This is a deep, lagoon-like scoop of a bay that’s occasionally visited by dugongs and is edged by a dense mangrove forest. A wide swathe of this mangrove swamp is protected under a royal conservation project and crossed by a kilometre-long boardwalk. The uniqueness of this area makes it one of the best beaches in Thailand you can add to your bucket list.

    Khung kraben Bay, Chanthaburi Thailand © Suwatchai Pluemruetai/Shutterstock

    Hat Khlong Phrao, Ko Chang

    One of the island’s nicest beaches, this sweeping, casuarina-fringed bay is yet to see the clutter and claustrophobic development of its neighbours. It begins with a nice 1km-long run of beach that’s interrupted by a wide khlong (canal), whose estuary is the site of some characterful stilt homes and seafood restaurants. The southern beach is partly shaded by casuarinas and backed by a huge coconut grove.

    Inspired by our best beaches in Thailand? Try new tailor-made travel service and enjoy a fully personalised trip planned by a local expert.

    Khlong Phrao beach on Ko Chang © ronemmons / Shutterstock

    Lonely Beach (Hat Tha Nam), Ko Chang

    Named “Lonely Beach” before it became Ko Chang’s top place to party, this stretch of sand has, despite the creeping concrete, some creatively designed little wood and bamboo bar-restaurants. Some offer chilled, low-key escapes from the the loud dance music, all night parties and buckets of vodka Red Bull that the beachfront places are notorious for.

    If you are not sure what beach destination is the best, maybe the 20 best islands in Thailand will help you to deside.

    Ao Kao, Ko Mak

    On the southwest coast, the longest and nicest beach on Ko Mak, is a pretty arc of sand overhung with stooping palm trees and backed in places by mangroves. The beach is divided towards its southern end by a low rocky outcrop that’s straddled by a couple of resorts, while the long western beach is shared by a dozen other sets of bungalows, most of them around the pier.

    Ao Kao, Koh Mak island, Trat, Thailand © Suthikait Teerawattanaphan/Shutterstock

    Ao Suan Yai, Ko Mak

    Long, curvy Ao Suan Yai is not as pretty as Ao Kao on the opposite side of the island, but it's still one of the best beaches in Thailand. The sand is fine and the outlook is beautiful, with Ko Chang’s hilly profile filling the horizon and Ko Kham and other islets in-between.

    Planning to travel to Thailand solo? Find some tips for solo travellers to Thailand.

    Ao Suan Yai Beach, Koh Mak Island in Trat Province, Thailand © Chuanchai-KOB/Shutterstock

    Ao Phra-Ae, Ko Lanta Yai

    With its lovely long parade of soft, white sand, calm and crystal-clear water that’s good for swimming and shady fringes of casaurina trees, Ao Phra-Ae (also known as Long Beach) is strikingly beautiful and the best of Lanta’s many long beaches. The middle section of the beach has variable sands but some interesting, artsy places to stay, at Hat Khlong Khong, Hat Khlong Nin and Hat Khlong Nam Jud.

    Ao Bang Bao, Ko Kood

    The fourth-largest island in Thailand, Ko Kood (also spelt Ko Kut and Ko Kud) is a wild and largely uncommercialised island. Though it’s known for its sparkling white sand and clear turquoise water Ko Kood is as much a nature-lover’s destination as a beach-bum’s. This is definitely one of Ko Kood’s prettiest beaches.

    Beach holiday is a great way to spend your time with family. Find out more places to travel with your kids.

    Ao Bang Bao, Ko Kood © Stephane Bidouze / Shutterstock

    Ao Phrao, Ko Kood

    Just one hour by speedboat from the mainland, this long, unspoilt, stunning beach of white sand, backed by densely planted palms and the slopes of Khao Chom, is the perfect place to relax after the chaos of Bangkok. Behind Ao Phrao, the tiny fishing village of Ban Khlong Phrao occupies the mangrove-lined banks of Khlong Phrao (which extends another kilometre inland).

    Want to get to know Thailand better? Read 18 facts you didn't know about Thailand.

    Ao Phrao area Ko Kood, Thailand © Phaphthay/Shutterstock

    Where to stay on Ko Kood:

    • Koh Kood BED's l SHA Extra Plus
    • Boasting a shared lounge, garden and views of garden, Koh Kood BED's l SHA Extra Plus is set in Ko Kood, less than 1 km from Sai Daeng Beach. Around less than 1 km from Bang Bao Beach, the property is also a 12-minute walk away from Ao Ngamkho Beach and offers free WiFi. Guests can have a drink at the snack bar.

    • Koh Kood Garden View
    • Located in Ko Kood, within 300 m of Klong Chao Beach and 1.2 km of Ao Ngamkho Beach, Koh Kood Garden View provides accommodation with a garden and as well as free private parking for guests who drive. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features an ATM, and currency exchange for guests.

    • Shantaa Resort, Kohkood SHA Plus B4140
    • Boasting a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, garden and free WiFi, Shantaa Resort, Kohkood SHA Plus B4140 is set in Ko Kood, 2 km from Ao Tapao Beach and 2.2 km from Ao Noi Beach. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a sun terrace. Rooms are equipped with a balcony with sea views.

      All guest rooms at the resort come with a seating area. At Shantaa Resort, Kohkood SHA Plus B4140, all rooms have air conditioning and a private bathroom.

    Ao Thong Nai Pan, Ko Pha Ngan

    Ao Thong Nai Pan is a beautiful, semicircular bay. It's backed by steep, green hills and looks as if it’s been bitten out of the island’s northeast corner by a gap-toothed giant, leaving a tall hump of land dividing the bay into two parts. With lovely, fine, white sand, the longer, more indented southern part is the marginally better beach, but both halves of the bay are sheltered and deep enough for swimming.

    Once you get here you’ll find most of the basic amenities you’ll need: internet shops, travel agents, dive outfits, ATMs and a tiny post office (on Thong Nai Pan Yai).

    Thong Nai Pan Yai beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand © Smarta/Shutterstock

    Ao Sone, Ko Tarutao

    For a few on-foot excursions once you’re all beached out, head to Ao Sone on Ko Tartuao – part of the Ko Tarutao National Park archipelago. Named so because of the casaurina trees that fringe the beach, this is a 3km sweep of flawless sand that has a one hour trail leading up to Lu Du Waterfall at the north end. There's also a 90-minute trail to Lo Po Waterfall in the middle and a mangrove swamp at the far south end.

    Find your perfect accomodation option in Thailand

    For the first-time Thailand beaches experience try our incredible 6-day tailor made tour to Krabi.

    Ready for a trip to the the best beaches of Thailand? Check out the snapshot The Rough Guide to Thailand's Beaches & Islands or the Rough Guides to Thailand. If you travel further in Thailand, read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Thailand. For inspiration use the Thailand itineraries from The Rough Guide to Thailand and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

    We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

    Top image: Khlong Phrao beach on Ko Chang © ronemmons / Shutterstock

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    updated 10/19/2022
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