Thailand has long coastlines hugging the landscape from both sides flanked by several tiny islands, making them home to some of the most idyllic beaches. Many of these are drastically different from one another, and offer something unique for every kind of traveller.  While many of these beaches are touristy, still many more are secluded and take an off-the-beaten path, so much so that you feel like you’re on your own private piece of land surrounded by territorial sea. One thing is for sure, these beaches are in utmost need of preservation, which is why some beaches like the Maya Bay in Phi Phi are indefinitely closed for tourists.

If you are taking a vacation to Thailand, you will most likely not be able to visit all of these beaches, so take your pick out of the beaches that appeal to you most and add them to your bucket list.

1. Patong Beach, Phuket Popular

Perhaps the most touristy beach of all, Patong beach is also its unofficial party capital making it equally popular with the locals. Although busy, Patong beach looks incredibly beautiful with its white sands and its crystal clear waters silhouetting calm and quietly waves.

Patong offers multiple options in water sports too – jet skiing, parasailing and banana boat rides being the most popular. The most happening bars and restaurants line the beach alternating street food stalls.

Why You Should Go There: With so many truly amusing things to do at Patong, you should go there especially if you want to experience its nightlife and do not really mind the crowd.

2. Ao Nang Beach, Krabi

A scenic beach with karsts dotting one of its edges, Ao Nang has soft white sand stretching for kilometres, so you can walk the shoreline. Around the beach you have international food chains galore, so you don’t go hungry either.

Why You Should Go There: Go to Ao Nang Beach in the evenings for its elaborate views of the sunset. During the day, take a long-tail boat ride to any of the nearby islands; keeping in mind its extreme popularity with tourists though.

3. Karon Beach, Phuket

Karon beach is a delight for those who enjoy a peppy nightlife as well as serenity during the day. The beach has great public facilities for you to be able to enjoy its cool blue waters throughout the day, including a lifeguard on standby. That been said, you will find some king waves here which may not be suitable for children to swim around. It also offers delightful restaurants, clubs and shopping areas within easy reach.

Why You Should Go There: If you like stretches of white sand to laze around in and warm waters to come kiss your feet, head to Karon beach.

4. Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

The 7-kilometre long beach of Chaweng has a lively vibe with a scattering of tourists and locals alike. It is also a popular spot for swimming, and sunbathing. Come evenings and sections of the beach transform with people coming in to gather around bars, groove to music, or simply getting entertained by fire shows.

Why You Should Go There: If you are looking to try your hand at snazzy new water sport options, Chaweng beach has many many to choose from, like jet board surfing and stand up paddle boarding.

5. Phra Nang Beach, Krabi Recommended

Phra Nang beach is a short 20-minute walk from Railay beach or a kayak-ride away. A clean beach, it’s got some beautiful rock formations next to the shoreline where you can even try rock climbing or explore the caves. The beach is also home to the Princess Cave where locals typically offer stone phalluses to the mythical sea princess for fertility.

Why You Should Go There: If an adventurous itinerary that includes rock climbing or kayaking is your thing, Phra Nang beach is one of the best beaches in Thailand to arrive with a bucket list.

6. Hua Hin Beach, Prachuap

A weekend getaway for Bangkok natives, Hua Hin beach has come to be known as Thailand’s seaside resort city. Given its luxury resorts, it has emerged as Thailand’s latest destination for spas and wellness centres.

The beach itself has about 5 kilometres of white sand and clear water. It’s pretty laid back with sun loungers and horse-riders. Once at sea, you’d find tourists and locals jet skiing and kitesurfing to the rip tides.

Why You Should Go There: If you want to experience the sea and the sand from the lap of luxury and quietude, Hua Hin beach is the perfect setup for a nice couple of your days.

7. Railay Beach, Krabi Recommended

Accessible only by long-tail boats from Krabi or Ao Nang, Railay beach is reckoned especially interesting. Its pristine and clear waters and robust rock formations jutting out at sea, give you a magnificent view, especially from the west side, during sunset.
Railay also has a few beachside restaurants serving tasty Thai food.

Why You Should Go There: Railay usually hosts a small crowd, a chilled-out vibe and beautiful scenery, enough to make it a must- visit destination when in Krabi.

8. Nai Harn Beach, Phuket

Nai Harn is one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket where snorkelling close to the beach assures plenty of fish to keep you company. There are various food vendors selling fresh fruit, smoothies, barbecued chicken and fish, for those hunger pangs.

Why You Should Go There: For a clean, short beach that has plenty of space to swim, snorkel, grab a meal and get an open-air massage, Nai Harn has proved to be a great option compared to the more touristy beaches.

9. Pattaya Beach, Pattaya Popular

Pattaya beach is a tourist hub thanks to the wide variety of activities you can indulge in. Being the landmark of the city, expect to find hotels and attractions in and around the beach, making it constantly bustle. Yet, it is big enough for you to take up a shed and relax by the sea. During the day, the waters get really crowded and you find dozens of parasails up in the air, all at the same time, dotting the skyline with colour pixels. By evening, the nightlife at the restaurants and go-go bars next to the beach take over.

Why You Should Go There: At Pattaya Beach you can explore a lot of options in water sports and if you manage to bargain your way out, you can enjoy the sport for a very cheap deal.

10. Freedom Beach, Phuket Offbeat

Freedom beach is tucked away in elevated landscape and will need you to trek to, from Patong. Limited accessibility makes Freedom beach an virgin paradise. After a steep descent of stairs, once you see the beach, you will have your breath taken away by its reticent beauty. No wonder that the beach has an entry fee of 200 baht!

Why You Should Go There: This secluded beach gets enough shade from its palm trees for you to lounge for hours on end. While you can swim the waters, there’s also one area cordoned off for snorkelling.

11, Jomtien Beach, Pattaya

The 6-kilometre long Jomtien beach is the quieter version of the Pattaya beach. There is something to do for everyone in here; you can laze around on a sun deck, play a game of volleyball, try your hand at water sports or just try some great barbecued food from the vendors at the beach. The jet ski world cup event takes place annually at Jomtien beach.

Why You Should Go There: As a much quieter beach in Pattaya, it is ideal for travellers who don’t like touristy places. Jomtien is one of the best windsurfing destinations in all of Thailand. Here you can also go paragliding, kiteboarding, scuba diving, and catamaran sailing.

12. Kamala Beach, Phuket

With a steady high tide during the day and restaurants by the beach to serve scrumptious snacks and cocktail, Kamala is a fun beach to spend at least half a day at. Families come and go throughout the day, with mornings being slightly busier. It makes for a good spot to get a Thai massage by the beach or rock some water sports. They also have a memorial built at the end of the beach in remembrance of those that lost their lives in the 2004 Tsunami.

Why You Should Go There: For the most part, you’d only be able to hear the waves and the wind hitting the chords. Since the water is not too deep for a distance, it is an ideal place to bring kids to swim to.

13. Koh Nangyuan Beach, Surat Thani Offbeat

Three small islands make Koh Nangyuan with three beaches connecting them, the only place in the world that has an unbroken stretch of clean white sand. It is a pristine paradise-like location with very limited accommodation options. Swimming here will make you feel like it’s your own private beach. If you go for snorkelling, you can see magnificent views of coral reefs and a variety of vividly coloured fish.

Why You Should Go There: Whether you want to snorkel or go trekking to Koh Nangyuan’s viewpoint, swim in the sea or just sunbathe by the beach, you are bound to have a unique experience at this offbeat destination.

14. Kata Noi Beach, Phuket

Trek across a hill at Kata, to reach a smaller beach that’s got the name, Kata Noi. It feels like another private beach with just one restaurant serving up cool drinks and food and renting out umbrellas, hammocks and sun decks. At the Kata Noi beach you can easily spend a couple of hours basking in the sun. More often than not, the waves are quite strong, making it unfit for non-swimmers.

Why You Should Go There: Kata Noi is ideal for couples who want to enjoy a pristine white beach and a laid-back day, sunbathing.

15. White Sand Beach, Khao Lak

White Sand Beach makes for an extremely relaxing and casual day out with the family. The beach is pristine clean with soft, white sand and the surf is mild and gentle. Tiny huts and tables can be found set up at the beach itself and the restaurant provides for some great cocktails and coconut based drinks. You’ll also share the beach with many hermit crabs that dart away on contact

Why You Should Go There: The White Sand Beach is much less explored by tourists and seldom do you have a large yet quiet beach in Thailand, almost to yourself. The beach is apt for kids as the sea’s calm.

16. Surin Beach, Phuket

Known as ‘Millionaire’s Row’ Surin Beach has big waves and is frequented only by a handful of people at a time. You’ll find travellers staying at the high-end resorts that line the shore, sunbathing by the beach. Also, you’d seldom find ad hoc food stalls at the beachfront.

Why You Should Go There: Surin beach has plenty of shaded areas to relax by the seashore and is usually cool and windy. Owing to the exclusivity of the luxury resorts, you may find yourself spotting celebrities too.

17. Kantiang Beach, Koh Lanta Offbeat

A little-known haven, Kantiang beach is part of a bay to the west of Koh Lanta, the perfect combination of breathtaking sunsets, cool waters and perfect waves. The bars at the beachfront make for a lovely sundowner while the fire show every evening is a fun experience too.

Why You Should Go There: Kantiang beach is uncrowded and has an idyllic spot to swim in the crystal-clear waters and learn how to scuba dive.

18. Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

Haad Rin is one of the best examples of how Thailand’s beaches can transform owing to its visitors. Set on an island at Koh Phangan, once a month Haad Rin hosts a full moon party that witnesses thousands of tourists, gathering and dancing the night away at electronica concerts. Through the rest of the month, the ambience is in complete contrast, so just enjoy the quietude and sunbathe through the day by the beach.

Why You Should Go There: If an all-night music festival hosted on an island beach has been on your bucket list, then you must pick the right date in the month and head to Haad Rin. On the days after the full moon party, the island picks up the vibe and keeps quite lively too.

19. Koh Kradan Beach, Trang Recommended

The island of Koh Kradan brings visitors looking to snorkel and take a tour of the island. The water is azure, yet so clear that you can easily spot a fish swimming around. At a low tide, towards the north of the beach you can even walk for a distance to visit the coral reefs. Restaurants and resorts here are limited, hence you won’t see too many people thronging this beach. Expect to get breathtaking views of both sunrise and sunset depending on which side of the island you’re on.

Why You Should Go There: For a first time snorkelling experience, Koh Kradan beach is a good start since you can start right from the beach itself. Moreover, the water is warm through the seasons, so you can swim for longer.

20. Puek Tian Beach, Prachuap Offbeat

Puek Tian BeachPuek Tian Beach via Annette Pettifer

The most fascinating thing about Puek Tian beach is its many sculptures flanking the sand and the water. These sculptures are fictional characters out of a poem popular in Thai culture. Though the most charming sculptures are at sea, on low-tide days you may actually be able to walk up to them.
Why You Should Go There: If you are looking for a diversion from the usual beaches of Thailand and are travelling past Hua Hin, you can stop by Puek Tian beach and take a look at the strange artwork that also makes for great stories.

21. Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe

If you start your morning with the rising sun at this beach, you are bound to find magnificent views of the sea. Through the day, you’ll see many tourists come by long-tail boats to visit the island, yet leaving the beach with plenty of empty spots that you can sunbathe in. Once in the water, look out for a varied shoal of fishes even before you begin snorkelling. Soon enough, as you go deeper, don’t miss the corals. Apart from the brilliant sunrise, evenings and nights are also magical under the dimly lit moon on the beach.

Why You Should Go There: While you spend a good part of your morning in the water at Sunrise beach, there are more leisurely activities that can keep you occupied through the day. Since the tide is calm and low for the most part, you can kayak your way to the neighbouring islands.