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Thailand is indeed the number one destination in Southeast Asia. It was my first country in Asia to visit in 2006 and, its capital Bangkok, regularly tops the rank with the most international visitors every year according to Mastercard. And with reason.

The country is elongated and has beaches on both sides including several of Southeast Asia’s best known beaches and islands. Besides Bali, Thailand’s islands are the best known the world over. Ask those around you if they have ever heard of Phuket, Phi Phi or Koh Samui and you will most likely get an affirmative answer.

While Thailand’s beaches have changed dramatically and some of them have even been forced to close off because of over tourism, the country is still home to some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia and has been depicted in many a movie, from The Beach to The Hangover or The Man with the Golden Gun all of which have become tourist attractions on their own.

Best of all?

Despite Thailand receiving millions of tourists every year, they tend to congregate in several well known tourist destinations so you can still find some hidden gems without the masses. Let this list of its best beaches in Thailand help you uncover the secrets (but keep them to yourself!).

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Kata beach


Kata beach, only 50 steps from The Boathouse Phuket

Best beaches in Thailand – Kata beach, only 50 steps from The Boathouse Phuket


One cannot start the list of the best beaches in Thailand without first talking about Phuket, its most famous island. There are a lot of things to do in Phuket but its beaches are a main draw. And there are a lot of beaches in Phuket to choose from, great beaches for families, secluded beaches, party beaches, famous beaches and even fishing beaches that are mostly frequented by local fishermen.

From afar all beaches in Phuket may look the same, with the signature white sand, the clear waters and the many beach huts. But each one of Phuket’s beaches is quite different and the one you choose depends on what you are after.

Kata Beach is one of the largest beaches in Phuket. It is a crescent shaped 2km beach with many resorts lining its shores and lots of people coming every day.

The best part of Kata Beach is in front of The Boathouse Phuket. Here you can snorkel along the rocks and you are likely going to find less people than on other stretches, probably because it is farther from the main access path to the beach. The middle part of the beach can be quite crowded with day visitors and the guests of the larger mid to budget hotels located there.

The beach in front of The Boathouse Phuket also has the advantage of having a few snorkeling and stand up paddle board rental huts, a few local restaurants and The Boathouse Phuket Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Phuket. This is also the departure point if you want to head out on a long tail boat to explore the islands further away.

Location: Southwest Phuket

How to get there: Grab (Southeast Asia’s version of Uber) works pretty well in Phuket or you can flag a taxi in the street or even rent a scooter to explore Phuket. I also went on a weekend road trip in Phuket with a rental car and very much enjoyed it

Best for: Some of the best sunsets in Phuket can be enjoyed here. Have a drink at The Boathouse for an extra special touch as the mixologist has his own original menu with local drinks he created some of which have ten ingredients or even more

Facilities: There’s a good local restaurant off the pier. There’s no sunbeds or umbrellas for rent, but plenty of shade thanks to the palm trees.

Where to stay on Kata Beach: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: My review of The Boathouse Phuket or check out my video below

Kata Noi

Kata Noi Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Kata Noi Beach

Whereas Kata Beach is relatively developed and well known, smaller Kata Noi, on the bay further south from Kata, is a small, quiet and picturesque beach that is usually empty. Flanked by The Shore at Katathani, Impiana Private Villas, one of the most luxurious hotels in Phuket, and famous Mom Tri’s Kitchen, this is a fluffy beach with pretty boulders on either side and clear water with few waves is easily accessible. There are beach huts and stores on the roadside, making it another great contender for one of the best beaches in Thailand. A great place to cure a hangover after a hen or stag party!

Location: Southwest Phuket

How to get there: Kata Noi is well marked and like the rest of the beaches in Phuket, easy to find on a map and with a taxi, scooter or Grab

Best for: Sunset

Facilities: There are a few restaurants and bars along the beach, especially behind the row of hotels but Mom Tri’s Kitchen is the best. It is located at one end of the beach and has wonderful views.

Where to stay on Kata Noi: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Paradise Beach in Phuket

Paradise Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Paradise Beach

Similar idea to Freedom Beach but much more developed. This beach used to be free to access but it is now costing 500 Baht which you get in credit to use at the funky restaurants and bars. Go there for a few hours or for the whole day.

From the main DJ area, head out to the beach and left through a narrow path, you will find a smaller more intimate bay that has chill out music and beautiful crystalline water.


The quieter side of Paradise Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – The quieter side of Paradise Beach

The beach is very pretty and is accessed by few boats so it still is quite nice.

Location: Southwest Phuket

How to get there: Paradise Beach offers free shuttle services from Patong, 15 min away, throughout the day. If you drive yourself or get a taxi you will be dropped off at the top and then have to take a jeepney style truck to go down to the beach

Best for: All day lounging or party, they organise lots of night DJ sessions and even full moon parties

Facilities: There are beach and water sports, a DJ, three different restaurants to choose from, beach chairs and loungers. Aside from the beach there is a small shopping village where you can get designer bikinis, massages or pretty jewelry

Where to stay on Patong Beach: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Paradise Resort beach and Koh Chang on My Adventures Across the World

Freedom Beach in Phuket


Freedom Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach is one of Phuket’s hidden beaches. It is not easy to find but Google Maps will take you there – that is how I found it. You will need your own transportation as taxis are unlikely to know where it is or want to make the trek but it is well worth it. You will have to pay 200 Baht to enter, not because the beach has a fee, all beaches in Thailand are public, but because the owner of the land that provides access charges for that. Clever right? After descending through a rather steep path you will find a white sand beach that has a few beach huts and white powdery beach.

LocationSouthwest Phuket

How to get there: You can only get there by your own rental scooter or by taxi. Once you get to the top, leave your scooter and descend through the jungle.

Best for: A relatively relaxed vibe in a secluded beach. It’s hard to reach location, requiring you to climb down lots of stairs and steep forested area, make this is a rather quieter option more commonly accessed by boat

Facilities: There are a couple of beach huts but not much more

Where to stay on Freedom BeachCheck out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Check out my roadtrip to Phuket with itinerary here.

Mai Khao Beach in Phuket

Mai Khao Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Mai Khao Beach

Mai Kaho is exactly how you imagined Phuket to be 15 years or so ago.

Golden, silky soft sand slopes roll gently into calm and serene waters. There are no rocks, there is no rubbish, no bins, no beach furniture, no shops or stalls and no-one trying to sell anything. Instead there are a few beach cabins set back from the main sand stretch and nestled among the adjacent pine forest. There are a few larger hotels such as a Holiday Inn but they really have no impact on this beach, which is amazing in an island like Phuket. You can’t find a more secluded beach in Thailand. 

Location: 15 min drive from Phuket International Airport

How to get there: You can take a local taxi

Best for: Sunset

Facilities: There is a small market set back from the beach offering Thai dishes for 100 baht and fresh fruit. Otherwise no facilities except for in the hotels and small lodgings set back from the beach

Where to stay on Koh Wai: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Read more about adventure in Phuket at Stoked to travel

Paradise resort on Koh Wai

Koh Wai Beach in Thailand

Best beaches in Thailand – Koh Wai Beach

Koh Wai is such a small island in Thailand that beaches take the name of the very few resorts there. Don’t go on imagining luxury: these are all very basic places, with bungalows scattered along the only (dirt) path that goes around the island.

There are no roads on Koh Wai. In fact, there’s not even regular electricity. It’s just a place to completely disconnect from the world. The beaches are some of the most paradisiac in Thailand, and untouched, especially when compared to the ones of the nearby touristic, and in a way overly exploited, Koh Chang.

Imagine fine, white sand; clear calm waters with the most thriving marine life; palm trees everywhere, and there’s your slice of heaven. It’s not nearly as comfortable as Koh Chang, but it’s silent and peaceful. If you ever wanted to feel like a Robinson Crusoe perhaps this is the best beach in Thailand to do so.

Location: Off Koh Chang Island

How to get there: There’s either fast or slow boats that depart several times a day from Bang Bao, on the southern shores of Koh Chang. A lot of people visit for the day, but it’s when they leave that the real charm of Koh Wai can be experienced.

Best for: Both sunset and sunrise

Facilities: There’s a good local restaurant off the pier. There are no sunbeds or umbrellas for rent, but plenty of shade thanks to the palm trees.

Where to stay on Koh Wai: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Paradise Resort beach and Koh Chang on My Adventures Across the World

Lonely Beach on Koh Chang

Koh Chang Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Koh Chang Beach

Originally named “Hat Ta Nam,” the English moniker was given by a developer with a marketing itch to give the place more allure. When you arrive in Koh Chang, you’ll wonder if Lonely Beach was worth the extra drive because you have to pass through every other stop to get there. Luckily, you’ll forget all that after checking out the beautiful scenery.

One other thing you’ll notice is that Lonely Beach has more of a backpacker vibe than the tamer and more established White Sands Beach, which you’ll pass along the way upon arrival. Of all the patches of sand in Koh Chang, Lonely Beach was the most relaxing. Even so, there are quite a few restaurants on the beach that serve throughout the day, especially late at night.

Location: Koh Chang Island

How to get there: Lonely Beach sits near the end of the road on the west coast of Koh Chang, about a five- or six-hour bus trip from Bangkok.

Best for: Sunset

Facilities: There are bars and restaurants right on the beach and some have a restroom available for customers.  

Where to stay on Koh Chang: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Find out more about Koh Chang on Travel Through Life

Sunrise Beach


Koh Lipe’s Sunrise Beach

Best beaches in Thailand – Koh Lipe’s Sunrise Beach

As the name might suggest, Sunrise Rise Beach (also known as Hat Chao Ley) is a great place to catch stunning views of the sun rising over Koh Lipe’s turquoise water. But this beach isn’t just for early birds: no matter the time of day, Sunrise Beach offers beautiful white sand, clear water, and relaxing vibes.

You’ll find a variety of chilled out beach clubs and restaurants scattered throughout the beach, or just bring a towel and find your own patch of sand.

Though Koh Lipe has increasingly become a popular Thai island because of its quaint size and beautiful waters. Its harder to reach location still means the crowds have yet to arrive. No matter where you go on the islands, here you can find some of the nicest beaches in Thailand.

Location: Koh Lipe

How to get there: You’ll need to take a ferry to get to Koh Lipe. Ferries are accessible from Hat Yai on the Thai mainland, as well as from several other islands during high season. Alternatively, you can reach Koh Lipe from Malaysia by taking a ferry from Langkawi. Once on Koh Lipe, you can simply walk to the east side of the island to find Sunrise Beach.

Best for: Sunrise

Facilities: There are ample facilities on the beach of all sorts, though given the size of the island, you’re unlikely to be far from your hotel anyway.

Where to stay on Sunrise Beach: Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor

Read more: Find more travel inspiration on Travel Lemming.

Ao Mai Pai Beach / Bamboo Bay


Ao Mai Pai Beach in Koh Lanta

Best beaches in Thailand – Ao Mai Pai Beach in Koh Lanta

While there’s no shortage of beaches in Koh Lanta, there’s one that clearly stands out: Ao Mai Pai, also known as the Bamboo Bay. It’s a deserted beach hidden away from the tourist crowds and located right by the Bamboo Bay Resort but open to anyone.  

Expect the waters to be more of an emerald color here and for the crowds to be less thick than in other parts of Koh Lanta. The beach has a reef on one side and is surrounded by thick green vegetation.

Location: South of Koh Lanta Island, West Coast

How to get there: To get there, take the west coast main road towards the South, as if you were going to the Mu Ko Lanta National Park. Turn right before you reach the National Park. Signs to Bamboo Bay Resort will lead you there.

Best for: Sunset

Facilities: Restaurant/café of Bamboo Bay Resort, including toilets

Where to stay on Koh Lanta: Rawi Warin Resort & Spa and Baan KanTiang See Villa Resort for good mid-range hotels, Pimalai Resort & Spa and Layana Resort & Spa are good upscale options. Bamboo Bay Resort is an affordable option right on Ao Mai Pai Beach. See photos and more hotels options in Koh Lanta here and latest prices on HotelsCombined | Agoda

Read more: You can find out more about the many things to do in Koh Lanta on Travel Geekery

Klong Dao


Klong Dao Beach, one of the best beaches in Thailand

Klong Dao Beach, one of the best beaches in Thailand

If you’re looking for a beach that suits all ages, the golden crescent of Klong Dao beach on the north west tip of Koh Lanta is perfect. Despite it’s kid-friendly nature, it isn’t over-developed at all and a line of low wooden bungalows hug the sand.

There is a very gentle gradient to the beach and as such the water is shallow, perfect for a paddle. In the evening the easy-going, casual restaurants open out onto the beach and many provide kids toys.

Location: Koh Lanta

How to get there: Ferry or car. There is no airport, but you can hire airport transfers from Krabi Airport on the mainland.

Best for: Sunset

Facilities: Lots of easy-going, casual restaurants, which are geared to families. A couple of massage huts. WiFi available almost everywhere.  

Where to stay on Koh Lanta: Rawi Warin Resort & Spa and Baan KanTiang See Villa Resort for good mid-range hotels, Pimalai Resort & Spa and Layana Resort & Spa are good upscale options. See photos and more hotel options in Koh Lanta here and the latest prices on HotelsCombined | Agoda

Read more: Find out more about how to enjoy Koh Lanta with kids on Travelynn Family

Koh Rok


Koh Rok in Thailand

Koh Rok in Thailand


Sally, from Our3KidsvtheWorld shares her suggestion. “Thailand has some of the most exceptionally beautiful beaches I have ever seen. On a recent visit to Koh Lanta we took a snorkelling tour to the island of Koh Rok. Koh Rok is one of 2 islands located next to each other and is approximately 30kms from Koh Lanta. An uninhabited island tourists are able to camp a night or two but must leave only footprints, meaning that all waste must be taken with them.”

The island is managed by Mu Koh Lanta National Park. Koh Rok experiences a high number of tourists on day trips. There are a variety of spectacular snorkelling spots nearby and a day tour will take you to 3 of the best snorkelling spots and then to the island for lunch and a swim on the pristine beach. Its definitely worth a visit as it is much less populated than Phi Phi or Railway beach.

Location: Koh Lanta

How to get there: Located 30kms from Koh Lanta, the best way to get there is by speed boat, either private transfer or on a guided snorkelling tour.

Best for: Sunrise

Facilities: Public toilets, you are able to rent a tent for a night or two although the island is uninhabited and managed by Mu Koh Lanta National Parks.  

Where to stay on Koh Lanta: Rawi Warin Resort & Spa and Baan KanTiang See Villa Resort for good mid-range hotels, Pimalai Resort & Spa and Layana Resort & Spa are good upscale options. See photos and more hotel options in Koh Lanta here and the latest prices on HotelsCombined | Agoda

Read more: Find out more about snorkelling in Koh Rok by Our 3 Kids v the World 

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Best beaches in Thailand