The Beaches of Thailand

The Beaches of Thailand

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With just over 3,200 miles of coastline, you have plenty of beaches to choose from in Thailand!   This tropical land of beaches has palm trees and jungles, amazing rock formations, and plenty of warm weather and warm water.   Picking one can be a challenge!  After several trips, we’re here to help you pick the one just right for your budget and personal tastes.  Here are a few of our favorite beaches of Thailand.

Most likely, you will fly into Bangkok and then transfer to a smaller plane to get to your beach paradise.

Hua Hin:  Just 281 km from Bangkok (a three hour drive) this coastal community is the closest to the big city.  Hua Hin is a gorgeous beach.  There  are plenty of condominiums to choose from, great restaurants, and plenty to do.   The town is very popular with those who live in the interior of Thailand.   English is spoken in the tourist areas.

James Bond Island where one of the movies was filmed.
James Bond Island where one of the movies was filmed.

Phuket:   This island paradise is probably the most popular (as in: crowded) beach area in Thailand, and its all about the water.  The whole west coast is dotted with beaches with mega hotels, exclusive resorts, bars and nightclubs, and water sports.   On a recent trip, we drove down the coast past Surin, Kamala, Patong (really crazy place), Karon, and Kata – looking for a relatively quiet beach.   We ended up at Rawai (at the southern tip) and could easily find a spot for the beach pad and umbrella.   The other beaches were gorgeous with plenty of beachside restaurants, endless shopping stalls, and cold drink stands – but very busy and noisy.   Phuket Town is a small business center with no beaches.   If you do nothing else in Phuket, take a tour boat to the James Bond Islands!  The islands are off the north east shore and excursion boats go on half day and all day trips. Most of them stop at several islands where you will see “karst” rock formations and amazing caves carved by mother nature from the sandstone.  Phuket is the most popular beach area in Thailand and you will find people from all over the world.

Phi Phi Islands:  Accessible only by boat, Phi Phi is a 2.5 hour ride south from Phuket Town.  The little village sells exactly the same stuff as any other island, is really isolated, has little air conditioning, and several nice hotels.  We found it to be rather expensive as everything had to be imported by boat.  Its big draw is the snorkeling/scuba crowd who come by the droves to see the underwater caves and fish.  We were last there in February and the temperature was in the high 90’s and the humidity was extremely high.   If you are into baking (and I don’t mean cookies) Phi Phi is the place for you!

Fisherman Memorial at Ao Nang Beach

Krabi, Railae, and Ao Nang:  Krabi is the main town of this area and offers little in the way of an actual beach.   A riverside town, Krabi has a great airport, night market, major shopping stores.  Railae beach is the tourist beach nearby – accessible by boat, with hotels, gorgeous beaches, wonderful restaurants.  (I kept thinking “Maui”!)  But it is isolated.  Ao Nang was our favorite beach in this area.   Dozens of hotels to choose from, restaurants from all over the world, two great beach areas that are not crowded at all.  Picture this:  the water facing west, 200 feet of sandy beach, a strip of huge trees for shade, the main road with great shopping/prices, and all sized hotels and inns.  The town seems to sleep from 2PM til 6 or so during the heat of the day – very civilized, if you ask me!  Be  sure to take the 7 Island Tour and watch the sunset at Phra Nang.  Another memorable excursion is a visit to the Tiger Cave Temple.

While there are hundreds of beaches to explore, Ao Nang remains one of our favorite beaches of Thailand!

Have you been to a beach in Thailand?  What’s your favorite beach?


Cheryl and her husband have just recently retired and live in the Pacific Northwest. She has been enjoying her herself by traveling around the world, playing with her grandchildren, and she frequently volunteers in her community. There is certainly never a dull moment with Cheryl. She cheerfully co-founded RetireBook and wants to share her energy, hoping that it inspires her readers to live life at its fullest.