Thailand is justly famous for its many beautiful beaches, but the sheer scope and variety of options can be daunting. It’s hard to go wrong if you’re after sun and sand in this beautiful country, but the following five recommendations should help to break down the number of possible choices into bite-sized chunks.
1. Koh Phi Phi
The beaches on Koh Phi Phi, a few hours from Phuket, are as idyllic as it gets. It’s a busy place, deservedly so, but if you aren’t bothered by crowds, the island has more than enough picturesque sights and pristine beaches to compensate for the crowds.
2. Railey Beach
One of the nicest things about Railey Beach is that once you venture out onto this small isthmus, you’ll be treated to a beautiful resort area completely free of cars and motorcycles. Though connected to the mainland, a wall of mountains means that the only access is by boat. Railey is also a favorite for rock climbers, who come from all over the world to test themselves on the limestone cliffs.
3. Hua Hin Beach
Located just a few hours from Bangkok, and accessible by car, train or bus, Hua Hin is one of the most popular beaches in the country. With ample accommodations, activities like horseback riding, hiking, and the close proximity of one the region’s finest national parks, Sam Roi Yot, all make this spot a good choice for your first few days in the country.
4. Sairee Beach
A world famous base for divers, Sairee Beach at Koh Tao is also brimming with beautiful views of nearby islands. The mile-long white sand beach and profusion of cheap accommodations and restaurants make it well worth the ferry trip from the nearby airport in Samui.
5. Karon Beach
Phuket’s Patong Beach is the beneficiary of most of the tourist hype on the west coast, but the sandy expanse of nearby Karon Beach (at nearly two miles across, it is one of the area’s widest) is tough to beat. Even during the high season, this beach’s sheer size is sufficient to ensure that it rarely if ever feels overcrowded.