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These Are Thailand’s Best Beaches

A few years ago when I was in Sardinia, a local friend dropped what she thought was a devastating truth-bomb on me. “Thailand’s beaches are just so overrated,” she concluded, having gone over a list of all the supposedly better beaches on her island she recommended I visited over the subsequent days. “You’ll see what I mean.”

Now, I don’t lie that I made some major mistakes in executing my Sardinia trip (I write about some of these in the blog post above, if you click it). But the reality is that nowhere I saw in Sardinia came even close to some of the Thai beaches I’m about to write about.

Whether or not you end up thinking that the best beaches in Thailand are better than their Sardinian counterparts is down to personal preference. But trust me when I saw: These ones are all absolutely spectacular.

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Thailand Won the Beach Lottery

As you can imagine if you’ve been, it’s pretty hard to choose the best beach in Thailand. There are so many options, depending on your personal preferences, where in the Kingdom you’ll be, what sort of trip you’re taking and so forth. Really, it’s much more difficult to find a beach in Thailand that isn’t amazing, rather than all the ones that are. Actually…well, I’ll write another post about bad beaches in Thailand. It’s fine.

The reality is that on a proportional basis, Thailand simply punches far above its weight. My country (the US) has way more coastline than Thailand, but only a handful of beaches that rank among the best in the world. I would even argue that in spite of how beautiful Sardinia’s coastline is, Thailand still beats it (and certainly beats Italy on the whole, even though I do love that country for so many other reasons).

Thailand’s Most Amazing Beaches

Koh Lipe North Point, Satun


I’ll admit: When a friend of mine told me that North Point Beach on Koh Lipe island was like the “Maldives of Thailand,” I was skeptical. (I’d heard this description used about other beaches in the past—it wasn’t accurate.) I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s true in this case, but between sugary sands and crystalline water, North Point is a show-stopping beach by any measure.

Railay Beach, Krabi


Some Thailand aficionados would fiercely argue with you if you declared Railay Beach in Krabi as the best beach in Thailand. To be sure, Railay (which actually comprises several beaches, the best among them being Tonsai and Railay West) has its issues, from an overabundance of tourists, to questionable hotels, to less than pristine water. But if the towering limestone walls that rise around it aren’t pure Thailand, I don’t know what is.

Koh Similan Beach, Phang Nga


The Similan Islands, on the other hand, are completely undeveloped. And that’s by design, as they’re a protected national park. Which of them you get to visit will depend upon the tour you book, though I can say that all feature virgin beaches with pristine sand, and some of the clearest waters you’ll see anywhere in Thailand. It’s like a trip back in time to more popular islands, 50 or even 100 years ago!

Koh Kradan Beach, Trang


The main beach on Koh Kradan was one of the first entries I made on my list of the best beaches in Thailand, well over a decade ago. At low tide it makes the Andaman Sea feel like your own personal swimming pool, with shallow and impossibly clear waters lapping all around you as you admire karstic island formations in the distance. I recommend staying overnight here (rather than coming for the day from nearby Koh Mook) to get the full effect!

Bang Bao Beach, Trat


I go back and forth on the Trat islands. On one hand, they were the first island group I ever visited in Thailand. On the other hand, they’re a pain to reach, and even more tedious to get around. In spite of this, it’s difficult to deny the merits of many individual beaches here, such as Bang Bao Beach in Koh Kood. It’s probably my favorite beach in the Gulf of Thailand (although Koh Tao might get offended at me saying that!).

Honorable Mentions

All of Thailand’s beaches can’t be the best, though with that being said, many of my favorites are amazing even if they’re not superlative. Here are some I almost considered including in the main list:

  • Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands
  • Koh Tao island’s Chalok Beach
  • Lonely Beach in Koh Chang
  • Tonsai Bay, also in the Phi Phi Islands
  • Nai Haan Beach in Phuket
  • Any of the beaches along the west coast of Koh Lanta
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Other FAQ About Beaches in Thailand

Which part of Thailand has the best beaches?

In my opinion, the best beaches in Thailand are primarily located in the Andaman Sea, the shallow portion of the Indian Ocean that laps at the Kingdom’s southwestern coast. However, you can find amazing beaches throughout Thailand if you know where to look.

Which beach has the clearest water in Thailand?

Clear water is a very common sight in Thailand, so this is a hard question to answer. However, I’ve found that Tonsai Bay in Koh Phi Phi features exceptionally clear water, especially toward low tide. This is also true if you visit North Point Beach in Koh Lipe.

What is the best place to swim in Thailand?

Ironically, I would say that Thailand’s most beautiful beaches are sometimes not great for swimming. You’re so distracted taking pictures that you can’t let go and let the water take you! Lately, I’ve found the long beaches on the west coast of Koh Lanta to be great for swimming, though your mileage may vary.

The Bottom Line

Which of the best beaches in Thailand excites you the most? I can personally say that all five of the ones I’ve mentioned here (and, if we’re being honest, all the honorable mentions) are among my very favorites in the world—and I say that as someone who has been to almost 100 countries! The reality is that Thailand won the beach lottery: Many countries with much longer coastlines (my own home country included) don’t have a fraction of Thailand’s incredible beaches and islands. Want personalized help putting your Thailand beach itinerary together? I hope you’ll consider hiring me to plan your trip!


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