Islands and Beaches in Thailand
The beaches of Thailand are the main reason many people come. While they all pretty much have white sand, calm seas and warm water, there are also lots of variations to choose from. Which one is the best? Well, it's all really a matter of taste. As beaches go, the north end of Chaweng Beach on Samui is one of our all time favorites. However, Samui is probably one of the most expensive destinations in Thailand, with very little to see and do away from the beach.
Wild and deserted Samila Beach in Songkhla
Phuket is one of Thailand's most developed beach resorts. That means there's a wide range of accommodations in all price categories, as well as a few more distractions once you leave the beach. But, that high level of "could-be-anywhere" development is because there are a lot of tourists to serve. Phuket is not the place to "get away from it all." It must also be said that, in recent years, Phuket has acquired all the ills that go with a big population of people spending money. Crime, including the heavily organized variety, has become a problem. All that said, there are lots of areas around Phuket where you can still escape to enjoy a beach holiday. Have a look at Phang Nga province or the many possibilities of Krabi.
In the end, my personal favorite is the little known provincial town of Songkhla in the deep south. The beach is rather "wild", with the occasional rock outcrop, but it's natural wind-swept beauty is precisely why it appeals. Few tourists frequent this part of Thailand, yet there are many interesting sights around town as well as further afield.
Of course, there's no point in going to the beach if it's going to rain. All of Thailand is subject to the seasonal monsoon cycle, but it peaks in different destinations at different times. See our Phuket vs Samui weather chart for a simple comparison of the seasonal rainfall averages for two of the most popular destinations.
Thailand Beach Destinations
- Phuket / Krabi / Phi Phi
- Phuket is Thailand's largest island and an international resort destination. The small Phi Phi islands are a short distance to the south, while Krabi is the mainland province off which Phuket lies.
- The island off the east coast of peninsular Thailand, with a rather laid-back attitude, but a rather high price.
- Hua Hin & Cha-Am
- "Royal" retreats about two to three hours south-west of Bangkok
- Pattaya / East Coast
- Pattaya lies less than two hours from Bangkok, and popular for quick weekends away from the city.
- Samet & Chang Islands
- Smaller islands east of Pattaya popular with backpackers.