A beach lover’s paradise, Thailand is one of the most popular tropical destinations in the world. Home to some of the most visually arresting and exotic beaches, it’s where you can have a peaceful stroll on the sand while taking in views of limestone cliffs and caves. And if you crave a more lively beach scene and water sports, many Thailand beaches cater to that too. In short, the Land of Smiles has something for different types of beachgoers. The great news is that after a long restriction, Thailand is reopening to foreign travellers on 1 November, 2021! Without further ado, here are the best Thailand beaches to beat the lockdown blues.
1. Railay Beach
Railay Beach consistently makes it to the top of many ‘best Thailand beaches’ list, and it’s easy to see why. Only accessible by boat, the small peninsula is quiet and laid back, but that’s only one part of it. Railay Beach is also one of most beautiful Thailand beaches, with surrounding limestone cliffs, jungles, and lagoon-like swimming areas. Other than the more traditional activities on the beach, the cliffs also attract rock climbers from all over the world. Railay Beach itself is made up of several smaller areas – Phra Nang, West Railay, East Railay, and Ton Sai. There are also accommodations ranging from villas to medium-priced resorts and luxury resorts. Ton Sai is more rustic and caters to climbers and backpackers, while West Railay features luxurious beachfront resorts.
2. Haad Rin, Koh Phangan
For a more lively scene, Haad Rin in Koh Phangan is one of the most popular beaches on Koh Phangan. It is known for its monthly full moon parties, where powerful sound systems turn the 800-metre beach into an open-air nightclub with thousands of people, a lively festival-like atmosphere, great music and copious amounts of alcohol. Outside of that, the beach is still an active scene. You can usually find people in the day playing volleyball, swimming, and enjoying water sports like jet skiing and kayaking. In the evening, head over to beach bars like Drop-In Bar and Cactus Bar for daily promotions and fire shows!
3. Freedom Beach, Phuket
Freedom Beach is touted as the ‘pearl of Phuket’. Getting here will require a boat ride from Patong, Kata, or Karon Beach, or by making your way down a very steep path. This means that most people tend to stick to beaches that are more accessible. Those who do pay (or make the effort) to get there are rewarded by a 300-metre beach with powdery white sands and blue waters surrounded by hills and jungle. The atmosphere is very relaxed and laid back, and it is also a great spot to catch the sunset. If you need some food or drinks, there are also two restaurants on the beach, but they only operate during the high season.
4. Ao Kwang Peeb, Ko Phayam
Ko Phayam evokes memories of Ko Samui before the resorts and full moon parties came along. Ao Kwang Peeb (or Monkey Bay) is the island’s northernmost beach. There is only one way into the beach, and it opens up to a stretch of pristine white sand. Dense greenery surrounds the beach, and large rocks poke out of the clear waters and dot the sands at one end. The waters are calm and offer some respite from the heat. If your idea of a tropical getaway is just to relax, top up your tan and dip in the ocean, then you’ve come to the right place.
5. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Le
You might know Maya Bay from the famous Hollywood movie, The Beach. Surrounded by huge limestone monoliths, Maya Bay is one of the most beautiful Thailand beaches and looks truly otherworldly. Unfortunately, due to overtourism causing coral damage and environmental issues, the beach was closed for rehabilitation in 2018. Even at the low season, Maya Bay was seeing 5,000 visitors on its stretch of sand which is just 250 metres long and 15 metres wide! The local government is set to reconsider the restrictions, and to limit beach visitors to 1,200 people per day. While the beach remains closed for now, you can still take a boat tour to see the beautiful sight, minus the hundreds of boats and tourists that once crowded the beach.