Thailand’s Islands and Beaches – Take Your Pick!

For a beach vacation, it would be hard to find a country in South East Asia that matches Thailand’s Islands and Beaches. Along the Andaman coast and fringing the Gulf of Thailand there is hundreds of beaches and islands to choose from.

Some are characterized by luxurious resorts, yacht clubs, and spas. Some thrive on brash nightlife and turbo-charged excitement. Others cater to the budget traveler with cheap accommodation and more basic facilities.

Depending on where you choose you can sunbathe, swim, dive, snorkel, sample cuisine from all corners of the globe, kayak, windsurf, jet ski, or simply sit quietly and read a book.

Pattaya Sin City

Close to the capital, there are a number of quick getaways. Perhaps the most popular is Pattaya. 130 km from Bangkok, this is a lively, even raucous, resort. Crowded streets, loud music, and thousands of bars and restaurants give Pattaya its flavor.

It is not for everyone but it is a popular international destination. It is a place that never sleeps. If you find the pace in Pattaya a little hard to handle, head 5km south to nearby Jomtien. This is quieter and the beach is bigger, better and cleaner.

Eastern Thai Islands

Further down the Eastern Seaboard is Ban Phe, where the boats depart for Koh Samet. This delightful little island has some of the best white sand beaches in all of Thailand. It is popular with both Thais and tourists of all budgets. It is preserved largely by its status as a national park.

eastern Thai Islands
Koh Samet Pier

Koh Chang is in Trat province close to the Cambodian border. Ten years ago this was very much a backpacker destination but now accommodation and facilities have expanded and match every budget. The interior is still rain forest. The better beaches can be found along the west coast.

Heading southwest out of Bangkok the first beaches you hit are Cha’am and Hua Hin. Both are a little windswept. Hua Hin is a charming little town. Weather-boarded houses line the seafront. It is also a royal resort. The King of Thailand has a palace here. It is perfect for a family break and is rightfully famed for its seafood.

Phuket and Southern Thailand

Southern Thailand offers many choices of destinations both on the Andaman coast and in the Gulf of Thailand. Phuket, the ‘Pearl of the Andaman‘, is the country’s biggest island and is a province in itself.

It was one of the first of the islands to see major development in tourism. Patong is the busiest beach sporting international hotel chains, bars and restaurants, and a brash nightlife.

Quieter options are Karon, Kamala, Kata Yai, and Kata Noi in the south or Nai Thon in the north. All are white sand at varying levels of development and price range.

Phuket and Southern Thailand

South of Phuket is Phi Phi Island. The facilities in this idyllic place were all but destroyed by the Tsunami of 2004 but they have now been restored and Phi Phi is thriving once again.

Back on the mainland going north and then east of Phuket one encounters Phang-Nga and then Krabi province. Both areas are distinguished not only by some excellent beaches such as Khao Lak, Ao Nang, and Railay but also by the dramatic limestone mountains that dot both land and sea.

Taking a boat trip or kayak tour around the geological formations is a popular day trip with good reason. Not surprisingly Krabi also attracts many rock climbers.

Gulf Of Thailand Islands

Rivaling Phuket, perhaps, as Thailand’s foremost holiday island is Koh Samui. In the Gulf of Thailand, it is a short ferry trip from Donsak pier near Surathani. Samui has many beaches to choose from.

The busiest are Chaweng and Lamai on the eastern side of the island. Both are heavily developed with hotels, bungalows, restaurants, and nightclubs. Quieter beaches can be found along the north, south, and southwest coasts.

gulf of thailand islands

A short hop north of Koh Samui is Koh Phangan. Here facilities are much rougher and readier and it remains popular with budget travelers. Many of the beaches are still undeveloped so it is quiet, especially at night.

That is except during the monthly ‘Full Moon Parties’ on Hat Rin when young revelers pack the beach. Deafening sound systems keep them dancing until the sun comes up.

Further out into the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Tao or ‘Turtle Island’ because of its shape. It is very popular for diving and snorkeling because of the abundance of coral and the high visibility of the clear blue water.

Thailand’s Islands and Beaches

Whatever pace or speed you want from a beach holiday, it’s more than likely that in Thailand you will be able to find it. The variety is breathtaking and seemingly endless. If your holiday is 2 weeks or 2 months, Thailand’s Islands and Beaches have what you’re looking for.

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