In our search for Thailand’s best beaches, we ran across calm and clear waters, small fishing villages, local culture, memorable boat journey and diving adventures. Above everything, we hope this post will provide you with inspiration when it comes to finding your future Thailand escape. And here are 5 hotspots to get you started!
1# Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is a beautiful small island situated very close to the more touristic Ko Tao Island, at the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. Koh Nang Yuan is at 10-15 minute journey by boat (one way costs around 3$) from the west side of Koh Tao. Keep in mind that the place is privately owned, so visitors are charged a 100 Baht (around 3$) entrance fee in order to step foot on the island.
It is considered to be one of the best places for diving spots and snorkeling in the whole country, with calm and clear waters that makes spotting marine life easy (the shores are populated with large diversity of fish and corals).
The island consists of three little pieces of land connected by a massive sandbar and the only way to explore it is by feet. During the high season, the beaches might be a bit crowded and the best time to get on the island is early in the morning or late afternoon.
If you are looking for a bit of adventure, a way to get on Koh Nang Yuan is by experiencing the newest attraction, zip-lining. The trip offers a 250 meters ride from island to island and the round trip will cost you 1000 baht.
2# Koh Jum
Koh Jum is an island in the Andaman Sea, situated at approximately 25 kilometers south of Krabi town. Most travelers arrive here via the ferries that connect Ko Lanta (a bigger island from the south) and the mainland Thailand. The Krabi-Lanta ferries offer trips only during the high-season which starts between November and ends in April. During the low season, there are only longtail boats available and the prices are pretty high.
There are three main villages with about 1500 inhabitants and the curious thing is that the island has actually two names: the south end of the island is known as Ko Jum, while the northern part is called Ko Phu. Once arrived there, you will proably see how the villagers take pride about the two names. You should definitly explore the villages, as there are many differences in their ways of life and you will better understand the local history.
The most active part of the Koh Jum is the west side, where around 20 resorts spread along the white beaches provide simple accommodation in tiny tree houses and bungalows.From there, you can choose one of the hiking trails to discover the island. Try to go on the northern part up to the top of Mount Phu, which has a panoramic view of the islands and the Andaman Sea.
3# Koh Phayam
Koh Phayam is one of the most beautiful and less touristic of Thailand’s islands. Ko Phayam lies in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea, 30 km away from Ranong city. The ride from the mainland’s Phayam Pier takes around 2 hours by slow boat and 30-40 minutes by speed boat.
If you happen to visit Koh Phayam after trips in Phuket or Phi Phi, this region will surprise you with a softly wild breeze and a more relaxing feeling. The northwest and southwest coasts are just spectacular; you will be allured by small resorts with rustic bungalows, beach restaurants and barefoot beach bars. A place where nature still reigns, the island has a rich fauna that includes wild pigs, monkeys, snakes and tremendous bird life (sea eagles, herons, hornbills).
4# Railay Beach
Railay is a picturesque peninsula located on the Andaman Coast of Thailand, in Krabi Province. Being surrounded by ocean and high limestone cliffs that are isolating it by the mainland, the access here is only by boat. You can get one of the long-tails that are leaving from Ao Nang located at 15 minutes north (these have more frequent trips to Railay) or from Krabi on demand.
The limestone cliffs of Railay are a haven for rock climbers from all over the world. So if you are a rock climbing enthusiast, this is considered the best place in Thailand for pushing your limits. Over 700 routes ranging from beginner 5a’s to classic multipitch 6a’s right up to the extremes of 8c are waiting for crazy travelers. Beside rock climbing, there are other activities that can be experienced in Railay: sea kayaking, diving, snorkeling, jungle trekking, cooking, white water rafting and quad biking. And of course, there are the ever-so-seductive sun and beaches.
Railay is in a continuous touristic expansion, but the area has kept its relaxing atmosphere. The most developed part of the peninsula is the west side with luxury resorts and cozy restaurants. In the east side you will find cheaper accommodation in bungalows and medium-priced resorts, less places to swim and beaches with not so many tourists.
5# Similan National Park
Koh Similan is part of the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Phang Nga Province, in southern Thailand. Access to the Similan Islands is easier from Tablamu, a small fishing village situated south of Khao Lak in Phang Nga Province. From here, boats depart daily from the middle of October to the middle of May. Day trips from Phuket (84 km northwest) and Khao Lak are also available, with travel time ranging from 45 minutes to 3 hours , depending on the type of boat.
Similan Islands were designated a national park in 1982. The biggest and most striking of its 11 islands is Koh Similan. Once you step foot on the island you will be amazed with the splendid deserted white beaches and giant rock formations that are guarding the shores.
The clear blue waters hide coral reefs, colorful species of fish and many rock formations in different sizes and weird forms. Similan is generally classified among the 10 most interesting dive areas in the world.