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Top 10 Thailand Beaches

While visiting Thailand do remember that Thailand beaches are some of the most amazing beaches in the world. There are hundreds of soft, sandy beaches here to choose from. Here are the top 10 Thailand beaches, and one bonus tour of Railay Beach located just off Ao Nang in Krabi province.

1. White Sand Beach, Ko Chang

Ko Chang, Elephant Island, is the second largest island in Thailand and located just over 180 miles east from Bangkok, near the border of Cambodia. Ko Chang’s best beaches are on the west coast. It’s almost shameful to name one of them as the best, as they are all breathtaking, but White Sand Beach is the most popular of them and quite an idyllic spot. Explore the entire west coast of this island if you can; there are many hidden bays with few people about.

2. Hat Sai Kaeo, Ko Samet

Diamond Beach (also known as Crystal Sand Beach), is an especially beautiful and popular beach for Thais and expats living in Bangkok during long weekends. Hat Sai Kaeo is about one-third of a mile long and is filled with things to do. In addition to swimming, many tourists enjoy jet skiing, windsurfing and riding banana boats – a long, yellow inflated float that bounces riders off if they don’t hang on tightly enough.

3. Ao Manao, Prachuap Khiri Khan

prachuap-khiri-khanAbout six miles from the border of Myanmar on the western gulf of Thailand is Ao Manao (Lemon Beach), once a battlefield for Thai and Japanese forces. Today it’s a quiet haven, almost untouched by western tourists and one of Thailand’s secret jewels. There are many miles of family-friendly and stunning beaches, some of them formed temporarily by sandbars at low tide. Don’t miss dining on some of the freshest seafood in Thailand here.

4. Phranang Bay, Railay Peninsula, Krabi

ao-phra-nang-beach-northThe Railay peninsula in Krabi is world-renown for its phenomenal rock climbing opportunities for both novice and professional climbers. Getting here is by longtail boat and takes about 20 minutes from tourist hotspot, Ao Nang Beach. From Railay East Beach, a 15-minute walk on a winding sidewalk at the base of a cliff brings you to gorgeous Phranang Bay. You can swim under overhanging limestone karsts, or climb and jump off small cliffs into the deep emerald green water of the Andaman Sea. This beach is perfect for families, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring.

5. Ao Nang Beach, Krabi

ao-nang-beachAo Nang is one of the most popular beaches in Thailand, as it is well developed and offers street shopping, top western and Thai restaurants, and is scenic and affordable. There is one particular stretch of beach on the southern most point that is just heavenly. To get there walk south on the sidewalk along Ao Nang beach. Walk past the large area of outdoor massage tables to just before the troop of monkeys. There is excellent swimming and scenery here at the base of a few hundred-foot limestone karsts.

6. Tonsai Bay, Ko Phi Phi

“Ko” or “koh” means “island” in Thai. World-famous Ko Phi Phi is comprised of two islands; Don the larger, and Leh the smaller island located off the southern tip of Krabi town. A two-hour ferry boat will take you from Ao Nang beach in Krabi for just under $20. Tonsai bay (Ao Tonsai) is on the south side of Ko Phi Phi Don. It’s scenic beyond words. Don’t miss this one if you get a chance!

7. Noppharat Thara, Krabi

noppharat-thara-vertNoppharat Thara was a free public beach up until 2008. Now tourists are charged 400 Thai baht for entrance into this spectacular national park. An ideal family beach, one can sit in the shade of the fir trees eating a picnic like the locals or walk during low tide in shallow water out to one of the three islands just over 100 yards offshore. Noppharat Thara is just over one mile in length and located just west of Ao Nang in Krabi.

8. Tong Takien Bay, Ko Samui Island

tong-takien-bayLocated on the southeast side of Ko Samui, almost hidden between Chaweng and Lamae, is a secluded and calm bay with excellent swimming, snorkeling and kayaking called Tong Takien, which means a type of fish’s belly in Thai. Some maps call it Silver Beach. This beach is family-friendly, clean, and has some bungalow-style accommodations for as low as 500 Thai baht during the low season.

9. Sairee Beach, Ko Tao

Ko Tao is the island tourists choose to get away from the crowds on nearby Ko Phangan and Ko Samui. By ferry (no airport) it’s two or three hours from Chumphon, and four to nine hours from Surat Thani on the night boat. Ko Tao is affordable, quiet, remote, and ideal for reading and relaxing all day in a hammock on the porch of your jungle bungalow. Sairee Beach is the most popular spot on Ko Tao and offers massage, drinks, and all types of food and services.

10. Surin Beach, Phuket

Finally, there is Surin Beach just north of Patong and Kamala beaches on the island of Phuket. Surin is the ideal beach destination for visitors that like to be pampered. You need not do anything; lay back and relax as an almost endless parade of Thai touts with everything from fried chicken, shrimp, and squid to watches, sarongs, and phallus carvings trudge by every few minutes. Excellent Thai beach massages can be had, as well as alcohol of every sort. Swimming is excellent at Surin and they have a freshwater hose to wash off the salt water and sand when you are ready to go back home (no accommodations here).

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