5 Great Beaches to Visit in Thailand

The beautiful Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Ley in Thailand
The beautiful Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Ley in Thailand (photo via travelandleisureasia.com/)

Friends and family alike always ask me why I haven’t made plans to visit Thailand yet. They see the beaches in photos and movies, read about them in travel magazines and here stories from fellow travelers who have graced the beautiful white sandy beaches of Thailand.

To be honest, I’ve been a little hesitant to visit the far east simply because of all this hype attracts so many backpackers that I’m nervous about how authentic my experience would be. I picture Thailand to be just like the scene in “The Beach” when Leo’s character sees all the drunken gringos running around with no concern for the local culture.

With that being said, the beaches are some of the best in the world and it’s only a matter of time before the urge to explore Thailand overcomes the fear of a superficial travel experience.

When that day comes, these are the beaches I want to be sure and hit.  In my opinion, 4 great beaches in Thailand…

Ko Samui

White sand beaches, coconut trees and coral reefs, Ko Samui or simply Samui is the pinnacle of Thailand’s beauty and resembles a piece of art from the Louvre. It is Thailand’s second largest island and attracts 1.5 million tourists per year. For an added bonus, travel to Ko Samui during the Buffalo Fighting Festival or Ten Stars Art Party and stay at a luxury hotel like the amazing properties of Splendia in Ko Samui.

Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh

Said to home to the best scenery in the country, Maya Bay is a small stretch of sand that can only be visited on day trips by boat. It’s part of a little island near Ko Phi Phi and is surrounded by huge limestone rocks in a quiet bay. It is a popular diving spot but probably most well known for the 2000 movie “The Beach,” which was filmed there.

Patong Beach, Phuket

Patong Beach is the largest and most popular tourist beach on the island of Phuket and is home to a lively beach scene during the day and wild party scene by night. The only downside is that it’s not the most authentic Thailand experience you will have because of all the neon lights and chaotic atmosphere, but it’s definitely the place to play and party with all it’s incredible Phuket accommodation.

Railay Beach, Krabi

Railay Beach is a small peninsula located between the city Krabi and Ao Nang where there are no roads, cars or buses, only footpaths and longtail boats. How great is that? Although it is actually connected to the mainland, giant limestone cliffs and steep jungle valleys, makes Railay Beach only accessible by boat. Also, Railay Beach is a lot more calm and relaxing than the next beach.

Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

AKA the party beach, Haad Rin is pretty much known for one thing… Full Moon Party! Once a month the beautiful beach gets taken over with dancing and drinking as tourists throw caution to the wind (or sand) to experience these epic full moon parties. Although partying is the name of the game in Haad Rin, there is so much more to offer in the natural paradise island in the Southern Golf of Thailand. Diving, snorkeling, trekking and beach bathing are all added features to this famous party spot.

After writing this, I just got the itch to visit Thailand… who’s with me?

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My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. Mate, your concern is well grounded. I spent a month in Thailand (just left last week) and have been sorely disappointed. After a truly cultural experience in China, Thailand was like an amusement park. The “real” Thailand doesn’t exist for travelers, and if it does, it’s very hard to come by.

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