Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thailand's Best Beaches

Everone's favourite - Bottle Beach (Had Khuad/Khuat) on the east end of the north coast of Ko Phangan. I reckon there are better - if pushed I'd say the beach at Donald Duck Bay on Similan Island #8 (4 shots further down page) is the best I've seen.

I put together a few shots from the site of what I regard as some of the more pristine beaches in Thailand. Forget about dictionaries - let's define that as having nice sand, clear water, cleaned of wet-season rubbish and fishing junk, with no development or with unobtrusive development and never being crowded (at least away from public holidays or weekends for those beaches easily accessed by Thais).

This is just a sample - there are others which fit the description. Pus quite a few really nice beaches which don't meet the no/low development rule

Bottle Beach is a pretty nice  - water is a bit shallow close to the sand but not too bad.

Had Khom (Coral Beach), north coast of Ko Phangan (click to expand)Oops - what a difference 6 hours can make! Not so great at low tide - but it took me a year and a revisit to find this out. Doesn't phase me - I aim to spend some time here on some future trip, has some real relaxed bungalow joints..

Donald Duck Bay, Similan Island #8 - but can get very busy with daytrippers 1000-0300

National Park Headquarter Beach, Similan Island #4 - repeat abt daytrippers

Ao Mai Ngam - Surin Islands camping beach #2. Book-ended by mountainous headlands, clear water, white sand, lots of nice tree shade in back of the beach, plenty of sand left at full high tide. Negatives include cheek-by-jowel tents under the beachfront trees for maybe 40% its length, but you could argue they are partly hidden by the trees and less intrusive than a bungalow joint or two.

Nui Bay - southern Ko Lanta

Ao Si - Ko Jum

Relax Bay (Had Phak Naam) - the Phi Phi knockers never make it to the lovely and uncrowded east coast bays. Image Louise F.

Leela Beach, back of Had Rin, Phangan - check my Phangan page for low tide shot.

Bamboo Island near Phi Phi - this one is a bit contentious because it can get a bit busy with daytrippers in dry season. Looks pretty sweet here - image Louise F.

Oean beach near Poseidon Bungalows, Khao Lak (image Similantour)

The only beach on Ko Lialiang Noi - Image -

Had Thong Reng, east coast of Phangan - site of the new Tree House moved from Ko Chang (UPDATE APRIL 2012 - not any more, closed down for upmarket development. But nicer beach/more development/less clear water Had Sadet is only 10 minutes easy walk to the right).

Ao Pudsa/Tubtim - Ko Samet

Bang Bao, Ko Kut

Ko Nanguan (Ko Tao) - warning, this beach does get popular with daytrippers between abt 1000 and 1600.

Mai Khao Phuket - 10 km of sand backed by casuarinas, about half a dozen resorts the full length, but compulsory National Park set-back (sea turtles hatch here) even for sun lounges makes them unobtrusive.

For fans of loooong underdeveloped beaches like Mai Khao but who seek somewhere twice the length with about the same few number of places to stay - the main ocean beach on Ko Kho Khao.

South Beach Ko Phra Thong is another for the looong, undevelopoed beach fans - it is ++ on both compared to pretty good Ko Kho Khao. Most of Ko Phra Thong's west coast is similar to this section adjacent Golden Buddha Beach Resort. Some budget bungalows 15 minutes walk away.

Small beach just west of Pansand Bungalows, Ko Bulon Lae - Image: Pansand Resort
Note my last visit saw much sand removed by storm erosion.

Loh Paret, Ko Yao Yai

Ao Jak, Ko Tarutao

Ao Malaka, NP headquarters beach, Ko Taruato - long enough for daytrippers not to be a problem.

Eastern Beach, Ko Ngai (image Fantasy Resort). Eastern beach on adjacent Ko Kradan very similar.

Eastern beach at NP headquarters, Ko Adang.

If you disagree or have extra information, please fire them in below. If you have questions, please ask them on THE FORUM which I check most days. I only visit individual island pages occasionally.


Nitesh Shah said...


i really loved the pic.... i wish to plan a trip to Thailand. i want to mix the trip well.
i want some famous beaches with party and commerical with some off the road secluded pristine beaches with some decent accmodation with is livable... i want to plan a trip for around 10 days the places all look too tempting and its hard to finalise. i want to explore may be a few islands which are untouched and very few tourists go... suggest me a plan that i can do...

awaiting your reply..

tezza said...

Ah hell - I only check individual pages every now and then (but THE FORUM page daily) - missed Nitesh's question.
For others with the same problem - I reckon with only 10 days I'd either combine Lanta with Ngai and Muk - or - do the full 10 days on Phangan which has the full range of beaches asked for.

Steph said...

Hi, i am trying to choose beween Haad salad and Bottle beach. We have one week on Ko pangan and as it is over new year the resorts only take 1 week bookings. I am torn beween the secluded paradise of bottle beach v.s the opportunity to watch the sunset every evening on Haad salad and maybe have more social scene. Any advice would be great!! thanks, Steph

tezza said...

I missed this one too. Fortunately Steph asked it also on THE FORUM or one of the travel websites and I answered it there.

Harvie Harvey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Bayer said...

Great Blog and thank you for such a lovely Beach introduction. If you come to Bali once, here is an overview about the beaches from my island :)