There is never a time when I don’t long to be lounging on a beach in Thailand. It really is what it looks like in photos: endless sun, inviting water, and pure, white sand. Needless to say, the food and drink are fantastic too. There is a reason people keep returning over and over again for Thailand beach vacations.
When planning, there are so many to choose from, so I thought it might be helpful if I created my own Best Bits List of Thai Beaches for you as a guide. Some of these are quite touristy and some off-the beaten track. Remember touristy is not always a bad thing – think of Venice!
Koh Lanta Long Beach
One of my favorite beaches in Thailand has to be the Long Beach on the island of Koh Lanta. The Cypriot and I have returned more than once to its warm water, mellow waves, great beach bars and a horizon that goes on forever. Perfect for long, romantic afternoon walks, the Long Beach, in my opinion, is epitome of the Thai beach. It’s not only long, but also wide, so you never feel as if it’s crowded and crowded on Koh Lanta is all relative. Koh Lanta is one of the least visited islands, thanks to the difficulty it takes in getting here. In my opionion, the journey from the airport is a joy. The further away you get from the airport, the more you know you are in for something special. Landing in Krabi Airport, a car picks you up and, after a drive of about an hour, you arrive on a dock. A motorboat (or ferry) awaits you and, then thirty minutes later, you land on the island. No day-trippers here – only those ready to stay for a while and settle in.
Koh Mok & Morakot Cave (Emerald Cave)
You can’t help but ask yourself, how did someone find this place? Literally a beach inside a cave, Morakot Cave, also known as the Emerald Cave, is one of most unusual places to swim in Thailand. To enter the beach, you need to go through an 80m long tunnel in the dark. Don’t worry there is a rope to hold onto and you always see the entrance and the exit. Just don’t get caught out by the tide. You have to enter between 10am and 2pm or you are stranded until low tide returns. It’s called the Emerald Cave, because, if you hit it at the right time, and the sun shines directly on the pool, the walls of the cave turn to a deep bright green. Divine.
If you want to explore the island, the safest and easiest way is to sign up for a tour. These tours can be hit or miss, so please do your research. Get a private tour if you can, it makes all the difference.
Klong Muang Beach
Another find is Klong Muang Beach in Krabi. At one end is a magical bay and at the other is a long, white, practically empty, sandy beach which opens out in front of you. Why is the bay so magical? The view is breathtaking. In the near distance sits a small, uninhabited island and past that small island, Koh Yao beckons you in the distance. The magic happens at low tide when about a million sand crabs come out to play. These crabs are teeny-tiny and, as they emerge, they displace the sand, creating incredible geometric patterns on the beach. Slowly the tide returns and they are covered up again. This process occurs every day, twice a day. No day is the same, no pattern is repeated. A miracle.
Walk past the bay and you are on the main Klong Muang Beach. There may be little in the way of restaurants and bars, but you are alone on a gorgeous stretch of pure white sand. A few hotels share the beach, but it’s so quiet and there is always room enough for everyone and more.
Railey Beach & Ao Phra Nang Beach
If you keep heading east from Klong Muang Beach, past its more famous cousin Ao Nang Beach, you find Railey Beach. I wouldn’t suggest you walk, as it’s only possible to arrive on Railey Beach by boat! Although it is much less accessible than a few other beaches in the area, Railey Beach is a magnet for the watersports’ enthusiasts. Although it is busy, the setting is magnificent with cliffs surrounding the entire beach.
Since you are in the neighborhood, you can’t leave without hiring a boat to take you around the bay to Ao Phra Nang Beach where the Princess Cave has its home. Be warned – this cave is not for the faint of heart. It’s not the fear of getting lost in its tunnels that I warn you about, but the cave’s contents. In open view are hundreds of phallic shaped items. The story goes that an Indian Princess, Phra Nang, was lost at sea and ended up on this beach. Now fishermen leave these “gifts” for the god Shiva in the hopes of guaranteeing a safe journey home.
Chicken Beach and Tub Island
Some people might cry that these two islands are way too touristy to add to the list. I totally understand. Still, if you find yourself here, make the most out of it and find those reasons that it became touristy in the first place.
The fun of both Chicken Island and Tub Island is the fact that a tide dependent sand bar links them. You can walk between those two islands only when the tide is low. Once the tide comes in, the current is so strong that walking or swimming between the two is forbidden. Make sure you bring snorkeling gear, as this had some of the prettiest sea life that I have seen in all my time snorkeling in Thailand. While the crowds descend, you can swim around a third tiny island in the sea right in front of you and feel all alone while searching for Nemo.
This post is sponsored by LuxuryRetreats.com, but my opinion on these beaches is my own!