It goes without saying that Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The country is one of the most popular places to visit in Southeast Asia, largely because the climate is ideal. There are tried-and-true destinations, like Phuket and Koh Samui, but even some of the more remote islands are getting more and more attention from travelers.
There are certain things that characterize a Thai beach experience—clear waters, white sand, and the iconic longtail boats that dot the shore. No matter where you go, you’ll find vendors peddling food, drink, souvenirs, or massages. There will be plenty of ice-cold beverages (frozen mixed cocktails, coconuts, or local Singha beer). And most likely, you’ll be elbow to elbow with other people.
It’s pretty much impossible to avoid crowds at Thailand’s most popular beaches, but if you’re willing to go a bit further off the beaten path, you might actually find room to stretch out on your towel. Our advice: ask one of the longtail boat vendors to bring you to one of these more isolated islands for a day, where you can sun and play in (relative) peace. And best of all, once you’re well-rested, you’ll be able to return to the resort areas and mingle away at night, as the islands are known for their party scene.
From romantic spots known for their sunsets to incredible adventure destinations where you can zipline between islands and amazing resort beaches, our list has it all. It’s a wonderful time to visit Thailand—the food scene is growing, Bangkok is quickly becoming more than just a stopover city—and no trip is complete without at least a few days at the beach. Here is our guide to the best of the best—some well-known, some completely remote—that will keep you more than busy on any trip.