Whatever holiday style you love Thailand has a beach to match
From the Neon-lights and pumping music of party beaches to lantern-lit secluded coves. Thailand has it all
- Pattaya Beach: Nearest to the strips nightlife, this is Pattaya's busiest, most central beach. This is the party beach.
- Jontiem: A family favourite, good for water sports and still close to the action.
- North Pattaya: A good tip for quitter chilled holidays, still fairly central.
- Naklua & Wong Amat: Sleepier villagey beaches and a taxi hop from central Payyaya.
- Hua Hin Beach: A favourite with Thais, including the royals. High-rise but laid back with spas and a foodie night market.
- Cha Am: Next to Hua Hin with horse riding, good seafood and Thailand's longest beach.
- Chaweng: A white sand choice at the heart of the action with restaurants, nightlife, ladyboy shows and water-sports.
- Lamai: For upmarket resorts and spas; and sniggering at the phallic 'grandmother and grandfather' rocks
- Bophut: With traditional houses, good restaurants and boutique hotels, plus transfers to Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan.
- Mae Nam: Is known for its backpacker bungalows, five star hotels and pretty island views. A windsurfers favourite.
- Choeng Mon: Luxury resorts away from the party crowd. Handy for Bophut.
- Big Buddha: The cost conscious hang-out here by the giant gold statue, between the airport and Chaweng.
- Quiet Hua Thanon: A fishing village beach with a Centara and backpacker options.
- With the exception of its Centara resort, the island's hotel stock is low rise and independent. The interior is leafy and offers elephant safaris, zip lines and island hopping to neighbours.
- Pick-up truck taxis lead to white sand beaches. We suggest Hat Sai Kaeo, for low budgets and Paradee's villas for the romantics.
- A low development luxury choice, home to Shantaa and Soneva Kiri resorts.
- Near neighbour to Samui, offering snorkelling day trips and beginner diving.
KOH PHA NGAN
- Famous for its full moon and other beach parties at Hat Rin. Jungle interior and a ferry hop from Samui.
- Patong: The 'in place' for party animals, divers, island hoppers and major facilities. The beach has seen a major clean-up.
- Karon: White sand and Pattaya at arm's length. The north end is the quietest.
- Kata: Suits swimmers and surfers and there's even an on-land wave riding attraction. Much less bustle than Patong
- Kamala: Even water buffalo chill out here. White sand. restaurants and handy for the FataSea cultural park.
- Bang Tao & Surlin: Luxury resorts, good restaurants plus a golf course. Home to Laguna Phuket resort with its glass wedding chapel.
- Kalim Beach: Offers fine dining, a small street food market, Zorbing at Rollerball and top surfing in low season.
- Nai Thon: Pretty, little developed with rocky coves.
- Nai Yang: Backed by trees, a mixed locals' and tourists' beach, near the airport in the quiet northwest. Other quiet beaches include Hua and Siam and Yae.
- Thailand's fastest growing beach resort is a diving and honeymoon favourite situated north of Phuket with luxury hotels and top dive sites offshore plus three inland national parks.
- Ao Nang: Buzzing with longtails, Krabi's main base is god for excursions and has the most hotels and restaurants.
- Nopparat Thara: A quiet beach backed by a national park and ferries to nearby island of Phi Phi.
- Railay and Phra Nang: Photogenic twin beaches with karst scenery accessed from Ao Nang. Rock climbers love Railay. Phra Nang has swanky Rayavadee.
- Adventurous explorers may join the Thais at the lesser discovered island-hopping base south of Krabi. Chinese influenced with a coffee shop scene.
- Phi Phi: A day-trip favourite and filming location for 'The Beach' with great diving.
- Koh Racha: Near dive and snorkel spots and quietly stylish resorts like The Racha.
- Koh Yao Noi: Home to a Six Senses resort and Paradise, a four star plus barefoot luxury resort
- Koh Lanta: Large but low key and accessed from Krabi. Honeymooners like Pimalai, divers the Hin Daeng and Hin Muang sites.
- Koh Kraden: Trang's star turn for snorkelling and good beaches.
- Koh Muk: An eco spot accessed from Trang or Koh Kraden. A favourite with nesting swallows.
- Island hopping day trips are plentiful in the main resorts and most include snorkelling.
- Thailand repeaters enjoy the lesser worn island hopping scene around Trang.
- Hua Hin and Samet are busier on weekends as the Thai people take time out form life in Bangkok.
- Low season is great for bargain accommodation and quiet beaches but be aware that not all the ferries and excursions are still running, and swimming will be safer in the hotel pools.
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