7 Thai beaches that are even better than 'The Beach'

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If you've seen the Hollywood film starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tilda Swinton then you will know exactly which beach in Thailand I mean. The starched white sands of Maya Bay on the wee isle of Ko Phi Phi Leh are jaw-droppingly pretty, a filmmaker's dream. They are, though, these days also deluged with day trippers, many of them looking to snatch a photo of the famous sands they saw in the movie, which was filmed here in 1999.

Thai beaches that are even better than 'The Beach' © Lazyllama - Alamy Stock Photo
Thai beaches that are even better than 'The Beach' © Lazyllama - Alamy Stock Photo

Thailand, of course, boasts far more than just one beach. Indeed, I reckon it has some of the finest beaches not just in southeast Asia, but anywhere in the world. Thailand is also easier than ever to get to with more holiday options than ever before. For an all inclusive break, check out First Choice* which has so many deals to Phuket and Khao Lak departing from various airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh, and more.

So, slip on your sandals and prepare to get sand between your toes as I reveal seven Thai beaches that are every bit as spectacular as 'The Beach'. We have something for all tastes whether you're looking to get in touch with your inner Robinson Crusoe or just after a sandy staging post for a serious party.

1. Laem Tong Beach

Laem Tong Beach, or Golden Bay as it's also known, brilliantly proves the point that there are beaches just as spectacular as Maya Bay in Thailand, as it's actually tucked in the same island group, just across the water on the neighbouring island of Ko Phi Phi Don.

Laze on the dazzling white sands, slip out for a snorkel to explore the easily accessible reefs or hop over to nearby Bamboo Island. Golden Bay is infinitely more relaxed and quieter than its more famous film star sibling. Day trips are available from both Phuket and Khao Lak.

Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Sergey Belov - Fotolia.com
Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Sergey Belov - Fotolia.com

2. Kata & Karon Beaches

I'm giving you two beaches for the price of one here on the west coast of the holiday island of Phuket. When I first came here in the early 1990s both were quite quiet affairs, but development has moved in. The facilities, though, are handy and have not ruined the beauty of these large beaches that first brought people here.

One word of caution, though, is that the seas here can be prone to pretty strong tides and currents - take it from me as I spent a tricky few minutes here once caught in a rip. The scene is just pure picture postcard though.

3. Donald Duck Bay

Forgive the name - it comes from the rocks overlooking the bijou bay that resemble the famous Disney duck. This gorgeous oasis is in a protected part of a national park in the Similan Islands.

Donald Duck Bay, Similan Islands, Thailand © Donnasterns - Fotolia.com
Donald Duck Bay, Similan Islands, Thailand © Donnasterns - Fotolia.com

As well as cotton wool white sand there is a lot of coral around so you can snorkel off the beach or hook up with one of the local scuba dive operators to get in and amongst the wildlife rich local reefs. You can head off in search of hulking manta rays, smooth white tipped sharks, and graceful green turtles. A night dive here is a truly sublime experience. Day trips are available from both Phuket and Khao Lak.

4. Bang Tao Beach

If you want the luxury of designer boutiques, smooth restaurants, and top notch golf (there is an award winning 18 hole golf course here) to go with your beach break, then this is the ideal sandy oasis for you on the popular island of Phuket.

Bar on Bang Tao Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Tiger@Northwest - Panaramio.com
Bar on Bang Tao Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Tiger@Northwest - Panaramio.com

The epic arch of sand sweeps 6 km around the palm and casuarina tree fringed coastline. The busiest stretch is to the south, while you can unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe by venturing further north. Horse rides are a great option for cruising along and checking out all the beach has to offer.

5. Nang Thong Beach

The Khao Lak area sports some of the best beaches in the whole of Thailand, not just the mainland. It also offers three world-class national parks to go along with a whopping 20 km of white powder beaches backed by swaying palms. It's very much the southeast Asian beach idyll writ large here at Nang Thong Beach. There are plenty of resort facilities on hand too, but it never feels too busy and there is always space to unfurl your towel.

6. Railay Beach

Why choose one white powder beach when you can have four? I don't think it's being greedy, it's just that this is exactly what the mainland peninsula of Railay offers with four first-rate beaches to choose from.

Longtail boats on Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand © Aiisha - Fotolia.com
Longtail boats on Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand © Aiisha - Fotolia.com

You can decide for yourself which of the quartet does it for you. My favourite is Phra Nang Beach. I love the pure sands here and the crystal clear waters and bizarre rock formations. You'll want your camera at the ready as well as your beach towels for this stunner.

7. Tri Trang Beach

If you like cold beer, cool cocktails, and banging nightlife to go along with your beach escape then this is the one for you. By day, you can recline on the palm-lined sands, then at night pick up the pace in Patong, the epicentre of Phuket's nightlife, which tempts just 15 minutes away.

The beach is actually quite quiet given its proximity to the action so, slip into the laidback vibe here with an open air massage on the beach. The shallow waters are also ideal for snorkelling too.

If you've found your perfect beach spot in the list above, check out the latest deals on all inclusive holidays to Thailand with First Choice. With resorts in both Phuket and Khao Lak, all of these beaches are easy to get to and make for great day trips. Remember, you can also check out the weather in Thailand to find out more about the climate, see why it's a top winter sun destination, and when we think is the best time to go for ultimate beach holiday conditions.

First Choice: £150 off selected holidays in June & July 2022

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Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017 in: Asia Beach Nature Winter sun

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