As you’d expect during high season when you visit Thailand, the beaches are filled with tourists from all over the world. If you ask yourself where to go in Thailand, for solitary beaches and pure relaxation, stay away from the tourist hot spots and search for the more secluded and unknown beaches. Believe me, there are many hidden beauties in Thailand! I’ve been on the search for particularly pretty islands that are still relatively untouched by tourism. I also found the best but calmest beaches far away from mass tourism on the most popular islands. Due to the great infrastructure in Thailand, you can reach many of these gems in a simple way and spend some relaxed hours without jam-packed beaches. Take a look at the best islands in Thailand…
Best Islands in Thailand
Islands in the Golf of Thailand: Ko Mak | Ko Jum | Phuket | Koh Ngai |Ko Phangan |
Islands in the Andaman Sea: Ko Lanta | Ko Lipe | Koh Phi Phi | Ao Nang |
A tiny paradise – Ko Mak
In south-east of Thailand, near the border with Cambodia, you’ll find one of the best islands in Thailand – Ko Mak. Hectic rush, stress and traffic jams are foreign concepts to the inhabitants of this dream-like island, where you’ll find only a couple of restaurants and a supermarket. The island is so small, you can even explore it all on foot. The beaches are mainly undisturbed and natural, so you’ll be searching in vain for luxury hotel resorts here. If you can do without an excessive nightlife and a large variety of restaurants, the island of Ko Mak is perfect for you! It’s just pure relaxation here. In case you get bored, you can catch the next ferry to Ko Chang. This is one of the largest islands in Thailand, but despite that mass tourism still hasn’t found its way here.
An unspoilt gem – Ko Jum
Have you heard of Ko Jum before? No? You’re not the only one – for many tourists this small pearl in the Andaman Sea to the east of Phuket is often overlooked in favour of more popular hotspots when tourist travel to Thailand. Time seems to have stopped here. You’ll realize on the beaches of the south of the island that you won’t meet a soul far and wide. I particularly enjoyed the Andaman Beach, which can also be found in the south of the island. This section of the beach, which counts into the popular and well-known Golden Pearl Beach, invites for a lavish sunbathing session and long walks complete with a jungle landscape. After a perfect day on the beach there’s also a great choice of restaurants and bars where you can sweeten your evening.
An old flame never dies – Phuket
Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is a place perfect for those visiting Thailand for the first time. The tourist infrastructure is organized so well, you’ll have no problem touring the island and finding some great accommodation. Sites such as Patong and Kamala are regarded as the tourist strongholds – you can really see that tourism is the main source of income for the island due to the large hotel complexes and western restaurants. Despite the hotels, party districts and restaurants which spring up like mushrooms all over the place, you’ll also find some original sites when you travel to Phuket of course, and some solitary, pretty beaches. One of the best beaches is Mai Khao Beach in north-west Phuket. This beach, nearly 11 kilometres long, is located in the Sirinat National Park and offers fine, clean sands to its visitors. The peace and seclusion which you can experience here are occasionally interrupted by planes, as they descend to land in Phuket Airport with a spectacular low flight. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, since the Mai Khao Beach on the touristy island of Phuket is everything but oridinary.
Breathtakingly beautiful beaches – Ko Ngai
On the best islands in Thailand you will find dream-like bays, crystal clear water and a whole lot of peace and quiet. When you travel to Ko Ngai you will find beaches filled with fine sand, stretching for kilometers on end. They are just as delighting as the secluded bays which you’ll find on the island. Especially in the evenings after the daily tourists have done their rounds, you’ll be able to experience the essence of Thailand. Numerous restaurants will spoil you with local and international delicacies. Fans of diving and snorkeling will definitely get their money’s worth on Koh Ngai too. Fascinating coral reefs with a diverse underwater world are just waiting for you to explore them!
More than just full moon parties – Ko Phangan
Similarly to Phuket, the island of Ko Phangan is very well-known thanks to the Full Moon Parties which take place here every month and are infamous among the party enthusiasts from all over the world. However, the island has so much more to offer! The Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach in the east of Kho Phangan for example. Framed by cliffs and jungles, the large bay can only be reached from the main land of the island via a small path. You can reach the unspoilt sections of the beach via a water route with a long-tail boat. You can relax after partying all night here, or get some well-needed rest before the next sleepless night starts. There are accommodations to suit every taste everywhere in the area – they don’t cost the world and are usually located directly on the beach. In case you get bored of the constant quiet, you can pay a visit to the sister bay of Thaong Nai Pan Noi and check out some of the restaurants located there. The Than Prawet Waterfall is also really interesting and can be reached on foot from both bays.
A popular holiday destination with quiet spots – Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta in south-west Thailand is a very popular island open for tourism. Nevertheless, you can still find one secluded beach alongside the popular beaches, and they’re guaranteed to make your heart skip a beat – take the Kantiang Bay in south of Ko Lanta for example. Only a few hotels and restaurants were built here, so that visitors can still enjoy snorkeling, swimming or even simply sunbathing in peace. You won’t have to do without the typical comforts such as Thai massages either, as they’re often offered on the beaches here. Ko Lanta can be visited daily from Krabi and other neighbouring islands, so it can be easily reached for a day trip as well as a longer stay.
Just like on the pictures – Ko Lipe
In the southernmost part of Thailand hides the island paradise of Ko Lipe. It’s hard to find clearer waters and whiter beaches anywhere else in Thailand. Since the island is located in a close proximity with Malaysia, you can even see the coast of the neighbouring country on a clear day! The two tiny islands which can be found directly in front of the southern coast are perfect for a snorkeling trip. Ko Lipe is a car-free island, so you can reach everything on foot or with a long-tail boat. The island, previously only known as an insiders’ tip, is becoming more more and more popular of course, but you can, nevertheless, find some typical restaurants, small hotel resorts and the best secluded beaches.
Relaxing on a long beach – Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi – is an island which is very popular for tourists and has everything for a perfect holiday, especially for the Thailand newcomers among you: accommodation for every budget, a wide selection of restaurants serving Thai and European cuisine, many bars and fabulous beaches some of which are well-known and a bit overcrowded. If you’re on the search for a somewhat quieter beach on Koh Phi Phi, then I recommend the lovely Long Beach. The great thing about the beach is that it’s only a few minutes away from the bustling town of Tonsai but it’s still very quiet and secluded. Simply rent one of the numerous long-tail boats which await for you at the Tonsai Bay and you’ll soon be lounging on the white, fine sands of Long Beach in no time! Naturally, you won’t have the beach all to yourself, but it won’t be as busy as Loh Dalam Bay, the main beach of Koh Phi Phi. You can also relax before finally diving into the crystal clear waters of Andaman Sea, while marveling the bizarre rock formations which lie in front of the beach.
Rock climbing or relaxing – Railay Beach in Ao Nang
There are some proper beaches just waiting for you to explore them on the mainland of Thailand too, of course. In Ao Nang, located in the Krabi region, is the Railay Peninsula for example, also known as Rai Leh. Ao Nang is primarily popular among rock climbers, as large and bizarre limestone cliffs rise up from the ground in the area and provide a perfect environment for all types of rock climbing activities. It’s exactly these limestone cliffs which frame Railay Beach and make a visit to the beach a real feast for the eyes. The beach of the peninsula can be reached via a water route so tourists often come here for day trips to explore the cape. Naturally you’ll find a lot of accommodations on Railay so that you can enjoy the beauty of the beach surrounded by limestone rocks to your heart’s content. Or you could participate in a rock climbing course which are offered by several schools in great numbers.
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