LIFE'S A BEACH! Thailand's top 5 island gems

Thailand is a true beach-goers paradise. With an inexhaustible number of beaches, coves and small islands to visit, you'll be utterly spoilt for choice.

Thailand is a true beach-goers paradise. With an inexhaustible number of beaches, coves and small islands to visit, you’ll be utterly spoilt for choice.

There’s an endless list of reasons why the country known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ is so thai-rrific.

The defining feature of this fabulous Asian paradise has got to be its spectacular array of beaches. Everyone’s heard of the stunning Maya Bay, made globally famous by it’s starring role in ‘The Beach’ (sorry, Leo).Then there’s the party-to-end-all-parties, the Full-Moon spectacular held all night on the shores of Koh Phangan.

But wouldn’t it be great to see Thailand in it’s most authentic state? Stripped bare of it’s tourist crowds? An idyllic beach setting is best enjoyed with a fair amount of peace and quiet, after all.

So, without further ado, we’ve gathered our 5 absolute favourite ‘hidden’ beaches, perfect for each and every type of traveller. Thank us later.

 

1. FOR THE FAMILIES: KOH KHAI

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Phang Nga Bay

This beautiful beach situated on Koh Khai Nok, a small island between Khai Nui and Khai Nai in Phang Nga Bay.

Surprisingly only a speedy 30 minutes away by boat from the east coast of Phuket, this beautiful beach offers crystal clear waters and is famous for being home to thousands of tropical fish.

Parents travelling with young kids will appreciate the shallow water around the island, which makes it a safe, as well as a fun day excursion for the entire family.

It’s super easy to get to, with several Phang Nga Bay full-day and half-day tours operating which will take you to Kho Khai on a speedboat.

THAI HACK: Try to go in November- January since there’s a bigger chance you’ll be able to see groups of dolphins swimming around the islands!

 

2.  FOR THE CASTAWAYS: BAMBOO ISLAND

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Koh Phai (or Bamboo island as it’s known by visitors!) is relatively quiet in comparison to its busy neighbours. This tiny haven is located just North of Koh Phi Phi, and around the corner from the spectacular Maya Bay (which, regrettably, is currently closed to the public for ‘regeneration’). Yet, despite its relatively close proximity to its island sisters, Koh Phai has managed to avoid becoming yet another star on the tourist map of Thailand.

Its beaches and jungle remain virtually untouched, with only a small snack bar and ZERO accommodation, meaning that the natural beauty of this gorgeous spot has remained pretty much intact.

In true ‘Castaway’ style, the only way to stay overnight is to pitch a tent and camp on the sandy beaches. How’s that for some luxury? For the adventurers of this world, it’s the perfect way to experience a spectacular Thai sunrise. Plus, it’s easy to do! The tents are cheap and available for rental from the small island bar/shop.

The journey takes roughly 45 mins to an hour by traditional Thai longboat from Koh Phi Phi. You can soak up the sunshine and admire the spectacular views on your way, proving yet again that sometimes the journey is just as wonderful as the destination.

THAI HACK: Visiting this tropical hotspot is amazing but it comes at a price! Its 400 Baht for entry due to it belonging to a National Park.

 

3. FOR THE ROMANTICS: KOH KRADAN

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Koh Kradan

Koh Kradan is the ultimate spot if you’re seeking a bit of peace and quiet. It’s a perfect slice of paradise, far from the throngs of tourists and bustling nightlife of the surrounding Thai party islands.

Located in the middle of the Trang sea in the Andaman ocean, the island is popular amongst locals and slowly gaining traction amongst tourists because of its untouched beauty. With everything in close proximity, (namely, the handful of resorts) this site has proven to be the perfect location for couples to be together. It’s even been dubbed ‘the honeymoon island’ by locals.

The ideal way to travel to Koh Kradan is catch a taxi to the pier from Krabi International Airport or Trang Airport. From there travellers can catch a speedboat service to the island.

THAI HACK: For that extra bit of peace and quiet, make sure you head to the north end of the beach as it tends to be even less populated.

 

4. FOR THE DIVERS: THE SIMILAN ISLANDS

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Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are located about 50 kilometers west of the coast of Khao Lak and are famous for nine granite islands planted in the crystal blue tropical ocean. For this reason, these beaches are known as some of the worlds finest.

And, thanks to the oh-so-clear, this-could-be-a-bath temperature water, the destination isn’t just attracting swimmers and sunbathers, but divers and snorkelers alike. Pack your go-pro!

There are day-trips from both Phuket and Khao Lak during the high season, which take anywhere from 45 minutes up to three hours depending on the boat being used.

For scuba divers who are serious about their diving there are several dive-specialist liveaboard boat trips from Phuket!

THAI HACK: High season is from December – April however the best period to visit is March when the winds are calm and the water is extra clear.

 

5.  FOR THE SURF TRIBE: NAI HARN BEACH

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Nai Han Beach

Attention all surfers! Bali isn’t the only place in South East Asia to catch an epic wave. With its powdery white sand and clear blue water, Nai Harn beach is utterly beautiful and quiet, yet it also packs a serious punch with some awesome surfing opportunities.

Head to the South end of the beach where there’s a permanent sandbank offering surfers a great ride, even in the smallest of swells.

For the more experienced of the surfing crowd, the northern end has a beach-and-reef break in the corner, where waves are known to get pretty large.

This little haven is super easy to get to as its located in the south of Phuket and is only a 20 minute drive from busy Patong Beach.

THAI HACK: During the low season May – October visitors are urged to be cautious in the water since there can be strong undertows. Don’t get swept away!

What’s your secret beach in Thailand?