Trying to pick the best beaches in Thailand is like nominating candidates for the most beautiful tulip in the Netherlands. Some destinations, however, stand out as obvious contenders. The following are three of the best.
1. Koh Samet
Located 150 miles (241.4 km) southeast of Bangkok, the beautiful island of Koh Samet (known colloquially as Magic Crystal Island) has been spared the excessive construction that has plagued other islands. Among the best beaches in the area are:
- Diamond Beach – easily the most popular
- Ao Hin Khok – near Diamond Beach, look out for the mermaid statue
- Ao Wong Deuan – the second-largest beach on the island, and a jumping off point for regularly scheduled ferry service
- Ao Nuan – the short hike required to visit this beach is well worth the tranquility that it affords
If you’re in search of a pleasant combination of white sand and oceangoing excitement, try plowing the waters around Phuket aboard one of the many yachts that are available for charter service or group tours. Limestone cliffs and palm-fringed beaches combine with year-round good conditions on the water and some of the best diving in the world (many tours offer an assortment of all of the above).
3. Koh Samui
Thailand’s third largest island, Koh Samui is blessed with beautiful white sand beaches, coral reefs, lagoons, waterfalls, coconut trees, crystal clear water and a profusion of entertainments, diversions and sporting events. More and more the island is erupting with elite villas and resorts, the finest of fine dining, spas, yoga studios and clubs. That said, there are still plenty of opportunities for travelers on a shoestring hoping for nothing more than an afternoon of sitting in the sun.