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Thailand: Everything you need to know about different beach areas

Thailand: Everything you need to know about different beach areas

Travelers, planning a trip to Thailand, have many questions on regular basis about beaches and the weather in country. So, the travel experts decided to give tourists a short and (hopefully) accurate summary of the beach destinations in Thailand including the weather during the year.

Phuket / Phang Nga/ Phi Phi / Khao Lak

Weather: mostly dry from end of November to May. This is also the height of the diving season. Water is calm, and beaches are usually swimmable.

Destination and Sightseeing: Phuket is often categorized as loud, busy and too much of a party island. That is not always true. Parts of the island are exactly that (Patong, Karon, Kata) but other areas are not. The west coast has usually better beaches. However, there is also a National park so for the most part you cannot put chairs and umbrellas right on the beach. The best beaches are around Kamala and Surin. Some of the best hotels are in that area too. Remember that the airport is in the far north of the island, so if you have a hotel that is in the very South, you end up driving around 60-90 minutes from/to the airport.

Phang Nga and Khao Lak are just North of the island. Phang Nga is only about 15 minutes from the Phuket airport. Khao Lak around 60 minutes. Both have very nice beaches. While staying in Phang Nga you will most likely not go to Phuket island much and most likely stay in Phang Nga. The area has some restaurants but most likely you will be eating in your hotel. However, the beaches are spectacular.

There are a few good hotels in Khao Lak and a small downtown with shops and restaurants. However, as the beach in Phang Nga are better and as Phang Nga is closer to Phuket, I always recommend Phang Nga over Khao Lak.
Phi Phi is a beautiful island but often overrun by day cruises. It gets calm and very quiet at night. If you are looking for remote and tranquil evenings and don’t mind the daily hustle and bustle then Phi Phi is the place for you.

Boat trips are the thing to do in this area. Avoid the charter group boats. Book a private boat. Depending on budget either a long tail boat or a private boat charter. Also remember that the sea gets rough in rainy season. My favorite boat cruises are the Phang Nga Cruise and the Phi Phi Island cruise. We would be happy to recommend good boat charters.

Hotels:

The Slate (Phuket): Lovely resort build by the legend Bill Bensley. Located on a quest beach close to the airport. Very charming rooms and in walking distance to small beachfront restaurants.

Paresa (Phuket): Build on a cliff. Amazing Ocean Views. Fantastic service. Spectacular private villas. My choice for honeymooners.

Aleenta (Phang Nha): located on a very nice beach. Mostly villas in a very charming environment. Just steps from the beach. Great choice for honeymooners and families.

Akyra Beach Club (Phang Nha): newer hotel. Very nice beachfront location. Chill and Sexy with afternoon DJ music and smaller parties. Very good for younger clients. Families welcome too. Very hip.

Kata Rocks (Phuket): located on a cliff, close to the party area of Phuket. Spectacular Sky villas. Slick and Modern. Many DJ’s play here on a regular Basis. Something for the Hipper crowd.

Krabi

Weather: mostly dry from end of November to May. This is also the height of the diving season. Water is calm, and beaches are usually swimmable.

Destination and Sightseeing: Krabi often attracts clients who return to Thailand or want to explore two different beach areas. Krabi has an airport with direct flights to Bangkok. It is also about a 4-hour drive from Phuket. You don’t go to Krabi for the beaches! They are not spectacular. They are nice and pretty but not exactly swimmable. The main draw is the view from the beach. Chocolate Hills in the Andaman Sea are spectacular. Krabi Town is charming with everything you expect in Thailand; good food, bars and party. It is also a very safe town.

You can book boat charters in Krabi, but the cost is usually higher due to a shorter supply here, versus Phuket.

Hotels:

Rayavadee is the place to stay. Best beach, amazing rooms and charming service. The beach is often crowded during the day since many day trips stop here. However, very quiet at night.

Ko Samui / Ko Phangan

Weather: mostly dry from May to November. Rainy from end of November to March.

Destination and Sightseeing: Samui has less to offer in terms of sightseeing than Phuket. It is mostly an island for beach R&R. Chaweng is the main area for party and restaurants. Chaweng beach is nice but also super busy incl. motorized water sports. In the Northern part of the island you find the Fisherman’s Villages, a nice area of restaurants and shops. It is also close to some of the hotel in the Bhoput beach area.

The Angthong National Park is the nicest boat trip out of Samui. Other sightseeing options are not very exciting.
Ko Phangan is famous for the full moon parties. However, it also has some nice beaches. I recommend spending maybe 2 nights here after a stay in Samui. Much more laid back. Full moon parties are very raunchy and crazy so beware!

Hotels:

Four Seasons (Samui): build on a hill, lots of steps and stairs. Very nice resort with a small but charming beach. Not recommended for small kids and people with walking issues.

Belmont (Samui): great beachfront hotel. Rooms are charming and very family friendly. Close to some of the local restaurants in Fisherman’s Village.

Anantara Rasananda (Phangan): Amazing beach, beautiful hotel. My only choice to stay on the island.

Ko Kood / Ko Chang

Weather: mostly dry from December to May. Rainy from end of May to October.

Destination and Sightseeing: These are less known islands. That doesn’t mean they are less busy, as Europeans love to travel there. Close to Cambodia and a different mentality of the local people. Very laid back and friendly. You get here from Bangkok by plane and then by boat. Not much in terms of sightseeing so mostly a place to chill. Nice beaches.

Hotels:

Soneva Kiri (Ko Kood): the jewel of Ko Kood. Amazing villas on an amazing beach. Great for families. Also, a good place with privacy for honeymooners.

Hua Hin / Cha Am

Weather: mostly dry from December to May. Rainy from end of May to October.

Destination and Sightseeing: Closest beach area to Bangkok. Mostly locals come here and golfers. It is a three-hour drive from Central Bangkok. I would only recommend this area if you try to avoid a flight. Beaches are not spectacular. The golf courses are very nice though.

Hotels:

Aleenta Hua Hin: Lovely villas. Beach is average but very kid friendly. I would suggest this for families who are trying to stay near Bangkok.

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