No trip to Thailand is complete without spending at least a weekend on the beach. And which beach you choose depends on what you want to do. Below is a short list of possible destinations based on their most popular activities.
If you want to stay close to Bangkok:
Ko Si Chang and Ko Samet are two of the closest options from BKK. Both offer a wide variety of budget accommodation, and you don’t necessarily need reservations. Personally, I prefer Si Chang, as it has fewer visitors, but Samet has better beaches. Si Chang is also bigger, and you’ll probably need to rent a motorbike to get around, whereas everything on Samet is right there. If you want to get off the beach, Si Chang has a lot of routes to get lost on as you try to find old temples, relics of when the royal family used to summer here.
If you want to party:
Full moon parties are a rite of passage if you stay on Ko Phangan. The parties are crammed, debaucherous and something that should be experienced before you totally age out of it. Alcohol is cheap and plentiful, obviously, and while crime is rare, keep everything but the cash you’ll need for drinks in your room. You don’t want to lose your phone in the ocean!
If you want to do nothing:
Go to my personal favorite, Krabi. There are cheap cabins and luxury hotels to choose from, and “nothing” is flexible. You can explore a few caves, hike, rock climb, take a boat to Phi Phi, or just sit on the beach and get a massage. The limestone cliffs provide a beautiful backdrop, and although more and more foreigners go there every year, it’s still more chill than most other beaches.
If you have time and money:
Go to the Similan Islands. The group of nine islands is a national park, and only open from November to May. Huge boulders and perfect, often empty white sand beaches complement the sparkling waters, which are the real reason to visit. These waters are made for diving and snorkeling, and are the best in Thailand, if not the world. These islands deserve at least a full seven days of your time, so you can truly relax on your boat.
All islands except the Similan have all the same water sports on offer, and all places will have budget places to stay. The rainy season is from May to October, and although it will be slightly pricier, it’s worth it to go during the high season. Safety is usually not a problem, and I’ve never had a problem leaving my phone and a bit of cash on the beach while swimming.
What’s your favorite Thai beach?