The Worst Beaches in Thailand


Yesterday we did a post about The Best Beaches in Thailand.  So today we thought we’d flip the script, and talk about the worst beaches in Thailand, and where to go instead.

Unfortunately, due to pollution, over-population of tourists and a general lack of regard for the environment, this list is growing quickly. The Thai government is stepping in to do their part in certain areas, even closing one of the most iconic beaches on this list so that it has time to recover, but there is still much work to be done.

We know you’re dreaming of white sand beaches that aren’t full of touts, trash or 10,000 tourists — so keep wise, get creative in your itinerary, and head elsewhere than these places:

The Worst Beaches in Thailand

Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

The beach where the full-moon parties take place on Koh Phangan. Unfortunately this beach takes a beating just about every month when thousands of full moon partiers take over with their bags, and their bottles, and a myriad of other things. We don’t generally recommend attending a full moon party because of the potential dangers to safety. But there are other lovely beaches on Koh Phangan that you can discover by renting a scooter and checking them out for yourself.

Instead, consider: Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan

Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi 

The beach made famous by “the beach” is a popular day trip from Koh Phi Phi. While it was undoubtedly at one point breathtaking (see the cover photo of this article, taken 7 years ago), these days it’s completely overrun by long-tail boats who pollute the water, and literally thousands of tourists per day looking for the perfect selfie. Luckily, the government has recognized the impact this amount of tourism has had to Maya Bay and they have decided to close Maya Bay so that the beach can recover.


Instead, consider: Staying on Koh Phi Phi Don and doing snorkeling tours nearby.

Patong Beach, Phuket

Unfortunately, the same applies to Patong Beach: tourism to Phuket have left this beach dirty, overcrowded, and full of touts, which lands it on our Worst Beaches in Thailand list. For a better Phuket beach, try Karon Beach.

Instead, consider: Kata or Karon Beach, Phuket

Koh Samui

I know, this is an island, not a beach. But it was our least favorite of all of the islands in Thailand and nearly impossible to find a quiet stretch of beach. As the biggest of the Big 3: Koh Samui- Koh Phanan- Koh Phi Phi, we found this island to be completely built-up and westernized (it’s the only to have a Starbucks), and there are so many travelers here who have pre-bough “island packages.” It’s just not the best.

Instead, consider: Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe or anywhere else.

Thailand is a wonderful destination for a holiday. We love northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai) and there are the gorgeous historical sites like Ayutthaya. In short, there are so many places to love. We just wouldn’t recommend spending too much time in the above destinations.

Have you ever been disappointed by a place? Let us know where in the comments below! 


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.


  1. Actually, Memphis was my disappointment. I don’t hate the city. But I went there expecting so much more like a bigger version of Austin in regards to music only. Beal street had a lot of cool bars, but the bands all played cover songs, songs that I have heard many times over. There was this bad as street drum performer (who I had read about already). He was awesome, but then he was completely drowned out by a popup street club and margarita table. It was just sad.

    I still go there since my uncle lives there and it’s really pretty in Fall. But I was expecting them to really thrive on the music since that is what they are known for anyways.

  2. Don’t blame the tourists. We are staying in Mai Khao, North of Phuket, only a few expensive hotels here, The 11 km beach is pretty much empty. Yet the amount of trash washed up on the shore constantly… The issue of ecology mismanagement here is far greater than simply a problem with untidy and careless tourists.

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