White sand, blue sea and barely a cloud in the sky – you won’t go wrong with Joanna Booth’s pick of Thailand’s best beaches.
Best for seclusion: Ao Mai Ngam
Sit on a swing hanging from a Malabar tree and watch the scuttling ghost crabs, spot clown fish grazing on the anemones in the shallow water, and take a wander along this deeply curved horseshoe beach – there are few enough footprints in the sand to recognise your own on the way back. Visit the Surin Islands on a small-ship cruise and you’ll stay after the handful of day-trippers from Khao Lak leave.
Book it: Intrepid Travel’s nine-day Cruising the Thai Islands from Phuket trip starts from £2,108 excluding flights.
Best for families: Bang Tao
Five-mile-long Bang Tao beach gives families visiting Phuket space to spread out and enjoy the sun, sea and golden sand. It’s also home to Laguna Phuket, one of Asia’s largest resort complexes set around a lagoon. Angsana Laguna Phuket has a large kids’ club, kids’ spa treatments, family yoga and cooking classes, and complimentary watersports.
Book it: Emirates Holidays offers seven nights with breakfast for a family of four at Angsana Laguna Phuket from £3,276 including flights from Gatwick on August 4.
Best for parties: Haad Rin
When one of Koh Phangan’s legendary Full Moon Parties is in full swing, this 800m beach is home to 12 sound systems and as many as 30,000 people, all dancing and drinking until sunrise. Come daytime, Haad Rin’s soft white sand makes it a comfortable spot to recover.
Book it: Premier Holidays offers seven nights over a Full Moon party with breakfast at Phangan Bayshore Resort from £1,169 including transfers and flights departing October 10.
Best for snorkelling: Koh Nang Yuan
The three tiny islands of Koh Nang Yuan are connected by gleaming white sandbars that shelve slowly into perfect turquoise waters. Here you’ll find spectacular snorkelling with bright corals and hordes of fish accessible directly from the beach. Visit on a day trip from Koh Tao by long-tail boat.
Book it: Hayes & Jarvis offers seven nights with breakfast at four-star The Beach Club by Haad Tien Beach Resort Koh Tao from £1,199, including flights departing September 20.
Best for limestone cliffs: Railay West
There’s little more quintessentially Thai than a long-tail boat moored on a white sand beach under a towering limestone cliff. Find some of the most picturesque rock formations off Railay West Beach in Krabi. It can get busy, so stay at the nearby Centara, which sits in the next bay along the peninsula with its own karst outcrop.
Book it: Kuoni offers seven nights with breakfast at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi from £1,049, including flights, on select dates in September and October.
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