best time to go to these Thai beaches is December - March,
though beware prices and accommodation hassles at peak holiday times. If you are planning to have a beach vacation in Thailand check out Expedia hotels in advance to get the best deals.
The worst time to go is May - October, especially on this, the west coast, due to heavy rains. If you go at this time beware another downside...Rips (strong currents heading away from the beach). Around Phuket visitors drown at the rate of one per month in this season. Do NOT ignore red flags, even if you are hot and drunk.
The other, east coast, has a much less heavy rain in the summer time.
best overall sightseeing (i.e. non-beaches) time is the cool season,
Nov- Feb. Worst is April - Sept, hot and sticky. March -May is the
hot season. The rainy season is June - October.
of the longtails'
makes many previously desirable places a pain in the head now.
Beaches that are only accessible by boat, or used as a longtail
terminal have drone and diesel smell problems. Notably noxious are
Krabi and the Phi Phi islands.
Khao Lak Beach
An hour's drive north of Phuket airport, this strip of medium-fine
yellow sand and clear sea is little developed, with no buildings
over two stories and mostly good quality bungalows scattered under
the palms and casuarinas (a kind of fir tree) beside the beach.
The beach is winding, narrow in parts and has character, with rocky
outcrops and a lovely cluster of stlit bars and restaurants at one
end. Waves can be a problem for small children, especially at the
start of the season, i.e. December/January.
The bungalows aren't cheap but the location - Andaman Sea on one
side, wildlife-rampant rainforest the other, and Thailand's scuba
superb Similan islands 64 km offshore makes them worthwhile.
Tour groups haven't got here yet, tho' plenty of North Europeans
The one horse town of Khao Lak provides basic shops and restaurants.
Best time Nov-March, but showers may happen anytime. Khao Lak Pictures and more Information.
Phuket beaches are at their best from November-March.
Worst May-October (rough seas, winds and life-threatening rips. In 2012 tourist deaths hit one per month in spite of red flag warnings)
Phuket is one of the world's most famous international resort islands.
It is the largest, the most expensive and the most touristy of all
Thailand's islands, with busy though superb sand and an international airport. Phuket beaches pictures and more information | Phuket Beaches Map
• Patong beach is particularly crowded but long, wide and with soft sand and quite protected waters.
Unfortunately hawkers are unpleasantly pushy and immediately adjacent Patong town is a sleazy pit of trash architecture enrobed in tarry cables, patrolled by braying motorcycles and smelly tuk-tuks and fuelled by booze, porn and unprincipled, uncontrolled salespeople. Patong Pictures and more information.
• Nai Harn and Kata beaches in far southwest Phuket are for those with money who are looking for
quiet, clean, safe, pretty beaches backed mainly by up-market, all-inclusive hotels, though the sleaze factor is creeping into some arts of this more exclusive region of Phuket. Beach Pictures and more information.
• Nai Thon beach in northwest Phuket is very, very quiet, with just
a few simple bars, restaurants and modest hotels, but wonderful squeaky
white sand, clear water, no boats, few cars, few package people,
no clubs and an adjacent nature reserve. It's even romantic! But it could get substantial waves in
December. Beach Pictures.
• Mai Khao beach in far northwest Phuket is the place for real solitude on the
least visited, 13km long Mai Khao Beach, turtle hatching area
(November-January, waves permitting). It's coated with medium grain yellow sand, clear water,
and gets pretty big waves in December. There is a little, very simple and cheap accommodation available. Beach Pictures.
Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh beaches
A hidden tropical paradise until the movie 'The Beach' was filmed
there, now another Thailand tourist mecca in spite of the horrific devastation wreaked by the 2004 Tsunami, the Phi Phi islands still offer
turquoise water, white sand and palm trees, along with 1 million visitors
a year in a tiny area.
The infrastructure cannot support the tourist numbers and facilities like power and sewage are unreliable, rubbish litters
some areas, coral is dying and longtails add their cacaphony to the babble of foreign visitors.
However, if you stay well away from noisy, frantic Ton Sai bay -
the transport hub - even just across the neck at Loh Dulum bay,
you will get some serenity, lovely sand, turquoise water and those
Phi Phi Leh is half an hour away by boat, has no accomodation at all,
but still suffers the 'Curse of the Longtails' with roaring longboats coming and going endlessly.
Day trips by boat from Phuket to the Phi Phi islands are also popular. Best December-March. Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh beaches pictures | Phi Phi Leh scuba diving pictures
Railay, the Krabi Coast
Accessible from Ao (bay) Nang in a few minutes by longtail boat,
West Railay is stunningly pretty, has restrained developement, reasonable
prices, soft white sand and clear water, tho' longtail taxis park
there, cluttering the view, impeding swimming and not helping the
water purity. Still, it's better than paying the extortionate prices
at Thailand's Rayavadee Premier on the next beach - Laem Phra Nang
- and still getting the longtails and their day trippers cluttering
up the beach. Best Dec-March. West
Railay beach pictures
Dao and Phra-Ae beaches, Ko Lanta island
Ko Lanta is a relatively unspoiled resort island in Thailand, with a fine
combination of big, soft, sandy beaches on the upper west side,
calm clear waters, relaxed locals and cheap accommodation, though
the road running down the centre is an unnattractive mess. Beaches
are only accessible via hotels.
The longest and the most popular beach is Khlong Dao - where the
best hotels are (our favourite was Lanta Villas) , but Ao Phra-Ae
(Long Beach), 2km south, has a more placid atmosphere.The further
south you go the cheaper the 'hotels' get and the worse the beaches.
Best Dec-March. Ko Lanta beaches pictures
Tarutao National Marine Park, Ko Tarutao
Ko Tarutao National Marine Park is a natural beauty, with about
50 mostly inhabited islands. The beaches in the park are considered
the least spoilt and the most magnificent of all Thailand's beaches.
Some simple accommodation can be found at Pak Bara on the mainland,
or three bigger islands (Ko Tarutao, Ko Adang, and Ko Lipe) have
bungalows and restaurants.
The park is closed mid-May to mid-November, due to the rains. Best
Farang, Ko Mook
Ko Mook, known for its Emerald Cave, is popular with budget travelers
and not commercial yet. The island's best beach is Hat Farang, extremely
peaceful, with excellent swimming, snorkelling, and perfect for
sunset slumping. Best Dec-March.