Thailand beaches best seasons
The very best time to take a holiday on all Thailand’s beaches is mid-December to March apart from peak holiday times of Christmas-New Year when the problem is overcrowding and overpricing rather than the weather. High temperatures of around 27C can be expected during December and January rising to 30C in March.
However, beaches on the east coast and west coasts outside this period have different best/worst time to visit so check east coast and west coast information to help you there. They also have less apparent regional flaws that you can see exposed in the different sections of the beach pictures links below.
Box Jellyfish can be a problem in this region and have been responsible for fatalities, especially around the Gulf of Thailand and Phuket. In Australia swimmers/snorkelers know to wear ‘stinger suits’, but not so off Thailand beaches.
These are the most toxic creatures in the sea and if you swim in deep waters and encounter a toxic box you will have – at least – a hideously painful experience of your life. Household vinegar is primary first aid to deactivate any jellyfish stings so consider taking some with you and use it liberally if necessary.
Thievery is also not unknown, especially from low-end beach cabins or due to over-casual/zonked carelessness with devices and laptops.
Finally there have been a few attacks/mysterious disappearances on remote islands such as beautiful Ko Tao, blamed on ‘foreigners’. We feel that claim may be unjustified. Whatever, Thailand’s beach islands are incredible, but they are not perfect. Stay aware, especially solo females.
Yai Beach on Ko Lanta. Photo by Jens Petter-Salvesen.
Lanta’s port area is cramped and the island’s only road is a dusty mess strung with cables, bars, restaurants and cafés, Ko Lanta’s beaches are big, clean, relaxed and served by a string of efficient mid-range bungalow operations.
The Andaman Sea here is warm and generally calm but hardly turquoise and though there are no concrete skyscrapers on the horizon, neither are there the gorgeous limestone karsts (rock pillars) found in the Krabi and Phi Phi regions.
But never mind, Lanta is comfortable, relatively uncrowded and has sufficient facilities to keep seekers of interesting cuisine happy though late-night party people might find a limited number of venues.
Lanta is on the west side of Thailand’s mainland in the Andaman Sea, Krabi Province, and accessible by car ferry.
Go to Koh Lanta page.
Ton Sai beach in Railay (Rai Leh) Bay, Krabi district. Photo by Kallerna.
Krabi beaches are almost as beautiful as the Phi Phi islands but are less accessible and well known as the Phi Phis, so get far less traffic. Krabi is also a considerably more extensive area so visitor numbers are not so overwhelming per sq metre.
Another benefit is there is development – unlike Phi Phi Leh – so visitors can find a place to stay or have a drink, but for some reason unknown to us development has been unusually restricted and discreet – unlike Phi Phi Don!
Furthermore since the waters around Krabi are protected but interesting beaches and rock formations frequent, getting around by kayak is easy and pleasant.
The downside is, of course, that if you can’t or don’t want to use kayaks then you either have to hop into a longtail boat to get anywhere as walking is practically impossible over moderate distances due to heavy vegetation and high rocks.
Still…Krabi visitors tend to be cool, unlike the rash of addled proles in Phuket, so it’s worth laying out a few dollars to stay in Krabi if you can stick to short strolls and the occasional longtail trip.
Go to Krabi page
Thailand beaches on the East Coast (Gulf side)
Pattaya beach at high tide, though it’s not much wider at low tide. Photo by jbremer57.
Pattaya, on the Thai mainland and an easy drive from Bangkok offers two beaches, skinny Pattaya beach sand in this area is coarse and the water is murky and unattractive, though reasonably clean.
A much bigger beach, Jomtien, is farther south and will require a very long walk or a taxi/bike ride to reach. Jomtein is a primo windsurfing spot but the sand is still coarse, the water uninviting and high-rises line the shore. Gays line the north end of Jomtien as well as parts of the town.
Pattaya town is an overdeveloped jumble of pink-lit girlie/boy bars, half finished construction and monster hotels. This is not a serious beach destination. Nearby Koh Samet is.
That being said Pattaya offers quite a few family-oriented tourist attractions and the sex trade is a small, relaxed part of this growing city.
Go to Pattaya page.