the POSH guide
The best of Southeast Asia

Thailand's Islands and Beaches

Thailand is one of the world's premier sun and sand destinations. There are dozens of developed beaches and islands, with coasts and hotels to suite just about every taste and budget. On this page, we've listed the main destinations that offer the best accommodations and restaurants.

Thailand's Tropical Islands

Koh Chang
Koh Chang in Trat province is the last of Thailand's big islands to be developed into the "next Phuket". It's the "last" quite literally, as the island sits just off the coast of Cambodia. Koh Chang is about as far east as you can go along the coast and still be in Thailand.
Koh Samet
Not long ago, Koh Samet in Rayong provinces was a place just for campers, with just a few rudimentary bungalows, but like most other islands in Thailand, there's been a gradual introduction of more up-scale places. Samet is still pretty much a place for the young at heart, but at least you can sleep in a nice air conditioned bungalow after a night of partying.
Lanta Islands
Just off the mainland at the southern end of Krabi province are the two large islands of Lanta Noi ('Little Lanta') and Lanta Yai ('Big Lanta'). The two big islands are at the center of a group of 52 islands, 15 of which have been designated as the Koh Lanta National Marine Park.
Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi islands lie near the mouth of Phang Nga bay at about an equal distance from Phuket and Krabi towns. Although technically part of a national park, the islands have been developed almost as long as Phuket.
Phuket is Thailand's largest island, a idyllic site for the country's premier international beach resort. Much of the island's charm is that the ocean facing west coast is lined with a series of bays where white sand beaches span between two rocky points.
Samui is the largest of about 80 islands lying off Surat Thani province. Tourists started visiting here in the early 1970s and the place started to gain popularity among the backpacker set as Phuket's rising number of visitors started making it too expensive.

Thai Beach Resorts

Hua Hin
Hua Hin is Thailand's original beach resort. Starting late in the nineteenth century, it was visited with increasing frequency by the Siamese royalty. The arrival of the railroad in the 1920s opened Hua Hin to a wider audience. The charming Victorian-styled Railway Hotel was built soon after.
Krabi could well be described as the 'new Phuket' for the amount of development, much of which has taken place in just the last few years. Krabi's popularity is mainly due to its combination of fantastic limestone cliffs which march right down to sparkling white sandy beaches. Of course, there's also the clear waters filled with spectacular corals as well.
Pattaya is Thailand's oldest international beach resort. It was "discovered" as it were, by American servicemen during the Vietnam war. The nearby U-Tapao air base was used by the US during the war, so Pattaya was a handy "R & R" location.
Phang Nga
About an hour's drive from Phuket airport is the Khao Lak-Lamru National Park. Although relatively unknown, even among Thais, the beach here was home to several bungalows, hotels and resorts.
Located just south of the newly popular Krabi province, Trang shares its northern neighbor's spectacular limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches. Development is starting to creep south from Krabi, and with the opening of its own airport, Trang appears to be the next big destination.

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