With so many beaches in Thailand it makes it very challenging to decide which are the best ones. There are beautiful islands around Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and the Gulf of Thailand too. However, for me there are a few untouched Thai islands where the sand is white, the water clear, lots of greenery around and not too crowded. I have in no way been to all of the beaches in Thailand but having visited over 13 inhabited islands and many more deserted ones, these are a round-up of 5 beaches which I think are the best quiet beaches in Thailand.
Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta
This is definitely one of the prettiest beaches in Thailand. It has a huge area of white sand, you can see your feet when standing in the sea and the jungle comes down to meet the sand meaning no big built up buildings or roads in the way. It is incredibly calm and when I was there in April time the beach had about five people on it. Koh Lanta is much less touristy that some other islands and in off-peak season there are barely any people around. You can book a ferry using this website, and get discounts for more than one ticket.
Best Quiet Beach Tip: Stay at this amazing accommodation, a slight walk up the hill but well worth it for the views of Kantiang Bay. It also has an infinity pool, spacious rooms with windows from ceiling to floor and a cheeky group of visiting monkeys!
Main Beach, Koh Kradan
This is one of the best secluded beaches. It’s a tiny island which has limited accommodation and is mostly a National Park. Most island hopping trips around the area of Koh Lanta stop here for a visit or lunch break. The main beach is stunning; white sand and crystal clear waters and the decent coral around offers some snorkelling potential here too.
Best Quiet Beach Tip: To avoid the day tripper crowds, consider staying at a resort on the island
Beaches on Koh Similan
The Similan Islands are some of the most beautiful islands I have ever visited in Thailand. They are extremely old and have smooth shaped rock formations as they used to be submerged underwater as coral reefs. While the snorkelling/diving here is not what it once was it is still worth a visit and the beaches are breath-taking. They have very white sand and transparent water and also some great viewpoints for photos.
Best Quiet Beach Tip: My best advice to avoid the day crowds is to camp overnight through the National Park service here.
Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
Another winner for the white sand and clear waters, head to Koh Lipe for one of Thailand’s most stunning islands. Unfortunately Lipe does have a battle with litter but the locals work hard to keep Sunrise Beach clear of litter to keep it the paradise beach it should be.
Best Quiet Beach Tip: In the evening, walk round to the very aptly named Sunset Beach for some of the best sunsets that I’ve seen in Thailand
Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is always the island I keep going back to. Mainly for the Full Moon Party but it has so much more to offer as well. One of my favourite beaches on this island it is only accessible by boat and so it is much quieter than other beaches around Koh Phangan. It has a few places for lunch time eating and it’s in a pretty white sand bay. Head here to avoid the crowds, especially around Full Moon time when the island fills up.
Best Quiet Beach Tip: Get a group together to make the longtail boat ride cheaper
Where are your favourite beaches in Thailand? Future contenders are Koh Phayam, Koh Maak, Koh Kut…watch this space!
Top 5 Beach Essentials
- Sarong – ditch the heavy beach towel, I find I carry half the beach home with them and buy a quick-drying sarong that does the job just as fast. I love brightly coloured ones like this Amazon one Ayliss Sarong if you’re looking for gifts for travellers or wait until you are out here and head to a market
- Dry Bag – Keep your belongings safe from the sea, especially handy when getting it and off boats. Buy yours from Amazon hereDry Bag (Green, 5L)
- GoPro – so useful for all your holiday footage. I love the Gopro Hero 4 as you can take it diving down to depths of 40metres GoPro HERO4 BLACK
So you’ve got one week in Thailand? Is a week too short to travel Thailand? Is it even worth visiting Thailand in such a short time?
Having spent almost 4 years living in Thailand, I can confidently say that you can pack a lot into a week of travel there if you make smart travel decisions and decide on places to visit that are nearby to your entry airport.
Most people travelling to Thailand fly into Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket so consider the geography when deciding.
Whether you’re a beach bum, a party animal, a culture vulture or an adventurer I’ve suggested an itinerary for you to make the most of your trip around Thailand. Even if you only have a week, I still think Thailand is always worth the visit. Focus on a few main highlights to enjoy.
If you only have one week I suggest picking Bangkok and a couple of islands that are geographically close to each other to visit.
Transportation in Thailand
Domestic Flights – Flying around Thailand
Travelling around Thailand by airplane ensures that you won’t waste time waiting for public transport and you can guarantee that most flights will leave and arrive on time.
Which airline to use for domestic flights in Thailand? I recommend Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Smile as there are usually the budget airlines with the most options.
Public Transport – Travelling around Thailand by night bus or trains
However, night buses and trains can also be a good option for a week holiday to Thailand because you can travel at night and therefore make the most of the days and a bonus is saving on accommodation. so this is a good budget tip for travelling Thailand. For booking trains and ferries in advanced you can use this user-friendly website which adds on discounts for additional journeys and bookings.
1 week Thailand Itinerary for BEACH BUMS
Focus on Southern Thailand if you have one week to visit Thailand’s beautiful beaches. I recommend flying into Phuket so that you are already landing in the South of Thailand – the Andaman sea. If you fly into Bangkok, it is very far to travel and will include a night bus or another domestic flight. Thailand has some of the best islands to spend a week relaxing and exploring:
Day 1 & 2 in Krabi and Railay
Head down to Krabi province from Phuket – spend 2 days exploring Railay. It has beautiful beaches, nice snorkelling and great restaurants as well as a viewpoint. Spend day 1 on the beach and day 2 I recommend a snorkelling tour which includes island hopping to nearby islands.
Day 3 explore around Ao Nang and Krabi
Ao Nang has a fantastic national park with a mountain to hike and amazing views of the Andaman and its nearby islands.
Day 4,5 and 6 in and around Koh Phi Phi
Take the boat to Koh Phi Phi to experience legendary fire shows, beach parties and a true backpacker island.
Spend the day on Phi Phi’s beaches or explore other nearby islands. You could consider chartering a long tail boat to visit uninhabited islands not far from Koh Phi Phi. Spend the evening partying on the beach, drinking buckets and experiencing the best fireshows in Thailand. (and I have seen a few!).
Consider trying scuba diving around Koh Phi Phi. It has a marine park in which there is healthy coral and a lot of marine life to see (I have seen turtles and sharks while scuba diving in Koh Phi Phi Leh) Remember if you are trying diving, PADI recommends leaving 18-24 hours by flying so don’t leave this experience until your last day!
Already a scuba diver? Read my post about the best dive sites in Thailand, click here
1 week Thailand Itinerary for PARTY ANIMAL
Come to Thailand to party and enjoy the islands’ best nightlife?
Day 1 – take night bus/train to Koh Tao
Day 2 and 3 on Koh Tao
Day 4 and 5 Head to Koh Phangan, time with a Full Moon/Half Moon/Jungle Party. Make the most of the Full Moon Party with these tips and advice
Day 6 back to Bangkok
Day 7 explore Bangkok
1 week Thailand Itinerary for CULTURE VULTURE
Experience some Thai culture and history and visit ancient temples, cities, and important historical sites:
Day 1 & 2 stay in Bangkok and spend time exploring
Day 3 & 4 Take train/minivan for 3 days in Kanchanaburi – visit waterfall, visit war museum, see bridge over the river kwai, visit an elephant sanctuary
Read more about Kanchanaburi on my post about Thailand’s Top National Parks
Day 5 –go to Ayutthaya the ancient capital in Thailand
Day 6 Take train/minivan from Ayutthaya back to Bangkok
1 week Thailand Itinerary for ADVENTURER
Thailand is for the adventurous and make the most of all the adventure and action:
Day 1 Spend time in Bangkok
Day 2 & 3 Take a minivan to Khao Yai National Park and go camping and jungle trekking
Day 4 & 5 Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or take the night train and spend 3 days in Chiang Mai, ziplining, seeing elephants or any other adventure activities on my Chiang Mai list
Day 6 Fly/night train back to Bangkok
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase tickets, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Pin Me for Later
I feel like I’m not supposed to like the Full Moon Party. It’s a bunch of drunks ruining one of my favourite islands, Koh Phangan. I’m over 25, I live in Thailand and I prefer to avoid dirty backpacker places. Yet I’ve been to FIVE Full Moon Parties so far…
Check this website to check your Full Moon Party dates and plan your trip around a few days on Koh Phangan. One to party and the rest to recover. And explore the beauty of Koh Phangan.
Ultimately, the Full Moon Party is a giant party on a beach, attracting up to 30,000 people! So enjoy and stay safe using my tips!
- Do stay till sunrise
- Do wear shoes – I go for closed in pumps as there can be glass around as one of my mates’ can testify!
- Do take a bumbag or just no bag! I take money in my pocket and that’s it!
- Do get covered in dayglow paint and drunkenly think you are the next Pablo Picasso.
- Do be patient with songtaews (trucks) when leaving. They will wait to fill up to make the most money possible. Remember the party can bring a lot of useful income for locals.
- Do eat food! While it’s all about the buckets, the street food is pretty good and will help you keep going until 6am!
- Do dance until the sun comes up
- Do consider staying in the north of the island. It takes 40 minutes by truck but accommodation is cheaper, nicer and they don’t have that ridiculous “you must stay minimum 4 days” crap that Haad Rin hostels try on.
- Do arrange a meeting point with your mates…you WILL get separated at some point!
- Do pay entry, it’s only 100 baht and think of all the cleaning up people have to do the next day!
- Do make new friends (coz you’ll probably lose your old ones!)
- Do stick to one spirit in your bucket…yummy Sangsom (Thai rum) is my favourite!
- Do kiss a dirty backpacker but…
- Don’t have sex in the sea…ew. People are pissing in it!
- Do NOT ride a scooter. People are killed every Full Moon and mostly from drink/drug driving.
- Don’t take a nap in the nap area…Full Moon is NOT for sleeping!
- Don’t wear your favourite dress! That neon paint does NOT come out.]
- Moving on after the Full Moon Party? The day after can get busy with people leaving the island so book your boat in advance.
Useful Things to Bring
- Bum Bags – very useful to have your hands free for drinking and dancing and to have your phone and money directly infront of you as the Full Moon can be a time for robberies. Buy your Waist Bag from Amazon.
- Adorn your head with flowers to blend in with this backpacker crowd Flower Crown for Festival
- For a classier version that neon paint, buy some cheap Boho Tattoos Flash Aztec Collection tattoos to take with you here on Amazon