With shallow, lapping waters fringed by palm trees or pine trees and framed by huge limestone mountains, Thailand’s beaches are ideal for a tropical getaway. It is little wonder they are so popular with honeymooners, families and backpackers alike. Krabi and Phuket in the south are go-to hotspots, as well as the smaller islands off their coastlines. Check out our list of the 9 best beaches in Thailand for families, complete with white sand, calm waters and the odd coconut stand.
Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in the country, and with good reason. It is certainly home to some of the best beaches in Thailand. But there are also bustling markets (check out Indy Market), and lots of family-friendly resorts with private beach access to combat crowds.
An enclosed, sheltered bay with fishing village, it is hard to believe Phuket’s Kamala Beach is mere minutes away from party-famous Patong. Crowds are far fewer and tamer here, although there is plenty of jet ski and parasailing activity. The soft golden sand stretches into the water, gentle on little feet who like a splash.
Patong’s family-friendly cousin, Kamala Beach. Credit: Shutterstock
Yanui sits in between two of Phuket’s top capes for sunset viewing, Phrom Thep and Windmill Viewpoint. The cove has plenty of snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and lots of shells for collecting. You can paddle out to Koh Keyao Noi – an island several hundred metres off shore with coral to explore.
Set up on the sand of Yanui Beach Credit: Shutterstock
Several kilometres of outstretched sand – that’s the calling card of this developed beach. The southern end has lots of family-friendly resorts, but you can escape to the north if the crowds get too thick. You’ll find 5-star family favourite Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort here.
Fishing and long boats blend into the scenery at many Thai beaches Credit: Shutterstock
East of Phuket across the Andaman Sea, the Krabi stretch of coastline is just as stunning. It also boasts a range of tourist beaches and quiet coves.
You’ll recognise Ao Nang Beach for its many longtail boats. It is quite a central location in the region, with lots of shopping and restaurants. Noppharat Thara Beach is right next door, and is a much quieter, cleaner, lesser-known option. It is a short tuk-tuk ride from Ao Nang main drag. It has lovely shallow swimming, limestone mountains on each point and lots of seashells.
Could it get any more picturesque than Ao Nang? Credit: Shutterstock
Perfect for a day trip, Railay Beach is accessible only by boat as it is cut off from the mainland. Towering limestone formations jut out from the water, making for great kayaking, snorkelling and even rock climbing. Its spectacular scenery makes it a popular choice for tourists.
Embark on an Indiana Jones-worthy adventure by kayak at Railay Credit: Shutterstock
Part of the Krabi province, the Phi Phi Islands are great for a day trip by ferry or speedboat. They can also be accessed from Phuket, although the ride is a good 30 to 60 minutes longer on a ferry. Long Beach on Phi Phi is a 15 minute tailboat trip from Tonsai Village, with fine, soft sand and views over Phi Phi Leh. You can also walk from Tonsai, although you will have to scramble over some rocks, between beaches and through short jungle tracks. November to April is the ideal time to visit for flat, calm water.
Access this picturesque island from Krabi airport via van or car and speedboat.
Klong Dao is where tourists arrive on Koh Lanta, so it is fairly developed. This means plenty of accommodation options at a range of prices, loads of kid-friendly bars and restaurants, but also a few more people to contend with. The sunsets here are stunning and gentle slopes make swimming a breeze with tots.
A spectacular sunset over Klong Dao Credit: Shutterstock
Slightly less crowded but still very popular, the clear, calm waters of Long Beach await a 10-minute drive from Saladan Village. The 5-kilometre stretch of golden sand is fringed by tall pine trees. The water drops off quite quickly, so suits more confident swimmers seeking a deep, refreshing dip.
This laidback honeymoon island is very popular with couples and families. It is a 4-hour bus ride from Bangkok and is one of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
Koh Chang’s White Sands Beach is long and thriving, only 15 minutes from the ferry piers. It is just one of many beaches dotting the island, which is also peppered with piers (including the famous Bang Bao) and the lovely Mu Koh Chang National Park.
The stilted fishing village of Bang Bao Credit: Shutterstock
Don’t stop there. The sheer number of islands means there is a lot of coastline to go around, so keep exploring to discover more of the best beaches in Thailand. Ko Samui (one of the larger Thai islands), Ko Wai and Ko Lipe are other great islands; the latter has some great snorkelling and is known for the lovely Sunrise Beach. At Ko Tao, there are good open water diving courses available to anyone over 10 years. The most popular Ko Tao Beach for families is the 2-kilometre Sairee Beach. For snorkelling and kayaking tours, check out Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park.
Boat trips and beach days – outings in Ao Phang. Credit: Shutterstock
In general, avoid April to October in Phuket and Krabi, as this is when monsoon season falls bringing plenty of rainfall.