Thailand Beaches and Islands Travel Guide

Setting priorities, making choices, unique attractions... here, at a glance, are our recommendations, and of course some tips and tricks even the locals do not always know.

Introduction And The Best Of Thailand

Thailand For Families

These attractions are popular with children, though not all will suit every age

Dino Park and Mini Golf: Phuket

  • An 18-hole mini-golf course which trails over rocks and across rivers and waterfalls, past dinosaurs with smoking nostrils.

  • Elephant trek: Ko Chang

  • See elephants bathing and feeding at Ban Kwan Chang camp, then take a trek on elephant back into the forest.

  • Phuket Fantasea: Phuket

  • A stage extravaganza combining dance, drama and acrobatics with pyrotechnics and performing elephants.

  • Sriracha Tiger Zoo: Si Racha

  • The world's largest tiger zoo, with over 200 Bengal tigers.

  • Siam Ocean World: Bangkok

  • See over 30,000 marine animals in a giant Oceanarium, ride in a glass-bottomed boat and dive with the sharks.

  • Snake Farm: Bangkok

  • Learn all about tropical snakes and see a handler milking one for venom.

  • Yellow Submarine: Pattaya

  • Explore the briny depths without ever getting wet.

  • Only In Thailand

    Buffalo fighting: Ko Samui and Hat Yai.

  • This typically southern Thai pastime involves betting on the sidelines.

  • Cookery schools: Bangkok, Hua Hin and Ko Samui

  • There's nothing like learning how to cook Thai food while you're in Thailand.

  • Full Moon parties: Ko Phangan.

  • These wild all-night raves are Ko Phangan's main claim to fame.

  • "Lady-boy" cabarets: Bangkok,

    Wat Chalong Phuket

    Wat Chalong Phuket

    Khao Luang cave: Petchaburi

  • More than 100 Buddha images fill this cave temple.

  • Wat Chalong: Phuket

  • The island's largest and most important Buddhist temple.

  • Wat Mahathat: Petchaburi

  • 14th-century temple known for its fine carvings.

  • Wat Matchimawat: Songkhla

  • The town's most famous temple with paintings.

  • Orchid Garden and Thai Village: Phuket

  • A showcase for Thai culture and dance, plus a vast orchid collection.

  • Sanctuary of Truth: Pattaya

  • This aweover 200 years old.

  • Wat Pho: Bangkok

  • The capital's largest temple is best known for its gigantic statue of the reclining Buddha.

  • Wat Phra Kaew: Bangkok

  • No one visits the capital without seeing the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

  • Wat Tham Seua: Krabi

  • Vast temple complex tucked amid forests and cliffs.

  • Chinatown: Bangkok

  • The sights and sounds of China along Sam-peng Lane.

  • Khao Wang: Petchaburi

  • A vast hilltop complex of temples, pagodas and palace buildings.

  • Maruekhathayawan Palace: Cha-am

  • The seaside abode of a former Thai king.

  • Temple of Emerald Buddha

    Temple of Emerald Buddha

    Pattaya, Ko Samui and Phuket


  • See men in drag who look better than women.

  • Monkey theatre: Ko Samui

  • Watch monkeys clamber up trees at lighting speed to pluck coconuts.

  • Night markets: Trang and Songkhla

  • For local colour plus cheap shopping and food.

  • "Vegetarian Festival: Phuket

  • These acts of self-mutilation are only for the robust of heart.

  • Joe's Downstairs: Phuket

  • The island's trendiest nightspot attracts a chi chi crowd.

  • Mantra: Pattaya

  • Sleek new bar that adds chic to this resort town.

  • Pure: Ko Tao

  • Island bar with a chilled-out vibe at the southern end of Sai Ree beach.

  • Q Bar: Bangkok

  • Seductive venue with Thailand's most inspiring edifice pays homage to traditional Thai architecture.

  • Thaksin Folklore Museum: Songkhla

  • Highlights the culture, traditions and handicrafts of South Thailand.

  • Vim an nick Mansion: Bangkok

  • Billed as the world's largest golden teakwood structure.

  • Hottest Nightspots

    Backyard Bar: Ko Phangan

  • The hottest spot on this party island.

  • Bed Supperclub: Bangkok

  • Futuristic white oval pod with beds to lounge on.

  • Bed Supper Club, Bangkok

    Bed Supper Club, Bangkok

    Gecko Village: Ko Samui

  • So hot it attracts DJs from the international circuit.

  • Top Tables

    Baan Khanitha: Bangkok

  • Mouthwatering Thai food with just the right amount of spice.

  • Baan Rim Pa: Phuket

  • Exquisite Thai food on a cliff-top setting.

  • Betelnut: Ko Samui

  • It's California-meets-Thailand fusion fare at this stylish eatery.

  • Biscotti: Bangkok

  • Haute Italian cuisine at one of the city's top hotels.

  • Casa Pascal: Pattaya

  • This Continental fine-dining venue is a long-established Pattaya hotspot.

  • Cy'an: Bangkok

  • Mediterranean fare is given an Asian twist at this trendy place

  • La Mer Hua Hin

  • Dramatic views set the tone for the well-prepared seafood dishes.

  • Red Snapper: Ko Lanta

  • Right on the beach with a bold menu that fuses Thai and Western flavours.

  • Salvatore's: Phuket

  • One of Thailand's top Italian eateries is on an island.

  • Supatra River House: Bangkok

  • Riverside dining on a menu of Thai favourites.

  • Best Snorkelling and Dive Sites in Thailand

    Chumphon Pinnacle

  • Famous for frequent sightings of grouper and other large fish.

  • Hin Bai (Sail Rock)

  • Rising like an iceberg out of the water, its highlight is a vertical chimney.

  • Hin Daeng and Hin Muang

  • World-class dive sites close to Ko Tao.

  • Ko Rok

  • Easily Thailand's best site for snorkelling, with colourful corals and fish found in shallow waters.

  • Similan Islands

  • Several dive sites within a compact area.

  • Surin Islands

  • Dive haven with the famous Richelieu Rock and the Burma Banks close by.

  • Ao Phang Nga: Northern Andaman Coast

  • A surreal seascape of limestone pinnacles rising out of the water invite exploration.

  • Hot Springs Waterfall: Krabi

  • Bask in the warm waters of this waterfall before taking a cooling dip in the adjacent stream.

  • Khao Sok National Park

  • Thailand's most popular national park is unique in many ways, and has an amazing variety of flora and fauna.

  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

  • Expect varied topography, with beaches, marshes, forests and mountains.

  • Laem Phra Nang (Railay Bay): Krabi

  • Hundreds of sheer-sided limestone cliffs attract rock climbers the world over.

  • Tha Pom: Krabi

  • Walk past mangroves to see an amazing stream with clear blue-green waters.

  • Ao Maya

  • From this vantage point on Ko Phi Phi Ley, the entire island seems encircled by towering limestone cliffs.

  • Kata Hill and Laem Promthep

  • Both points offers stunning views of Phuket.

  • Khao Wang

  • Walk or take the cable car up to the summit for panoramas of this temple complex and the surrounding area.

  • Ko Phi Phi Don

  • Its famous viewpoint has incredible vistas of the beaches on Ao Lo Dalam and Ao Ton Sai.

  • Ko Wua Talab

  • Hike up the trail for a spectacular view of Ang Thong Marine National Park.

  • Most Idyllic Beaches In Thailand

    Ao Kantiang: Ko Lanta

  • No pressing crowds, only pure white sand and clear aquamarine waters.

  • Hat Kuat : Ko Phangan

  • It's easy to see to see why this lovely beach gets so many repeat visitors.

  • Hat Nai Harn: Phuket

  • Scant development and a broad stretch of white sand make this a clear winner.

  • Hat Tham Phra Nang: Krabi

  • Drop-dead gorgeous, possibly Thailand's most stunning.

  • Ko Nang Yuan

  • Three islets joined by mere wisps of the softest sand guarantees this beach top billing.

  • Most Exclusive Resorts In Thailand

    Aleenta: Pranburi

  • Stylish boutique-style resort frequented by Bangkok's smart set.

  • Amanpuri: Phuket

  • The ultimate in luxury resorts, and not surprisingly, Thailand's priciest.

  • Chiva-Som: Hua Hin

  • Spa, wellness centre and luxury resort in one stunning package.

  • Evason Hideaway: Hua Hin

  • Indulgent all-villa hotel with private pool and butler on call 24 hours a day.

  • Pimalai: Ko Lanta

  • Stylish luxury property that is almost upstaged by the stunning Ao Kantiang beach it rests on.
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