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If I have to choose four words that best describe Thailand, hands down I would opt for “sun, sea, sand, and surf”. But to pigeon-hole Thailand down to four narratives is pure injustice. Simply because tucked away from the touristy areas are some of the best secret beaches of Thailand. And these hidden gems would rid the stress off your shoulder and whisk you away to an unforgettable island paradise.
So, read on as we disclose the best secret beaches in Thailand. You would have heard of some of these awesome beaches while others may catch you by surprise.
Best secret beach to watch the sunrise: Sunrise Beach
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Among the many beaches that speckle the island of Koh Lipe, Sunrise Beach is hands down one of the best. Home to 25% of the world’s tropical fishes, Koh Lipe is known for its sandy white beaches, emerald clear water, and lush tropical rainforest. Sunrise Beach is not a very long beach. At only 800 meters in length, Sunrise Beach opens up to a wide shallow bay, making it perfect for snorkeling.
In hindsight, its shallow bay is a double edge sword. During the Green Season (between June and September), many long-tail boats anchor at the central area of the beach. As such, do avoid swimming near the boats for safety reasons when the ocean ebbs.
True to its name, staying along Sunrise Beach literally means that you will wake up to the warmth of the sun every morning. And if you want to catch the sunset, it’s just short stroll to the north of Sunrise Beach.
Where to Stay at Sunrise Beach: Idyllic Concept Resorts
Idyllic Concept Resorts captivates at all fronts. From its modern décor, an infinity pool that faces the beach, impeccable service, and complimentary transport to and from the hotel to the jetty. This resort is ideal for families and couples.
Best secret beach to watch the sunset: Sunset Beach
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Juxta positioning Sunrise Beach is no other than Sunset Beach.
Sunset Beach is a laid-back strip located in the northern part of Koh Lipe, facing the west. Measuring only 200m long, Sunset Beach exudes hippie vibes – thanks to the driftwood-built restaurants and bars that fringes the coast.
It’s less crowded compared to Sunrise Beach, which is great if you like a quiet atmosphere. In fact, this is the best and only location on Koh Lipe island where you can witness the sun sinking into the sea!
Is it possible to walk from Sunrise Beach to Sunset Beach? Yes. And we promise that you don’t need to be a marathoner to do that.
During low tide, you can walk across from Sunrise Beach to Benny’s on The Beach to catch the last rays of the days. True to the saying that there is a pot of gold over the rainbow, end your day on another high with great vegetarian food at Benny’s.
Don’t forget to bring along insect repellant as there are plenty of mosquitoes come nightfall.
Where to Stay at Sunset Beach: Plawan Lipe Resort
If you’re looking for a place to stay that combines rustic authenticity with modernity, then look no further than Plawan Lipe Resort. Nestled just 0.5k from the city center, the resort comprises of rows of comfy chalets that look like bungalows by the beach. You can expect a delicious breakfast and delightful hospitality by this lovely family-run hotel.
Best secret beach with lowest density – Ao Tapao, Koh Kood
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As one of Thailand’s remotest island, Koh Kood is famous for its serenity and lack of fanfare. Not many locals inhabit this part of the island. That’s why Ao Tapao located in Koh Kood island has a remarkably low density of tourists and locals combined.
With only 3 resorts located at Ao Tapao beach, the number of people on the beach is always low even during peak travel periods. Rustic bungalows pepper the beach, and there are no resorts or large hotels here.
Should you expect white sand on the beach, you may be set up for a surprise. The sand here is yellowish-white yet fine and soft. Filled with silica rocks, coral and shell fragments, you can frolic safely and build sandcastles on this side of Koh Kood island.
As one of the best secret beaches in Thailand, the sunsets here are a sight to behold too. And I admit that there is no better place to enjoy nature and its virgin beauty but here. Don’t miss going airborne on the coolest rope swings suspended on coconut trees while you’re here. Plus, you will not find patronizing beach hawkers or noisy water sports at the calm beaches of Ao Tapao.
Where to Stay at Ao Tapao Beach: Koh Kood Paradise Beach Resort
Within a minute drive or 5-minutes’ walk to the north of Ao Tapao beach is Koh Kood Paradise Beach Resort. This 4-star resort is packed with loads of freebies! Free kayak gear, free snorkeling gear and if your lucky – free diving opportunities await! Another plus point of Koh Kood Paradise Beach Resort’s is its convenient location. Getting to the island’s various destinations from this resort is easy thanks to its location.
Best Secret Beach with an Underwater Cavern- Koh Haa (Five Islands)
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Koh Haa comprises of a cluster of five islands located 15 kilometers off the coast of Koh Lanta. Tourists throng Koh Haa to explore the labyrinth of stunning underwater caverns, with the first underwater cavern known as The Cathedral. The Cathedral leads to another tight-holed cavern named the Chimney. Swim through The Chimney as it drops a few meters before you find the exit. And the last and deepest cavern is Garden of Eden. This cavern is by far the most challenging of the three and is best explored by experienced divers that possess excellent buoyancy control.
Dive boats bring tourists to the sheltered lagoon at Ko Haa to experience open ocean snorkeling. You can spot moray eels, lobsters, sea snakes, and pufferfishes as you snorkel. Due to its varying sea depth, Ko Haa has the perfect landscape for amateur divers and advanced mariners. This is why scuba divers around the world flock Koh Haa to experience its rich aquatic sea life.
Where to Stay: Pimalai Resort and Spa
Pimalai Resort and Spa sets the bar for opulence to unparallel heights. The spa treatments are divine. The food is gastronomically delicious, and its ambiance blends faultlessly with its natural landscape. If you are a foodie who loves to be pleasantly surprised with every meal, Pimalai Resort Spa will not disappoint. As one of the best beach resorts in Thailand, making a return trip here is the norm.
Best Secret Beach for Vibrant Night Life – Lonely Beach, Koh Chang
Don’t let the name of this beach deceive you, as there is nothing on Lonely Beach that suggests it being reclusive.
However, it was different twenty years back. Then, adventurous tourists were enticed to Lonely Beach for its beautiful sandy beaches and secluded nature, making it accessible only via foot through a hilly trail from Kai Bae.
Backpackers that stayed here loved the place so much. They started spreading positive worth of mouth like wildfire about Lonely Beach. One thing led to another, and soon Lonely Beach was lonely no more.
Lonely Beach today boasts an exciting nightlife. Fire guzzlers dance to pulsating music as the sunsets. Bars are open from dawn to dusk. Romance is in the air with beachboys and bevy of Thai beauties prowling the bars, ready to strike light banter. And this makes Lonely Beach perfect for those young at heart.
If lust, love and a lively beach scene are what you’re after, then Lonely Beach located on the second largest island in Thailand hits all the marks.
Where to stay close to Lonely Beach: Awa Resort, Koh Chang
Awa Resort is located a mere 2.47km away from Lonely Beach. If you are looking to stay at a middle-class hotel with fewer hipster vibes, than hotels away from Lonely Beach are better options. This child-friendly hotel has a gorgeous pool, great breakfast selection, and helpful staff. And these essential elements are all you need to make your stay memorable.
Best Secret Beach for Honeymooners – Ao Nieng, Ko Kradan
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Don’t mistake Au Nieng with Au Nang. It may just be a dang spelling mistake you made during your online research for the best secret beach. But you could end up misled to a place as disparate as day and night.
Au Nieng beach on Koh Kradan island is a tranquil paradise with possibly one of the most jaw-dropping snorkeling reefs in Thailand. A mere 100 meters walkout from the shoreline and you will find a magnificent coral reef 6-10 meters in height, teeming with marine life.
Kradan Island is possibly one of the best islands in Thailand. Unlike Au Nang on Krabi beach which is a tourist hotspot, Au Nieng beach on Koh Kradan island is serene and romantic, set amidst its natural backdrop of crystal-clear water and lush greenery. Plus, couples can tie the knot during the annual underwater wedding festival held every Valentine’s Day. It’s no surprise Au Nieng beach is viewed as one of the best secret beaches in Thailand for honeymooners.
Where to stay at Ao Nieng Beach, Ko Kradan – Coral Garden Resort
If you want to relive the adventures of Robinson Crusoe and you’re happy with living in simplicity, then Coral Garden Resort is just the place to stay. Its location away from the city means it’s never overly crowded, and child-friendly too. You can expect authentic Italian food served at the in-house restaurant. And there is no better expression to describe how finger-licking good the food is but mamma mia!
Best Secret Beach to Spot Sharks – Long Beach, Phi Phi Island
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Long Beach boasts one of the best stretches of whitest and softest sand you can find on the Phi Phi islands. This beach marries the best of both worlds – the convenience of having shops, restaurants and plenty of services a tourist would need. And just the right dose of peace and quiet away from the maddening crowd.
With part of the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio shot here, Long Beach at Phi Phi Island catapulted to stardom overnight.
But its true allure lies in Shark Point.
Shark Point looks like a small island made out of sheer rock with no sand infringing it. Jutting out from the sea at 200m away from Long Beach, Shark Point is the best place to find blacktip reef sharks. If you’re afraid that these sharks may attempt having you like snacks, then fear not as these sharks are harmless. The trick to swimming with these beauties is to avoid the periods where the water is filled with boats. And the ideal time to do so is ungodly, but all so worth it! Try to charter a private boat before 9.00 am (and as early as 6.00 am is recommended). Alternatively, head out after 5.00 pm. You may loathe the higher price of hiring a speed boat at such wicked hours, but you could be swimming with up to 30 blacktip sharks during this time. And this experience is simply priceless.
The currents are strong around Long Beach and you may feel as if you are pulled back despite paddling forward. Novice snorkelers should obey the tour guide’s instruction and opt for organized tours for safety reasons.
Where to stay at Long Beach, Phi Phi Island – Phi Phi Long Beach Resort and Villa
There is nothing swanky or pompous about Phi Phi Long Beach Resort and Villa. But its location is first-class. Located just five minutes away from the by whirling nightlight of Phi Phi Island, this resort is easily accessible yet exudes all the calmness you need for a tropical holiday. The beach is superb with hardly anyone on most days, making it one of the best secret beaches on Thailand. Amenities are well-kept and service is top-notch.
Beach away from the bright lights – Best Secret Beaches of Ko Mak, Trat Province
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Ko Mak is a small island located in the Trat Province. It was a sleepy, quiet island town with barely any tourist more than 10 decades back until it was put under the spotlight. Things changed when The Sunday Times named Koh Mak as one of their “Top 10 Undiscovered Islands”. Years later, the New York Times followed suit and wrote an article titled ‘Old Thailand’ in Koh Mak. And that marked the change Koh Mak underwent for the better.
Named after betel nut, Koh Mak is still relatively untouched. It’s one of the less touristy places in Thailand and not many tourists come here. The quiet beaches here like Suan Yai Beach and Ao Kao Beach are a testament of harmonious remote living, somewhat secluded and you could be the only person roaming the beach at times. With a local population of under 1,000 people, you will never see the crowd even during the peak travel season. Measuring just 16 square kilometers in size, the best way to explore this remote island is via scooter. Plus, getting away from the neon lights of Bangkok can never get easier than this. Koh Mak is just a 5-hour bus ride and 1-hour ferry ride away from Bangkok.
Where to stay at Ko Mak – Seavana Koh Mak Beach Resorts
Seavana Koh Mak Beach Resorts takes your breath away from start to end. You will be greeted with cozy accommodations and a panoramic view of the sea. What this means is regardless of which room you choose to stay in, you will enjoy a view of the ocean. The resort offers 2-hour free kayaking to its clients. Take advantage of this freebie and paddle across the sea to an adjacent island called Kham. Best of all, hospitality is top-notch. Just be forewarned to slather on ample insect repellant to ward off the pesky sandflies along its private beach.
The Emerald Isle is blessed with pristine clear blue sees, endless sandy beaches, and so many beaches to choose from. Over the years, Thailand has become very commercialized and somewhat overcrowded with rowdy tourists. With some careful planning, finding your perfect beach for a heavenly holiday is possible. I had a frolicking fun time visiting these beaches in the past 6 months. Hopefully, you will find this curation of off-beat and untouched beaches handy in your quest to find Thailand’s untainted beauty.