Best beaches to escape from Bangkok
Even for visitors who find themselves amongst the skyscrapers and bustle of Bangkok will be thrilled to learn that there are still beaches in very nearby proximity to the concrete capital. The three closest beach destinations to Bangkok are Hua Hin, Pattaya and Bang Saen.
Hua Hin has a plethora of activities such as a lively nightlife, unique markets and entertaining waterparks.
For travellers looking for a combination of several decent beaches, as well as the naughty nightlife and party scene that Thailand is notorious for, head to [Pattaya](/en/thailand/pattaya.
The very nearby, Bang Saen Beach is also a popular spot for those wanting an escape from smog-ridden city life for a day or two.
Top 15 mainland beaches and how to reach them from Bangkok
Aside from the ones mentioned, there are numerous other beaches in Thailand that travellers can visit for a spot of sun, salt and sand. The top 15 best mainland beaches in Thailand have been rallied up according to location and distance from the chaotic capital with all their highlights laid out in full glory. Grab the sunscreen and Frisbee!
Eastern Seaboard: Bang Saen, Pattaya, Rayong and Trat
1. Bang Saen
Bang Saen, just 90 minutes from Bangkok, is the very closest beach to the city and surprisingly, the ideal destination for a non-touristy getaway. While the snorkelling here isn’t all that remarkable, this sleepy, old fishing town has a very local feel which is wonderfully refreshing after the commercial atmosphere of Bangkok.
Additionally, one of the main reasons to visit Bang Saen is for the scrumptious abundance of seafood. The fresh fish and perfectly-cooked crustaceans are best enjoyed with your feet in the sand from one of the many beachside street vendors or from one of the seaside restaurants.
For travellers wanting first-hand experience with the infamous Thai nightlife, go-go bar and party scene, grab a 2 and a half hour bus from Bangkok and head to Pattaya. Buses leave from the Ekamai Bus Terminal and the Mo Chit Bus Terminal every day from Bangkok and this route is a popular one with locals and tourists alike.
Aside from the seedy nightlife of Pattaya, daytime activities on Pattaya Beach are here in full swing. Spend your day sipping icy drinks on the sand with a good book or opt for taking a ride on a jet-ski, speedboat or parasail around the coastline.
For those looking to avoid the Pattaya crowds, the quiet beaches of Rayong are easily accessible from Bangkok (3 hours) and are some of best Thailand beaches for families looking for a peaceful break. Being a regional hub for transportation fortunately means that getting to Rayong is an easy and frequent bus ride from Bangkok.
A recommended beach in Rayong is Mae Pim Beach which is famous for its local feel and authentic ambiance. This beach is much loved for its abundance of activities for children and families as well as its excellent seafood markets and restaurants.
The furthest east that one can get in Thailand before hitting Cambodia, are the beaches of Trat. Treated as more of a transit station for travellers heading to Cambodia or the beautiful Koh Chang; Trat beaches are known and loved by couples or young families for their peaceful ambiance and secluded feel. Amongst the few isolated and tranquil beaches of Trat lies the famous black sand beach of Laem Ngop.
Getting to Trat from Bangkok will take around 6 hours in an air-conned bus and cost around THB 270. Buses leave Bangkok’s Ekkamai Terminal roughly every hour and Mo chit Terminal around every three hours.
The Gulf: Cha-Am, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Pranburi, Chumphon and Songkhla
A perfect beach holiday for families on a budget, students or groups of young families, Cha-Am Beach is affordable, non-touristy and suited to a range of beach-goers. Curl up with a book, get a beachside massage or take a fun ride on one of the fast banana boasts whizzing up and down the waves. Minibuses depart for Cha-Am from Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai Terminal every hour from 5am to 10pm. The journey is around three hours and costs THB 160.
6. Hua Hin
Famous as a result of the Thai royal family building their summer home here in the 1920’s, Hua Hin is an excellent beach for locals and tourists with various budgets and interests. Hua Hin offers fun and enjoyment for families, solo backpackers and couples looking for relaxation or adventure. Vibrant markets, exciting nightlife and a wonderful fusion of city and sea, Hua Hin offers its guests cheap beach-hopping public transportation, and affordable food and accommodation. Plus it also takes far less time, effort and Baht to get to Hua Hin from Bangkok than any of the southern islands.
7. Prachuap Khiri Khan
Envision a spectacular far-reaching sandy bay hemmed in by majestic limestone cliffs with cerulean, frothy waves embracing the shoreline. Prachuap Kiri Khan makes for a very impressive first impression and is enjoyed by families, photographers and cyclists.
It is possible to get to Prachuap Kiri Khan from Bangkok by van, bus or train and once arrived the town is small enough to commute on foot, tuk-tuk or on a rented bicycle. The journey should take around four hours. Although there is a pleasant well-known public beach along the main bay, exploring the nearby superior beaches on bicycle is highly recommended. Be sure to check out the picturesque Ao Manao.
Enjoyed by the locals of Bangkok as a coastal getaway, Pranburi, fondly known as the ‘Thai Riviera’ lies further along the south of Hua Hin. Famous for its idyllic ocean views and mangrove forests, this beach is ideal for honeymooners or visitors wanting a peaceful reprieve. When in Pranburi, the top beach to seek out is Dolphin Bay which is visited from February to May by bottlenose dolphins and porpoise. With the squeaky white sand and tropical islands sitting offshore, the beaches of Pranburi are wonderfully scenic.
Getting here from Bangkok can be achieved via car, train or bus with a distance of around 280 kilometres.
Situated in southern Thailand, the Chumphon coast boasts a beautiful stretch of beaches. Arguably the cream of the crop of Chumphon beaches is Haad Thung Wua Laen. With its plentiful coconut trees standing at odd 90 degree angles, the open expanse of deserted beach and the remote feel, this spot is the ideal oasis for backpackers looking to unwind or families with young children. Yet another great beach in Chumphon is Haad Sairi which boasts an old battleship, affordable prices and incredible seafood. Arriving from Bangkok is possible by air, car and bus, plus there are also cycling tours which offer a 4-day cycling expedition from Bangkok to Koh Samui via Chumphon.
Last up along the western coast is Samila Beach in the charming city of Songkhla. This scenic peninsula is celebrated for its beautiful stretch of white, sugary beaches and is especially famous for its Golden Mermaid statue which honors a sorrowful, but romantic folk legend. From the shady shelter of the pine groves along the shore you’ll be able to enjoy the views of Koh Nu and Koh Maeo. This characterful beach is ideal for picnics, sunset strolls and relaxing and uncrowded swimming. The journey from Bangkok is best done via a night-bus as the trip is just over 12 hours and departs from Sai Tai Mai terminal daily at 6pm.
The Andaman Coast: Ranong, Khao Lak, Krabi, Trang and Satun
Most famously known as a visa-run destination due to its easy access to Kawthoung in Myanmar, Ranong features beautiful stretches of beaches and a stunning collection of islands that are famous for their diving and snorkelling opportunities. Getting into Ranong from Bangkok can be achieved via air on a 6am or 6pm flight, whereas train and bus stations will take you as far as Chumphon.
12. Khao Lak
For travellers looking for the idyllic beachy town vibe rather than lively, exotic nightlife, Khao Lak, with its stunning beaches with their mountainous and jungle surroundings is the perfect beach holiday. The 20km strip of beaches is scattered with plentiful resorts, hotels and tourist facilities and yet the tourism on Khao Lak in no way diminishes the unspoiled beauty of the area. The beaches here are the ideal spot for off-shore diving and the marine life below the turquoise waves offer something special for its guests. The best way to travel from Bangkok is via airplane to Krabi and then transferred via minivan. Alternatively overnight buses leave Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai Terminal at 7:30pm nightly.
13. Krabi & Railay Beach
Hands down our absolute favourite beach in Thailand is Railay Beach in Krabi – a vibrant fusion of towering limestone castes, rock climbing, stunning viewpoints and caves. This beach is only accessible via a 20 minute longtail boat ride from Krabi and attracts an assortment of visitors year round. Ideal for adventurers, thrill-seekers, honeymooners and families, Railay Beach is the perfect epitome of what one envisions Thailand beaches to be. Bangkok offers daily flights to Krabi as well as much more time consuming bus, minivan and train alternatives.
Think rustic, wooden beach swings rocking gently in the afternoon sun overlooking a view of limestone cliffs – Trang offers visitors bronzed sea sand landscapes and expansive ocean views. Ideal for backpackers, groups of friends and photographers looking for deserted strips of coastline.
Haad Chao Mai National Park is a protected marine national park that is located in Trang and well worth a visit, as is Haad Yong Ling a lovely beach hemmed in by forest and limestone caves. Getting in from Bangkok can be done on one of the many short flights occurring daily. Overnight trains and buses are also viable options for those on a budget.
The gateway to Thailand’s southern-most islands, such as Koh Lipe, Koh Rawi and Koh Adang; Satun offers exceptional immaculate natural wonders, delicious local food and plentiful diving and snorkelling opportunities for visitors. This is the ideal jumping off point to pristine beaches, excellent diving and snorkelling and mostly untouched natural beauty. The best way to get to Satun from Bangkok is via Hat Yai, either by airplane or bus.
3 Beach Hotels in Thailand for a Memorable Stay
Aleenta Hua Hin Resort and Spa in Pranburi
One our absolute favourite Thailand beach resorts is Aleenta Hua Hin Resort and Spa in Pranburi. Featuring 25 unique and exceptionally stunning residences all complete with a private plunge pool, mere footsteps away from the foamy waves and absolutely breathtaking views over the gulf of Thailand, Aleenta promises supreme luxury and fairy-tale bliss. The onsite wedding planner adds to the romantic ambiance for those planning a tropical wedding, a renewal of vows or on their honeymoon.
At the pinnacle of luxury and the height of tropical decadence, is Rayavadee Krabi, nestled at the threshold of Krabi Marine National Park. This beach resort is tucked amongst exquisite jungle and coconut forests and set against a backdrop of towering limestone cliffs and the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea. Boasting some of the finest spa facilities in all of Thailand, excellent cuisine and exceptional hotel facilities, Rayavadee is the stuff that tropical dreams are made of.
The Sands Khao Lak Beach Resort
For visitors who yearn for the ultimate paradise, the nature-inspired resort, The Sands Khao Lak Beach Resort is the embodiment of sensuous living. The resort is situated right on the golden shores of the beachfront, offers unique rooms and exquisite architecture and décor that blend harmoniously with the nature environment. The Sands boasts five swimming pools, Jacuzzis, shopping, a fitness center and an extensive Game’s Room.
Choose your beach destination in Thailand!
With more than 3500 kilometres of gorgeous white, golden and bronzed coastline, Thailand is world-famous for its gorgeous beaches and splendid azure seas. The marvellous thing about Thai beaches is the sheer diversity of landscapes, atmosphere and marine life. From pancake-flat horizons to secluded caves and looming limestone castes, the setting of the beaches are as diverse as they come. Some of Thailand’s beaches are teeming with party-goers covered in neon body-paint while others are utterly deserted other than a family of monitor lizards. The beaches of Thailand welcome in visitors of every kind and enthral the masses with their natural beauty.