Best Thailand Beaches to Visit While On A Gap Year

Published 6th June 2022

One of the main things that draw gap year students and adventure seekers to Thailand is the stunning exotic beaches. In Thailand, you’ll find a spectacular coastline like nowhere else in the world and discover your own tropical paradise. With so many amazing Thailand best beaches on offer, it can be hard to know where to begin exploring. So, to get a better idea about the best beaches in Thailand to visit while on a gap year, take a look at our comprehensive guide.


If you’re looking for the best beaches in Thailand, a visit to Phuket should be high on the list of things to do. Phuket is the largest and most popular island in Thailand – made up of over 30 spectacularly beautiful beaches. The white, soft sand and aquamarine water of Phuket draw thousands of people to its shores each year. The beaches in the southwest are generally more vibrant and developed. Head over to the beaches on the west of Phuket for a more tranquil, authentic, Thailand best beach experience.  

The Coral and Racha islands on the southern coast of Phuket have some of the most popular beaches in the area. The small islands are surrounded by fluffy, white sand and coral reefs, so it’s a fantastic place for snorkelling and diving. If you want something more secluded, head to Banga Toa beach, which is 3.5 miles long. Banga Toa is very natural and undeveloped, but you can find some bars and beach shacks in the south. 

Mai Khao is almost 7 miles long, the longest in Phuket, and is one of the more secluded beaches. Mai Khao is covered in golden sand and is part of the Sirinat National park, making it one of the very best beaches in Thailand. It’s a protected area and mostly underdeveloped, but you can find some beach shacks at the north end.


A list of the best beaches in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without featuring Pattaya. Pattaya is a city located on the gulf of the east coast of Thailand, just 95 miles from Bangkok. The coast of Pattaya doesn’t rival Thailand best beaches in the south, but it’s still spectacularly beautiful and clean. The main beach is Pattaya beach which is 2.5 miles long. It’s very close to the city, so it’s pretty vibrant and buzzing. Pattaya has all the commodities of a large city, so you can find plenty of parties, places to eat, and water activities to enjoy 

If you fancy something a little more tranquil, head a mile down the coast to Jomtien beach. Jomtien beach is much quieter but still has plenty going on in terms of eating, drinking and watersports. Further down from Jomtien, you can find Dongtan beach, which is a mile long and even has an LGBTQ+ section. If you enjoy diving, you must visit Bang Saray next to the sleepy town of the same name. Whale sharks often visit the area, and there’s an underwater World War 2 shipwreck to explore. 

Koh Phi-Phi

Koh Phi Phi gained international acclaim as the setting of the blockbuster movie, The Beach, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. The Koh Phi-Phi islands are part of a national park in the middle of the Andaman Sea, and are home to some of the best beaches in Thailand. There are six islands altogether, but the main ones are Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. You can get to the islands on a boat from Phuket or Krabi

Koh Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island, and Koh Phi Phi Leh is home to Maya Bay, the setting of The Beach. Due to the large influx of tourists after the movie, Maya bay was closed for three years to preserve the wildlife and ecology. Maya Bay reopened to tourists again this year. 

The most lively place on the Phi Phi islands is Tonsai beach, famous for its party scene and nightlife. Tonsai is a beautiful, buzzing beach dotted with limestone cliffs and coral reefs – fantastic for snorkelling.  


Krabi has some of the best beaches in Thailand, if not the whole world. It’s famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs, and stunning turquoise sea, and it’s a popular destination for rock climbing.

Ao Nang beach is the main beach in Krabi, with plenty of nightlife and activities on offer. It’s busy and lively because it’s the main starting point to explore the other beaches in the area. Ao Nang is a fantastic sunset spot, with a buzzing vibe in the evening when everyone is returning from their tours.  

Railay Bay in Krabi is a spectacular, unspoilt bay close to Au Nang, but it’s only accessible by boat. At Railay bay, you’ll find four amazing beaches with plenty of rocks to climb and water activities such as kayaking. From Railay beach, you can take a short jungle walk to Tonsai beach, which is quieter and more secluded. 

Koh Hong beach on Koh Hong Island is part of a national park, so it’s natural and untouched, with a secret lagoon. You have to take a boat to get to this small natural paradise, but it’s worth visiting to see the tropical fish and wild monkeys.  

Hua Hin

Hua Hin on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand is one of the more cosmopolitan beaches in the country, with lots of activity and nightlife. It’s a long, wide beach with safe, shallow water, and it’s a fantastic budget destination. Hua Hin is the original Thailand best beach package holiday destination. It has golf courses, water parks, horse riding, jet skis, and everything else you would expect from a beach resort. 

Khao Takibi beach is around 4.5 miles from Hua Hin, is less developed and feels much more secluded. In Khao Takibi, you can visit Monkey Mountain with a stunning Buddhist temple sitting on top. Or head over to Khao Tao beach, one of the smaller beaches – it’s fantastic for swimming, and you can relax with a massage.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the second-largest island in Thailand, best beaches there include Silver beach and Chaweng. The island of Koh Samui is less developed and has fewer visitors than Phuket. It attracts backpackers and luxury holiday seekers, so there’s a diverse crowd of people. 

The Beaches of Koh Samui are famous for their coconut groves, dense rainforest, and mountains. Silver beach is also known as crystal bay because of its white sand and crystal clear waters. It’s one of the smallest beaches on Koh Samui with a relaxed atmosphere, flat, calm waters and fascinating rock pools. 

Chaweng beach on the east coast is one of the most lively beaches in Koh Samui. If you’re looking for a party, head to At Ark Bar Beach Club, which often hosts international DJs. For a more relaxing time, head over to Lamai beach in the southeast.

Koh Chang

Koh Chang certainly deserves a place on the list of the best beaches in Thailand. On this large island, you can find a mixture of unique beaches, all with their own vibe. Most beaches are on the west coast, bolstered by incredible mountains at either end. There are also beaches on the east side of Koh Chang, but they’re not very accessible. 

Lonely beach is one of the liveliest parts of the island, and it’s a popular spot for backpackers because of the nightlife, cheap drinks and beach parties. At the north end of the beach, you can step back from the action at the Nature beach resort. 

Bang Bao fishing village is also worth a visit. It’s a traditional Thai fishing village famous for its delicious seafood. Bang Bao is the best place to find diving excursions and boat trips to explore the rest of Koh Chang.  

Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta lies off the coast of Krabi and is a close neighbour of Koh Phi Phi, but it’s much quieter and less developed. This area certainly has some of the best beaches in Thailand, with many beautiful bays to explore. It’s generally busier in the north but gets more tranquil as you head south. 

For a taste of Thailand best beaches head to Long beach, the biggest and longest beach on the island. It’s 3 miles long, so it has plenty of space for sunbathing. The calm waters of Long beach make it fantastic for swimming, and there’s lots of shade to relax in. 

Klong Dao is one of the more popular beaches in the north of Koh Lanta – it’s well developed and lively with plenty of mixed accommodation. If you want flat, calm, crystal clear waters and more seclusion, head to Kantiang bay in the south. Kantiang bay is often voted one of the best beaches in Thailand. It’s 1.5 miles long and one of the quietest, most secluded beaches on the island. 

Apply with Camp Thailand to Explore More of Thailand’s Best Beaches!

Here at Camp Thailand, we’ll help you discover the very best beaches in Thailand and ensure you have an authentic travel experience. We have a range of tours to choose from, that include Thailand best beaches, and we’ll help you gain valuable skills as you travel. The Camp Thailand application process is easy, we have flexible payment options, and we’ll support you with every aspect of your trip.

Our Tours

Whether you’re a student, on sabbatical or taking a gap year, we have a package that will suit your needs. Choose from Camp Elephant, 12-day Adventure, the Thailand Ultimate Adventure or Island Explorer for Thailand best beaches.

We even offer post-tour packages where you can explore Bangkok or Cambodia. For groups, we can also create a tailor-made tour where you can choose the itinerary and adventures, and we can accompany you along the way. With our group tours, the 10th person goes free on your Thailand best beaches tour. 

Gain Valuable Skills in Your Gap Year

When you volunteer in Thailand, you’ll discover a whole new culture and improve your communication skills. Travelling in Asia is a great way to step outside your comfort zone and boost your confidence. You’ll also pick up lots of new skills which will make your CV stand out from the crowd. With our voulenteer programme, you also have the option to gain internationally recognised teaching qualifications. 

Travellers from all over the globe head to Thailand for adventures, so you’ll meet lots of interesting people and make global connections. With Camp Thailand, you’ll also get to take part in a range of adventures and outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, water sports, even bamboo rafting and Thai dancing. 

Make A Difference

With Camp Thailand, you’ll have the summer of a lifetime and help make a real difference in local communities. Thailand is mostly a developing country, and you can make a big difference by teaching children English. Or you can help out with local animals and wildlife with our Camp Elephant volunteer package. We’re part of a sustainable flights programme too, and we focus on making all our tours environmentally sustainable.

Comprehensive Support From Start To Finish

Here at Camp Thailand, we’re here to take the stress away from travelling and make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. From application through to departure and beyond, we support you at every step of the way. 

We send you regular updates about your trip and even tell you what to pack in or pre-departure orientation. When you land in Thailand, we meet you at the airport, accompany you to camp, and support you throughout your whole trip. With our help, Thailand best beaches are just a click away. 

Easy to Apply and Pay at Your Own Pace

The Camp Thailand application process is easy, and we accept 95 per cent of our applicants. Once accepted, you can secure your place for a 49-pound deposit, and we have three flexible payment options. You can pay for your tour in full and receive a 50-pound discount, or you can set up regular monthly payments. Or take advantage of our “pay at your own pace” option. With our help, it’s super easy to budget for a trip abroad and discover Thailand best beaches. We can even help you get a great deal on flights and travel insurance. 


Thailand best beaches include Phuket, Krabi, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, and Pattaya, to name just a few! If you’re an adventure seeker who yearns for beach life and the opportunity to discover life in a totally different culture, at Camp Thailand, we can make your dreams a reality. With our work program, you get to explore Asia, make a difference in the local community, and discover some of the best beaches in Thailand.