To make the best beach selection you have to keep in mind some factors.
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The time of year you travel to Thailand
In general, the best season begins after the monsoons in November until April. It’s likely to have a good weather forecast, and the frequency of maritime links is higher. It is the pefect time to ‘storm’ the tropical paradises on any of its islands.
In the monsoon season, from May to October, keep in mind that it is easier to have rainy days and less clear waters, so it may be a good idea to have an alternative activities plan in the locality of the coast that you choose. Visit the cities in the interior, a cooking course, a jungle trek, an elephants camp, etc.
Anyway, we always talk about the odds and there are regional variations in the climatic patterns of some beaches to others and between the different coasts.
In the months of July and August there are more options for good weather in the Gulf of Thailand.
September is usually the rainiest month. As part of the adaptation of your trip, you can give more weight to other stages such as Bangkok or northern Thailand, and hope to have some luck in your beach destination. We suggest the Gulf of Thailand.
Pattaya and Koh Samet, located on the northernmost part of the coast near Bangkok, have a slightly shorter rainy season than the southern beaches.
Overall, the expectation of rain in October is similar on both coasts. A month of transition, when the monsoons usually finish.
In November we prefer for the Andaman Sea, Krabi, for example.
Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand is specialised in scuba diving, on this island many schools take advantage of this month to make the annual technical stop.
Koh Chang on the Gulf of Thailand coast could be a good choice.
Logically, prices rise in high season and bookings must be made far in advance.
The peaks of the high season match the Christmas holidays; the Chakri Memorial day on April 6th ; Songkran in mid-April; the birthday of the Queen on August 12 in the Gulf of Thailand; the Chulalongkorn Memorial Day on October 23th ; Loi Krathong on November; the Father’s day on December 5th and the Constitution Day on December 10th (holidays could be moved one or two days from one year to another).
The trip duration
For short stages on the beaches it is convenient to choose a destination on the coast with quick access, so that:
» Your trip from Bangkok is not too long, as it happens with the beaches closest to Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand.
» Or that the trip you do at night by bus or train.
» Or that you can take a plane in the morning and at noon be getting tan on the beach. This is possible with Krabi, Phuket and Khao Lak in the Andaman Sea and Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.
When planning the trip, take into account not only the duration of the boat transfer to the islands but also the usual prior waiting at the dock and the subsequent distribution of passengers through the different spots and hotels, which are usually included in the boat tickets and take its time.
The available budget
As a general rule, on the continental coasts you will have a wider range of accommodation, and it will be easier to find even bargains.
The smaller the island, the more expensive and in case it is also trendy, the price difference will be remarkable.
By the sea, having air conditioning is always advisable both for the heat and the high humidity, especially during the Thai summer in the months of March and April. However, if a fan is enough for you, you can get good savings.
Your expectations, what you like
If you come from a cold country and look for tropical heat, sun and beach in a cosy atmosphere, places like Hua Hin, Chumpon, Koh Samet or Pattaya may be an excellent option.
The white sand beaches with turquoise blue crystal waters are located in higher numbers in the Andaman Sea, such as the Phi Phi Islands, the Similan Islands, the islands of Trang and Koh Lipe in Ko Tarutao National Park.
Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand and Khao Lak and Koh Lanta in the Andaman Sea are similar destinations. An extensive line of coast in which small localities spread offering hotels and resorts with excellent beaches.
Ideal for a quiet holiday, in which it is also possible to make fun excursions to small nearby islands.
For example, in front of Khao Lak are some of the islands most appreciated by Thais: Koh Tachai, Surin and Similan.
Phuket has many beautiful beaches, especially on the western coast, and also has one of the bustling towns in the country, Patong Beach. As a whole, it has a wide leisure offer and from here maritime excursions depart to Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay and Raya Island, among others.
Something similar happens with Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, an island with a lot of life from which departs daily excursions to Ang Thong National Park and Nang Yuan beach in Koh Tao.
Pattaya is a well-known beach destination in the Gulf of Thailand, not far from Bangkok. It has a large beach and some other beautiful beaches nearby, although the ‘red lights district’ and this type of business are too much spread.
Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe are jewels of nature, in fashion among the younger crowd and with a lively nightlife.
Krabi – Ao Nang is also a trendy destination for young travellers, nevertheless, it is really great for all ages. It has magnificent beaches and islands in its surroundings.
The islands of Trang in the Andaman Sea are small paradises in which to get lost with a book and a towel, pure relax.
Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand also belongs to the group of quiet beach destinations, except when the full moon arrives, and the Full Moon Party is celebrated, a world-renowned electronic music festival.
Extra. Hire a long-tail boat
Extra. Enjoy sunrise in Thailand
What time are you going to have to get up?
Although there are considerable differences in latitudes between the north and south, our reference is located on Phi Phi Don Island.
From April to November, the sun rises between 06h00 and 06h30, while from December to March it rises between 06h30 and 07h00.