With a ravishing coastline stretching 3,129km (1,944mi), Thailand is a paradise for anyone who longs for lazy beach days. It’s home to some of the best beaches in the world, known for powder-soft sand, jungle-cloaked cliffs and hidden coves. Show-stopping islands include Koh Samui and Phuket, where hills blanketed in dense jungle tumble into crystal-clear water, and plush resorts hug private bays with endless sea views. Read on to discover the best beach hotels in Thailand, all bookable with Culture Trip.
You may forget you live elsewhere after a few days in your rustic-luxe teakwood villa at this village-style resort on the northern point of Phi Phi Don Island. Encased in the Koh Phi Phi National Park, famed for its rugged cliffs, gorges and coral reefs, this resort is all about the outdoors – even bathing is a chance to be outside with al fresco rainfall showers. After gaining your PADI certificate – there’s no nicer place to study – or taking an easy boat trip to the local marine park beaches, lagoons and uninhabited islands, return to a lazy seafood buffet eaten under the canopy of a tree with your toes in the sand.
This secluded Andaman Sea-facing resort on the fringes of Khao Lak spoils you with dreamy acres of tropical gardens. The suites are on the comfortable side of minimal – think polished wooden floors, restful views of those palm-tree-fringed grounds and, in the case of Pool Residences, deep onyx plunge pools for cocktail-sipping under the stars. Four-poster daybeds line the pool, where you can finally finish your holiday read as the white fabric billows dramatically in the sea breeze. Afterwards, celebrate with a champagne cocktail at the bar tucked under the fig tree.
Though it’s tempting to drift between the private pool of your thatched suite and the idyllic hillside spa village, there’s no need to feel confined to the resort at this alluring hotel in Phuket. The outstanding excursions offered by Six Senses should not be missed: try a guided cycle trip past the rubber tree plantations, take a Muay Thai lesson, volunteer at a local school or sail across unspoilt lagoons on an island-hopping tour.
Don’t panic about securing a sea view at Phuket’s Trisara Villas and Residences. All 39 villas offer panoramic outlooks over the glittering Andaman Sea, which you can enjoy from your personal terrace and the giant infinity pool built into the hillside. There are 40 expansive acres (16ha) of gardens to enjoy as well, with a spa, gym, 45m (148ft) lap pool and three excellent restaurants, including the Deck, which hosts an unmissable Sunday jazz brunch.
With previous guests including everyone from Avicii to Snoop Dogg, Sri Panwa keeps seriously stylish company. Clinging to the Cape Panwa peninsula on the tip of southeastern Phuket, the resort is hidden within 40 acres (16ha) of rainforest with buggies to whisk guests between the waterfall pool, the secret underground nightclub, the spa and the jaw-dropping pool villas cut into the cliff. Book in advance for sunset drinks at Baba Nest, a floating rooftop platform with sweeping sea views, which might just be the most photogenic bar in the world.
Foodies are truly spoilt at this chic, 122-villa resort on Koh Samui. Guests can feast on sizzling Thai stir-fries at the pool bar, enjoy a private candlelit barbecue on the beach or sign up for a cookery class to recreate Thai flavours at home. The romantic Tree Tops restaurant is truly unmissable, with just eight tables tucked between the foliage and seafood dishes that melt in your mouth.
Hugging an immaculate white sand beach on the Gulf of Thailand, this all-villa resort is buried in dense jungle on the southeastern corner of Koh Samui. Though every villa has its own private pool, it’s difficult to resist the captivating charms of the private bay, where tranquillity is guaranteed via a ban on motorised watersports. Instead, enjoy windsurfing, kayaking and paddle-boarding, or simply swim in the glowing emerald sea.
Escape the daily grind at this luxury resort on Cape Yamu, a tropical peninsula on Phuket. The hotel overlooks the UNESCO-protected Phang Nga Bay – made famous by the James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, and best explored on a day trip with John Gray’s Sea Canoe. Staying here is a dream for couples, families and thrill-seekers keen to dive, rock climb and whizz through the mangroves on a white-knuckle ATV ride. The less daring should stick to the renowned wellness offerings in the hotel, which include garden yoga, mini-massages, workshops and energising health dishes.
The wide curve of golden sand at Tongsai Bay is not just a beach but the focus of this friendly, family-run hotel. You can spend your days paddling, kayaking and snorkelling in the bath-warm waters, enjoy open-air movies and live music performances held on the waterfront in the evening. Elsewhere, there are two pools (one is adults-only), a floodlit tennis court, a gift shop, sweet spa cottages and three restaurants, including the renowned Chef Chom’s Thai.
Jo Fernandez contributed additional reporting to this article.
Looking for something extra-special in the Land of Smiles? Unwind in style with our ultimate guide to the most luxurious wellness and spa hotels or book into one of the top hotels in the country – all bookable on Culture Trip. For more options, check out these guest houses in Chiang Mai.
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