Thailand’s best beaches

In a country famous for its beaches, it can be hard to sort the truly outstanding coastal locations from the simply outstanding ones. The following spots all have something seriously special going for them on top of the standard white sand and turquoise waters – so read on to find out more about the beaches that are just about as close as you can get to paradise on earth.

1. Patong Beach, Phuket: Its overwhelming popularity means that this beach isn’t everybody’s cup of tea – but if you’re prepared to put up with a little company then it has the advantages of accessibility and plenty of excellent facilities. There are water sports on offer for those whose ambitions go beyond getting a tan, and the fantastic nightlife means that this is a top spot for party animals.

2. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Ley: You’ll need to commission a boat to get to Maya Bay, but the location is certainly worth travelling for. Protected by beautiful limestone cliffs and blessed with calm waters and stunning surroundings, this beach makes a great day trip from nearby Ko Phi Phi. Go in the low season to avoid the crowds.

3. Most visitors to Thailand secretly long to discover their own ‘desert island’ beach – and despite its mainland location, Railey Beach could fit the bill. It’s an isolated spot, away from the tourist hordes, and access is by boat only. In addition to sunbathing and admiring the beautiful scenery, visitors can enjoy swimming in safe waters, snorkelling and rock climbing.

4. Kata Beach: With its strong waves and sporty feel, Kata Beach is beloved among surfers and their hangers on. It’s located in southern Phuket, not far from Patong Beach, but the atmospheres of the two locations couldn’t be more different. Kata is a pristine spot framed by palm trees and lacking the paraphernalia of a popular tourist resort, so it’s a good place to go if you fancy a little peace and quiet.

5. Hua Hin Beach: Thailand’s tourism scene is dominated by backpackers; but that isn’t to say there aren’t a number of family friendly resorts to choose from. Hua Hin Beach is a great spot for parents travelling with young children – it’s easily accessible, close to a whole range of facilities and offers some of the best paddling in Thailand. With great links to Bangkok, Hua Hin is a favourite with travellers from all over the world.

Cheap flights to Thailand currently start at £299 flying from Heathrow to Bangkok (price taken from DialAFlight.com)