Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Top 5 Beaches in Thailand

This past weekend was another national holiday and so Clare (who you may remember from previous posts, my friend who is visiting from Sydney) and I, along with a bunch of other groovy people from Nakhon, went to Koh Phangan for 3 nights.

 The beach we went to, Haad (meaning 'beach' in Thai) Yuan, is one of my favorite beaches in Thailand. Actually it's one of the best beaches I have ever been to. I told Clare when she was planning her trip, that she simply had to visit Yuan because it's just so beautiful, chilled out, peaceful, and there's hardly any backpackers (yay!).

I have a bit of holiday time coming up in March/April/May and I want to spend some of it in Thailand. Which has got me thinking, should I visit places I've been and love and perhaps want to say good-bye to or should I try and discover some new places. If I had to name my 5 favorite beaches in Thailand (because apart from Chiang Mai and Pai in the North of Thailand, my favorite places are all islands or beaches) which ones would I choose?

I thought about it over the weekend and, finally, after much deliberation, here is the list of my top 5 beaches in Thailand (so far):

Note - 'Koh' means island in Thai.

1. Haad Yuan, Koh Phangan.
This beach is only 5/10 minutes by longtail boat from horrible Haad Rin (the horrific 'Full Moon Party' beach) yet it is so different. Haad Yuan (and neighbouring Haad Tien and Haad Wynam) are not at all built up, no loud bars blasting terrible music from 5pm-3am or bucket drinking backpackers to ruin your day/night at the beach.
The food on Haad Yuan/Tien is fantastic too. Bamboo Hut is my fave place to eat. It's perched on the rocks and affords a fantastic view of the beach. I particularly recommend ANYTHING on the menu!

On my 27th birthday, Haad Yuan

Haad Yuan, taken from Bamboo Hut

2. Paradise Beach, Koh Wai
Here's an areal image of the island. The beach i'm talking about is the 1st big beach at top left, there's a per jutting out on the Eastern side. Crystal clear water, lots of fish and some good snorkeling. There's one restaurant (attached to Paradise Resort) on the beach and you can find cocktails, snack, meals and fresh juices all served with a smile.

Brielle and I showing the love for Koh Wai

Shaking coconuts out of the tree
The beach and the pier
There were so many different types of fish living under this platform!
Great Snorkeling - Koh Wai

The restaurant on the beach, Koh Wai

3. Thong Nai Pan Noi, Koh Phangan.
blogged about this beach a few months ago. I went there with my pal Janice and had a wonderful time. We went in the height of low season and the weather was just OK, not a lot of sun BUT we still loved it. The beach is beautiful, there's a lot of options for accommodation and there are several wonderful restaurants!

Janice on Thong Nai Pan Noi
Me sipping my fresh coconut, YUM!

Thong Nai Pan Noi (and Thong Nai Pan Yai in the distance. Yai means South and Noi means North)

4. Koh Lidee (there's only 1 beach, the island is so small!)
I went to Koh Lidee in August, which is supposed to be rainy season. Although we didn't get any rain, we didn't have super sunny days the whole time either. The final day was bright and clear and I think that's what made me fall in love with the island/beach. The water is so beautiful and the area is so peaceful and quiet. Just magical.
You can either stay in the few cabins on Lidee or bring a tent, but I can guarantee you won't want to be spending much time indoors if you go to this island. We brought all our own food except for the fresh seafood which we bought off the local fishermen (there's no shop). There was a BBQ as well as some big containers for ice to keep everything cold.

The view from my bedroom window

Enjoying the warm water

Post swim, morning coffee

A beautiful full moon

Koh Lidee by day, stunning!

5. Loh Dalam Bay, Koh Phi Phi Don. This beach is on my list for a different reason to the others. It's not the most magical, beautiful place in Thailand but it's just so much fun! Phi Phi is a great island with loads going on. During the day everyone flocks to Loh Dalam Bay and relaxes in the flat, shallow water, and at about 5pm people start to leave and get ready for a fun night out in exactly the same place.
At night the beach transforms, there are rows and rows of beach bars with fire shows and fresh seafood on BBQs.
I have been to Phi Phi twice and each time I loved it! I, like everyone else, spent everyday lazing around on the sand and swimming with all the other tourists (sounds horrible, is actually quite fun) and every night watching fire shows and drinking cocktails on the same beach at night.

Loh Dalam Bay

From the viewpoint, Loh Dalam Bay on the right

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