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Four Thailand Bays Make TripAdvisor’s Best Beaches List

Published 20 September 2016

Alexandra Gregg

Temples, wildlife and spirituality abound in Asia, crafting a heady mishmash of adventure and culture for the intrepid traveller. It’s big on relaxation too and one thing this diverse continent isn’t short on is beaches. So when TripAdvisor announced its Top 25 Beaches in Asia for 2015, we were impressed to see that no less than four Thailand beaches had clinched a spot in the top 10. How’s that for exciting? And what better excuse to look into where each beach placed and what makes it so travel-worthy. Grab your swimwear, slap on that suncream and read on…

Nai Harn Beach

Where: Rawai, Phuket
Placed: 3rd
Best for… boating, swimming, sipping a sundowner

People and umbrellas on Nai Harn Beach in Thailand

Nai Harn is the beach where all the locals and expats go to relax on its shimmering sands – so you know it’s good. Pristine and untouched, this protected bay is a popular anchorage for sailing boats and luxury yachts and, with its calm, clear waters (in high season that is) it’s perfect for a leisurely swim too.

Despite being relatively off the beaten track, there’s no shortage of restaurants and bars nearby. It’s likely that your most energetic activity will be deciding where best to chow down for lunch or dinner: we recommend the wilderness-themed Rum Jungle – inspired Aussie chef Toni Bruno knows his stuff.

Railay Beach

Where: Railay peninsula, near Krabi
Placed: 7th
Best for… seclusion, sea kayaking, rock climbing

Turquoise waters at Railay Beach, Thailand

Railay Beach is the one that you see on all the postcards. Think a fairytale inlet of powder-white sands, framed by limestone cliffs, awash with drifting long-tailed boats and inaccessible by land. It leads a double life though, and its other side is all about thrillseeking. Railay is world-famous for its adrenaline-pumping rock climbing opportunities. Suspended from palm-sweatingly huge crags with only a safety harness for company, beginner and advanced climbers alike can choose from more than 700 routes to clamber along. Whichever one you go for, you’ll have the perfect beach backdrop beneath and behind you.

Kata Noi Beach

Where: Karon, Phuket
Placed: 8th
Best for… scenery, snorkelling and surfing

Waves crashing on the beach at Kara Noi Beach

We’re not going to lie: there’s not much to do on Kata Noi Beach. That said, the scenery is unparalleled, serving up azure waters, pearly beaches, lush jungle surrounds and little else – beach bums take note. For those who like to get in the water, the surf is up from May to October and most boarders and surfers don’t even know it exists. Expect frequent windswells and consistent waves aplenty.

Phra Nang Beach

Where: Railay peninsula, near Ao Nang
Placed: 9th
Best for… unwinding, romance, exploring

A limestone peak off the shore of Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang is more than just a beach. Sure, you can unwind on the sands, take a gentle swim in the milky blue waters and top up your tan. But you could also venture into limestone caves that border the bay, navigating stalactites, stalagmites and a vast network of mangroves to take in Railay Beach as well. Make sure you explore the famous – and rather quirky – Princess Cave (Tham Phra Nang Nok) too, which local fishermen believe was once home to a mythical sea princess. The cavern is now filled with wooden phallic features, paying homage to the legend.


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