Perhaps one of the most famous beaches in the country, Maya Bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will close to visitors for three months this year. The beach famously starred in the film adaptation of Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’, a production also starring a certain Leonardo DiCaprio. Soon after the film’s release in 2000, the beach became a popular spot for those seeking their own paradise beach adventures. The beach will be closed during the low season from June to September this year to allow for the local coral environments to recover and replenish.
The Maya beach announcement follows the indefinite closure of Koh Tachai in 2016, another tropical island surrounded by rare coral reef. Although Maya Beach won’t be shut to visitors for good, the steps taken are in the hope of protecting and preserving the incredible natural beauty of the area and encourage rehabilitation of the environment and the wildlife that resides there. This positive step by the Thai authorities, reflects an increasingly eco-friendly approach towards the natural environments in this beautiful country.
Whilst this famous beach may be closed for a while, there are still plenty of other beautiful beaches in the area to be explored. So don’t worry, if you are planning on island-hopping in Thailand, we know some other incredible beaches for you to discover for yourself……
Railay is actually a peninsula of Koh Phangan with four beaches; Railay West, Railay East, Ao Phra Nang and Tonsai. Despite being a peninsula, this secluded cove surrounded by limestone cliffs is actually isolated from the mainland and only reachable by long tail boats, giving it a very ‘desert island’ feel. This one isn’t for the backpackers or the party people and although the beaches can get busy during peak season, the vibe is very laid back. There’s lots for adventure seekers in Railay too, from rock climbing the iconic cliffs, to diving and snorkelling around the clear waters. Our Top Tip? Bring a good book and just laze around enjoying the stunning surroundings!
Kata Beach & Kata Noi Beaches, Phuket
Kata beach is one of Phuket’s most famous beaches. Hat Kata has distinctive super fine white sand and vibrant turquoise water which can be both still and active depending on the season (novice swimmers should be careful in these waters). With smaller crowds than Patong plus a varied and growing choice of restaurants, shopping, nightlife and hotels, Kata beach is a great family destination. Further south, Kata Noi beach is a slightly quieter beach offering a slice of tranquillity on its palm fringed shores. During the day visitors will find some small stalls selling refreshments and light snacks. We love this beach as despite being on the bustling Phuket mainland, Kata Noi is relatively peaceful.
White Sand Beach, Khao Lak
Soft sand and beautifully clear water is a common feature on many Thai beaches, but White Sand Beach isn’t named so for nothing. This super clean beach is perfect for taking photos for your Instagram feed due to its incredible natural beauty. Once you have taken enough snaps and soaked up enough rays, head into the shade of the trees to the great local bars and restaurants for some refreshment. The beach is just a 15 minute drive from the main village on Khao Lak and is the perfect compromise between tranquillity and bustling beach life.
Bophut Beach, Ko Samui
Haad Bophut is a quintessentially Ko Samui beach. It offers great views, fantastic swimming opportunities and a varied selection of shops and restaurants in the nearby Fisherman’s Village. The beach itself is seven kilometres long and curves in a perfect crescent moon shape. The beach can get quiet narrow at high tide, but there are swimming opportunities even at low tide. The surrounding scenery of anchored sailboats in the bay and the mountains of Ko Pha Ngan on the horizon make it easy to forget your worries or cares. Fisherman’s Village at the centre of the beach is a quirky little settlement which is pleasant to wander round. We would recommend visiting on a Friday evening for what is considered the best night market on Samui.
Hat Sai Kaew Beach, Ko Samet
Probably the most popular beach on Ko Samet, Hat Sai Kaew (or Diamond Beach) is 780 metres of paradise-like almost snow white sand. The edge of the beach is peppered with homely restaurants and some lively beach bars as well as some luxury hotels. Sunbathing might be your activity of choice on this beach, but there are also plenty of other activities to do including windsurfing, water-skiing, or snorkelling. The beach remains lively into the evening too – we would recommend checking out the fire show outside the Ploy Talay restaurant at 8.30pm. Although this beach is bustling with life, it avoids the same crowds as beaches such as Pattaya or the Phuket beaches.
Sunset Beach, Ko Lipe
On the west side of Koh Lipe is Sunset beach (or Hat Pramong), aptly named after the spectacular sunsets that you can view from the island. In addition to the incredible natural wonders, the area is known for its delicious seafood. This particular beach feels less developed than other parts of the island and still gives us the fabulous desert island vibes we love to feel. The beach-side bars and restaurants here are still made from driftwood which just had to the charm of this beach. The beach is also just a ten-minute walk from Walking Street (Koh Lipe’s main area) so although the beach isn’t over developed, you are never too far away from civilisation.
Which is your favourite sandy escape? Drop us a message via Facebook to let us know.