Thai beaches are world-wide known for their beauty, laid-back young atmosphere and cheap prices. Thinking of the word exotic, one of those paradisiacal beaches can quickly come into one´s mind and not only for their white soft sand and clear blue waters but also due to the exuberant green nature; abrupt Karst formations scattered in the middle of the sea; the tasty dragon fruit, mangos, mangostenes, lychees; the full-moon parties and ambience surrounding the party islands; the many adventure sports opportunities; and the local and visiting crowd high spirits and relaxing attitude… everything contributing to create that chill-out, fun and sexy beach image of Thailand´s famous beaches. And I can assure you, it is not just an image: it is reality; it is a state of mind!
Phuket, Krabi, Ko Phi Phi, Kao Lak, Ko Tao, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan or Similan Islands? The choice is wide and the decision-making is difficult for each one of them is different from the other and has its own special something making each island a “one of a kind” and a “must-see” when in Thailand. Depending on the time of the year, a visit to the Gulf of Thailand would be more favorable than a visit to the Andaman Sea or vice versa. Get well-informed on the climate prior to committing to one place. I went for the Christmas Holidays period and had clear blue skies, hot sunny days in the Andaman Sea perfect for sun-bathing, snorkeling and swimming; and not so perfect weather in the Gulf of Thailand where the frequent rain showers made the apparently clear seawaters more turbid and not so appealing for snorkeling. Nonetheless, temperatures were hot and water sports were always an option; perhaps just not so picture-perfect for the camera lens. Another factor to consider is the purpose of the trip: are you planning on diving? Or only snorkeling? Kayaking along the coastline? Willing to dance till sunrise on the beach under the full-moon light? Or a relaxing family trip including the youngest of the bunch? My perception, and this might differ from other people´s, is that all beaches are suitable for all purposes if the correct beach and accommodation is chosen. However, it is known that for diving experiences the Similan Islands and Ko Tao are the best choices; for the long sleepless nights and full-moon parties Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Phi Phi are the shining stars; for rock climbing in the sea there is only one place and that is Krabi; for family resort beaches go to Phuket and Ko Samui.
After my almost 10 days of beach hoping, I cannot say there was one place I would have rather not gone, however, I can assure my heart was stolen by Ko Phi Phi Islands.
The snorkeling experience at Ko Phi Phi Don was great!! Very near the coast and with very clear waters to see a variety of small fish. No experience required and no water dangers! I am paranoid about sharks and at all times I felt safe and enjoying every single second underwater. I will never forget entering the Blue Lagoon: that clear blue water was almost insultingly beautiful, so inviting to jump in the water and be left at ease!!
And without a doubt the top cherry of the cake goes to Maya Bay!!! Although full of visiting boats and tourists clicking photos in that bay Leonardo DiCaprio made famous in the movie “The Beach”, it is truly gorgeous, a definite “must-see” in Thailand, worth a walk on that radiant white flour-like sand massaging your feet and a swim in the light green-blue waters. I wouldn’t have minded to be left behind by my boat tour and spend a few nights in the island´s simple camping huts! What a paradise!!!