Beach recommendations in Thailand
November 2, 2017 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Headed to Southeast Asia in March and very excited! Will be concluding our trip in Thailand and seeking recommendations for a beach destination there. Details on preferences inside.

Our penultimate stop will be Bangkok, and from there we'd like to go to a lovely beach for about 4 or 5 days.
● We = two M-F couples (one in early 30s, one in late 30s/early 40s), no kids
● Want to bask on a quiet, clean, pretty beach and drink plenty of drinks
● Interested in good food with lots of vegetarian options
● Availability of massages would be great
● Should be either a non-stop flight from Bangkok or reasonable overland/over water trip (say, half-day or less?)
● Open to either a hotel or an Airbnb-type situation
We haven't settled on a budget, so interested in ideas in all price ranges. Thank you!
posted by DavidNYC to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went ages ago to Koh Lanta. It was pretty, calm, and clean (certainly more so than Phuket); we went there by boat. You'll find massages at basically any hotel. Good food with lots of veg is easy to come by wherever you go.
posted by waninggibbon at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Koh Phi Phi and neighboring beaches which you can reach by boat taxi for day trips fit the bill.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 3:13 PM on November 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

With your options that easy to get to from Bangkok you are going to have to lower your expectations a little. Look at some of the lesser known islands - but they still take at least a full day to get there. Where you are going to have to give is on "clean" and "quiet".

As mentioned above, massages, veg food, easy to come by. Cold drinks depend on your risk comfort with ice, but beer is everywhere of course.

Take a look at Koh Kut and Koh Mak.
posted by miles1972 at 4:28 PM on November 2, 2017

I went to Koh Chang and it was about a half day from Bangkok. There's lots of lodging options, but there was no shortage of clean beaches and massages. I can't speak to the vegetarian food options because I'm not a vegetarian but I think you should be fine.
posted by FakePalindrome at 4:57 PM on November 2, 2017

If you want easy to get to from Bangkok AND quiet-ish, the "east coast" (ie, on the way to Cambodia) islands are going to be your best bet. The aforementioned Koh Chang is great. I also had a lovely time on Koh Samet - it was years ago and I was on a 21-year-old's backpacker budget, so I can't recommend a specific place, but my memory was that the farther you got from the main pier, the quieter the beaches got. They were all beautiful.

And yeah, you can get vegetarian food everywhere. Pro-tip, though: my vegetarian friends have all, when they were in Thailand, decided to just politely ignore the existence of fish sauce.
posted by lunasol at 6:33 PM on November 2, 2017

Thanks for all the recommendations! Trying to stay relatively "close" to Bangkok just because time is precious and we'd rather not spend it on a long schlep if at all possible. Also, fish sauce not a worry, but thanks for the heads up!

As for the ice, though, how big of a concern is that?
posted by DavidNYC at 8:44 PM on November 2, 2017

Take a quick flight to samui and then head to Mae Naam on the north side of the island. It is super low key, clean, and wonderful. And if you want to go slumming, chaweng is only like 15 minutes away.

You could go to phuket and stay at a beach that isn't around Patong, I have stayed at a few spots around the island and you could get into a resort that has a private-ish beach (like only one or two resorts nearby) and that would be cool.

Koh Lanta is too hard to get to for your time frame, and I wouldn't recommend Koh Phi Phi either because it is a bit of a hassle to get to, and honestly it is kind of a shithole packed with drunk people and trash. Not my type of place, anyway.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:40 AM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Koh Phangan's northwest bit is just reachable from Bangkok in half a day. Fly to Samui, then ferry, then a songthaew or get your hotel to collect you.
posted by mdonley at 7:32 AM on November 3, 2017

I've never had any issues with ice, so I'm not sure what miles1972 is talking about. Often the ice for drinks will be kind of donut-shaped. Getting to Koh Lanta involves a 1.5 hour flight from Bangkok to Krabi and a 2.5 hour bus/ferry ride to the island.
posted by waninggibbon at 10:43 AM on November 3, 2017

First make sure you go to the right area for the weather. I *think* you want the Andaman Sea (Western) side during that time of year (and the east side during the American summer months). Monsoonal patterns. But double check.

In the Phuket area, Kata Beach is nice. Fairly quiet (when I went), but plenty of bars and restaurants, nice beach, but not "secret hidden beach" type. Nice variety of hotels, depending on your tastes. Some neat day trips available (including Koh Phi Phi). There are also a couple of beaches south from there that are the "secret hidden private beach with a small resort" type thing.
posted by bluesky78987 at 3:45 PM on November 3, 2017

Don't worry about ice. Tap water is actually pretty safe* in Thailand in most cities and tourist areas. But even if you don't want to risk tap water, you'll be fine with ice.

I say this as someone who lived in a pretty remote/non-touristed town in Thailand and drank so many fruit shakes with lots of ice, not to mention the ubiquitous "iced coffee in a plastic bag bought on the side of the road."

* Water is treated with chlorine in many municipalities, so it may not actually be super-safe from a long-term perspective, but that won't affect a short-term vacationer. And travelers can have issues with food and water anywhere just due to different local microbes, etc. But you don't need to take special precautions in touristed areas of Thailand.
posted by lunasol at 4:06 PM on November 3, 2017

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