Thailand is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in Southeast Asia, with tourism accounting for six percent of the country’s GDP. The World Tourism Organization states that Thailand was the most visited country in Southeast Asia as of 2013 and it’s not hard to understand why.

The state boasts incredible natural beauty, including miles upon miles of gorgeous beaches. Wannabe-visitors can imagine themselves lounging in the sun with a perfectly blue ocean as their view. There are tons to do on Thailand’s beaches, aside from usual activities like sun-tanning and wading in the water. Visitors can go diving or snorkelling, explore the lush forests that border the beaches, and even catch a glimpse of exotic animals. Likewise, it’s easy to discover regular, ol’ beach activities and water sports at Thai beaches, too. There’s something for everyone!

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However, as gorgeous as Thailand’s beaches are known to be, not all of them are of equal beauty. In fact, there are some beaches that you should avoid altogether while in Thailand. Issues such as pollution, the over-population of tourists, and degrading environments can ruin the experiences many of these beaches provide. Keep reading to discover which beaches tourists should avoid and which ones will be worth your time.

Beaches You Should Avoid

Haad Rin, Koh Phangan: While this beach provides a stunning view, your Instagram photo will be ruined by the ridiculous amounts of trash that litter this beach, Go Girl Guides warns. Its shores have become known for late-night parties (often infamously called Full Moon Parties), which in turn results in partygoers leaving their persona belongings, empty bottles, and other types of trash scattered across the sand. We recommend checking out the other beaches Koh Phangan has to offer.

Jomtien Beach, Chonburi: The reviews of Jomtien on Trip Advisor speak for themselves. Many past visitors complain that the shore and boardwalk are dirtied by trash and general pollution. The boardwalk is evidently in need of serious construction, and when they do try to repair anything, it makes the crowdedness even worse.

Overall, visiting Jomtien beach sounds like a stressful, nightmarish-experience, which isn’t what you generally want on a relaxing beach vacation.

Maya, Koh Phi Phi: Maya Bay is famous for its social media-worthy view. But now that the site has become viral online, way too many tourists regularly flock to this beach, making it unworthy of your time. Not only is the shore over-crowded by tourists all trying to get the perfect selfie, but the environment has been devastated by the amounts of trash they leave behind. Similarly, the water is polluted and overrun by the copious amounts of boats. This isn’t the beach to have a relaxing beach day.

Bang Saen, Chonburi: After spending time in Chonburi, the blogger behind Thailand Red Cat called the beach at Bang Saen the “dirtiest and most polluted one I have seen in Thailand.” Unfortunately, this beach is not only known for lacking in its tourist-friendly activities, but it’s become increasingly polluted over the years. If you’re looking for something picturesque for a full-day adventure, it may be wise to consider other options that this beach.

Beaches You Need To See

Thong Nai Pan Noi & Yai Beaches: If you’re looking for a good beach destination in Koh Phangan, then consider the idyllic coves of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai beaches. These destinations are much quieter and haven’t attracted the Full Moon Party crowd. They’ve got a distinctive hippy feel. But there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to keep your attention, or there are tons of soft sand to put down a blanket and enjoy the view.

Kata Beach: The reason we recommend Kata Beach, a charming bay a few minutes from Karon Beach, is because it’s one of the lesser populated beaches that still offers a gorgeous view and tons of family-friendly activities. It features a palm-lined beach, tons of restaurants, and a variety of accommodation within walking distance. It has a variety of shops and water sports to entertain your group for the whole day.

Klong Dao Beach: Klong Dao Beach is definitely Koh Lanta’s most popular beach – especially during peak season, between December to February. But the location still hasn’t become unbearably overrun and polluted with tourists. Rather, the beach has a distinctly isolated feeling because it’s so quiet, making it feel like a tropical paradise all to yourself. Luckily, Klong Dao is also not too inconvenient to get to, despite how desolate it can feel. If you’re looking for a gorgeous view and some solitude, then give this beach a try.

Railay Beach: Railay Beach is constantly cited as one of the top beaches in Thailand on travel blogs. Visitors appreciate that there are no roads or cars to be seen from the shoreline. Railay is a small peninsula situated between Krabi Town and Ao Nang, which can only be reached by boat. While this may seem like a slight inconvenience, visitors appreciate the remoteness and tranquillity the space has to offer. It hasn’t been dirtied by trash or pollution to the same degree as other Thai beaches, and its laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect opportunity to lie in the sun and read the book that’s been on your list forever.

Deciding What's Right For You

The most important part when deciding what beaches to visit during a Thailand vacation is figuring out what you want. Some tourists like the hustle and bustle of a crowded tourist destination. Perhaps you like feeling like you're in the heart of everything and always having something to do.  While walking the boardwalk and checking out shops and restaurants appeals to a lot of people, some folks would rather spend their time on the shore while at the beach. Maybe you want a bach day that's more relaxed and filled with sun tanning. playing in the water, and enjoying the natural beauty. So, choosing a beach destination that's less crowded it likely more up your alley.

Do Your Own Research

To figure out what beach suits your preferences, the best thing to do is research. Keep reading lists of the best and worst beaches people recommend in Thailand. Read tourist reviews on sites like Trip Advisor to hear first-hand accounts of people's experiences. And most importantly, don't just rely on the photos. While a photo may look gorgeous, it won't show whether the beach is over-crowded, has been destroyed by pollution, or has the activities that you want to see. Thus, always do other research beforehand.

Which beach do you want to visit? Make sure to let us know in the comments!