The Gulf Coast Beaches: Places to Explore


  • Cha-am

    It may not be the most picturesque seaside town, but Cha-am does offer an authentic Thai-style beach experience. The pier is the center of this small, quiet town. Its main street, full of restaurants, bars... Read more

  • Chanthaburi

    Chanthaburi has played a big role in Thai history. It was here that the man who would become King Taksin gathered and prepared his troops to retake Ayutthaya from the Burmese after they sacked the capital... Read more

  • Chumphon

    Chumphon is regarded as the gateway to the south, because trains and buses connect to Bangkok in the north, to Surat Thani and Phuket to the south, and to Ranong to the southwest. Ferries to Koh Tao dock... Read more

  • Hua Hin

    The golden sands near the small seaside city of Hua Hin have long attracted Bangkok's rich and famous. The most renowned visitors are the King and Queen of Thailand, who now use the Klai Kangwol Palace... Read more

  • Koh Chang

    The largest and most developed of the 52-island archipelago that became Mu Koh Chang National Park in 1982 is called Koh Chang, or Elephant Island. Most of Koh Chang is mountainous, and there are only... Read more

  • Koh Phangan

    As Koh Samui developed into an international hot spot, travelers looking for a more laid-back scene headed for Koh Phangan. Decades ago, the few wanderers who arrived here stayed in fishermen's houses... Read more

  • Koh Samet

    Koh Samet's beautiful beaches are a hit with Thais and Bangkok expats, especially on weekends. Although newer resort areas beckon, Koh Samet remains popular with laid-back travelers who just want to sunbathe... Read more

  • Koh Samui

    This is the most popular tourist destination on the Western Gulf coast, which isn't surprising, considering Koh Samui's gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, and sparkling blue, almost turquoise, water. Koh... Read more

  • Koh Si Chang

    For centuries Koh Si Chang was considered a gateway to Thailand, the spot where huge sailing ships docked and smaller barges loaded goods bound for Bangkok and Ayutthaya. This is still a hardworking port... Read more

  • Koh Tao

    Just a few decades ago, the tiny island of Koh Tao could have been compared to the one inhabited by Robinson Crusoe: no electricity, no running water, no modern amenities of any kind. Today there are tattoo... Read more

  • Pattaya

    Pattaya proponents like to boast that their city has finally emerged as a legitimate upscale beach destination. This is partly true: recent years have seen the opening of chic restaurants and more family-friendly... Read more

  • Surat Thani

    Surat Thani is where you board the boats bound for Koh Samui. Although it's not a particularly attractive city, don't despair if you have to stay overnight while waiting for your ferry. There are some... Read more

  • Takiab Beach