From raving party beaches to undisturbed secret coves and everything in between, Thailand has it all. If you’re heading to Thailand with kids, it’s more that likely that a beach is on the agenda as well as some time exploring Bangkok (check out our 1 day in Bangkok with kids itinerary).
But where are the best beaches in Thailand for families and which one best suits your family? Last thing you want to do (I presume!) is check into a quaint beach bungalow only to be woken at 11 pm with booming house music shaking the walls!
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We LOVED our visit to Klong Dao Beach in Ko Lanta; it’s perhaps one of the most family-friendly beaches we have ever visited with it gentle shallow waters and beach bars boasting slides, toys and banana-chocolate pancakes.
But I know there are lots of other fantastic beaches in Thailand for kids, so I reached out to some top travel bloggers for their suggestions of the best beaches in Thailand for families. You’ll also find in here some great recommendations of the best Thai island for families and the best beach resorts in Thailand for families.
1. Klong Dao Beach, Koh Lanta
(Jenny, TraveLynn Family)
Klong Dao Beach has to be on the the most kid-friendly beaches we’ve ever visited and gets our top vote for the best beaches in Thailand for families. The gentle gradient is perfect for paddling. But it’s actually the string of kid-friendly bars and restaurants along the beach that set it apart. Many of them have toys for young kids to play with, and some of them even have slides and hoppers.
We loved our stay at Banana Beach Resort, which is right on the beach and where rooms have bunk beds for kids. There is also a pool with a separate kids’ swimming pool (including slide!)
2. East Coast, Koh Chang
(Jenny, TraveLynn Family)
Tucked away on the East Coast of Koh Chang, backed by mountains of lush forest and right on the beach, lies Serenity Beach Resort. We loved using the free kayaks out on the calm water before breakfast every morning, and us parents certainly appreciated the free buckets and spades for the boys to play in the sand in front of the restaurant.
There is also an infinity pool with a step along one side that was a safe, supervised, playing area for our then 18-month-old. Plus there is a pond of fish who need feeding each day.
You are able to hire a driver to take you from Bangkok to Koh Chang, rather than taking another flight (a great option if travelling with very young kids). We decided to stopover at the quaint, rustic, gem-town of Chanthaburi for a couple of days to break up the journey. It was about 3.5 hours to Chanthaburi from Bangkok and then 2.5 hours to Serenity Resort.
3. Sairee Beach, Koh Tao
(Kate, Our Escape Clause)
As the most popular beach on Koh Tao, 2km long Sairee Beach offers something for everyone: from casual restaurants to beach bars to the opportunity to watch long tail boats bounce lazily in the water, Sairee Beach has it all. Families will enjoy that the beach is calm and peaceful, and while there are bars around, there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants as well. Definitely make sure to take a long swim, and to dry off in the shade of one of Sairee Beach’s beautiful palm trees.
During our time on Koh Tao, we stayed at both Nirvana Guestouse and Jom Thong Guesthouse. Both properties were clean and family-friendly with spacious rooms, air-conditioning, and reasonable prices. And most importantly, they were located a short walk from Sairee Beach!
4. Koh Lipe
(Adam, Getting Stamped)
We’ve spent over 1.5 years exploring Thailand and have visited some amazing beaches, but Koh Lipe will always have our heart. It’s perfect for young families as the sea is warm and calm at the shores, and the beaches are quiet and sandy.
Our favourite is Sunrise Beach where we suggest staying at Ten Moons Lipe Resort (luxury) or Salisa Resort (mid-range), which is run by a family with young kids. There is also a great selection of casual restaurants serving kid-friendly food (pizzas and pasta). We love renting a private long tail for the day and exploring the islands at our own pace, we typically pay THB1,500 direct with the taxi boat guys.
5. Haad Chao Pao, Ko Phangan
(Dawn, 5 Lost Together)
When you think of Ko Phangan you probably think of the monthly full moon parties and those bucket concoctions. But there is so much more to the island than the Full Moon parties.
The northwest corner of the island offers up quiet beaches perfect for families. We particularly love Haad Chao Pao and Haad Yao where the calm waters are perfect for kids. Grab a budget beach bungalow and enjoy days on the beach, in the water and relaxing at the chilled out bars and restaurants serving up a great mix of Thai and Western food. Each night candles light up the restaurants where you can dine alfresco on the beach, while the kids play in the sand.
If you get steal yourself away from the beach, the island offers up pristine jungle, waterfalls, a great night food market and boat trips. We can definitely recommend Seaflower Bungalows (Haad Chao Pao), where for a very reasonable price you can get a family beachfront bungalow with super-friendly hosts. Ko Phangan is a perfect island for families, but do avoid visiting during full moon parties when parties flood to the island (you can check the calendar online).
6. Ao Phai Beach, Koh Samet (Samed)
(Nicky, Go Live Young)
Koh Samet is a small island off Thailand’s east coast, about three hours drive from Bangkok, followed by a thirty minute speed boat ride. The island is ringed by white sandy beaches, beautiful blue sea and swaying palm trees.
Ao Phai beach is perfect for children with soft sand and calm seas. We spent our days playing on the beach and swimming in the sea.
We stayed at a gem of a place – The Samed Villa Resort – located right on the beach. The restaurant served a mix of local and western food and featured a dining area right on the beach with a daily dinner BBQ. We loved the fruit shakes and cocktails..!
7. Ko Yao Noi
(Rebekah, Bulls Around the World)
We spent our days on Ko Yao Noi lazing on the beach, playing with hermit crabs and relaxing in hammocks. Reading, swimming and snoozing, it’s a perfect, tranquil destination.
Ko Yao Noi is one of Thailand’s smaller, less visited islands between Phuket and Krabi. Whilst it doesn’t have the biggest of beaches, you’ll likely have it to yourselves. Quiet calm waters with very little current made it perfect for the children.
We stayed at the Laguna Villas Yao Noi and would highly recommend it, the children were welcomed everywhere and whilst there isn’t much activity on the island, (boat trips aside) that’s what exactly we wanted!
8. Kamala Beach, Phuket
(Marianne, Mum on the Move)
Kamala Beach in Phuket is just a 10-15 minute drive north of infamous party-beach Patong, but a world away in atmosphere.
This beautiful 2-kilometre stretch of white sand has a laid-back vibe, with shallow waters perfect for splashing around in and sunloungers for kicking back on. There is a good selection of bars and restaurants serving up local Thai and western food and you can even get fresh juices, coconuts, cocktails and beers served to your sunlounger.
9. Yanui, Phuket
(Sara, The Wheelers on the Bus)
Yanui was a pleasant surprise to us as we explored Phuket from our base in Rawai, on the South of the island. Tucked away on the coast road, it had two horse-shoe shaped bays punctuated by a mound of rocks in the centre, perfect for climbing. The sand was soft and the water was warm, calm and crystal clear. There were a few fish to see and water graduated slowly which made it safe for children of all ages.
There was also a café just across the road for a fresh coconut and a Pad Thai when we got hungry- perfect for when you forget the time and accidentally stay to watch the sunset.
10. Bang Tao, Phuket
(Karen, Big Adventures for Little Feet)
Our favourite family beach on Phuket island is Bang Tao; a lengthy six-kilometre stretch of beautiful white sandy shores with some of the finest quality family hotels located in this area. Some amazing hotels are found in the Laguna Phuket complex (Dusit Thani, Angsana, Outrigger), which have prime beachfront prominence on Bang Tao and offer some beautiful beachfront dining for families.
The beach itself is one of the cleanest and best maintained in Phuket. However like most of Phuket’s west coast, beaches can be prone to strong currents in the wet season. You can definitely swim at this time just with some added care. Watch over the kids and using some common sense for calmer conditions.
A guided bike tour will allow you to visit local rubber plantations and villages for a fun family friendly adventure. Many tours also take you to the northern sections of Bang Tao that are popular with the Thai people. The central location means you are close to the pretty Bang Pae waterfall and the amazing work the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is doing to rehabilitate mistreated working and performing elephants.
11. Monkey Beach, Koh Phi Phi Don
(Carrie, Flying with Baby)
Monkey Beach is located on Koh Phi Phi Don and it’s accessible by boat only. With sand as soft as talcum powder and calm lapping waves, it is perfect for little ones to splash about.
The highlight of this beach, apart from being so beautiful, are it’s local inhabitants- the monkeys! They are completely wild, and as long as you stay a little distance (especially from the babies) and do not feed them, they will pretty much ignore you. There are clear signs not to bring food and to keep any valuables close- they can be curious! We saw a cheeky one take a water bottle buried in the sand!
If you take a kayak then you can spend as long as you like on the beach. However, if on a tour it’s usually about 30 minutes to an hour. There are no facilities on the beach at all, but plenty of shady spots as it is backed by steep mountains and leafy jungle.
12. Long Beach, Koh Phi Phi Don
(Daniela, A Baby Abroad)
Our favourite family beach in Thailand is Long Beach, Koh Phi Phi. It’s a 15 minute tailboat ride from Tonsai Village and Pier, so it’s easy to reach but at the same time allows for privacy and quiet.
We went in April; the water was calm, the days spectacular, and the sand soft and fine. It was a great place for our then eight month old son to have his first experiences with the ocean.
The beach is lined with small, cozy resorts, which give plenty of options for eating. People all over seemed to love children and offered special meals for our son. Many restaurants even had high chairs, which was a first for us in Thailand.
All in all, its a calm, quiet area both during the day and the night, and a great place to relax while children explore and play in a safe environment. We stayed at the P.P. Blue Sky Resort, a small place with lovely cottages steps from the beautiful beach.
13. Similan Islands
(Kellie, 4 Worn Passports)
Our family’s all-time favourite Thai beach is the Similan Islands Marine National Park. They are a cluster of islands offering superb snorkelling, pristine water, and flour soft sand.
The majority of visitors come on a day trip via speedboat from Khao Lak. The boat ride takes around 75 minutes from Khao Lak. To enjoy the islands after the day-trippers leave, you have two options. 1) stay in a rustic bungalow with A/C on Koh Meang. Or 2) camp in a tent on Koh Similan (featured photo), Koh Meang, or Koh Tachai. Because the lodging (and services) are so limited in this national park, it is important to book in advance.
For families, we highly recommend staying at the Khaolak Orchid Beach Resort and visiting the Similans as a day trip. You will have much more comfortable accommodations and services for children. We loved it so much that our five-day stay turned into 10! Be sure to watch The Impossible before visiting Khao Lak. The Khao Lak Orchid Beach Resort is the featured hotel in the movie!
14. White Sands Beach, Koh Chang
(Skye, Sky Travels)
When I asked my Bangkok friends which beach I should visit that wouldn’t be a party or overly-touristy beach, I always got the same answer. White Sands Beach on Koh Chang.
A four-hour bus ride from Bangkok, Koh Chang is commonly referred to as the honeymoon island. It’s popular as a couple or family destination, and I saw dozens of kids playing along the beach while I was there. The water is only a couple feet deep, waves don’t get higher than a few inches and, most importantly, the sand is clean. When I do have kids, this is the beach in Thailand I would love to take them to.
15. Koh Nang Yuan
Most probably one of the most beautiful beaches in South East Asia and unique in its kind as the picture perfect white sand beach connects three different islands with each other.
Koh Nang Yuan is a popular destination for people on a day trip from Koh Tao, which is only 10 minutes away by boat. The trip is accessible for all ages. The water around the islands is super calm and not deep at all. It is perfect for kids as the island is just the beach and an overpriced restaurant.
Beach chairs, towels and umbrellas can be rented on the beach. Bring your own snacks to get through the day or expect to pay Western prices for simple dishes. Snorkelling is the main activity and gear can be rented in islands dive shop, renting in Koh Tao is cheaper. Also take a walk up to the viewpoint. It’s an easy set of stairs and takes 5-10 minutes only to get an amazing view over the islands.
16. Long Beach, Koh Lanta
(James, World Wide Shopping)
Long Beach, Koh Lanta, is the perfect beach to spend a day or even your entire family holiday in Thailand. The sea is clear, the water is calm, and the beach itself is rarely overcrowded. Although there is an Irish bar and a hostel nearby, Koh Lanta generally attracts laid-back, mature travellers, and so all of the restaurants and cafés nearby are family-friendly and suitable for children.
Lanta Castaway Beach Resort, on the Long Beach resort, offers a mixture of Thai and international cuisine and is just a few meters from the beach. Within a few minutes’ walk, there’s also Patty’s Secret Garden, Faim de Loup French bakery, and the upmarket Red Snapper. As well as restaurant, you’ll also find a pharmacy and a 7-11 nearby; perfect for picking up family essentials like cold drinks and sunscreen. Scuba diving centre Dive & Relax, located on the Resort, also offers snorkelling for children ages 8 and above.
Have you visited Thailand with kids? Have you any favourite beaches in Thailand for kids? Let me know!
Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet.