The south coast has a diverse landscape, from its mountainous coastline in the south west, to the stunning beaches carved in between and those littering the south east.
Laem Ka Beach, near Rawai, is a popular choice with holiday seekers. It is unique as it is the only east facing beach in the south of the island that is perfect for swimming, as well as being well cultured in a traditional Thai way. The beach here is 150 metres long, bordered by beautiful rocks, which give sun bathers a little shade in the heat of the midday sun. The waters are safe, warm, and a lush blue – very popular with local children. You also get a great view of some of the surrounding islands such as Coral Island. There are numerous beach restaurants in this area, as well as good snorkelling opportunities, and a chance to catch some crabs for your supper.
Rawai itself is for those looking for a ‘lifestyle beach’. It is known for its suburban feel. The area is not known for its beach, the sand it not great, and the water not quite as clear as other areas, but it does have numerous bars and restaurants which make it a great party beach.
The south west is one of the most famous areas on the island for its beaches. Nai Harn beach is known as one of the most beautiful on the entire isle. The bay is enclosed by headlands and an island, which provides a great little climate as well as stunning views. There are plenty of options for cocktails at sunset along this bustling stretch that is overlooked by a stunning Buddhist retreat. This retreat means that the area is protected from becoming too heavily developed and so although busy, the beach is Thailand to a tee.
Kata beach is another of the classic bay beaches scattered along the south west coast. The bay is covered in coconut trees and has headlands at both ends. The water is near perfect in terms of clarity and the sand soft and white. Although rather popular with tourists, the beach rarely gets ‘crowded’ by European standards.
There are other options in this area such as Kata Noi which sits in front of a large mountain, Karon with its silica sands, KaronNoi which is a quieter, longer beach, and Patong – which is the party beach of the region.