Thailand has hundreds of beaches that are ideal for families. Some are well developed with comfortable resorts and facilities, while others offer simple peace and quiet.

The beaches below all have gentle drop-offs in shallow water, they are quiet, without noisy nightlife, and they have a broad range of resorts to choose from, focused on the needs and preferences of families and younger children.

Read on for our essential guide to family-friendly beaches in Thailand.

Khlong Phrao Beach ko chang thailand

Khlong Phrao Beach, on Ko Chang

Family-friendly Thai beaches

The recommended beaches below all have the following family-friendly criteria: They all have gentle drop-offs in the water so that young kids don't end up in a deep end without warning.

They all have quiet atmospheres away from noisy nightlife. And finally, they have a broad selection of resorts focused on the needs and preferences of families and younger kids.

Khlong Phrao Beach, Ko Chang

This beach extends for almost 5km along Ko Chang's west coast. There are many restaurants and shops nearby, but it's quiet, with plenty of space between resorts set on the beachfront and along three photogenic estuaries. Near the beach is Khlong Phrao village, with a temple and a non-profit sports centre, Sports Buddies, where children of tourists can befriend local kids through the joy of sport.

Khlong Chao Beach, Ko Kood

Ko Kood has more than a dozen sublime beaches, most suitable for families, but Khlong Chao is probably the best bet for many. With fine white sand, this half-km beach has many comfortable resorts with sizeable swimming pools. They come in several price ranges, but all are near a village which has restaurants, dive shops and tour outfits. The river of the same name north of the beach is fantastic for kayaking.

Wong Duean Bay, Ko Samet

This km-long crescent of fine khaki sand is sheltered by headlands at both ends, keeping the water calm. The scene here is a happy medium between the nightlife-heavy northeast coast and the isolated southeast coast, with some excellent family resorts set in leafy surrounds to the south. Ao Wong Duean's central location also makes it a good base for beach hopping.

Thong Nai Pan Yai ko phangan thailand

Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, Ko Phangan

Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, Ko Phangan

Shallow water extends for hundreds of metres offshore at this km-long beach on the northeast coast of Ko Phangan, far away from wild Full Moon Parties in both distance and atmosphere. The area leans upscale, offering some luxurious villas, but you'll also find quality midrange resorts and stylish cafes in the village near the beach. Thong Nai Pan Yai is also close to the refreshing Than Sadet waterfall.

Lipa Noi Beach, Ko Samui

Skip Ko Samui's noisy and overdeveloped east coast beaches and head to the quieter south or west coast, where Lipa Noi's low-key atmosphere and its wonderful sunset views make it a great pick for families. There’s no shortage of good resorts, but this part of the island retains a local character with coconut farms, old houses and a temple set just beyond the sand. If you want something even quieter, Taling Ngam Beach on the south is another fine option with easy access to Ko Taen.

Kamala Beach, Phuket

Coconut and casuarina trees stand at the edge of the tan sand at this 2.5km long beach and there are several fine resorts at both its ends. A large public park keeps the heavy commercialism and overdevelopment found on other parts of the island at arm's length, but more bustling areas are still within easy reach.

Tha Khao Beach, Ko Yao Noi

With farmland and a colourful fishing village at the northern end, and looking out at the splendid Ko Hong islands, this km-long stretch of golden sand is in a beautiful setting. The shallow water recedes at low tide to reveal a crab-filled universe that's fun for a stroll. Tha Khao makes a fine base for island exploration, though some families never go further than the sandbar that connects the beach to the islet of Ko Nok.

Khlong Dao Beach, Ko Lanta

This 3.5km expanse of sand was the first area to develop for tourism on Ko Lanta, and it remains one of the best options for families. There are many family-oriented resorts for a range of budgets, and boutiques, tour agencies and cafes extend north into Saladan village where you’ll find outstanding seafood restaurants. Low tide reveals a vast carpet of sand ideal for long walks and games. If you want a quieter beach, Kantiang Bay in the south is another good family choice.

Long Beach, Ko Jum

For a low-key island with local character, consider Ko Jum, where Long Beach (or Hat Yao) has plenty of space, and lovely sunsets over Ko Phi Phi. You won't find large resorts with waterslides, but Long Beach has affordable family bungalows and swankier resorts towards the northern end, including one with various types of beach houses. Watch out for clusters of hidden rocks that kids can stub their toes on when wading.

Ko Kradan Beach, Ko Kradan

The main beach on this petite island has some of the most dazzling scenery found anywhere in Thailand. High tide is the time to swim and snorkel in the clear water, while low tide reveals a vast expanse of rippled white sand where egrets feed in tidal pools. Most of the lodgings offer family rooms and a few of the pricier resorts come with small swimming pools, but the natural scenery is the highlight of this quiet island. Some 12km to the north, Ko Ngai's beach has a similar allure.

School Beach, Ko Bulon Leh

Charming, tranquil and unlike any other beach in Thailand, the soft white sand on Ko Bulon Leh's east coast nudges up to a wee pink schoolhouse. The teachers rent out six simple bungalows overlooking the school's seaside football pitch, though most families opt for one of the solid midrange resorts at either end of this casuarina-shaded beach. Powered by solar panels, tiny Ko Bulon Leh is a success story in ecotourism and the Urak Lawoi “sea people” welcome respectful tourists during the dry months.

Pattaya Beach, Ko Lipe

Families looking for phenomenal white sand and clear turquoise water with a strong selection of resorts and restaurants, often opt for Pattaya Beach (it has nothing to do with the seedy Thai city of the same name). The 1.5km crescent of super-fine sand is stacked with lodgings, including some with sizable swimming pools, though you'll also find affordable spots that have stayed true to Ko Lipe's backpacker routes. Most of the beach stays quiet but the eastern area near Walking Street has a string of beach bars that get noisy.


Your questions, our expert's answers


We're a big group (seven adults, two kids aged 3 and 6), can you recommend some beach areas that might suit?

Asked by Yvonne

I'll suggest one destination in the Gulf of Thailand and another on the Andaman coast. Which one you choose partially depends on when you're travelling. The rainy season in the Gulf starts around Aug-Sep and lasts straight through December. Rainy season on the Andaman coast is from around May-June through October, although in recent years it seems to be starting later and lasting into Nov or even Dec.

In the Gulf, Koh Samui might work for your group because it has plenty of private house / villa rentals. These cater for many budgets, from extreme luxury on the beach to rather modest options set down inland lanes. So if you're looking for a place to all stay together in one big house, with its own kitchen and perhaps its own swimming pool, consider Samui.

The areas that are quietest and generally considered best for families are Samui's northern beaches like Bophut, Mae Nam and Bang Po, as well as southern and western beaches like Taling Ngam and Lipa Noi. Chaweng and Lamai are the two busiest beaches and both have some seedy nightlife along with techno-blasting beach parties, etc., but there are rental houses along the quieter nearby inland lanes.

On Samui you have a solid list of attractions on the island, and those who want more adventure will find some of Thailand's most dazzling islands if day tripping into the nearby Ang Thong National Park. You could hire a private boat for that or book into a group tour. Another nearby island that you might find worth a day trip is Koh Matsum, where kids often enjoy seeing the domesticated boars that live on the beach.

Meanwhile on the Andaman coast, the Khao Lak area is not far from Phuket but much quieter and without the traffic jams and seedy nightlife (to be fair, several parts of Phuket, such as Bang Tao and Kamala beaches, are also good for families). Khao Lak might work for you because there's loads to do, including day tours to nearby Similan or Surin islands, both of which are also part of national parks and also rank among the most dazzling islands in Thailand. Or you could go to the sea turtle conservation centre or, if you're really lucky, even possibly see turtles hatching on nearby Khao Lampi and Thai Mueang beaches. Other kid friendly activities here are visiting the old town market in nearby Takua Pa, a boat tour of the magnificent Phang Nga Bay, miniature golf, the butterfly farm, and the night markets and many different beaches within the Khao Lak area.

Perhaps not ideal for younger kids but worthwhile for everyone else, is a visit to the deeply moving 2004 tsunami memorial just north of Khao Lak in Ban Nam Khem.

David Luekens
Answered by David Luekens

We're visiting Hua Hin with my in-laws, but are there more beautiful places to visit nearby with kids aged 3, 7 and 9?

Asked by Fern

I agree there are probably better places than Hua Hin to visit with kids, although I can see the appeal – it has good restaurants, markets and accommodation. And there are some great family-friendly day trips from Hua Hin:

One highly underrated idea is Kui Buri National Park, which is by far the best place in Thailand to spot wild elephants (as well as gaur, the world's largest bovine species). I'm 40 years old but had all the excitement of a kid when piling into the back of a pick-up truck and driving slowly down dirt tracks into the mountains, stopping often to watch the elephants in the forest and grasslands. You have close to a 100% chance of seeing wild elephants in Kui Buri National Park, whereas it's something like 10% in Khao Yai and maybe 30% in Kaeng Krachan, both of which are far better known for wildlife than Kui Buri.

Other family-friendly day trips out of Hua Hin include the Pala-U Waterfall where you also might spot wild elephants; the mangrove forest park in Pranburi where kids enjoy peeping the crabs from elevated walkways that pierce a vast mangrove forest; the Khao Tao area where Sai Noi Beach is a well-kept secret that is arguably among the best mainland beaches in all of Thailand and situated a short hike from a good viewpoint with a Buddha image; and finally the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park which has some fabulous caves and viewpoints amid a dramatic karst mountain landscape to go with notably scenic lotus-filled wetlands on the inland side of the park.

I'd also keep Sam Roi Yot in mind as a secondary overnight destination. Just north of the park, the lengthy beach known as Hat Sam Roi Yot or Hat Phu Noi has some good family beach resorts – one called Dolphin Bay is popular thanks to its big pool with waterslides – with a much quieter and more laid-back vibe than Hua Hin.

David Luekens
Answered by David Luekens

About the author

Best Family Friendly Beaches In Thailand

David Luekens

Based in Thailand since 2011, David first waded into Southeast Asia in the early 2000s via friendships forged in the Thai, Vietnamese and Karen communities of Vermont, almost Canada, USA. He is a bona fide nerd in maps, islands and travel planning with a research background in Buddhism and the environmental, political and human rights issues of Southeast Asia. Bylines include CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveller China and more than 100 Travelfish guides.

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