One doesn’t need to travel far from Bangkok to get to beautiful beaches. The beaches we will introduce below are great options if you don’t want to travel too far from fascinating Bangkok or you are just looking for a quick weekend beach getaway from the capital. But if you are coming all the way to Thailand for an unforgettable beach holiday in your mind, consider traveling further from Bangkok, since the most stunning beaches of Thailand are far down south.
The closest notable beach destination to Bangkok is Pattaya, to the east, which can be reached in less than two hours from Bangkok, and even faster from Bangkok’s International Airport Suvarnabhumi.
Pattaya is known as a den of vice, a coastal city full of gogo-bars and massage parlors, but that’s just part of the picture. Pattaya is much more than a modern day Sodoma and Gomorra by the beach. In truth it is one of the most versatile beach destinations in Thailand.
In Pattaya you can dive, play golf and even visit a Thai vineyard – along a whole range of other activities.
Pattaya even has the most child-friendly hotel in Thailand, the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort whose pool area looks like a full sized water park.
If you choose your hotel out of Pattaya’s busy center, you can even find very quiet beach areas.
The Long and Peaceful Beaches of Rayong
When you drive an hour or so South-East of Pattaya, you will arrive to the very peaceful beaches of Rayong. It is kind of a miracle that Rayong has stayed so low-key destination even if it lies so close to Bangkok.
Probably the main reason for Rayong’s peacefulness is that most people consider Rayong just as a jumping of point for the fabulous Koh Samet Island. But with wonderful quiet getaways such as Purimas Beach Hotel & Spa, you might just as well decide to stay in Rayong.
Koh Samet – Paradise Island Nearest to Bangkok
Koh Samet is the nearest paradise island to Bangkok. Ko Samet has perfect white sandy beaches and sea of turquoise color. You will find accommodation for most budgets from extreme luxury (Paradee) to family friendly resorts (Sai Kaew Beach Resort) and cheap backpacker bungalows.
Boats to the island leave from Rayong’s Ban Phet pier. The travel time from Bangkok is approximately three hours by car plus 15–45 minutes by boat depending on if you choose a speedboat or a much slower ferry.
Charms of Cha-Am
The distance from the capital is only two hours. The best thing in Cha-Am is that most of the hotels and guesthouses lie right by the sea (which is not often the case in Pattaya or Hua Hin for instance). The quality of the sand on Cha-Am’s beaches ranges from mediocre to pretty nice.
You will find a wide range of hotels from simple guesthouses to stylish boutique inns and family friendly hotels.
High-life in Hua Hin
Less than a half an hour south of Cha-Am is Hua Hin a much more famed beach destination. Hua Hin is a popular weekend destination for well-off Bangkokians, and it has plenty of great restaurants, luxurious spas and famous golf courses. Hua Hin is also especially popular among Scandinavian tourists.
Hua Hin used to be Thailand’s first beach resort, chosen by a former king of Thailand for his summer home, and you can still find pockets of old world charm in Hua Hin. If you can afford, you should definitely stay in the historical Railway Hotel, nowadays called Centara Grand Beach Resort, which is still one of Thailand’s premiere hotels.
South of Hua Hin
Some 40 kilometers south of Hua Hin lies Pranburi, a quiet beach resort known for its small boutique hotels.