Tropical reefs have to be seen to be believed. And in Thailand, even beginners can access some beautiful shallow reefs. Head to Ko Tao for cheap, friendly dive instructors, and some of the finest dive-sites in South-East Asia.
If you don’t want to splurge on a diving course, but still want to check out Thailand’s underwater wildlife, then snorkels, masks and flippers can be hired almost everywhere along the coast. Go snorkelling around Ko Phi Phi if you want to catch a glimpse of the beautiful (and friendly) basking sharks.
Although not renowned for its surfing beaches, Thailand does get some nice waves, particularly in Phuket and Ko Samui. You’ll be able to hire surfboards in any of the big resort towns.
Home of the biggest beach party in the world, Ko Phangan is the place to go if you want to dance all night under a full moon. But Thailand’s other busy beaches, particularly in Phuket and Ko Samui, also boast busy clubs and bars throughout the year.
With a cheerfully lax attitude to safety regulations, Thailand is a great place for cheap jet-ski hire. Remember to keep safety in mind, and avoid the busier swimming beaches like Patong.
Enjoy a taste of Thai culture on a traditional long-tail boat. Boat-drivers are likely to overcharge you in Ko Phangan or Phuket, so the best place to enjoy this sedate boat-ride is on the beaches around Krabi.
With its dramatic limestone cliffs, Thailand’s beaches are a haven for rock-climbers. Rai Leh is undoubtedly the best beach for climbers, catering for experts and beginners alike. All equipment can be hired from the climbing schools along the beach-front.
On Patong Beach, you can enjoy the ultimate relaxation experience: a traditional Thai massage on the sand. The beach massages are cheaper than anything in the hotels or massage parlour, and it’s the best way to unwind as you soak up the sun and listen to the ocean.
If the crowds get to much for you at Ko Samui, head over to one of the health spas on Lamai Beach, where they offer massage, health treatments and meditation workshops. It’s good for the body and it’s good for the soul – and where better to clear your mind than a beautiful Thai beach?
After lounging on the beach, there’s no better way to get in shape than taking a few classes in Thai Boxing (or Muay Thai). There are some serious Thai Boxing centers on the northern beaches of Ko Phangan, but beginners can hop in the ring for free in Ko Phi Phi’s Muay Thai bars.