Where are the best places for surfing in Thailand? Well there are plenty of fantastic spots in Phuket, Koh Lanta and Koh Samui. Here are the best beaches to go surfing in Thailand:
Phuket is easily the most common surfing destination for travellers. In particular, Kata Beach; known to be the epicentre of surfing culture in the entire of Thailand. This is the beach where you will find all the surf bars, surf schools, rental shops and a new artificial surf park. The beach is also responsible for hosting the annual Phuket Surfing Contest so you can see how big the surfing culture is here. This event takes place in September which is peak surfing season on Kata Beach! However, the season begins as early as April and can be very ideal for beginners who are looking to get into surfing. The waves are fast and punchy, often more onerous than in other sites, offering some hollow barrels for the more experienced riders.
Kata Beach offers something for all levels of surfing ability. Maybe don’t enter the tournament if you’re just a beginner.
Bang Tao Beach
Another big beach in Phuket, Bang Tao Beach is becoming ever increasingly more popular with the surfing community. Interestingly enough, Bang Tao is considered the best beach to learn to surf in Phuket. If you’re a beginner, then it’s probably best to stay in the central stretch of the beach. The ways are often smaller but easily more rideable for people who are trying to learn.
In contrast, the north of the beach gets bigger waves due to its exposure to the winds. What I like about Bang Tao compared to Kata, is that most of the high ability surfers stay away from the beginners. Sometimes it can be annoying when someone who knows what they’re doing seems to purposely come across you, so you lose your balance! However, this rarely happens on Bang Tao due to the difference the beach winds are.
If you’re an experienced surfer and don’t want the beach to be littered by people taking surfing lessons, then look no further. Due to the beach being one of Thailand’s smallest, the waves can be aggressive, tending to speed up before crashing into a left-hander. The waves get faster and faster until they close out on the reef. As experienced surfers, this shouldn’t need saying, but obviously, do be careful as the breakers crash onto exposed coral reefs!
Klong Dao Beach
As mentioned before, Phuket is the number one destination for surfing in Thailand. So despite Klong Dao Beach’s popularity, it never is overcrowded due to its 250km distance from Phuket.
Nevertheless, Klong Dao Beach is undisputedly the best surfing destination on the island of Koh Lanta. This is helped as the beach has breaks that can be surfed regardless of high or low tides. The only issue about Klong Dao is that sometimes you may need to wait a bit longer to catch a big wave. The surf can be a little inconsistent, making it great for beginners, but potentially frustrating for experts!
If you’re a complete beginner and want somewhere not a lot of surfers go and the waves aren’t massive, Chaweng Beach is a good shout. The beach isn’t particularly famous in Thailand as a surfing paradise. But it is one of Koh Samui’s top beach destinations because of it’s beautiful views and party vibes.
Nevertheless, surfing has become more popular at Chaweng Beach due to the number of board rental shops opening up near the shoreline. Personally, I found surfing here really easy and straightforward, and it was great for me to practise and improve. However, some surfers say it can be a little tricky due to the tidal currents. The tide may look suitable from afar but may tend to be too low once you get in the water. But, longboarding and standup paddleboarding are also popular sports at the beach, so you can see the waves are small enough for novices to develop their skills!
When to Surf in Thailand?
There are many more awesome places to surf in Thailand, but it’s just about finding them! Most beach areas in Thailand have some sort of wave for surfers to ride. In the article, I’ve tried to give you a mixture of busy and non-busy beaches and also different ability level beaches.
The best waves in Thailand are observed in May AND November, but this isn’t peak tourist season in Thailand. Therefore, you will get to travel to Thailand for a lot cheaper, as flights, hotels and rentals are usually a lot less expensive than in peak season.
Fewer people also means less crowded and a better chance to hone your surfing skills. The great thing about having fewer crowds is that there’s a lesser chance of colliding with people in the water.
By June, the seas and waves are warmer and consistent. Usually, this is the time when the waves start rising up to 3m in height. Surfers typically start filling up the islands again as they want to start conquering the waves!
The traditional surf season in Thailand lasts from June till October, but this is just when it’s usually the busiest.
Most of Thailand’s beaches have golden sandy sea-beds. This is why it is considered the least dangerous locations to surf, especially for beginners. Additionally, the marine life here is friendly, and there’s little chance of you encountering any stingrays, sharks or jellyfish in these waters. However, as mentioned above, on Pansea Beach the waves do crash on corals so obviously be careful when surfing here!
If you contrast this with surfing in Bali as an example. Most of the surfable beaches have waves which break on rocks or corals. That isn’t to say there are not sandy breakers. But, in my experience of surfing in Uluwatu, Thailand is much safer and more comfortable to develop your surfing skills if you’re a beginner for sure.
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