Satun is home to some of the best beaches in Thailand, often with scarcely any tourist in sight. Unlike the country’s more well-trodden resorts, tourism is in its infancy in this southern province, so its beaches still feel refreshingly uncrowded.

    The central hub of the picturesque Tarutao Archipelago is Koh Lipe, which has a selection of pristine white sandy stretches to choose from. Head further out to the uninhabited islands, however, and you’ll likely literally have an entire beach to yourself. Unsure where to lay your towel? Here are the top beaches in Thailand’s seldom-explored Satun province.

    1

    Sunset Beach (Koh Lipe)

    Koh Lipe’s premier sunset destination

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    West-facing Sunset Beach is an excellent spot for a sundowner, as its name clearly suggests. Don’t come expecting a wild scene, though, as this side of the island is notoriously chill. A smattering of basic bungalows and a couple of frills-free restaurants are about all you’ll most likely find on this secluded 500-metre stretch.

    Other than the sunset, it’s an excellent spot to escape the hustle and bustle of Sunrise Beach, about a 10-minute walk away. The snorkelling is fantastic as well. Sunset Beach is one of the cheapest places to jump on a longtail boat en-route to Koh Adang. 

    Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    2

    Sunrise Beach (Koh Lipe)

    Koh Lipe’s top pick for sunrises and snorkelling

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    Sunrise Beach is Koh Lipe’s top spot for – you guessed it – watching the sunrise. The sweeping stretch of sand covers the entire eastern end of the island. There's also a seemingly endless array of beachfront accommodation to choose from. Walking Street is only metres away, which makes this centrally located beach a breeze to get to.

    Just offshore are Koh Usen and Koh Kra, both of which serve up superb snorkelling. Strong currents can be treacherous, though, so opt for a kayak instead of swimming to the 2 tiny islets. Several laidback restaurants and bars line the sand for when you decide to chill out and soak up the view instead.

    Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    photo by Koh Lipe Beach Resort (CC0 1.0) modified

    3

    Pattaya Beach (Koh Lipe)

    Koh Lipe’s most popular beach

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    Pattaya Beach is one of Koh Lipe’s most famous stretches of sand, hardly a surprise considering this sugary white bay looks straight out of a travel brochure. The south-facing beach is sheltered from the northeast winds, allowing its turquoise-tinged waves to remain calm for swimmers. Just keep a close eye on the taxi boats as they come and go from the pier and pontoons.

    As the island’s main beach, Pattaya has plenty of high-end beachfront resorts. A few budget bungalows and unpretentious bars dot around the strip, which are remnants of Koh Lipe’s heyday as a sought-after backpacker haunt.

    Location: Satun 91000, Thailand

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    4

    Black Beach (Koh Hin Ngam)

    An unusual beach with big black cursed stones

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    Black Beach features a thick layer of coarse black pebbles and stones. The unusual beach looks like it belongs in the UK rather than Southeast Asia, and seems eerily out of place in such an idyllic tropical setting. 

    Black Beach resides on the small island of Koh Hin Ngam and forms part of your classic Koh Lipe island-hopping tour. Don’t be tempted to take a stone home with you, though, as local legend dictates those who do will bring a curse home with them.

    Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    photo by tehjs (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Eggshell Beach (Koh Khai)

    Turtle nests and a romance-inducing arch

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    Eggshell Beach isn’t just named for its creamy beige colour; it’s also a favourite spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Mid-November to mid-January is the best time to catch a glimpse of these ancient animals as they nest on the shore.

    Eggshell Beach is also popular for Lover’s Arch, a natural limestone formation that's said to grant a blessing of eternal love on all who pass through, making it a hit among romantic couples. And with a gorgeous contrast of eggshell-coloured sand and a clear turquoise sea, it’s an idyllic spot for photos as well.

    Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    6

    Hat San Lang Mangkon (Tanyong Po)

    A beach that shimmers like a dragon’s scale

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    San Lang Mangkon is a small beach in Satun that only appears for a fleeting moment at low tide. When the water recedes, a series of long and narrow sand dunes topped with seashells rise through the waves. And when cast in the right afternoon light, these reflective shells make the slivering beach appear like great dragon scales in the sea.

    The waterline's shallow level creates a unique sensation of walking on water, a fascinating phenomenon that only occurs in a select few places around the world. Tours to San Lang Mangkon depart from Ban Bakan Khoei, near the provincial capital of Satun.

    Location: Satun, Thailand

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    7

    Hat Pak Bara (Tanyong Po)

    A panoramic beach experience

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    Hat Pak Bara is an excellent mainland option in Satun for when you want an excellent view of the entire Tarutao Archipelago. The beach, which resides in the town of the same name, has a long line of rustic restaurants overlooking the sea. It’s popular for enjoying traditional Thai food while trying to identify your favourite Satun island in the distance.

    The area surrounding Pak Bara makes for an exciting off-the-beaten-track expedition, with traditional fishing villages and mangrove-forested estuaries dotting the landscape. You’ll pass through here eventually, as Pak Bara Pier is the gateway to Koh Lipe.

    Location: Pak Nam, La-ngu District, Satun 91110, Thailand

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    photo by mohigan (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Hat Ka Sing (Bo Chet Luk Island)

    For an authentic and budget-friendly beach holiday

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    Hat Ka Sing is the best of the beaches found on the wonderfully authentic island of Bo Chet Luk, otherwise known as Seven-Well Island. You’re a long way from the farang (western expat)-orientated resorts of Koh Lipe here. Expect friendly fishermen and smiling Thais in place of the international crowd.

    Food and accommodation here are incredibly cheap, so it’s a viable choice if you’re after a budget beach escape. And given Hat Ka Sing is a west-facing beach, its sunsets are top of the range. Jump on a ferry at the Pak Bara Pier to get here in style.

    Location: La-Ngu, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    9

    Sai Khao Beach (Ko Ra Wi)

    An idyllic beach on an uninhabited island

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    Hat Sai Khao is a pristine stretch of sand on an utterly uninhabited island. The deserted beach has white sand and enticingly blue waves, making it a picture-postcard spot to sunbathe or take a refreshing dip in the sea. Snorkelling here is equally spectacular, with ample marine life-filled reefs to explore. Just be careful not to leave your lunch unattended as a troop of hungry monkeys lurks in the trees.

    Fancy extending your stay? There are hiking tracks to trample, and camping is permitted during the high season. Again, make sure to keep your camping gear safe from those monkeys.

    Location: Ko Ra Wi, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    10

    Ao Son Beach (Tarutao Island)

    A far-flung adventure in Tarutao

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    Ao Son Beach cuts a straight line down the western edge of Ko Tarutao, the biggest island in the archipelago. A grand sandy expanse backed by palm tree-fringed jungle, the secluded stretch encapsulates the island’s isolated charm. You won’t find anything more than a solitary Thai restaurant in this corner of Koh Tarutao.

    Getting there is half the fun. Rent a mountain bike and embark on a 40-minute forest trail, perhaps taking the time to stop off at the Lu Du Waterfalls along the way. When you finally arrive on Ao Son Beach, you could well have the whole place to yourself.

    Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun 91000, Thailand

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    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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