Windsurfing is a pretty popular water-sport in Thailand, although kite surfing really has taken over the world of waveless beaches. (I know its bad-ass for catching waves, no paddling, blah blah blah).

Its still possible to rent a wind-surfer from nearly every beach resort, though Hua Hin has traditionally offered the best balance of wind and low swell.

Kite surfing really has catapulted itself into the coolest wind sport on water however, and Hua Hin is not immune. Kite surfing is quite challenging and requires quite a lot of practice before you can even enjoy it, sort of like learning to ski is frustrating and snowboarding is painful. In comparison to a jet ski rental (which is cool, but no), hiring a kite and/or board for a little while is quite cheap in Thailand. This is a great place to learn if you’re looking for a laid back beach resort with kids in tow.

Pattaya is another major hangout for windsurfers and kite surfers. Not the best beach resort to bring the kids however. If you bring your own gear, maybe the miles of beaches along the Khao Lak, Phan Nga coastline would be fun.

  • Pattaya: In many ways, Pattaya’s Jomtien Beach is the windsurfing capital of Thailand. This beach community is located close enough to Bangkok that local enthusiasts can easily arrange weekend excursions. There are few rocks or reefs to get in the way. South of the beach are two of the biggest water sport clubs in the country where visitors can enroll in classes and hire equipment.

  • Phuket: Windsurfers flock to Phuket’s west coach beaches, where the morning winds peak between November and February. The winds die down in the afternoon, which is the best time for beginners to try their hand at the sport. The best places to enjoy windsurfing are at Karon Beach, Kata Beach and to a lesser extent, the bustling Patong Beach area.

  • Ko Samui: Ko Samui’s windsurfing season runs from June to September. In other months, winds from the northwest monsoon can make things treacherous, though this doesn’t stop expert windsurfers from getting out on the water. Lamai and Chaweng are the best beaches, both of which are found on the east coast.

  • Krabi: Krabi is a secondary windsurfing destination in Thailand. The karst rock structures make for beautiful scenery but also make things a bit more dangerous. Anyone looking to windsurf in Krabi is advised to ask around before heading out on unknown waters.

  • Ko Tao: Ko Tao is well-suited for windsurfing, especially on the west coast where the prevailing winds are strongest. Surf conditions are variable to say the least, with anything from glassy waters to 10-foot swells possible. Mae Haad Bay is the best place to hire equipment or enroll in classes.

  • Ko Samet: Ko Samet is famous for its white-sand beaches, and the waters here occasionally offer substantial surf. Conditions are best for windsurfing on the northern side of the island, especially at Had Sai Kaew where equipment hire and lessons are offered.

  • Tabsai: Tabsai (near Sriracha) is on the outskirts of Pattaya and appeals to Bangkok’s windsurfing crowd because it’s a little closer to the capital and doesn’t get as crowded. The waters here are especially glassy so the surfing is more straightforward.

  • Ko Phangan: There’s a windsurfing center at Ban Tai on the west coast of Ko Phangan. This is the best place to learn about the island’s offerings and arrange equipment hire. The other major windsurfing area is around the resorts of Haad Salad. Waters are calm here, and winds are best from January to April.

  • Hua Hin: Hua Hin, in the western reaches of the Gulf of Thailand, isn’t synonymous with windsurfing, though it scores well with professional windsurfers. The winds and choppy surf associated with winter storms can be a real challenge for seasoned experts.

  • Bang Saphan: Bang Saphan is similar to Hua Hin, though it gets less traffic and is much more pristine. There’s very little equipment rental available here so Bang Saphan appeals mainly to those hauling in their own gear.

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