When you think of Thailand’s rich culture, breathtaking scenery, and vibrant nightlife, surfing might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, believe it or not, Thailand’s appeal as a surfing destination has been growing since the 1990’s – for professionals and recreational surfers, alike.
If you’re planning on embarking on a surfing adventure, then Thailand is a great place to go. Even though islands situated on the Gulf of Thailand may see consistently flat waves suitable for swimmers, if you visit the islands located on the Andaman sea, you’ll find perfect conditions for surfers, including a hefty amount of swells!
So, to help make your trip planning as simple as can be, we’ve been hard at work searching for the very best surfing camps in Thailand! Below, you’ll find a summary of each surf camp, as well as some helpful information to help get you prepared for the trip. Ready? Let’s dive in!
1. Phuket Surf School
Located in Kata Beach, Phuket, the Phuket Surf School is a great choice for any traveler that wants to spend some time surfing, while also being able to soak up the beautiful scenery and unique culture of Thailand.
Phuket Surf only works with the very best surfing teachers in Phuket that have years of experience in surfing, as well as plenty of local knowledge to make you feel as comfortable during your stay as possible. Phuket Surf also prides themselves on their relaxed learning approach, which will allow you to have fun in the water while also honing in on your surfing skills.
2. Talay Surf
Talay Surf is one of the most renowned surf camps in Thailand and has three different locations intended to cater to different needs and skill levels. The first, located in beautiful Phuket, is the ideal spot for those looking for a surf holiday, while the second location offers flat waves that are suitable for beginners who have little to no experience in surfing.
Their third location is located in Phang Nga, which is a great choice for experienced and even pro surfers who are looking for a truly unforgettable experience. Boasting unexplored surfing territory and hardly any crowds, Phang Nga is a surfing paradise complete with point, beach, and reef breaks. Talay Surf has something for everyone!
3. Pakarang Surf
Lovingly referred to as the “original surf school in Khaolak” the Pakarang Surf School is located at the beautiful Memories beach, and offers lessons, camp, and even a restaurant!
This surf school is just one and a half hours north of Phuket, and all instructors are ISA certified and able to speak German, English, and Thai. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly surfing spot, you’ll love Pakarang Surf.
4. Nautilus Surf Shop
If you’re already experienced in surfing and looking for the best spot in Thailand to practice some trick shots, then we recommend heading over to Kata Beach.
Located in the Phuket province, the Nautilus Surf Shop is located on this beautiful beach and sees consistently great surfing conditions. As one of the oldest surfing schools in the area, Nautilus Surf hosts lessons and camps, and their instructors frequently take more experienced surfers out to explore the vast coral reefs and point breaks.
5. Skyla’s Surf and SUP Club
Looking to escape the beach crowds during your trip to Thailand? Head over to Bliss Beach and try your hand at surfing with Skyla’s Surf and SUP Club. This awesome school is located in one of the best surfing spots in Phuket and is full of a friendly teaching atmosphere, a sandy beach, and plenty of waves.
6. Thai Surf School Ban Nam Khem
If you’re planning on visiting Thailand with your family, then the Thai Surf School Ban Nam Khem is one of the best for accommodating children. All classes are held in shallow waters right near the coast and can be taught in private groups for a fun-filled family day out!
7. Saltwater Dreaming Surf School
The Saltwater Dreaming Surf School is the only surf camp in Thailand that is accredited by the Thai government and certified by NSSIA. What’s more, their courses accommodate all levels and are taught by surfing professionals, so you know you’ll be in good hands.
It also just so happens to be located in Thalang, which is a province in Phuket that will give you a truly authentic experience of Thailand’s vibrant culture!
8. eOasia Surf School
eOasia is an adventure travel company that specializes in surfing lessons. Their surf lessons take place in Kata Beach, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Phuket, so it’s a great place to visit for anyone looking to catch their first wave while soaking up a social atmosphere.
9. Baan Andaman Sea and Surf
The Baan Andaman Sea and Surf is a hotel and surf school located in the west district of Phuket. Kathu is a little less touristy than the central areas of Phuket, but still has plenty of restaurants, bustling shops, and a growing nightlife scene. All surfing lessons are held on Patong beach, which is a great surfing location for all levels.
10. SSS Phuket
With a reputation for being one of the best surfing schools in Thailand, SSS Phuket is composed of a team of qualified instructors that specialize in surfing, snorkeling, and even free diving. Each instructor is also equipped with an audiovisual set, so you’ll be able to take pictures and videos of you surfing home with you!
Meal Price Range
Seeing as you’re planning a trip to Thailand, you’re going to need to make sure that you have enough energy to hit the waves and maybe even do a spot of sightseeing.
On average, a standard meal in Thailand usually costs around 50 baht, which works out to just over a dollar, although prices can vary greatly, which is something to factor in while you are working out your budget.
As a side note, it’s also worth keeping in mind that Thai food is almost always more affordable than other types of cuisine such as Italian, American, and European, and you will always be able to find the most affordable foods located on the back of a menu.
Depending on what type of surf camp you are staying at, you might need to pay additional costs for all of the surf gear you will need. This will include things such as the surfboard, a wetsuit, surf wax, earplugs, and more.
To give you an idea of prices, the average soft top surfboard is around 600 baht for one day, which is around 19 dollars, although, as we said, the rental prices may be included in the price you pay to stay at your chosen surf camp.
Regardless, though, prior to setting off on your surfing vacation, we recommend setting aside some money in your budget to make sure that you are able to pay for all of these equipment rentals, just in case.
While planning for your trip to Thailand, you’re also going to need to work out how much money you’re going to need to be able to pay for any rentals. First off, as soon as you hop off the plane and get through customs, you’re going to need to have made preparations to get to your surf camp destination.
You’ll usually have the option of choosing public transport (and some camps even offer a taxi service) although most travelers do choose to rent out a car for the duration of their stay, especially if they’re planning on staying for quite some time.
So, if you’d like to drive a vehicle during your time in Thailand, then it’s a good idea to get some preparations in place prior to departing. On average, the cost of renting a standard car in Thailand is around 700 baht a day, which equates to about 23 dollars.
Prepaid SIM Cards
During your visit to Thailand, one of the most important things that you’ll want to make sure that you do is stay connected. In Thailand, there are three main cell phone service providers that you will be able to choose from when selecting a prepaid SIM card to use.
Though prices can vary depending on the time of year and plan capacity, the most popular types of plans for travelers include daily, weekly and monthly packages that can be tailored to suit a variety of different traveler itineraries, including your surf camp stay.
Public transportation in Thailand is generally very affordable. Buses, taxis, and trains will make it super easy and convenient for you to travel around Thailand and explore, and you can expect to spend around 2 dollars a day. However, we recommend setting aside a little extra in your budget, just in case you need it.
Gas prices throughout Thailand will vary depending on what part of the country you are visiting. However, on average, a gallon of standard diesel in Thailand costs around 43 Thai Baht, which works out to around 2 dollars!
Types of Risks
Thailand is rated as one of the least dangerous countries in Southeast Asia for travelers. Generally speaking, there is a longstanding history of violence, conflict, and social unrest in certain parts of Thailand, but crimes and other issues within tourist areas are very rare.
Nevertheless, it’s always smart to exercise caution and common sense when visiting Thailand, especially when it comes to dealing with strangers.
How to Prepare for Your Surf Trip:
If you’re a U.S citizen that’s planning on entering Thailand for less than 30 days, then you will not require a visa. However, it is very important that you make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months prior to your vacation, otherwise you may be denied entry.
On the flip side, if you are a U.S citizen and planning on staying in Thailand to surf for longer than 30 days, you will need to apply for a tourist visa.
On the other hand, if you’re not a U.S citizen, then you will need a tourist visa for your surfing stay in Thailand. Visas can vary in length, with the longest being 90 days, although the one that you apply for will depend on how long you plan on staying in Thailand for your surfing holiday. Keep in mind that if you overstay the length of time of your visa, then you will be fined.
Prior to traveling to Thailand, it is highly recommended that travelers get jabs for hepatitis A and tetanus. Additionally, you will also need to be fully vaccinated from COVID 19.
Language and Currency
The official language of Thailand is Centra Thai, which is the native language of Central, Eastern, and Southwestern Thailand. Additionally, English is the most common second language across the entirety of Thailand, with the largest number of English speakers being based in Central Thailand. As for currency, the official currency of Thailand is the Thai baht.
Checking Surf Forecast
Regardless of which part of Thailand you intend to visit, it’s important that you make sure to check the surf forecast each day, even if you’re planning to stay at a surf camp and get lessons. If you have a surfing instructor, then they will be able to provide you with a report of the surfing forecast.
However, you will also be able to check the surf forecast by simply googling it online. You can access the internet through a variety of ways, including your phone (if you have data to access the internet) or by visiting an internet cafe – your hotel or hostel will usually provide one of these.
Before traveling to Thailand, you will need to make sure that you have paid for travel insurance that has an especially good medical cover. Even though prices can vary for travel insurance, it’s absolutely vital that you get it.
As an example of how much you’ll be looking to spend, travel insurance tends to cost somewhere around 5% of your total holiday cost and, while it may be tempting to overlook it, if you need to visit the hospital for urgent medical attention, you could get hit with a huge medical bill.
By purchasing travel insurance, you’ll be covered for any medical bills or other bills that you may encounter due to lost goods or emergencies.