See also: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary: A No-Ride Conservation Camp

After not seeing my best friend Megan for over a year, she made the trek from LA to SEA where we embarked on an epic girls trip to Thailand! It was so nice to finally kick it with someone from back home – just what I needed to get me through my last few months here before moving back to San Diego in June!!!

After careful consideration, we decided to skip the hassle of the Phi Phi Islands and spend more time in Phuket. Although I’ve wanted to see Maya Bay for as long as I can remember, I’ve heard too many horror stories about the beaches being disgustingly dirty and Maya Bay being overcrowded, so I think we would have just been disappointed. Plus, it takes an entire day to get there from Phuket and an entire day to get back, which is precious vacay time better spent sipping on cocktails at the beach! Except for one wild night out in Patong (Thais know how to party!), we stayed in North Phuket the entire time where we got to explore some insanely gorgeous beaches, so I definitely think we made the right decision!

While all of Phuket’s beaches boast impossibly clear water and fine white sand, these three were by far my favorite.

Surin Beach

More specially, the private beach at The Surin which is where we started our trip. We arrived early in the morning, exhausted from our 7am flight, but as soon as we saw the postcard-perfect white sand beach and an infinite horizon of crystal-clear turquoise water, we were immediately in vacation mode. The resort’s resident “beach boys” inflated our outrageous pineapple and watermelon floats much to their amusement, on which we spent approximately 90% of our time floating in the calm sea. Unlike other beaches in Phuket where you’re bombarded by local vendors trying to sell you Chang and Leo beers, The Surin’s beach was the definition of serenity.

The Surin shares its private beach with the Aman resort next door, so you know it’s the best of the best, and it’s actually frequently recognized as Phuket’s most beautiful beach. The beach was dotted with just a handful of other guests, meaning there was never a hoard of tourists to ruin our pics, or a shortage of lounge chairs. We would awake in the morning to a light yoga class on the beach, and end our day with sunset cocktails and delicious Thai food at the The Surin’s beach bar. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we actually didn’t even leave the resort one of the days, but can you blame us?

Natai Beach

Further north, we stayed in the MTV cribs-worthy Sava Villa Cielo, a glorious villa that sits beachfront on the golden sands of Natai Beach, one of Phuket’s few remaining unspoiled beaches. Surrounded by emerald green water, the beauty of Natai lies not just in its appearance but also in its tranquility. Besides our lovely villa staff, we did not see another soul the entire time we were there, even when we went on a 20-minute amble down the beach where we discovered a deserted hammock and palm tree swing that made us feel like Robinson Crusoe. It was like we had this entire stretch of beach all to ourselves, because really, we did!

We also had the villa’s six bedrooms all to ourselves, which was hilariously excessive but fun at the same time. The villa came with complimentary use of SUPs and kayaks of which we took full advantage, and I really wish someone was filming us as we attempted (and failed miserably) to get the kayaks out to sea during high tide when the waves were insanely crazy! The watermelon and pineapple floats made another appearance in the sparkling green infinity pool, and we treated ourselves to massages on the villa’s oceanfront spa pavilion, the sounds of lapping waves easing us into a state of pure bliss.

Banana Beach

While staying at the stunning Bill Bensley-designed resort The Slate in Nai Yang Beach, we hired a long tail boat to take us on a quick snorkeling trip around a neighboring island, where we got to see a vibrant array of tropical marine life. After swallowing our fair share of salt water and nearly losing a snorkeling mask (Megan), our long tail boat docked at what is commonly referred as Phuket’s “last secret beach”: Banana Beach. Few places in the world can truly be called “sublime”, but I have no other word in the English language to describe the untouched beauty of Banana Beach. With turquoise water that rivals the Maldives, it was the perfect backdrop for our morning of post-snorkeling, sun-kissed relaxation.

What are your favorite beaches in Thailand?