Echosmith sings: “I wish that I could be like the cool kids…” It seems that when all the cool kids go to Thailand, they end up on Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan or Phuket. Look at their pictures on Instagram and Snapchat. It seems these are the only places in Thailand for beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes. Well, I discovered a new place where you can also find exactly that.
That place is called Khanom.
First I want to take you back to the moment I myself discovered Khanom Thailand. Our US friends Clark and Monica were traveling in Thailand and completely changed their travel plans when someone told them the following: “Trust me, skip Koh Samui and go to Khanom“.
So they did. In the end Clark and Monica stayed in Khanom for a whole month! They settled down, connected and made friends. They where not only passing through as one of many tourists (something they experienced in more popular places). Read about their impressions here: Khanom Thailand – about not being that anonymous tourist.
Visit Khanom Thailand
Khanom sounded like the perfect destination for us. We are always in search for undiscovered places; alternative destinations beyond the travel guidebook. So after our stay in Bangkok we decided to visit Khanom. And we loved it!
We planned to stay in Khanom for a couple of days, but ended up extending our stay. It just really felt good. Uncrowded, easy-going and still undiscovered: good example of experiencing slow life in Thailand.
Khanom has several bays and beaches, streching around 9 km along the gulf. There is hardly any public transport to these bays and beaches, so you really need to ride a motorbike. Contributing big time to our perfect stay was the staff of the Khanom Hill Resort (more about them below). The resort is exactly what we were looking for: white sand beach, off the beaten path, great accommodation with swimming pools (plural!) for the kids.
Things to do in Khanom
This post will not immediately turn Khanom in the next trendy Thai destination, luckily not. At first glance it might even look a bit boring as it does not offer you the Koh Samui or Phangan party scene. But it’s an area that will offer you an authentic Thai experience.
So I guess you are curious now about the things to do in Khanom. It’s all quite easy to figure out once you are there, but here is our list to get you started.
1. Motorbike tour
Fabulous landscapes that make a motorbike trip unforgettable! A bit outside of town you will love the palm trees, cows and farmer houses when you drive towards secluded beaches and waterfalls.
Most of all, don’t miss the beach at the ‘End of the Road’. Ask anybody and they will show you the way. South of town it might look like the road will not bring you anywhere. Deserted, steep, and without any signs. But your persistence will offer you a rewarding destination: the beach at the ‘End of the Road’ (the place is really called like that!).
There is one calm man selling drinks, an old grandmother in a rocking chair, a roped monkey, palm-leaf sheds and some fishing boats… We found this one to be the most beautiful beach in the area.
2. Fish foot spa
At Kao San Road in Bangkok you can have these tiny fish nibble on your feet. Nothing compared to the real thing that can be experienced in the outdoor fish spa near Khanom (at Tontarn resort).
Here you have huge fishes that do take some time to get used to when they start eating your dead skin (feet and hands). The first minutes are terrible where it feels like piranhas eat you (ok…I might exaggarate just a little bit)! At first I couldn’t stand the feeling for longer than a couple of seconds. But you get used to it and after a while it actually feels quite nice. Don’t miss this one…
3. Khanom local market and harbor
Twice a week there is a huge market where you can find the most exotic fish and vegetables. Also a great place to have a coffee and talk to local people.
After the market drive towards the harbor where you can watch the fishing boats unload their catch of the day.
4. CC Beach Bar
Compared to the popular islands like Koh Samui, Khanom does not offer much entertainment. There is one popular beach bar where we returned a couple of times: CC Beach Bar. Because the area does not have that many beach bar options, CC offers a free taxi ride from and/or to your hotel! How cool is that? Food is delicious, great music and friendly staff: a must.
5. Boat trip: pink dolphins and pancake rocks
Khanom is all about pink dolphins. Really: pink dolphins (google ‘pink dolphins thailand’). They live in the waters around Khanom and are actually quite rare. You can book a boat trip in the morning and hope for a close encounter with these creatures. We talked to some people who had amazing experiences where pink dolphins accompanied their boat for almost 20 minutes!
But Mother Nature decides herself what to show or not, so we unfortunately didn’t see a single pink dolphin during our trip…
Luckily we did see the pancake rocks, another local attraction….woohoo…
It seems there are only a couple of places in the world where you can see these heavily eroded rocks that look like a pile of pancakes. But still way less interesting compared to the dolphins of course.
But the boat tour is still a great trip. The landscapes are perfect: lush coastlines with smaller unhabited islands and funny jumping fish!
6. Khanom Hill Resort
Last but not least: the Khanom Hill resort. There are not so many accommodations in the area, so we quickly stumbled upon their website searching for a place to stay.
We loved the place. Quiet. Relaxing. Food is excellent and staff extremely happy to help you. They have beach villas and pool villas. Pool villas were across the road but perfect for us! Two small swimming pools and a jacuzzi right in front of the villa…what else do you need?
The resort is situated South from Khanom city. You need a motorbike to reach town, but that counts for most of the resorts around here. Once at the resort, you can rent motorbikes, book all kinds of day trips or go for a massage near the beach. Don’t hesitate to book this place!
So what do you think? Would you love to travel off the beaten path and visit Khanom Thailand?
Want to read more about our 2015 Thailand adventures? Following stories are published:
– Impressions of Phetchaburi: the place to be for temple lovers
– Off the beaten path: Bangkok bicycle tour