Khanom is a small district in the southern part of Thailand, home to about 30,000 people. Located in the Province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, it sits against the Gulf Of Thailand. The town is made up of fishing businesses, palm plantations and rice fields, giving this town a very slow village feeling. Khanom can offer world class beauty on par with its far more popular neighbors Krabi and Phuket, without the hordes of people usually found there.
One of the main feature of this town is the Khanom river, where one can sit and have a morning cup of coffee while watching colorful traditional fishing boats of the south sail to and from the sea. The 10 beaches on the coastline are protected as part of the Hat Khanom - Mu Ko Thale Tai National Park, the most popular being Nai Plao Beach. The district borders the Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range, which has several caves and hills including Khao Luang (814m), Khao Phlao and Khao Dat Fa (732M) and Khao Chai Son (535m).
Khanom is generally known for its unspoiled “Thainess”, and holds onto that small town Thailand feel. Tourism in the area is very underdeveloped, even though the area boasts some of the best beaches Thailand has to offer. It’s not quite off the grid, but can certainly be considered “off the beaten track”, and getting there can require some careful planning. High season is between November and April when the weather is a bit cooler, and without rain. The sea stays an average of 29 degrees celsius year round, even throughout the rainy season of June to November.
Being that the area is generally farmland and plantations, the district is relatively new. Originally a rural part of Nakhon Si Thammarat as early as 1283, it only became an independent district in 1957 and not actually upgraded to a full on township until 1999. Although there has been evidence of people living in the area since the Ayutthaya era around 1365. This rich history is crowned by the beautifully maintained Wat Kradangnya being the oldest building still used in the district.
An ancient Thai city, now a busy transportation hub that moves cargo and people around the country. You can usually find travelers passing through here, but few take the time to enjoy the cities great southern food and colorful chinese temples.
The Second largest province in Thailand, and home to huge amounts of history. This was once a massive trading hub for merchants around the world. Home to undeveloped beaches, two national parks and beautiful waterfalls, this is one of many off the beaten path destinations not to miss.
One of the more well known and upscale islands in Thailand, Koh Samui is known for white sand beaches, clean roads and world class cuisine. Samui is also known for its its beach parties and backpacker hangouts on the beach. A lovely Island for families and backpackers alike.
Unlike it’s more refined older sister, Koh Pha Ngan is known for it’s massive full moon parties and cheap beer. Generally known as a backpackers destination, this island is dominated by hedonistic displays of 20-something paradise, cheap hostels and beautiful beaches.
Consisting of 42 small islands that are home to sea-gypsies making their living on fishing, these islands are great to visit for a taste of small island life. A few islands have bungalows, and one even has a restaurant, but that’s about all you’ll find as far as development on these beautiful islands.
A beautiful hotel in a great location right on the beachfront, wifi, breakfast and dinner. There are single and double rooms available. The helpful staff and cute rooms are sure to put a smile on any traveler's face.
A wonderful budget hotel with a pool, laundry, Wifi, Garden and resturaunt, strategically located near public transportation and close enough to walk to the beach. This hotel offers no air conditioning, but rather lovely fan-cooled rooms.
For those who want a distinct taste of luxury and style on their holiday. This resort is sure to impress anyone staying in Khanom. Perhaps one of the nicest resorts in the area. Aava offers Airport transfer services, babysitting, a Bar, Wifi, a Pool, a Spa and a private beachfront with relaxing and ferry services. This hotel offers everything there is to have on a pristine white sand beach.
A bamboo bungalow style resort with a lovely location and distinctive feel. Rooms are single rooms, in their own raised bungalows. This resort offers a bar, breakfast, laundry, wifi, a restaurant and tours. Located right on the beach, this hotel is a mixture of low price and value.
For travelers who wish to travel comfortably on a budget, this hotel is in a central location in the town of Khanom. With wifi, a pool, AC and airport transfers this is a lovely place to stay for those seeking the quaint charm of the village. With the night market within walking distance, this hotel is sure to provide everything a traveler would need for a multi-faceted stay in Khanom.
You can depart from the Sai Tai Taling Chan Bus terminal in Bangkok, Which goes through Surat Thani.
You can get a flight from Don Muang (DMK) in Bangkok to Surat Thani Airport (URT). There is a bus that leaves every hour from the airport to Surat Thani town, costing 100 Baht. You can get tickets at a counter in the airport. Get off the Bus at Talad Song, then cross the road and walk to the bus station. It should be 100 Baht to Khanom. The last bus leaves at 18:00
You can also catch a flight to Samui Airport (USM), and take the ferry to Donsak Ferry Pier. There you can catch a taxi to Khanom.
Transportation in Khanom
Khanom has no public transportation, so walking is the usual choice for people to get around. There are also motorbike rental shops that rent for between 150 - 300 Baht a day.
See Yak and Bangnode - The main city of Khanom, which only comprises a few roads and alleyways. This is the only part of the district that feels somewhat like a small city. Since the city is so small, this encompasses most of the area.
Nai Phlao Beach - The most popular and developed part of Khanom. This is where most resorts and restaurants are for tourists.
You can take a boat ride from here to see some incredible islands and the famous pink dolphins. It costs 1,000 Baht and takes about two hours. You can also charter a fishing boat, as a number of companies run tours all day. These guides are very respectful of the local ecology, as they are dependant on it for the areas livelihoods.
Massive caves located about 5 minutes away from Khanom city. The road up to the caves is lined with massive ancient trees and beautiful fauna. This cave can be hard to find if traveling without a guide signs are small and poorly written. Entrance is based on donations, which is strongly encouraged. About 5 km inland there is also a massive mountain that has a paved road to the top and a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Thailand
Every saturday the whole city comes together for a night market on the main road in Khanom town. Great for trying some eccentric street food and cheap southern specialties. There is also one of the only outdoor foot spas in the area, where you hang your feet into a river and have the fish eat the dead skin off your feet. You won't find elephant pants, or croaky frogs, as this is mostly a locals only event. Things are cheap and don’t expect anyone to speak any english.
A 30 meter waterfall in the middle of dense jungle. You can find signs on the main road pointing towards a jungle dirt road that is very poorly maintained. It is not recommended to drive during rainy season, and to wear shoes if walking. It’s very rare to find other tourists here, and rarely do locals come to enjoy the falls. The pool has a wonderful view of the jungle and the coast.
One of the few beach bars in the city, and it offers a free taxi to and from your hotel. The food is delicious, and the music is awesome too. The owner is a British expatriate called Charlie; he has lived in the area a long time and is able to give you the best advice possible on where to go and what to see.
Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, which are both nearby cities, have excellent bus links to Donsak ferry pier. From this pier it is possible to gain access to the more party orientated islands of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan.
Sunscreen - even on a cloudy day, especially if it’s raining, it’s easy to forget about protecting your skin. The sun is a far more intense here on the islands, and you can get sunburned in less than an hour. However, many of the sunscreen brands in Thailand have whitening cream in them and can be far more expensive so beware of that. It may be worth it bringing your own from home
While in many of the larger cities people will speak english, or at least a few words of it, people in Khanom often do not. Having some sort of phrase book could be extremely helpful in places like this.
ATMs - ATMs are easy to find in Krabi, but work a bit different than in other countries. The cash will come out first, often prompting one who isn’t paying attention to walk away after they get their cash, leaving their ATM card behind. Make sure you wait for your card to come out before leaving.