Nakhon Si Tammarat province
If you like deserted beaches then Khanom beach in the Nakhon Si Tammarat province of Thailand could be the place for you. Kilometres of empty sand on the gulf of Thailand just a short distance from Samui island but a million miles away in terms of atmosphere.
This is a place where you can enjoy doing absolutely nothing at all, except may be going to see some pink dolphins.
Khanom is off the beaten trail and not well serviced by public transport so it’s best to have your own transport. (It’s a great place for bicycle touring with lots of small concrete roads winding through rubber and coconut plantations).
Guesthouses and eateries are also quite spread out along the coast so if you don’t come with your own transport you would need to hire a car, bike or bicycle. Khanom town is a couple of kilometres in land, there is a huge morning market nearby.
The three beaches of Haad Kho Khao to the north, Haad Hua Thanon to the south and Haad Nadan in the middle are collectively referred to as Khanom beach. Haad Nadan has the most choices for accommodation and restaurants and it’s where we would recommend staying, it’s still very quiet.
It’s worth noting that accommodation in Khanom can fill up on weekends and Thai public holidays when Thai families drive in from the cities. The area is a lot quieter in the week.
Recommended Khanom beach accommodation
There are several resorts and guesthouses to choose from in Khanom. On our last visit we didn’t pre-book, just picked somewhere we liked the look of from the road.
Bansonmanee homestay has a selection of bamboo bungalows set in spacious gardens on Nadan beach. There are basic fan bungalows or air con bungalows with private bathroom, a fridge and a kettle. Each detached bungalow has a nice balcony and there are lots of hammocks strung up between trees for relaxing on.
There is no restaurant at the Bansonmanee, you can find local restaurants nearby, or get your own supplies from the morning market and use the resort’s shared kitchen facilities to prepare your own food.
Pink Dolphin spotting in Khanom
The main tourist activity from Khanom beach is taking a boat out to spot Irrawaddy dolphins, unique because of their violet colouration.
You can hire a long tail boat an driver from the pier at Laem Prathap, the current price is 1,000 baht for a couple of hours.
You can go at any time of day but early morning is best for a good chance to see them. The dolphins don’t come that close to the boats, you won’t be able to snorkel with them, but it’s an experience that people treasure none the less.
If you arrive at the pier at 7.00 am you may be able to share a boat with other people looking to do likewise. Laem Prathap (Prathap cape) is about 20 km north of Khanom beach.