Mention Thailand to a seasoned traveler and they may tell you it has become overrun with backpacking students and party goers. Perhaps not the best place to take the kids! However, hunt hard enough and you’ll find Thailand still has some untouched, accessible, and family friendly beaches left. So sit back, relax and imagine the sound of the sea…
The Greater Khanom Area, just a twenty-minute speedboat ride from the popular Koh Samui, is a great alternative to the more touristy beaches. The area ticks the “deserted white sand, crystal turquoise water” box but it is also offers plenty of outdoor activities to engage the kids. A real “back to nature” break. A word of advice – high-end resorts and villas are beginning to see the attraction of the area so Thailand’s secret beach break won’t be secret much longer…
If swimming, snorkeling, or building sandcastles isn’t enough to keep the little ones entertained then pink dolphin-spotting trips may be the answer. The area is famous for the species, something you won’t forget when driving through local “towns” (perhaps “shrines” is better word). A proliferation of pink dolphins pictures and statues is de rigueur.
For older children Greater Khanom is a good area for kayaking. Explore the lush mangroves by sea and paddle around the local fishing villages that are raised above the water. The area is a place of geological interest so why not engage (or nurture) your child’s inner geologist. Show them how the earth’s history reveals itself in layers of compressed rock in the limestone mountains that surround the area. The Kayak allows you to get “up close and personal” to centuries of history – rock on!
Khanom is also home to several caves and waterfalls that you can swim in – if you’re feeling brave (watch out for leeches). Local hotels will be able to organize tours for you or point you in the right direction. Khanom Fishing and Tour can also arrange kayaking, boat tours, trips to Khao Sok National Park and elephant trekking adventures!
See their website for more information: www.khnaomfishingandtour.com
Early birds may want to consider getting up for sunrise and heading to Khanom beach where, most mornings, you can see local fishermen organizing their fishing nets. It may not sound like the most scintillating thing to do on holiday but trust me, there really is something magical about watching the silhouettes of the fishermen against the ocean as sun rises. The fishermen are friendly and you can get some great photos too.
If you really are getting withdrawal symptoms from urban life you may consider a trip to the tourism trap/Mecca Koh Samui. It might not have high-end malls but it is much more set up for tourism than Greater Khanom. At least you know you can always come back to Khanom – and the peace and quiet.
How to get there:
The Great Khanom Area is only a 60-minute car ride from Surat Thani and Nakon Si Thammarat airports.