If you do make it off Koh Samui make sure you visit the Greater Khanom area – only a twenty minute speedboat ride away from the island. It is still relatively untouched by tourism and definitely has that “hidden gem” feel about the place. Khanom ticks the “white sand, crystal turquoise water” box but it is also offers plenty of outdoor activities from dolhpin spotting to kayaking – it is a real “back to nature” break.
Aava Resort and Spa, a Scandinavian inspired resort, is run by a charming and friendly Finnish couple (and their one year old son, Nino – who the children’s play area is named after). The owners were happy to impart their local knowledge and suggest good sightseeing spots. I was a guest of the resort and I really enjoyed my stay here and can highly recommend it.
There are 28 individual bungalows, set back from Khanom beach, in four different styles. Some the villa rooms include a shared pool that looks out onto the beach. Prices range from $80 to $555 per night. If needed, a free extra bed for children under 12 can be provided. They have two restaurants. One specializes in Asian and European fusion cuisine and there is also a pizzeria. They also have a bakery for when you get that bread craving!
As well as being family friendly it is also the perfect location for romance. Aava are geared up to cater for honeymooners. Private jacuzzis in some of the rooms, and the romantic backdrop are sure to please.
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.
Khanom is also home to several caves and waterfalls that you can swim in – if you’re feeling brave (watch out for leeches). Aava 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! www.khnaomfishingandtour.com.
Keep an eye on the hotel’s website www.aavaresort.com where Aava advertise any special promotions. The hotel is fairly new and you get the impression that the owners are really keen to make a success of things. Guests are sure to well looked after.