The first time I visited Khanom, I only went to Jam Bay – at the recommendation of other teachers.
I hated it. That’s a strong statement, I know.
With that aside, I spontaneously re-visited Khanom via motorbike (instead of bus) to give it a second chance.
I loved it. That’s because I stayed far away from Jam Bay (bar, hippies, tourist stuff, etc.).
Here’s why I probably didn’t like my first visit: I like to be far away from people. Whereas I was amazed by my social network when I first got here, I’ve since reverted to my introverted, solo traveler ways. I opt to do things on my own again, staying in to read/blog/eat and rarely go out – that’s simply who I am. I really can’t be in relationships, since I spend more time alone than anyone else I’ve ever met.
Jam Bay seems to cater to English teachers getting drunk, and that’s just not my thing. It reminded me of the beach in Nadi, Fiji (except that one was better), and I’ve gotta say that the beaches in California beat Jam Bay any day. If you really want to be amazed, hit up the northern bays in the city – avoid Khanom/Jam Bay.
Khanom is only an hour away by bike, therefore making it the closest beach to us in Surat. I’ve learned that buses here exist, but they’re not entirely effective. Sometimes I’d be dropped off but then would be clueless on how to get back, and I’ve definitely been caught in sketchy situations in terms of routes back (and as a girl alone, that’s not fun – and sadly this is the only country where I’ve felt like I don’t trust some of the transport). Point learned – one’s motorbike is the fastest, most efficient mode of transportation. When I first visited Khanom, the minibus dropped me off in the middle of sleepy Khanom town, which is a bore.
With my motorbike, I was able to explore the entire perimeter of Khanom’s beautiful area without melting in the humidity. Below are some photos why I now love Khanom – all thanks to the freedom of my bike and avoiding anywhere that English teachers hang out (I clearly will be single forever at this rate).
Waterfall (I couldn’t find its actual name on Google and just followed the random sign, like I usually do – which meant that I have no idea what it’s actually called)
Khao Wang Thong Cave
Thong Ching Bay
For the first time in two years, my heart actually felt like I’ve found a place similar to Wellington. Not nearly the same (especially weather-wise), but I definitely was in awe of the rolling green hills and aqua waters that reminded me so much of my favorite country in the world: New Zealand.
Jedi Coral Toupe (spelled wrong, but I remember the Jedi Coral part of the sign)
Plus, Khanom is known for being home to pink dolphins. How cool is that?! I guess they saying is true – “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” because Khanom now has my heart after a second visit. It’s all about exploring and finding those worthwhile gems that suit your travel desires, I suppose.