The Swedes discovered Greater Khanom about 10 years ago, and the Finns and Danes followed five years later. The Norwegians, meanwhile, headed to Bali.
“Thailand is the most popular market for Finns after the Canary Islands,” says Atte Savisalo, co-owner of the Aava Resort & Spa (see yesterday's Accidental Travel Writer).
“Finland has become one of the main targets of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.”
Located a 20 minutes' speedboat ride from the island of Koh Samui, Khanom is a fishing village located on the Thai mainland. Surat Thani and Nakon Si Thammarat airports are a one hour's drive away, with three to four flights a day linking the region with Bangkok.
With unspoiled beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, swaying palm trees, and fascinating caves to explore, Greater Khanom is the antithesis of heaving Koh Samui.
It has been attracting an increasing number of vacationing Thais, Malaysians, and Scandinavians in search of a more laid back ambiance in recent years.
“Unlike Koh Samui, Krabi, and Phuket, Khanom does not have much tourism or any facilities at the moment,” says Suthep Keasang, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Nakhon Si Thammarat office.
“But the local population is friendly, and there are many potential tourist attractions.”
Eighty per cent of the 1.6 million tourists visiting the province each year are Thai. Malaysians represent the largest number of foreign tourists, with Scandinavians – who arrive by chartered flights – coming in second.
Accommodation runs from quaint guest houses to high end resorts. The opening of the Aava Resort & Spa on Nadan Beach this year signals the district's arrival as one of the country's up and coming travel destinations. See it now! Some day you will be able to say, “I remember when. . .”