The search for the next big resort destination in Thailand is an absolutely big ask. An expansive country with 77 provinces and an amazing array of diverse geographical locations, Instagram-worthy aspects, and distinctly different nuances. Out of this brazen travel chaos, the endearing term ‘same same, but different’ was born and remains highly relevant.
Yet, one of the simple truths of emerging destinations remains the adage “you can’t stay there if you can’t get there”. Potential is one thing but reality bites when getting to it is just too painful for words. Here in Thailand, one of my favourite places is Koh Samui. It marches to its own drum beat, and the vibe is undeniable. Still, access is never easy, the cost to get there is on the high side, and options for access are limited.
Scanning the Gulf of Thailand, other bohemian beach islands including Koh Chang, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan all are lovely but suffer a similar challenge, limited transportation access. The search for a modern-day Robinson Crusoe can’t be this hard? Or can it?
The search for azure blue seas stretches of long white sand, and coconut-lined beaches brings me to Khanom. For so many travellers the mention of the name draws a blank stare and the perfunctory ‘where’? Set on the Southeastern Coast of Thailand’s mainland between Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat. On a clear day, you can see Koh Samui and the famed five islands on the horizon.
Perhaps the cherry on top for Khanom, is that it offers the same stunning beaches as Koh Samui but being on the mainland is a far simpler proposition for a holiday or second home. Drive-to destinations in Thailand during the pandemic and after have been a boom for travellers, and are now an even stronger draw card for hotel and real estate developers. Look at the success of Khao Yai and Hua Hin where nature, space, and accessibility are key ingredients in the mix.
One of my preferred demand generators when evaluating resort destinations is airlift. Simply put, the magic carpet effect. Khanom is easily accessible to Surat Thani International Airport and Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport where Thailand’s Department of Airports (DoA) has upgraded infrastructure to double capacity.
Stepping back and looking at property in the area, there is still access to larger land parcels. According to leading Thai property portal FazWaz, investment-grade real estate opportunities with reasonable land cost basis reflect the pricing of early-stage development.
Based on C9 Hotelworks’ ongoing analysis of Thailand’s resort residential markets, a defined shift back to end-users and urge in second or holiday-home buyers has pushed the sector to the beginning of a new cycle. This signals an uptick in growth but unlike more developed markets like Phuket, Hua Hin, or Koh Samui with prime land parcels soaring, Khanom offers an accessible beach destination with considerably lower underlying land costs. It has airlift and a well-developed road network.
Taking a final look at Khanom, one of the key success factors in a resort location is DNA and aspect. The memorable views of the nearby outer islands in the Gulf of Thailand give a strong sense of place. Moreso, the nature in the area is amazing, highlighted by an abundance of pink dolphins. If you want wow, you got it. Coming out of the pandemic the pick-up in demand for lifestyle properties is going in a single direction and that’s up. If you haven’t been to Thailand’s Southeastern coast, there is no better time to visit than right now.