Travel has become such a consumer item that it can be hard to find a place that you feel is untouched by the commercial aspect of travel.
It seems that everywhere can be booked in advance, that everywhere is building a swimming pool and that $5 a night rooms are gone for good.
The Lonely Planet and then the internet has done a lot to make every historical place, every beach and every mountain resort too accessible. It seems that it is hard to get off the beaten track, especially when thousands of people are going off the beaten track and following the same route as you.
Haad Khom in Koh Phangan slightly bucks this trend.
Beaches in Koh Phangan used to be cheap bungalow paradises. All the tourists went to expensive Koh Samui and the hippies that wanted a beach, unspoiled nature and a laid back atmosphere went next door to Koh Phangan.
That all changed with the meteoric rise to popularity of the Full Moon Party in Haad Rin and the building of luxury hotels on Thong Nai Pan Noi beach. Haad Khom instead remains true to its roots – it has cheap bungalows on a nearly deserted beach.
Most beaches on Koh Phangan now have hotels and many if not most traditional bungalow places have become ‘resorts’ offering air-con, wi-fi and cable TV. Koh Phangan has also developed a small red light district. In short it is becoming like Koh Samui.
One of the reasons Haad Khom has remained unaffected is because hardly anyone has heard of the beach. It is just to the east of the fishing village and boutique resort area of Chaloklum.
Haad Khom is reached via a jungle track that only 4WD and good motorbikes can manage.
The beach at Haad Khom is as beautiful as Bottle Beach or Chaloklum. It is white sand and fringed with coconut palms. It is one of the few areas on the north coast with live corals just off the shore. It is a great spot to do some snorkeling.
The bungalows on Haad Khom are made of natural materials and in the traditional style of Koh Phangan. Prices start at about 300 Thai Baht or $10 a night at places like Coconut Beach and Garden Bungalows. If you pay by the month you can often get a cheaper price.
If you want to experience what Koh Phangan used to be like and you are looking to save money then Haad Khom should be on your itinerary for Thailand.