Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands, and the most popular beach on Samui is, by far, Chaweng. Chaweng Beach is located on the east coast of Koh Samui and runs for over five kilometers around the island. It is a large beach and busy – if you seek peace and solitude, this is perhaps not the place to go. But if you love the vibrancy of active beach life, plus gorgeous sands and super-blue sea, you’ll adore Chaweng.
What’s Chaweng Beach Like?
Chaweng has a lovely white-sand beach that is one of the nicest in Thailand. However, because Chaweng is such a popular place, you are unlikely to have it to yourself unless you wake up early in the morning. As soon as the sun comes up, the deckchairs and the loungers come out, and the people begin to arrive.
Plenty of vendors sell everything you could want, from Cokes to coconuts, henna tattoos to hand-made sarongs. If you don’t want to buy anything, you may be tired after telling everyone a polite “no thanks.” But you may want to take notice of the sellers that provide fresh-cooked delicacies for your lunch or a snack. Everything from fresh-roasted corn to chicken kebabs and pad Thai
Chaweng Beach Accommodation
One of the best things about Chaweng is the range and variety of accommodation you will find. If you’re looking for five-star luxury for a honeymoon or special occasion, you’ll find plush resorts or small, upscale boutique hotels. But if you are on a smaller budget, plenty of beachside cabins and cheap guesthouses can stay close to the action for just a few dollars.
What to Do on Chaweng Beach
By far, the best activities on Chaweng are under or in the water. The bay is relatively shallow and close to the shore, which is ideal for swimming or water sports. You can rent kayaks, go on a parasailing adventure, try your hand at windsurfing, or charter a private sailing boat to see the island from a different angle. The noise of jet skis is not the most peaceful thing you will hear, but there’s no denying these machines are fun and exciting to ride.
When you want to relax, get a massage for very little money at one of the many massage tents or small buildings alongside the beach. You can also play volleyball on the beach or relax with a good book.
Further away from the beach, you have an array of bars and clubs and a selection of shops and markets where you can spend your money on clothes, electronics, and souvenirs. You’ll also find the regular international chain places like Mcdonald’s and Starbucks, along with locally-owned cafes and fast-food outlets.
Image via Hajime NAKANO/ Flickr
Eating and Drinking in Chaweng
Chaweng has plenty of accommodation options and plenty of dining options, too. This is one of the best places on Koh Samui to get dinner or have a few drinks. The beach bars open onto the sands as the sun sets, and the restaurants prepare their evening fare.
Find everything from fresh seafood to tasty curries, steak to pizza. Different restaurants cater to different tastes and moods – the areas in front of the resort hotels are ideal for a romantic dinner for two. In contrast, the places in front of beach bars cater to a livelier crowd with DJs or live music to enjoy. If you want a quieter night, there are places farther down the beach but nowhere is truly secluded on Chaweng in the evening.
One of the best ways to relax in the evening is to watch the variety of people in the town, from the tourists to the locals to the ladyboys. If you take up a seat outside in one of the pavement bars, you’ll enjoy watching the spectacle of Chaweng at night. You’ll see plenty of parties, but you can choose to relax with a coffee if that’s what you prefer.
Where to Go from Chaweng Beach
If you prefer a quieter beach, Chaweng Noi (translated as Little Chaweng) is just a short distance to the south of central Chaweng Beach. It is a much smaller beach, the last man beach you have before you travel on the road leading to Lamai Beach. When you drive on the route from Chaweng to Lamai, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views on the island. There are some stunning resorts leading away from Chaweng, with a great outlook over the ocean.