Chaweng is a beach on the east coast of Ko Samui. It has a lovely white beach and vibrant nightlife, especially at its north end.
Chaweng is the largest and most popular of Samui's beaches, and is usually divided into three sections: North Chaweng, Central Chaweng and Chaweng Noi (Little Chaweng) around a headland to the south. Chaweng Beach is the longest beach on Samui's east coast. The beach is beautiful here and local developers are finally cleaning up some of the trashy areas nearby. It attracts many young travellers and families alike, but still remains good value for money.
The beach is approximately 7 km long with powdery white sand. It is bordered by emerald-blue waters and a coral reef where waves break, leaving the bay quite peaceful. Not far from the beach, there are two small islands near the reef. After swimming, you can explore the nearest one by walking through shallow water or go for snorkelling and kayaking at the second island which is further out and larger.
The central part of the beach is a bit more crowded than the quieter north. Many vendors pass by, offering beverages, fruit, ice cream and local Thai food for the more daring. A variety of local crafts and Thai souvenirs are also available.
The beach itself is usually accessed through the hotels, as there are no beach roads to disturb the peacefulness of the area. It is very relaxing but noticeably more touristy during the high season. The water is clean with normal temperatures between 25-28°C.
Parallel to the beach, clustered in the middle of the strip, lies Samui's greatest concentration of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and of course, fast food and convenience stores.
Chaweng is a few minutes ride south of the airport. If you book a taxi at the airport's transport desk, it will cost 400 baht. A shared van (usually requiring 5 passengers before it departs) will cost 120 baht per person. Taxi drivers rarely use taxi meters here. If you decide not to use the booking desk, negotiate the fare in advance with the taxi driver. It should cost from 200-400 baht. Or you may book a transfer with your hotel. This service usually costs 300 baht, though some of the higher-end hotels have quoted rates of 400 baht per person.
You may opt to take other, more adventurous forms of transportation like the following:
Motorcycle taxis are ordinary motorbikes and you sit behind the driver during the ride. Depending on the distance, the price ranges from 30-150 baht.
Motorbike rentals are available if riding solo is what you prefer. Most motorbike rentals in Chaweng offer 100-125 cc bikes such as Honda Waves, Honda Clicks, Suzuki Steps, etc. Rentals cost 100-200 baht per day depending on the length of the rental.
Bigger motorbikes like Harley Davidson's and sport bikes like Kawasaki Ninjas and Honda CBRs are also available. Be warned that bike accidents tend to be a regular occurrence in Ko Samui, so drive carefully.
If you are travelling in a large group, you may opt to rent a Jeep. The rental usually costs at least 800 baht per day. A private car will set you back 1,500 baht or more per day. There are many models to choose from: Honda Jazz, Isuzu Hi-Lander, Toyota Camry, Toyota Fortuner, etc. Established rental companies such as Avis and Hertz also offer insurance. It might be a good idea to get the insurance along with the rental as having no insurance and an accident could be expensive.
Almost all activities are on the beach (even parts of the nightlife) and most Samui dive shops are based in Chaweng. It's also the base to arrange trips to nearby Ko Tao and the Ang Thong National Marine Park.
- Calypso Diving Koh Samui, ☎ . Offers all kind of PADI Dive courses from beginner to professional. Calypso also organize individual dive, snorkelling, and island trips to Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao and Ang Thong National Marine Park. Two modern high-speed catamarans make the journey very comfortable and safe. At Ko Tao is a tour boat with all the facilities required for a fun-filled day. Maximum 24 passengers per boat. Small groups: maximum 5 divers, 10 snorkellers per professional dive guide.
- Magnolia Spa, ☎ . The only spa in Thailand that stocks and uses the complete range of products from Dead Sea Minerals. Next to it is the Magnolia Cafe, with great breads and cakes, as well as other food.
- 100 Degrees East, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 5 Star PADI Dive Resort and a BSAC Resort Centre. Safe diving in a friendly and supportive environment in which you can relax, have fun and enjoy your time.
- The Salamander Dive Centre, ☎ . Diving courses and tours, arranging all your travel needs. Stocks all diving equipment needed in your course or tour, for purchase and rental too.
There are lots of souvenir shops around town. It is not uncommon for the shopkeepers to ask 5 times the normal tourist price particularly in the central areas. Bargaining is always acceptable when it comes to souvenirs. Even when a price is indicated a discount up to 50% might be available. As many shops and the often cheaper market stalls sell mostly similar products, ask at several places to get an idea of what is a reasonable price before starting haggling for the product you really want. The clothing sold here can often be found at Khao San Road in Bangkok for a lower price.
On the beach, vendors will sell beach clothes, jewelry, beach toys and games, and food (coconuts, sliced fruit, satay, roasted corn, ice cream, water, etc.). Be prepared to bargain. Most food items are generally 50 baht/piece. The vendors will not bother you if you ignore them or say no.
- Chef's Table, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Local dishes, fresh seafood, international cuisine. Fine wines and delicious drinks to match the luxurious tropical atmosphere and outstanding setting.
- Cloud Restaurant & Bar (Next to Khun Chaweng Resort and Stars Cabaret). Trendy restaurant and bar in the centre of Chaweng. Ice cold beer, an amazing range of cocktails and a delicious selection of well-presented meals, including Thai food from 100 baht and a variety of Western favourites like pizzas, pastas, and burgers from under 200 baht.
- Khao San Road Restaurant (Near to Soi Green Mango). The breakfast/lunch meeting point for backpackers and a good base camp to select a hostel and meet fellow travellers.
- Ninja (Across the street from Baan Samui Resort and Chaweng Buri Resort). A nice family-owned traditional Thai place with very reasonable prices. Don't expect a fancy interior, but very tasty food at cheap prices.
- Poppies Samui (At the lower end of Chaweng Beach). Has an excellent international and Thai restaurant if you are after exquisite surroundings presided over by a great chef.
- Sea Food Centre (About half a kilometre inland from Coco Blues Bar). A set of about 5 seafood restaurants. One's called StoneFish, a great place with excellent service. The food is amazing and they will grill/cook/boil/steam it just the way you would like to have it.
Downtown Chaweng is full of back-to-back bars and restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines and atmospheres. While the bars along the main street and side streets tend to be more packed, take one of the small walkways to the beach for a unique waterfront experience. Like most of Thailand, bar girls are present in the open air bars of Chaweng on Soi Green Mango and Soi Reggae, though are much less pushy. Soi Reggae consists of only a single western-style bar at the end of the street(Reggae Pub) after about 20 "beer bars". Soi Green Mango and the surrounding area is the primary nightlife area of Chaweng not on the beach, containing various western style clubs and bars and gets quite crowded by midnight.
- Ark Bar Beach Club and Resort, Chaweng Beach Rd (in the heart of Chaweng Beach), ☎ , fax: 077 961 334, e-mail: email@example.com. 07:00-02:00. Every Wednesday and Friday there is the Ark Bar Beach Party, from 14:00-02:00, with a free BBQ @ 16:00, with international and local DJ's, live musicians (drums and saxophone), and beach-side fireworks. The restaurant (on the beach) is open all day and night and is praised for the fresh seafood and over 300 dishes to choose from.
- Bar Asia, Soi Reggae. Nice staff and owner, with a nice crowd. Tuesday's pool competition attracts a large and fun crowd.
- Bar Solo. Large, mainly outdoor club that opens early evening till sunrise, in the centre of Chaweng. Has 2 dance floors and about 6 pool tables.
- Black Jack Pub, Chawng Beach Rd. Long-established English-style pub. No bar girls hassling you, just cold beer and plenty of televised sport.
- Green Mango Club and Disco. Samui's main nightclub, the main tourist spot.
- Henry Africa's, Soi Green Mango. Lively bar, packed every night with tourists, expats, and local girls. Free pool (3 tables). Very friendly staff.
- Reggae Pub. A Chaweng institution, but don't be fooled by the name. Some nights are more techno than Marley, but this place does tend to be more laid back.
- Sweet Soul. Lively dance venue in Soi Mango.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Under 1,000 baht|
|Mid-range||1,000 baht to 2,500 baht|
|Splurge||Over 2,500 baht|
Chaweng is the heart of Ko Samui. The once abundant backpacker bungalows and hostels are virtually non-existent and have been replaced with newer, more modern and obviously more expensive tourist oriented hotels. Always insist to see the room before you book in any hotel if you choose one of the more affordable hotels. Be aware that the nightclub district is not far from many of the good beach hotels, which tend to be on the north half of Chaweng. This is fantastic if that is what you want on your holiday but not suitable for the quieter more romantic holiday.
- Baan Chaweng Resort (บ้านเฉวง รีสอร์ท), 163/1 Moo 2, ☎ , , fax: +66 77 422404. 60 rooms. 400-1,500 baht.
- BB Chaweng Beach Resort. Rooms look sparse, but that can be attributed to the widely spaced furnishings and the rooms large size. Its restaurant is on the shore.
- Chaweng Beach Backpackers Hostel, 11/7 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Rd (across from the Focus Minimart), ☎ . A nice dorm room hostel run by a crazy Scottish woman. Free coffee, tea, toast (DIY), half-hour free Internet, and very accommodating to budget travellers. Home-like, laid back. 250 baht.
- Coconut House (just off Chaweng Beach Rd near the Islander Restaurant). Rooms include cable and air-con. Only problem is the loud music from the after-hours club nearby, but if you are getting in at 04:00 anyway then it hardly matters. 600 baht.
- Lek City Hotel, 166/1 Moo 2 (north side of town), ☎ . Very new, nice, clean and cheap. The one drawback is it gets very loud from 22:00-02:00 with the nightclub across the street. But if you plan on being out all night this is a good hotel. Wi-Fi advertised, but may not be working. 600+ baht.
- Al's Hut. A small resort on Chaweng Beach. 1,850-3,373 baht with daily breakfast.
- Ark Bar Beach Resort, Main Beach Rd, Moo 2. 260 rooms with 3 room options: deluxe, superior, and junior suite. On the beach and known for its beach-side restaurants, lively atmosphere, and beach parties. 1,300-3,000 baht.
- Baan Samui Resort (บ้านสมุยรีสอร์ท), 14/7 Moo 2, ☎ . , 80 rooms. 2,000-8,500 baht.
- Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort ((บ้านหาดงาม บูติค รีสอร์ท), 154 Moo 2, ☎ . 4,840-7,840 baht.
- Best Western Bayview Resort. Friendly staff, ocean views, 4 pools, and great breakfasts.
- Imperial Samui Hotel (อิมพีเรียล สมุย รีสอร์ท), 86 Moo 3. 3,800-10,000 baht.
- Impiana Resort Samui (อิมเพียน่ารีสอร์ทสมุย), 91/2 Moo, ☎ . 3,500-9,500 baht.
- The Library. Designer hotel on the best part of the Chaweng Beach with good service and restaurant. 11,600-20,900 baht.
- New Star Beach Resort (สมุยนิวสตาร์), 83 Moo 3 Bophut, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 50 rooms. 3,500+ baht.
- Sareeraya Villas & Suites, 100/1 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 36 suites and 12 pool villas. Chef's Table restaurant serves both local and international dishes. 2 bars, swimming pools, transit lounge, a meeting room, fitness centre, and Raya Spa.