Chaweng

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.

Understand

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.

Chaweng beach

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.

Get in

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.

See

Song kran

Do

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.

Buy

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.

Eat

Drink

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.

Sleep

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.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.