Chaweng is the beach on the east coast of Ko Samui and has a reputation for a pristine white beach and an excellent nightlife infrastructure especially on the northern end of the beach.
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 Island's east coast. The beach is beautiful here and local developers are finally cleaning up some of the trashy areas on the island. It attracts many young travelers 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 snorkeling 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 usual 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 from the airport. If you book a taxi at the airport transport desk, it will cost 400 Baht. A shared van (usually requiring 5 passengers before it will depart) 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 Wave, Honda Click, Suzuki Step, etc. Rentals cost 100-200 Baht per day depending on the length of the rental.
Bigger motorbikes like Harley Davidson and sport bikes like Kawasaki Ninja and Honda CBR are also offered. 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 1500 Baht or more every 24 hrs. 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 during an accident could be expensive.
See & 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 Angthong National Marine Park.
- 100 Degrees East,  Samui’s award winning 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. Ph: +66 (0) 77 245 936 , [email protected]
- Searobin Dive Center, tel. +66-1-535-7768,  offers a full range of PADI training courses - personal attention - dive in small groups on a good selection of boats.
- The Salamander Dive Centre, tel. +66-77-413693,  offers many services, including diving courses and tour arranging all your travel needs and we stock all diving equipment needed in your course or tour, for purchase and rental too.
- Magnolia Spa, tel. +66-77-601133,  Magnolia Spa is currently the only spa in Thailand that uses and stocks the complete range of Dead Sea Minerals products. Next to it is the Magnolia Cafe, with great breads and cakes, as well as other food.
- Calypso Diving Koh Samui, tel. +66-77-422437  offers all kind of PADI Dive courses from Beginner to professional. Calypso also organize individual dive, snorkelling and island trips to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Angthong National Marine Park. Two modern speed catamarans are making the journey very comfortable and safe. At Koh Tao is a tour boat with all faculties necessary for a convenient day. Max. 24 passenger per boat, small groups: max. 5 divers, 10 snorkelers per professional dive guide. Calypso provides all causes to make a day trip a perfect day.
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 possible when it comes to souvenir and souvenir-like products. 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 the 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 clothes 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. They vendors will not bother you if you ignore them or say no.
In the evening several restaurants offer seafood on the beach. Almost all hotels offer dining at the beach so compare prices.
- Cloud Restaurant & Bar, (on the first floor 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 Soi Green Mango. The breakfast/lunch meeting point for backpackers & good orientation base 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.
- Sea Food Centre, about half a kilometre inland from Coco Blues Bar is a set of about 5 sea food restaurants. One's called Stone Fish - 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.
- Ark Bar Beach Club and Resort, Chaweng Beach Road (In the heart of Chaweng Beach), ☎ 077 961 333 ([email protected], fax: 077 961 334), . 7am till 2am. Every Wednesday and Friday there is the Ark Bar Beach Party, from 2pm until 2am, with a free BBQ @ 4pm, live International and local DJ's, live musicians (drums and saxophone) and beach-side fire-work displays. 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 pool competition brings a large and fun crowd.
- Bar Solo. Large mainly outdoor club that opens early evening till sunrise, in the center of Chaweng. Has 2 dance floors and about 6 pool tables.
- Black Jack Pub, Chawng Beach Road, . Long established English style pub. No bar girls hassling you, just cold beer & plenty of live 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.
- Mint Bar, (on Soi Green Mango). Playing trance, house, and dubstep music.
- Reggae Pub. Chaweng institution, but don't be fooled by the name: some nights are more techno than Marley, but this area does tend to be more laid back.
- Sounds. A trance music club that stays open until dawn.
- Sweet Soul. Lively dance venue in Soi Mango.
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 orientated 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.
- BB Chaweng Beach Resort, . A beach side resort. Rooms look sparse, but that can be attributed to the wide-spaced furnishings and the room's large area. Its restaurant is set right along 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, which is the best price around for individual travellers (Tel +66 89 989 6985).
- Coconut House just off Chaweng Beach Rd near The Islander Restaurant. Rooms include cable and air-con. 600 baht per night. Only problem is the loud music from the after hours club nearby, but if you are getting in at 04:00 anyway then not such a problem.
- Lek City Hotel, 166/1 Mu 2 Chaweng. North side of town. Very new, nice, clean and cheap. The one drawback is it gets very loud from 10:00-02:00 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 (Tel +66 77 422 428).
- Al's resort, . 1,800-7,200 baht including breakfast..
- Ark Bar Beach Resort - www.ark-bar.com - Main Beach Rd (Moo 2) Chaweng. Total of 260 rooms with 3 room options: deluxe, superior and junior suite. 1,300-3,000 baht per night. Centrally located on the beach and known for its beach-side restaurants, lively atmosphere, and amazing beach parties.
- Baan Chaweng Resort (บ้านเฉวง รีสอร์ท) 163/1 Mu 2 Hat Chaweng (Tel: +66 77 422 403, +66 77 230 310 Fax: +66 77 422 404), 60 rooms: 5000+ baht
- Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort (บ้านหาดงาม บูติค รีสอร์ท) 154 Mu 2, Chaweng Beach, Bophut (Tel: 0 7723 1500 Fax: 0 7723 1520) , Rates: 4,840-7,840 baht
- Baan Samui Resort (บ้านสมุยรีสอร์ท) 14/7 Mu 2 Hat Chaweng (Tel: 0 7723 0965-9 Bangkok Tel: 0 2261 2986-9), 80 rooms: 2,000-8,500 baht
- Best Western Bayview Resort, . Friendly staff, amazing views of the ocean, 4 pools, and great breakfasts.
- Chaweng Oasis, (east coast of Ko Samui, 15 minutes from Samui's airport, 35 km from the ferry port of Nathon.), ☎ +64 78 656 625 (fax: +64 93 531 995). Four bedrooms, 5 baths. this stunning villa sits on the side of a mountain in its own walled environment. A stunning "Infinity Edge Pool" enjoys wonderful views of the east and north coasts of Samui. It is surrounded by a 3 m deck and lush tropical gardens. The villa has three full time staff who are on call 24 hours a day during your visit From 157,500 baht per week.
- Imperial Samui Hotel (อิมพีเรียล สมุย รีสอร์ท) 86 Mu 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Bophut. Rates: 3,800-10,000 baht.
- Impiana Resort Samui (อิมเพียน่ารีสอร์ทสมุย) 91/2 Mu 3 Hat Chaweng Noi (Tel: 0 7742 2011 Fax: 0 7742 2111 Bangkok Tel: 0 2260 6511, 0 2260 6493 Fax: 0 2434-3304), 120 rooms: 3,500-9,500 baht
- The Library, . Designer hotel on Chaweng Beach with good service and restaurant.
- Poppies Samui, . Almost at the end of Chaweng Beach but on one of the better parts with a lush tropical garden, outstanding staff and an excellent restaurant that is worth writing home about.
- Samui New Star (สมุยนิวสตาร์) 80 Moo 3 Bophut, Hat Chaweng Noi (Tel: 0 7742 2407 Fax. 0 7742 2325 , 50 rooms: 1,950-3,700 baht
- Sareeraya Villas & Suites  100/1 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Rd. Resort offers lodging in 36 suites and 12 pool villas. The restaurant, Chef's Table, serves both local and international dishes. Facilities include 2 bars, swimming pools, transit lounge, a meeting room, fitness centre and Raya Spa. Tel: + 66 77 914 333. E-mail: [email protected]
Your guesthouse and many other places in town can rent you a motorbike for between 150 to 200 baht a day to head around the island on your own. Bicycles are a bit harder to come buy but are also available for about 100 baht per day. As the traffic is left-sided you should be very careful (and wear a helmet) while driving even if you are familiar with driving on the left, other road users might not. Accidents, sometimes with fatalities, are too common despite the light traffic.
Travel Agencies can sell you bus tickets with pick-up from your hotel and including the ferry to many destinations in Thailand such as Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi. Booking the same tickets in Nathon or for trains at the Surat Thani station works out to be significantly cheaper sometimes.
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