Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui's most popular stretch of powdery white sand. The wide bay has been the focal point for the development of the island's tourism industry and the majestic five-kilometre-long crescent is bordered by rocky headlands on either end, with an offshore reef and the tiny island of Koh Matlam to the north.
The beach offers great swimming and plenty of water sports, dining and accommodation options. In both the summer and winter high seasons, Chaweng Beach is packed with sun-seekers soaking up the rays and has a fun, holiday atmosphere. It's not the most secluded or peaceful of Samui's beaches, but everything one could desire is within a few metres of your sunbed - from cold drinks and snacks to massages, making it a great option for lazing away the day in comfort.
If you do feel like a calmer alternative, at the southern end of Chaweng, on the ring road travelling towards Lamai, there is a separate little stretch of beach called Chaweng Noi, which is pretty and less crowded. It also boasts good swimming near the shore.
On the whole, Chaweng beach offers similar services and ambience along its entire length, so if you're visiting for the day, just walk down from the beach road at any point, find a spot to relax, and lay down your towel. The southern and middle sections have the deepest water and are therefore the best areas for swimming and water sports. At the northern end the water can be very shallow and there is a reef just offshore, however this makes it ideal for small children.
Before heading out for a swim, lookout for red flags, which warn bathers of dangerous currents at certain times of the year. Most of the time, the azure waters are perfect for bathing but when the temperatures warm up in the hot season you may need to find a hotel pool to cool down in.
If you are not staying in a hotel on the beachfront, then some resorts hire sunbeds and umbrellas to non-guests for about 100B per day. Alternatively, just take a towel and stake your claim to a patch of sand, although it can be difficult to find shade during the hottest hours so don't forget the sunblock.
An army of vendors patrol Chaweng beach selling ice creams, fruit, grilled sweetcorn or chicken and Thai papaya salad, cold drinks, jewelry, sarongs. They also offer services such as henna tattoos, hair braiding and pedicures.
The vendors are mostly polite and not too persistent or pushy. They will take a friendly "no" for an answer. But if any of the goods and services on offer appeal, this is a nice way to spend your money with local people. Vendors often come from Thailand's poor northeastern provinces and have travelled to work in the tourism hot spots in order to support their families back home.
One great luxury for westerners is being able to have an affordable massage right on the beach. Chaweng is lined with massage salas attended by legions of jolly women ready to knead and pummel away your cares as you listen to the gently lapping waves.
Although not quite as rigorously trained as some of the masseurs in salons and spas on the beach road, these ladies provide a great service nonetheless.
Most of the beach masseurs offer Thai and oil massages, as well as aloe vera body wraps for those that overdosed on sun. The busiest time for the beach massage is between 4-6pm, so it is sometimes worth booking beforehand.
Chaweng beach may be the perfect spot to laze around and work on the tan, but there is also a good range of sports available for the more active visitor. Just walking along the beach you will find many places that rent jet-skis, catamarans and kayaks, and you can even indulge in some banana boat mayhem. Two of the best and reasonably priced hire outfits are located near the deeper waters at the southern end of the beach.
Dolphins, near Chaweng Cove Resotel, offers catamarans, windsurfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, parasailing and kayaking. The friendly and knowledgable staff can also arrange fishing trips. A few minutes to the north you will find Chaweng Water sports, which has lots of jet-skis and a banana boat or two, they also have speed boats that you can charter for a day-trip with a skipper.
As the sun goes down, many of the beachfront restaurants put out tables on the sand, and when darkness falls, the candles and fairy lights create a romantic ambience.
Dining out under the stars provides the perfect end to a day on Chaweng beach.
Recommended Hotel in Chaweng
Buri Rasa Village
Buri Rasa Village provides a stylish residential choice, right in the centre of the most popular and most frequented resort town in Koh Samui: Chaweng Beach.Set right on the beach, the hotel offers easy access to what makes Chaweng so popular: its four-kilometre-long beach which hosts romantic dining every evening, and on the other side, the hurly-burly atmosphere of a city that seems to never sleep with its myriad of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment opportunities.Like the eye of a typhoon, Buri Rasa Village offers a peaceful haven in the middle of Chaweng, with its 32 elegantly appointed rooms available in five types: Deluxe, Premium Deluxe, Deluxe Garden Court with Dip Pool, Deluxe Studio, and Family Suite. Read More...