Chaweng Beach is the longest and most developed of Samui’s beaches. The soft, white sands attracts thousands of visitors all year round and there is a vast choice of accommodation and food both on the beach and all along the main shopping street behind it.
It is the resort capital of the island and gives the area an international flavour, having much of the best shopping and entertainment than elsewhere on Samui. The beach stretches some six kilometres and most businesses describe their location based on the position along it – North, Central or South Chaweng.
The northern and southern ends of the beach tend to be quieter, with seafront resorts dominating the scene, while central Chaweng is a lively blend of bars and restaurants that often bustle until the early hours. The main street is some way back from the beach, behind the hotels and resorts, where there are stalls selling every kind of gift and souvenir plus innumerable bars, clubs and restaurants.
Even the big international fast food and retail chains have outlets in Chaweng, so anyone who stays or visits the place certainly won’t be lacking the comforts of home.
Chaweng also has a ‘Thai quarter’, which stretches between the main beach strip and the main island ring road further inland. This area includes the recently developed Chaweng Lake, and one of Samui’s biggest markets, Lam Din; a traditional market that sells fresh food and dry goods.
The contrast between this area and the tourist-oriented beachfront provides an interesting cultural experience. Lam Din is also a good place to try Thai street food, including delicious barbecued chicken and the unique Thai rice sausages.
You might find Chaweng a bit crowded and overdeveloped, but it remains the most popular of the resort areas mainly due to its large, sweeping stretch of sand. Chaweng North is a bit more exclusive than the central and southern sections and it takes a good 30 minutes to walk the full span of the beach, so there’s plenty of room for all, even if the main street seems chaotic.
In the evenings, restaurants spill out onto the beach at the northern end… read a more detailed page on Chaweng in our beach section.
Bet you didn’t know that!
Samui was a coconut harvesting backwater until backpackers discovered the place in the eighties. Soon after, Bangkok Airways built the airport, the taxi mafia arrived, the boutique villa developers started snapping up national forest, and those dreadful backpacker types were all banished to a hermetically sealed Koh Pha Ngan to amuse themselves with full moon partying.