Driving into Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui’s most famous beach, for the first time, I wasn’t, to be honest, that impressed. I’d been told over and over that Koh Samui was so much nicer than Phuket, which we’d just left, but to be honest I wasn’t that sure. Koh Samui is basically a fairly circular island and there is one main road which circum-navigates it. The road is only rarely in sight of the beach. So you can drive all around Koh Samui – and miss seeing the beach! Strange but true – blame the explosive development of the island since it was discovered in the 1970’s and particularly since the development of Koh Samui’s airport. That coupled with the typically-Thai lack of urban planning has led to a very ordinary experience while driving, particularly on the main roads.
So instead get off the bus, or park your car, turn down the back r0ads and look for the sign, then you will discover that looks something a bit more like this:
Quick Facts About Chaweng Beach
Where? on the east coast of Koh Samui – south of the airport and north of Lamai beach.
How Long is Chaweng? Chaweng is about 6.5km long.
Beach Conditions: Located in the sheltered Gulf of Thailand you won’t find any surf here – you’ll need to head to Phuket for that. On the other hand its a gently sloping beach which is very safe for children and nervous swimmers. As always in this part of Thailand the sea temperature is warm and inviting.
Facilities on the Beach. Chaweng is the most popular and famous of Samui’s beaches – and it shows! Anything you could possilby want from a beach is here. There is an almost continuous strip of hotels, restaraunts and bars along its length. Prices are, of course, somewhat higher than elsewhere – but the view is pretty much to die for! They will also move you inside, or under shelter if the rain comes down! If you are not staying at a beach-side hotel, or eating at one of the restaraunts than you will have to pay for a sun lounger if you want to get up off your towel.
There are also plenty of vendors who will sell you everything from ice cream to beer; sarongs to balloons.
The southern end of the beach is quieter than the northern, but hardly remote or undiscovered! We did however see far more locals using the beach that end – and the prices seemed a little lower.
Getting To and From Chaweng Beach
Songathews – During the day, up until 6pm, there are regular open-sided pick ups that run a standard route and will drop you off for around 10-40B depending on the distance. They are slow, but safe and entertaining way to get around. After 6pm then turn into taxis and, oddly, we had better luck negotiating with taxis.
Taxis and Motos (Motobike taxis) are everywhere in Koh Samui, flag one down but make sure you negotiate the price in advance.
From Koh Samui Airport
The airport is only 10-15 minutes north of Chaweng.
From the Ferry
The ferry terminal is on the other side of the island from Chaweng – so I’d allow about 30 minutes to get there by taxi, much longer by Songathew.
Getting Around Chaweng Beach
Parallel to the beach is Chaweng Beach Road – which runs the mid-part of the beach and is the scene for most of the beach action.