Chawing and Chaweng Noi is the largest and most popular of Samui’s beaches, and is usually divided into four sections: North Chaweng, Central Chaweng, South Chaweng and Chaweng Noi (Little Chaweng) which is around a headland and at the southern most tip of Chaweng. Chaweng Beach is approximately 7 km long, making it the longest beach on the east coast. It is lined with coconut trees and boasts year long, warm (temperatures range between 25-28°C.). The ocean brings a lot of debris on the Chaweng Beach and while most of it is natural, it still makes the beach look dirty. The beach tends to have bigger waves and stronger currents than most of the other beaches of Thailand. Visibility in the water is very poor.
Chaweng offers an incredibly broad range of accommodation, ranging in price from as little as 400 baht per night for basic fan rooms and shared facilities, premium resorts charging up to 20,000 baht per night and 5 star villas at 70,000 per night. Eating in Koh Samui is equally diverse, starting from the street food costing 40 baht per meal to some world class restaurants with International chefs and standards where a 3 course meal will cost and taste the same as in the best restaurants in any leading capital city in the world.
This diverse offering obviously attracts a diverse range of travellers, from your young “hippie” backpackers, international school and university students, sporting teams, singles, couples, honeymooners, wedding party’s and families. However at any given time there are very few Thai tourists in Chaweng.
The views from Chaweng Beach include two small islands, near the natural reef, that you can walk to and explore at low tide.
The central part of Chaweng is far more crowded than the quieter south and attracts the younger “up for it” party travellers. If music and activity is not your scene, this area can be avoided.
While on the beach, many vendors will stop and offer beverages, fruit, ice cream and local Thai food cooked on small portable BBQ’s. These vendors are polite, if you do not want anything, a simple “no thank you” will see them on their way. A variety of local crafts and Thai souvenirs are also available.
The beach itself is usually accessed through the hotels, as there only a few public roads or paths that lead to the beach. Chaweng Beach, as all of Chaweng, is diverse and can be relaxing or active depending on where you are and what season it is.
The main road, runs parallel to the beach and from south to north is occupied by the ubiquitous convenience stores and restaurants, bars, resorts, hotels, tailors, clothing, accessory, pharmacies, massage, spa, souvenir and fast-food shops. The side-walks are very narrow and full of signs that you can easily bump your head on. Similar to the lowest quality side-walks that you can find in Bangkok. Trash can be seen and smelled everywhere. Unlike elsewhere in Thailand, be prepared to be offered a lot of flyers, hear a lot of advertisements through speakers of pickup trucks that pass by constantly and for every tailor shop’s and restaurant’s immigrant worker to ask you to come inside.