The largest and the most frequented spot in Koh Samui, Chaweng town lines the most splendid white sand beaches on the east coast of Koh Samui island. Jam-packed with an ample range of accommodation, restaurant, bars, shops and massage parlours, Chaweng is one of the most attractive coastal retreats in Thailand.
Chaweng is usually divided into four areas: Central Chaweng, where the most of the tourist facilities can be found, quieter South Chaweng, North Chaweng where some of the upscale villas and resorts are located, and Chaweng Noi or Little Chaweng wich is around a headland. Belted by the turquoise and shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Chaweng Beach features with the soft silvery sand in the central and southern parts, which becomes rocky closer to the north end of the bay.
The widest selection of accommodations is located in Central Chaweng. Hotels range from basic fan rooms catering to “hippie” backpackers to the exclusive villas and resorts perched atop of cliffs and overlooking the mesmerising Gulf of Thailand.
Even though Chaweng is a party town, you will barely notice the noise and crowds as most of the nightlife are concentrated along one Green Mango Alley, which can be easily avoided. Chaweng centre along with the beachside walks are dotted with endless restaurants, bars and massage parlours, and after the dusk, they come alive. From the street stall food to the sophisticated rooftop bars and upmarket restaurants in Chaweng you will not feel the lack of dining, drinking and relaxation options.
WHAT WE LOVE
Jaw-dropping villa accommodations
Endless restaurants, bars and shops
Vibrant day and night entertainment
Fantastic shallow white-sand beach
Hundreds of day spas and massage shops
Situated towards the north of Samui Airport on the eastern coast of Koh Samui, Chaweng is the ideal base to take in all the sights of the island.
FERRY AND BUS
There are plenty of companies that carry out transfers from Phuket to Samui. The trip consists of terrestrial and marine transfers and ranges from six to seven hours. Buses depart from the central bus station in Phuket and bring travellers to Koh Phangan pier where passengers make a transfer for the modern and fast catamaran, which brings visitors to Nathon Pier located on the north-western coast of Koh Samui. Usually, there are two daily transfers for Koh Samui, but the timing can range due to the travel operator.
Although it is possible to get to Chaweng, Koh Samui over land or water, the best way is to fly:
AIRPORT AND PIER TRANSFERS
It takes around 10 minutes to reach Chaweng from Samui Airport depending on traffic. If you are travelling by ferry, the trip from Nathon Pier can take between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa.
Alternatively, there is a taxi desk at the arrival level which arranges one-way fares at a fixed-price. If you opt not to use the taxi desk, there are numerous taxi drivers waiting outside the arrival terminal so you can negotiate the price with them. Even though there is a big sign “Meter-Taxi” on the roof of taxis, local drivers rarely use them, so it is recommended to discuss the price beforehand. You can opt one of the transfer options – a shared mini van with other travellers or a private taxi. A shared taxi is essentially cheaper but usually requires at least five passengers to depart.
There are plenty of options, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers:
Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. Depending on which villa you are staying in, the cost for the private car and chauffeur can vary, so it’s recommended to contact our Ministry of Villas team to get the complete information about the private transfers.
Chaweng houses hundreds of motorbike rental shops and it’s a preferred way to move around the area but a certain level of experience is required due to the rather chaotic traffic. Main roads become congested in the centre of Chaweng at the evening so travelling by scooter or motorbike can be very rewarding as you can zig-zag through traffic and find a place to park just about anywhere. But take into account that you must always have an international drivers license on your person. Also, always opt bikes with insurance, and, of course, make sure you wear a helmet.
Car travel in Chaweng is an easy and comfortable way to move around the city and explore other areas. It is recommended, though, to select a 4×4 wheel drive car as Samui landscape features with steep hills and cliffs, which can be only navigated on a power vehicle. Also, take into account, that the lower rental price implies the absence of insurance and a poor condition of the vehicle so opt the international brands, when renting a car, such as Hertz, Avis and Budget Car Rentals.
Sports enthusiasts and eco-oriented travellers are blessed with the numerous bicycle rental shops spread around Chaweng making it an affordable way to explore the area. However, if you are planning to travel further afield it is not recommended to use bicycle due to the reasons of safety and comfort, as the surface of roads in some places is degraded, and the island’s landscape is rather hilly.
SONGTHAEWS OR PICK-UP TAXIS
Songthaews or “two-benches” are simple pick-up tracks that follow their set routes and pick up or drop off passengers at any site along the route. The trip usually costs THB20 and anyone can simply jump into the truck or require the stop ringing a bell. Though the route is described in English, it can be tricky to puzzle out how to get to the destination point for the first-time traveller.
There are a plethora of taxis cruising around Chaweng making it easy to move about the town. However, due to the fact that there is only one taxi company operating on Samui, and local drivers rarely use meters their set prices are usually inflated. It is recommended to negotiate the cost of the journey before getting into the vehicle.
There are over 15 Ministry Approved villas in Chaweng. As Chaweng is the most popular tourist location in Samui, villa prices tend to be higher than other parts of Koh Samui. Chaweng villas range from USD $590 per night for four-bedroom villa resorts to over USD $7,500 per night for a seven-bedroom luxury villa.
Most of our villas have dedicated staff including butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, and many other services you won’t find in a hotel. This is why we say “Spend just one night in a villa and you’ll never stay in a hotel again.”
You will be spoilt for choosing dining options in Chaweng. Thai, Japanese, Italian, French, German and Arab cuisines are only a few to number. The food quality is usually equally good so get prepared to take a few extra kilos while on holiday in Chaweng.
For fancy eating, there are hundreds of the exquisite restaurants lining the beach or perched atop of cliffs offering mouth-watering local and international dishes along with awe-insuring views and the laidback atmosphere.
The midrange venues, stretching along the main road with its largest concentration in the centre of the town, will compete for your attention by representing the ample selection of the freshest seafood displayed on ice in front of the restaurant.
With all the lavish variety of classic, gogo and beer bars, pubs, nightclubs, cabarets and Muay Thai fight shows, Chaweng, without a doubt, is a party centre of Samui. Though, unlike its sibling Patong, Chaweng nightlife is concentrated along one alley that runs perpendicular to the main street and bares the name Soi Green Mango.
Soi Green Mango and Soi Reggae, which runs by the lake, host hundreds of drinking establishments of varying popularity. However, most of the venues close at 2 am by order of the police, so if you wish to party from dusk-till-dawn follow the crowds or ask locals where the afterparty will take place.
Those wanting a fancy nightlife experience can opt one of the sophisticated beach bars set along the shoreline, where the soft lounge music and signature cocktails are perfect companions to people watch and friendly chats.
Another reason to visit Chaweng is its endless clothes shops, international brand boutiques and local markets, which make the area a shopping paradise for those wanting to indulge in the retail therapy.
The massive Central Festival shopping centre located in the heart of the town gathers numerous beachwear, clothes, accessories, shoes and jewellery stores under one roof. You can browse the mall for hours making short breaks to sip the fresh juice or grab a snack in one of the cafes set inside the shopping centre.
Besides the endless standalone stores, street stalls and local boutiques, Chaweng is also a home to the Walking Street, which is an improvised night market catering to both locals and tourists alike. These night events are not only a great way to hunt out something special, but also an excellent possibility to savour authentic food, socialise and take a closer look at Thai traditions.
Once you get tired of bargaining and buying, make a pitstop at the juice stall, where the freshest tropical juice will be squeezed in front of you.
Chaweng provides an almost unlimited choice of massage parlours, shops and day spas. Get the ultimate relaxation and treat yourself to a wonderful spa therapy after the whole day spent on the beach.
For as little as USD $7, you can sip into the comfy chair and indulge in the divine foot massage or reflexology. If you have a jet-lag after the long and tedious flight, head to one of the day spas, where special spa package treatments will prepare your body for the topical beach holiday.
Thai massage is a great way to pamper yourself but take into account that it’s not a common soft massage you get used to. If a rather strong Thai massage is not your idea of a perfect treatment, opt Thai virgin coconut oil massage, which combines elements of soft stretching from Thai practices and a deep relaxation massage.