The area of Chaweng and its well-known beach is where many of the commercial ventures are focused on Koh Samui.
There’s quite a narrow strip of real estate between the beach and Chaweng Beach Road, and resorts of all kinds have slotted themselves side-by-side along the length of the powdery sand.
There’s actually quite a lot happening on the beach other than just sunbathing and dipping, one aspect of which is several well-known beach bars, such as the Ark Bar. This is one of the few chill-out bars to have survived the appearance of the big resorts, and their parties are legendry.
Then there’s fun things like jet skies to be hired – parasailing, even – or what about a kayak?
There are sunbeds and tables everywhere and you’ll not find yourself wanting as there are many enterprising vendors ready to supply you with ices creams and cold drinks as well as the more traditional and hard-working food sellers cooking chicken and corn cobs on portable charcoal braziers.
The sand on Chaweng Beach itself is really wide (in some parts up to 35 metres!) and the sea is shallow, making it perfect for paddling and dipping, if not for swimming.
Chaweng Beach is six kilometres in length and can loosely be divided into three sections.
The central part is the busiest and most crowded, with lots of beach restaurants, and resorts with restaurants over looking the sand. During the day there is a constant stream of hawkers and peddlers and vendors waving cheap jewellery, hammocks and even big maps of Thailand.
As the bay turns in to the north, so the cliffs begin and the incline to the beach become more pronounced, ending in the steeply-terraced platforms of the most northern resorts. The beach here is much quieter - when you can find it - as some of the smaller coves are inaccessible when the tide is high.
In the opposite direction, the beach remains flat and sandy but is quieter and mainly dominated by large resorts that sit side by side. Although they like to think of their beach areas as 'private', unless you flop out unannounced on one of their sun beds none of them will mind at all if you put a towel on the sand or if you stop in for a drink or a snack - though don't expect prices to be in the budget range!
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