Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui's most popular stretch of powdery white sand. The wide bay has been the focal point for the development of the island's tourism industry for decades. This majestic 5-km-long crescent is bordered by rocky headlands on either end, with an offshore reef and the tiny island of Koh Matlam to the north.

Chaweng Beach offers great swimming and plenty of water sports, as well as dining and accommodation options. It has a fun, holiday atmosphere during Koh Samui's high seasons, with many sun-seekers lounging on the sand. It's not the most secluded or peaceful of Samui's beaches, but everything you'd want is within a few metres of your sun lounger, such as cold drinks, snacks, and massages.

The Beach of Chaweng - one of the highlights of 10 Most Instagrammable Places in Koh Samui and 10 Best Beaches in Koh Samui (Read all about Koh Samui here)

What are the highlights of Chaweng Beach?

On the whole, Chaweng Beach offers similar services and ambience along its entire length. If you're visiting for the day, just walk down from the beach road at any point, find a spot to relax, and lay down your towel.

The southern and middle sections have the deepest water, so these are the best areas for swimming and water sports. At the northern end, the water can be very shallow and there is a reef just offshore, which makes it ideal for small children.

If you feel like a calmer alternative, head to the southern end of Chaweng, on the ring road travelling towards Lamai. You'll find a separate little stretch of beach called Chaweng Noi, which has the smallest crowd. It also boasts good swimming near the shore.

Good to know about Chaweng Beach

Before heading out for a swim, look out for red flags, which warn you of dangerous currents at certain times of the year. Most of the time, Chaweng Beach is excellent for swimming. When the temperatures warm up in the hot season, you may need to find a hotel pool to cool down in.

If you're not staying at a hotel on Chaweng's beachfront, some resorts hire sun loungers and umbrellas for non-staying guests. Alternatively, just take a towel and stake your claim to a patch of sand. It can be difficult to find shade during the hottest hours, so don't forget the sunblock.

An army of vendors patrols Chaweng Beach selling ice creams, fruit, grilled sweetcorn or chicken and Thai papaya salad, cold drinks, jewellery, and sarongs. They also offer services such as henna tattoos, hair braiding, and pedicures.

Massages in Chaweng Beach 

The vendors of Chaweng Beach are mostly polite and not too persistent or pushy. They will take a friendly "no" for an answer. But if any of the goods and services on offer appeal, this is a nice way to spend your money with local people. Vendors often come from Thailand's northeastern provinces and have travelled to work in the tourism hotspots to support their families back home. 

One great luxury for westerners is being able to have an affordable massage right on the beach. Chaweng is lined with massage pavilions attended by masseuses. Although not quite as rigorously trained as some of those in salons and spas on the beach road, these ladies provide a great service nonetheless.

Most of the beach masseuses offer Thai and oil massages, as well as aloe vera body wraps for those overdosed on the sun. The busiest time for the beach massage is between 4 pm and 6 pm, so it's worth booking beforehand.

Water sports in Chaweng Beach 

Chaweng Beach may be the perfect spot to laze around and work on the tan, but there is also a good range of sports available for the more active visitor. Just walking along the beach, you'll find many places that rent jet-skis, catamarans and kayaks, and you can even indulge in some banana boat mayhem. Some of the best and reasonably priced hire outfits are located near the deeper waters at the southern end of the beach.

Water sports providers near Chaweng Cove Beach Resort can arrange for wakeboarding, parasailing, and fishing trips. A few minutes to the north, you will find one that has lots of jet-skis and a banana boat or 2,, Some have speedboats that you can charter for a day-trip with a skipper.

As the sun goes down, many of Chaweng's beachfront restaurants put out tables on the sand. Candles and fairy lights create a romantic ambience, so dining under the stars is an ideal way to end to a day on Chaweng Beach.

The Beach of Chaweng

Location: Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand