Chaweng Beach, after the main port Nathon, is by far the largest and most populated area in Koh Samui. For some reason my brother and I have gravitated toward quite touristy areas on this trip. I guess when you’re travelling with a male close in age it changes the dynamic a little bit, especially as this is his first time in Thailand and he seems determined to treat it like an 18 to 30s club. I’ve been to Thailand with a girlfriend in the past and we avoided places like Chaweng and Patong like the plague; through no want of my own, you understand – I wasn’t given much choice in the matter. But not this time.
The beach is great; at least two miles of uninterrupted sand, the resorts’ sun loungers laid out the length of it, interspersed with Thai massage booths, ranging in quality and expense. Almost every resort offers food and drinks, so if you purchase a drink you are free to use the loungers where you so desire. The beach slopes downward sharply, so there is little difference between high and low tide. This means the water deepens very quickly, which perhaps isn’t great for young children. The resorts are also built very close to the water’s edge, so although the beach is very long, it isn’t wide at all, and the water often laps right up to the reclining sun worshippers, enjoying their various brightly coloured concoctions.
October and November are the wettest months on Koh Samui, which meant it wasn’t as busy as usual and prices were cheaper than we expected in Chaweng. We were able to hire a beautiful room with a flat screen television, air conditioning and fridge quite close to the beach for 800 baht a night. Split between the two of us this was pretty reasonable, but I wouldn’t have entertained the idea if I was alone. My brother enjoys his home comforts, and when we’re splitting the bill it’s difficult to argue. My calls for an authentic Thai experience have fallen on deaf ears since we rented a hut in Railay infested with cockroaches… Our scooters were also a bargain at 150 baht a day.
We found an amazing food stall that sold the most delicious noodle and chicken soup on the night of our arrival. This was frequented by Thais only; these are the places you must eat if you want to save substantially. For a large bowl, with bottled water, we paid 50 baht each, plus a tip. Needless to say, we frequented that particular establishment quite often. So there’s no need to pay a fortune on food here unless you want to try out the more expensive restaurants on the strip. These specialise in seafood, which look and smell delicious; the chefs cook it at the front of house to tempt the nostrils of passers by. The crafty devils.
The nightlife in Chaweng is really good. I preferred going out there more than Patong as, although it’s still pretty full on, you’re not hassled constantly. There’s a variety of bars and clubs. Some are civilised, mainly situated on the main strip, which are aimed at an older clientèle and are great for groups or couples who actually enjoy conversing with one another. Then there are the large nightclubs: loud, energetic hubs of wanton hedonism. And finally, the Go-Go or Girly bars, sometimes exclusively lady-boy orientated, designed to remove as much money from young, horny, and often incredibly naive men, as efficiently and as effectively as possible.
And this brings me to my next subject: the burgeoning, or rather, fully burgeoned sex industry in Thailand. Like many things Thai, the Thai model is quite unique, and I would like to remark with regards to the same. But I’ll keep it for the next post.