I I returned to Samui for the third time; this time with my 16yo daughter in tow. It has been 17 years since my last visit and 25 years since my first. I knew things would have changed but I was sad to see that much of Samui's development has given little thought to the environmental or long term impact. The island is no longer a quiet tropical haven- while I get that few places like that remain, It's a shame it has been exploited to such an extent and I wonder how sustainable tourism and development will be if it continues at this rate?
That being said, this post is about Chaweng Beach and somehow, the beach itself has maintained much of its natural beauty. Chaweng is definitely the nicest beach that I have seen on the island ( I didn't get around to Chong Mon) and while the Main Street is a smelly jumble of cheap shops, restaurants, bars and the hideous Central Samui shopping centre, the beach is calm and pretty. Most of the accommodation on the beach is of the smaller variety with the odd bigger development such as Centara but even the bigger ones don't overwhelm or dominate the beach. This is a very busy spot and unfortunately jetski's and noisy bars blaring loud, crappy music abound. But somehow the warm waters and soft white sand win out. I recommend Chaweng over Lamai; The sand at Lamai is rougher and the beach is quite steep. Also, girly bars and "cabarets" were everywhere in Lamai whereas Chaweng was more about shopping and eating with the odd night spot thrown in.
At the end of the day, we're all after different things but for me, Chaweng was ok.
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