Chaweng Beach Nightlife - Chaweng is Koh Samui's Party Central.
All along the Beach Road you will see sois (streets) leading off into warrens of bars and pubs of varying appeal and popularity. The epicentre of all this hedonism and fun is undoubtedly Soi Green Mango in Central Chaweng, with Soi Reggae, by the lake, coming in a close second.
Before we get too hyperbolic about Chaweng's nightlife it's best to remember that bars close at 02:00 by order of the police so the party curve zooms upward past midnight and peaks a little earlier than some would prefer. And yes, some bars stay open later – those whose owners have friends in high places.
Here are some Chaweng night areas to check out.
Green Mango Square
Making a sweeping U-shape off Central Chaweng's Beach Road, Soi Green Mango is lined with open-sided full-on party bars, each with ear-spitting sound systems vying for aural dominance – and with predictably muddled results. On the northern side of the U there's more of a girlie, pick-up and Go-Go bar atmosphere whereas bars like Green Mango itself and Sweet Soul Café as well as Solo Bar are more for revelers.
Further down the soi, on alleys branching off, are even more pubs and bars so if you're looking for a pub/bar crawl that doesn't involve transport this is perfect territory.
Sweet Soul Cafe
Sweet Soul Cafe is an institution on Samui and is located in the epicentre of Soi Green Mango. It's popular with both locals and tourists alike and is probably the liveliest place in town. A full range of cocktails, shooters and beers are available and the staff members are all very friendly. Music tends to be mostly a mixture of top 40 dance, R n' B, and hip hop tunes played at maximum volume. It's a great place to go if you want a rowdy night out on the town, but not somewhere to go if you want to chill. Check out the Jagermiester machine at the back of the bar that dispenses ice cold shots to liven you up.
Green Mango Club
The Green Mango Club is hard to miss; it's in a huge warehouse building at the end of the road. It has two main areas with the entrance space playing hip hop and mainstream tunes, whilst the main pumps out some banging house and techno music.
Sound is a great outdoor venue, the front bar plays hip-hop and R n'B to a packed house, while the dance floor at the back has DJ's spinning harder house, and there's a big swimming pool separating the two dance floors, which sets the scene for some late-night water fights. This is a really popular venue for the late-night crowd, and doesn't really get going until after 01:00 when it becomes crammed with high-energy revelers.
Samui's premier ladyboy entertainment venue offers lots of fun in the form of an exceedingly camp Vegas-style revue every night. If you have a taste for show tunes, big hair, sequins and elaborate dance routines to go with pretty accurate miming, then Christy's is the place for you. The venue is fully air-conditioned and entrance is free - there are several other similar shows around town, but Christy's is probably the friendliest of the lot.
GB Lounge/Dream Girls
Since the social order crackdown began, the more risqué aspects of the shows at Samui's two pre-eminent go-go bars, a short stroll apart on Soi Green Mango have been toned down considerably. Still, these Go-Go bars are worth a visit if only as an eye-opener. Of the two, the split-level Dream Girls is considered the classier version, due to its revolving stage and glass ceiling.
Out on the street leading to the Reggae Pub from Chaweng Centre you'll find bar after small bar lining the passage with the usual cast of friendly girls, not very original music, a pool table here and there and a general air of seediness.
Things get pretty desperate here the later it gets and the girls get more 'aggressive' in their tactics. You have been warned… Still, it can be a lot of fun if it's all approached with a sense of humour and fun.
The Reggae Pub is a large, barn-like institution by Chaweng Lake and has been catering for party people en masse for years now. Here, a large dance floor is surrounded by benches and tables while international DJ's and live bands handle the entertainment through enormous sound systems.
Petch Bucha Thai Boxing Stadium
This large stadium near the Reggae Pub is the centre of Muay Thai boxing in Samui. Starting at 21:00 and going on until midnight, fights here are the real thing, unlike some semi-staged efforts at several tourist centres. Seat prices vary but in reality it's much the same experience buying a bleacher pew as in the 'VIP' section, perhaps better. It's a noisy, thrilling and sometimes shocking evening of thrills and spills. Bar available.
Moulin Rouge is an up-market Go-Go Bar on Soi Reggae, behind Chaweng Beach Road, by the lake. There you can indulge in a drink or two and watch the dancing babes into the early hours.
New, classy venue in the middle of the beer bar area of Soi Sound, for those requiring a little more discretion. The club has a lively atmosphere, attentive waiting staff, and plenty of bouncing belles.
Chaweng Beach Road
All along the Beach Road in between the restaurants and shops, pubs, clubs and bars offer nightly fun. The range is tremendous and there is something for everyone, even families with children.
Another Samui institution, the Ark Bar has been at it for quite a few years. Even though it's changed hands several times the bar/restaurant still uses the same methods to draw people in with fire dancers, ambient music, dining and dancing on the beach and a relaxed atmosphere that extends to a child-friendly vibe, even late at night.
One of the most spectacular dining options in the south of Thailand, the Brazilian-themed Zico's is an on-fire mixture of entertainment, glam cocktails and skewer after skewer of freshly prepared meat served from sword-like serving knives by strolling waiters. To the side lies a salad bar to balance the all-you-can-eat fixed price meats. Entertainment takes place on a central stage and consists of bottom-wiggling sexy samba dancing girls in outfits that leave little to the imagination, live percussion and sax players.
If you're looking for a happy-go-lucky evening with lots of beer choices, good food, great music, pool, quizzes and an Irish ambience look no further than Tropical Murphy's. Owner Paul Watson takes no prisoners in his quest to be the top pub in town and he ensures that everything runs smoothly. Murphy's Thai staff members speak good English and the extensive choice of seating means that you can take in the live music upstairs in the air-con, watch sports downstairs or enjoy the night air and the street sights on the outside terrace.
Bar Solo has a cool, sleek interior and a great music policy as well as a pool table and six plasma screens showing major sporting events. Solo Bar is a good option to start a night out, when you can take advantage of their 1/2price cocktails from 14:00 – 20:00. Later in the evening, the bar gets lively with DJ's spinning funky, uplifting house and chilled lounge tunes.
Bar @ C
Part of the Amari Palm Reef Resort, Bar @ C has obviously had no expense spared in its creation and has a fashionable appeal more readily associated with Bangkok bars than other hotel bars on Samui. There's a variety of seating areas including large day beds and giant sofas. In the evening discreet spot lighting is to the fore and a long wall shelf light slowly pulsates different hues, to add to the lounge-style ambience. As the name suggests, the bar is also only a few metres from the sea.
With a big screen and a nightly live band you'd think that Red Snapper wouldn't exactly be totally be focused in on its food but you'd be wrong. Part of Chaweng Regent Beach Resort, Red Snapper fronts onto the Beach Road and is great for that laid-back meal, while watching the passing throngs. Modern fusion and healthy dishes prevail with more of a leaning towards cocktails than wine on the drinks list, the décor is pleasant and this is definitely a happening place to be.
Three examples stand out when it comes to non-central nightspots: The Bar Ice, on the northern road leading out to Bohput and high on the hill above the Bar Ice, Q Bar entices people to admire the views over Chaweng and enjoy its unique vibe. Springers, on the southernmost part of Chaweng's Beach Road leading out to Lamai, is another nearby hotspot.
Overlooking Chaweng from its northern end, Q Bar stands regal on a hillside. Along the same lines of its Bangkok counterpart (though less snobby), you simply can't miss the huge neon 'Q' up the road from Bar Ice and this place is bopping later on in the evening and in the early hours. International DJ's spin into the night and punters can choose between the music-filled interior or the ultra-cool exterior with those groovy views. Q Bar also holds special parties and fashion events. This is truly a place to see and be seen in. Be careful heading back down the hill, though.
Unusual, eclectic or just plain wacky? Springer Pub is based in a garage outlet and has auto parts strewn around in places where there shouldn't be places. With a funky interior sporting seats made out of car parts, a bonnet and headlamps emerging from the wall above the stage, live music past 22:30 and a loosely fitting biker's atmosphere Springer Pub is a welcome relief from the highly charged and sometimes mercenary atmosphere of Central Chaweng.
Chaweng Beach is the major beach on Ko Samui and one that has developed tremendously since the early 1990s. Just 20 years ago the beach was home to just a sprinkle of wooden bungalows but now the place is swamped with 4-5 star hotels, Italian pizza joints, Irish pubs and even go-go bars. Samui’s nightlife is becoming legendary but unfortunately not always attracting the best standard of tourist. Chaweng’s once ‘hippy’ only backpackers have given way to a lot of ‘lager louts’. Chaweng is the place to be if you are looking for a rowdy reckless party scene.
Lamai Beach Like Chaweng, Lamai has transformed from a ‘hippy’ hangout into a fun, party place packed out with bars and exciting nightlife. The beach though, is still in better condition than Chaweng and the place doesn’t get quite so crowded. If it’s a quiet relaxing location you are after, then Lamai won’t be the ideal place for you. At the southern end of Lamai, there are some odd-looking rock formations.
Maenam Beach This quite beach, located in the north of the island is decent enough for swimming and sunbathing especially for families with children due to the shallow water.
Bophut Beach situated in the north of the island, is a popular starting point for diving tours. The place isn’t in any way as developed as Chaweng but there are still plenty of restaurants, shops and bars.
Choengmon Beach is in the North-East of Samui just 10 minutes from Chaweng. Unlike the latter it is a perfect place for relaxing.
Big Buddha Beach Located in the north-east of Samui, Big Buddha offers visitors good swimming and lovely views. The area has developed a lot over the past few years and there are now a plentitude of restaurants, shops and bars.
Na Thon - The island's major seafront settlement where shops, restaurants and tour agencies are concentrated.
Namtok Hin Lat – This waterfall is easily accessible by car. Some of the numerous tiny levels have a large basin for swimmers.
Namtok Na Mueang – A local road leads to the Na Mueang 1 Waterfall. A walk of about 30 minutes ends up at the more scenic Na Mueang 2 Waterfall. Purple rocks surround the stream of water, which gushes in from an impressive height of around 79 meters.
Ban Lipa Yai – This village grows high quality fruits, including rambutan, durian, mangosteen and the famed langsat.
Old House – This Chinese-style house, aged almost 200 years, represents Samui’s cultural identity. Grandpa Si and Grandma Maen Hancharoen, the present owner, open the house to visitors.
Other island attractions include coral beds at Laem Set and Thong Takhian; the nearby butterfly garden and aquarium; a snake farm; a monkey theatre at Bo Phut and a massive seated Buddha image on Fan isle.
Wat Khunaram Ko Samui This temple is the island’s most famous temple for its mummified monk on display. The mummy sits upright in a glass casket and devotees offer it flowers and incense. The mummy is in fact the body of a very revered former abbot of the temple who was also a meditation master that was able to predict his own death.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks These odd-looking rocks situated on Lamai beach bear a striking resemblance to male and female sexual organs and they have turned into one of the island’s biggest attractions. For those who would like to hear a legend or two surrounding the rocks, they need only ask a local.
Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo Ko Samui Located at Ban Harn beach, the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo offer a fun day out for the family. The undersea world of the aquarium has an amazing collection of tropical fish and other vibrant aquatic animals such as turtles and colorful coral. The tiger zoo is home to Bengal tigers and leopards. For those who are daring enough, they can have their photograph taken with the awesome animals. The Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo are open daily from 9AM till 6PM.
Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) Also known as the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai), has a 15 meter tall statue of the Buddha. It was built in 1972 and is in the north of the island.
Laem Sor Pagoda Ko Samui This chedi (pagoda) situated at Laem Sor temple is one of the most important shrines on Ko Samui. The structure with its yellow tiles which gives off a golden aura is quite impressive.
Samui Butterful Garden / Insect Museum This butterfly garden can be found in the south-east of the island. There is a huge collection of different butterflies, some quarter of a meter wide. The visitor can also enter the insect museum nearby to see a variety of rare bugs and a bee house.
Secret Buddha Garden This beautiful garden was made by a 76 year-old Ko Samui fruit farmer in 1976. It is surrounded by lush jungle, rocky hills and is adorned with sculptures depicting both humans, in various poses, as well as various deities. Since the garden is the highest point on the island, there are also some awesome views to be had. Organized tours to the garden last for about 2 hours.