Oh the choice! When it comes to beaches, Samui has enough options to please all manner of beachgoers. From party lovers looking for live DJs and a festive vibe, to those looking for solitude and two palm trees to swing their hammock. So which is Choeng Mon then? Well, neither actually. It’s somewhere in the middle, which is probably why it’s so loved by locals, expat families and tourists who’ve discovered the secret. It’s not as busy as nearby Chaweng Beach, yet it’s not isolated, so there’s plenty to see and do, and it’s easy to grab a bite or a drink when the need arises.
A rocky stretch of coast backed by steep cliffs divides Samui's northern and eastern beaches. Choeng Mon Beach is located in a deep bay that cuts into the rocky coastline, its soft sands considered some of the island's finest and the shallow waters ideal for year-round swimming and beach activities. The beach here is lined with several resorts, both high end as well as mid-range bungalow types. And sun beds are in abundance, serviced by restaurants and resorts, so all you need to bring is a good book, towel and sunscreen. Chaweng, the island’s most developed tourist area, is around five kilometres south of Choeng Mon, reached via a long hilly stretch of cliffs and bays.
But it would be easy to drive right past Choeng Mon’s main beach without knowing this wonderful swimming beach even exists, as it is hidden behind resort facades, shops and restaurants. It can be accessed via most of the resorts, or a parking area and thoroughfare halfway along the beach.
Choeng Mon’s main beach is one of the most popular with expat families, as the bay is protected and good for swimming. Koh Farn, a small island that’s little more than a rocky outcrop, sits just off shore, and can be reached by foot at low tide, making for interesting exploration. At low tide, the water retreats quite far to expose rocks and pools at this eastern end of the beach, so if you’d prefer a deep-water swim, move a couple of hundred metres west. You'll find kayaks to rent and beach bats for sale too. And if all that kayaking and playing beach bats has caused your muscles to ache, not to worry, as there are several massage salas scattered along the beachfront, where a massage will only make your wallet slightly lighter, starting at around 250 baht for an hour. If you prefer a massage in air-conditioned surroundings, pop up back to the main road, where a number of massage parlours are dotted along the road.
A long time favourite vendor on Choeng Mon beach is Mr Coppi. He can be seen from about 11:00am each day, setting up his beach kitchen, and drawing the crowds for his grilled buttered corn on the cob, grilled chicken with sticky rice and fresh fruit. His quaint blackboard sign reads, “Mr Coppi’s secret corn on the cob, good style recipe. Nice to meet you. Khob khoon krab”. He’s always smiling and recognises his regular customers. You’re guaranteed to burn your mouth on the corn, as it smells so good, you’ll not be able to wait for it to cool.
If you like shopping from the comfort of your sun-lounger, there are a few friendly vendors parading their wares. They’re not a pushy bunch and if you tell them you’re not shopping today, you’ll get left in peace to read your book and sip on your coconut. Bikinis, sarongs, beachwear, silk bedcovers and ornaments carved from coconut wood are a few of the items on sale. And if you fancy something to cool you in the heat, you won’t have to wait long for an ice-cream seller to pass by.
The village of Choeng Mon is quite small, but with a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars lining the area backing the main beach. Girlie bars are not allowed in Choeng Mon, adding to its popularity with families. Aside from the fancier eateries, you'll find a good selection of cheap roadside cafes too. The village hosts a small 'walking street market' on Wednesday evenings, where you'll find a good selection of street food on offer.
But if you’d prefer to dine on the beach in the evening, the resorts and restaurants that line the shore all set out tables on the beach. As the sun sets, sun-loungers are replaced with tables, and lanterns and fairy lights add to the effect. There’s something special about being able to kick off your shoes and dig your toes into the sand while dining by candlelight on the beach.
Right then. Off to the beach, inspired by this quote, “Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” – anonymous.