Of the many beaches on Ko Samui, Chaweng Beach is the clear party headliner. Nearby Lamai Beach offers plenty of nightlife with a more laid-back approach. The other beaches range from a much more temperate nightlife, down to non-existent. Chaweng Beach * The island's most popular beach with "full on" partying, for those seeking non-stop fun. * Located in the centre of the east coast, and stretching for around 5km, this is the premier beach on Koh Samui, and it attracts a majority of visitors. Only 20 years ago there were just a few wooden bungalows and the odd rustic bar here, but these days the whole beach area has been completely taken over by resorts (from those offering cheap bungalows right up to 5-star hotels), shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, and even a few seedy go-go establishments. Chaweng has become so built-up that in the main centre, that is impossible to see the beach from the Beach Road - a road that was once was completely open to the beach and the sea beyond. These days, you have to search out little lanes to find access the beach. Chaweng offers many water sports, including parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking, private yacht charter and the ubiquitous jet skis. Swimming is possible all year round as an outer reef protects it. But the waters can still be a little rough with strong currents during November and December. The beach itself is one of the best on the island, with fine white sand, and a good drop off into clear waters. But if you want to enjoy a relatively peaceful dip, you had better arrive at dawn, and finish your swim before 7:00am. After this, the noise and hustle commence - deckchairs cover the sand, vendors appear, jet skis start revving up, and masseurs offer their services. After dark, Chaweng is the main drinking and partying area on the island. There are plenty of hostess bars and associated clientele. Along with booze buckets, and clubs pumping out music, where you can dance till dawn. But you can still find nice little funky bars around town and on the beach front. The fun goes on all night long, and if you get hungry you will be spoilt for choice - from cheap Thai snacks to fine dining and everything in between, including pizzerias, Thai cuisine, and fast food outlets such as McDonalds. If you want to temper your nightlife indulgences, just outside the bay at either end are some hotels and restaurants with spectacular views of the sea. To get here, drive down the 4169 ring road from north to south, and it's the first beach you come across after the ring road re-joins the coast on the eastern side of the island. Lamai Beach * A 24/7 Party beach, but a little more laid-back and a little cheaper than its northern neighbour. * About 10km south of Chaweng is Lamai beach - smaller than Chaweng but offering a similar kind of holiday to its northern neighbour but at a slightly more laid back pace. Here, the beach is still visible from the road, and the accommodation is generally a little cheaper, as are prices in the restaurants, clubs and bars. The larger resorts have clustered along the central section of Lamai, and they take good care of the beach, which tends to be in better condition than at Chaweng. As with all beaches in Thailand, Lamai Beach is open and free for everyone. There are still plenty of noisy jet skis and vendors, and the loud music from bars after dark, albeit a little less raucous than at Chaweng. The beach is not quite as crowded, and the southern end is quite rocky. Here you can see the locally famous twin rock formations known as "Grandfather" and "Grandmother" rock - so named as they are said to resemble male and female genitalia. There are two beautiful bays just north of Lamai Beach, with some great places to go snorkelling. Lamai also has some reputable spas located here. So if you are looking for partying and action after dark, then Lamai beach is a simply a slightly more laid back and cheaper version of Chaweng. It will not suit those seeking a quiet location to chill out and get away from it all. To get here, drive down the 4169 ring road from north to south and after the ring road re-joins the coast on the eastern side of the island, it is the next main beach you come to after you have skirted headland at the end of Chaweng beach.