Phuket or Koh Samui: Where Should You Spend Your Thailand Holiday?

By Alice Ross | ASIA

Nov 13
phuket or koh samui

It's a known fact that Thailand is one of the most visited countries in Asia. The Land of Smiles offers a wide range of activities, which include peaceful beaches, amazing nightlife spots, some of the best shopping spots in the world, and a lot of recreation opportunities.

Among many gems found in the country, Phuket and Koh Samui are two are among the most stunning. Choosing between Phuket and Koh Samui is like choosing between cake and ice cream. The indistinguishable geographical features, an abundance of adventures to captivating and marvelous serenity make it hard for anyone to decide whether it is better to go to Phuket or Koh Samui.


So, to help you save time on choosing which one suits your preference and needs best, below are comparisons for the two islands:


Koh Samui

nam tok na muang


The island of Koh Samui is a spectacular place to experience natural wonders of nature like lavish jungles and waterfalls, go to a palm plantation, snorkel in the clear warm waters, or just relax while reading a travel books and enjoy the fact that you are in small piece of paradise on earth.

Furthermore, it is an ideal starting point to the neighboring party islands like Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and Koh Ma. With the number of spas around the island, this place is a perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the nature.


thailand phuket

Next to Bangkok, Phuket is the most visited area in Thailand by tourists, so of course, you can expect a little bit more chaotic atmosphere when here. But for many people, that's the best part. A lot of Hollywood celebrities are spotted in Phuket as it is a well-known getaway for them. This is also a good place to experience the nightlife of the country. Walking down the Patong Beach, you will see an endless strip of bars, shops, and hordes people just having fun.

But of course, enjoying the beach is a part of a Phuket getaway. Krabi and James Bond Island where a James Bond movie was filmed are only a boat away.

But which is better?

To tell you honestly, there's no direct answer for this as the two destinations are different in many ways, however, here are some of the important points of comparison to help you decide which place is better than the other for you, personally.


beach koh samui

"Which place to go between Phuket and Koh Samui?" has been a question a lot of travelers who are concerned about the weather. Although the weather quite differs from each other most time of the year, they are a lot the same from the month of January to April.

The island of Koh Samui has dried temperature than Phuket throughout the months of May up to September, while Phuket, on the other hand, is drier than Koh Samui during the months of October to December. But if you are planning to come during June to August, you can expect to deal with some raindrops on both islands.

Read more: Want To Know What Is Thailand Weather In July? Here Are Things You Need To Know!


swimming pool phuket

Another important consideration many travelers have when choosing between the two is the expenses. First of all, most of the items and products need to be shipped to Koh Samui due to its isolation from the mainland, so you can expect for some food items to be a little bit more expensive compared to Phuket.

Flights to Koh Samui is also comparatively more expensive as the planes that fly to the island are privately owned by Thai Airways and there are less competition, whereas there are many budget airlines the fly to Phuket.

When it comes to accommodations, however, Koh Samui wins. Although there are many budget hotels in Phuket, the rate of a 3-star hotel in Koh Samui is a lot cheaper than a 3-star hotel you will find in Phuket.


The beaches that surround Phuket are developed. When sunbathing on Patong beach, expect to be bothered by a stubborn vendor pursuing you to buy whatever he is trying to sell. Going to a beach with fewer people when in Phuket is almost impossible.

But when in Koh Samui, expect to encounter a different case. It's less likely for you to encounter an annoying vendor. You can also simply walk down the beach, put on your goggles and snorkel, and see how rich the marine life is around the island – no boat rides needed!


phuket night

Phuket offers the liveliest nightlife you can imagine. Regardless of what your preference is, you will surely find a place or two that offers your style, though you might probably forget it anyway the next morning. By spending a night or two experiencing the nightlife in Phuket, you will definitely end up having a wild, crazy story worth sharing to your friends back home.

But what about Koh Samui? Well, there are not a lot of infamous bars and club in this small paradise island, but if you are really craving for a night to remember, simply hop on the ferry going to the neighboring island of Koh Phangan which is famous for its full moon parties. When you attend one, you will wish for the night not to end!

Both islands are boasting a lot of beautiful activities and atmosphere. With its size and richer history, Phuket can offer you a lot more places for entertainment and wider selections of accommodations and it's also perfect for those who are coming with a group of friends.

Coral Cove Koh Samui

But if you are looking for a place that offers the best of both worlds, then perhaps Koh Samui is really what you are looking for. It is said that this place is perfect for couples and those who are enjoying the benefits of traveling alone; I agree. This place offers a romantic atmosphere but also gives its fair share of crazy activities that will make the trip even more unforgettable aside from the beautiful wonder it offers.

All in all, the choice always comes down to your own preference, needs, and lifestyle. For a lively nightlife, Phuket is definitely the place to go. But for something a little bit more low-key, then you'll never go wrong with Koh Samui.

Have you been to any or both of these places? What did you think about them? Let us know in the comment below!

Rating: 4.57 (7 votes)


About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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