Pattaya and Phuket are similar in some respects. They are both known for nightlife, and both have beautiful beaches. However, they also differ in certain aspects, such as family friendliness, typical length of stay, etc. If you want to decide between the two locations for your trip, this article will give you some helpful advice.
Pattaya vs Phuket: Summary
|Features||Most well-known costal city in Thailand||Thailand's largest island|
|Location||Very close to Bangkok (2 hours' driving)||Southern Thailand (1½ hours' flight from Bangkok)|
|Nightlife||Pattaya Walking Street||Patong Bangla Road|
|Beaches||The quality and scenery of the beaches are average||Beautiful
|Average Stay||1–2 days||3–5 days|
|Best Times||November to March||December to April|
We Recommend These Travelers Choose Phuket:
- First-timers: Phuket is one of Thailand's premier tourist destinations, and, as such, is ideal for first-time visitors to the country.
- Families: Thanks to a large selection of activities and a better transport infrastructure, Phuket is ideal for parents and children.
- Couples: Phuket offers more activities for couples, such as couples spas, romantic seaside meals, snorkeling, etc.
- Vacationers: Phuket is absolutely the winner as a holiday destination. The soft, white, sandy beaches, stunning landscapes, various water sports, and cozy vibe comprise a wonderful getaway, whether you seek a quiet holiday or a colorful one.
We Recommend These Travelers Choose Pattaya:
- Nightlife-seekers: Whether you want to go to bars and nightclubs or to sing, dance, and watch shows, Pattaya offers more options.
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We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
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We travelled from Vietnam to Bangkok and were blessed to have a guide named Chai. He was a superb guide and it is a pity we couldn't bottle him and take him home. He was very knowledgeable and an absolute gentleman. He could not have done enough to facilitate us and imparted so much knowledge about the Temples, Buddism and the History of Thailand in general. Not only did he give us a great overview of the past and current ways of living in Thailand but I also feel I came away a much better person having interacting with him. I will carry many of his teachings with me for the rest of my life and know that having met him was a very special blessing in my life.More
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Our first stop so far was in Hanoi where our guide Trong was just so awesome! He shared about his culture and family life which showing us sites through a city tour. He was so funny making lots of jokes and always made sure we were having fun while learning about everything! He checked on us frequently even when we were no longer with him since we then went on a cruise in Halong Bay! Halong Bay and the cruise on Paradise Elegance went way above anything I expected. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship was so beautiful and clean with such fresh, good food! And I can’t sing enough praise for the staff who took care of us- especially Anna and Belle! They went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed every aspect from eating meals with Anna to every other detail with Belle! I highly recommend Asian Highlights to help plan these extraordinary trips! This already has been a trip of a lifetime and we still have so much more to see all thanks to Cathy!!More
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This isn't my first trip with Asia Highlights. They are great at helping me plan, working my requests into the itinerary, and booking it all. We travel with friends and just got back from a trip to Thailand and Vietnam. Albee did a great job with all the details and we had a wonderful time. We will use them for our next adventure!More
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I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
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Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
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1. Pattaya vs Phuket: Beach City vs Island
Although both places have sea views with beaches, Phuket is the best choice if you're looking for postcard tropical scenery with white-sand beaches, clear sea, and palm trees.
Pattaya is a coastal city close to Bangkok. It has 3 km (2 miles) of sandy beaches where you can enjoy all kinds of water activities. However, the city scenery with its bright shining lights seems more overwhelming than its seaside scenery. Most tourists go there for its lively nightlife.
Phuket is a beautiful and popular destination away from bustling city life. Embraced by a laid-back vibe, Phuket is definitely the better place for enjoying a holiday.
2. Pattaya vs Phuket: Nightlife
If you have heard of Thailand's notorious nightlife and want to explore, Pattaya is the winner for you.
Pattaya itself is like a big party. All kinds of bars cater to every taste, and it has its well-known red-light district. The home of Pattaya's nightlife is Pattaya Walking Street inundated with lights, alcohol, music, and sex.
Phuket's colorful nightlife mainly happens on Bangla Road, also called the Bar Street. You'll have no trouble finding a bar that suits you.
3. Pattaya vs Phuket: Beaches
Beaches in Phuket are much better than those in Pattaya and also offer more choices.
Pattaya: The beach cannot the main purpose for a Pattaya trip. Pattaya Beach is shrinking due to years of erosion, and the quality of the water is mediocre. Jomtien Beach, Wong Ammat Beach, or Ko Larn are better choices.
Phuket has some of the best beaches in Thailand. Whether you are travelling with kids, or looking for a honeymoon destination, you will find a suitable beach somewhere in Phuket. >>>16 Best Beaches in Phuket
4. Pattaya vs Phuket: Things to Do
City sightseeing, like visiting temples, markets, and museums is are the main activities in Pattaya, aside from the nightlife. Phuket's entertainments focus around its beaches.
Things to Do in Pattaya
- Visit the Sanctuary of Truth — a representative all-wooden temple
- Go to Pattaya Floating Market
- Visit Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum
- Experience Pattaya's Special Culture in Walking Street
Things to Do in Phuket
- Enjoy your time in the beaches and all kinds of water sports, like snorkeling, swimming, and surfing
- Wander around Phuket Old Town
- Explore Phuket's Night Markets
- Take a Trip to the Phi Phi Islands
5. Pattaya vs Phuket: Travel Costs
Travelling within a city is usually cheaper than traveling on an island. Pattaya is cheaper than Phuket in terms of transportation, food, and accommodation.
Though Phuket is more expensive generally, you will still be able to find accommodation, food, and an itinerary that suits just about any budget.
Here are the price reference for a private tour in Thailand:
- For a medium budget, touring Thailand typically costs around 150–200 USD per day per person (including airfares within Thailand, 4-star hotels, attractions, guides, and transfers).
- For a higher budget of US$200–250 per day per person, more comfort can be enjoyed (including airfares within Thailand, 5-star hotels, attractions, guides, and transfers).
6. Pattaya vs Phuket: Best Times to Visit
- Best months in Pattaya: November to March
November to March in Pattaya is dry and warm (not so hot). The comfortable weather offers the best experience of various activities.
Pattaya's heavy rains fall from August to October, and April to May is the hottest period.
- Best times to go to Phuket: December to March
December to March in Phuket is the best season for weather and water sports. Like Pattaya, August to October are the rainiest months, but the rainy season is slightly longer in the south. April is the hottest month in Phuket.
7. Ease of Getting There
Phuket is easier to get to than Pattaya. As one of Thailand's most popular destinations, Phuket has more flights.
Pattaya is 150 km (100 miles) from Bangkok. Because of the close distance, there is no direct flights from Bangkok. Tourists mainly come in via a two-hour road ride from Bangkok.
U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport, 40 minutes' drive from Pattaya city, serves just a few international flights. Most travelers won't choose Pattaya as their entry point.
Phuket is one of the best choices for entering Thailand. The United Kingdom, the United States, India, Australia, France, Germany, and many other countries have flights to Phuket.
There are over 30 direct flights from Bangkok to Phuket every day, only taking 1½ hours.
8. Pattaya vs Phuket: Accommodation
Phuket has more high-end resorts and also has more accommodation choices.
Pattaya also has some 4- or 5-star hotels, but not as many as Phuket. Pattaya has more affordable hotels. There are not many facilities, but they are clean and tidy.
In Phuket, you will find many high-end hotels and resorts, with most of them just a short distance away from the beaches. Hotel choice is not an issue on Phuket. Family hotels, honeymoon hotels, luxury resorts, economical hotels and so on can be found there.
9. Pattaya vs Phuket: Shopping
Pattaya has more choices of shopping malls, while Phuket has more night markets for handicrafts.
Top shopping malls in Pattaya: King Power Pattaya Complex, Central Festival Pattaya Beach, Terminal 21 Pattaya, Pattaya Outlet Mall, Royal Garden Plaza, Central Center Pattaya
Pattaya also has a famous Floating Market where there are shops selling intricate handicrafts, restaurants, and bars.
Phuket has two large shopping malls near Patong Beach — Central Patong and Jungceylon. But there are many weekend/night markets for unique and exotic handmade goodies.
10. Pattaya vs Phuket: Dining
Food in Pattaya is mainly Thai dishes. In Phuket, besides the Thai dishes, Western, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese dishes are also popular.
Pattaya: Most great restaurants are located on Beach Road. There are mostly Thai restaurants, but also some Chinese restaurants and Western restaurants.
Phuket: One thing that's different from Pattaya is that you can find many rooftop restaurants with a broad and beautiful sea and sunset views.
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