- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Summary
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Beaches
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Things to Do
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Getting There
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Best Times
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Scenery
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Nearby Islands
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Nightlife
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Dining
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Accommodation
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Shopping
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: People and Lifestyle
- Phuket vs Koh Samui: Travel Costs
Phuket and Koh Samui have both long been known as popular islands for tourism, and they are on the radar for most travelers, whether via social media or by word of mouth.
Many travelers have been through the dilemma of trying to decide which one suits them better. While both destinations cater to thousands of satisfied tourists in every category and demographic range, there are several notable differences that should be taken into account when choosing to travel to just one of the two islands.
Phuket vs Koh Samui: Summary
|Features||Thailand's largest island
|Thailand's third-largest island
Natural and pristine
|Shortest stays||3–4 days||3–4 days|
|Top beaches||Patong, Kata, Karon||Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut|
|Top activities||Swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, ziplining, beach parties||Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, spas, jet skiing|
|Top attractions||Phuket Town, Big Buddha, Chalong Temple, Ao Phang-Nga||Wat Pra Yai, Wat Khunaram, Hin Ta, and Hin Yai Rocks|
|Nearby islands||Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands||Koh Tao, Koh Phangan|
|Travel costs||From luxury to economy||More expensive|
We Recommend That These Travelers Choose Phuket:
- Activity-lovers: If you like enjoying various water sports or experiential activities, with so many beach outfits, you can expect plenty of water sports action in Phuket. Ziplining, cooking classes, and island hopping are just some of the other things to do.
- Partiers: Those wanting a boys' or girls' holiday will enjoy the great nightlife with lots of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Phuket is an excellent destination for (young) people looking for a party atmosphere.
- First-time travelers: Phuket is one of Thailand's premier tourist destinations, and, as such, is ideal for first-time visitors to the country. Perhaps on your second trip, you can venture out to more remote and lesser-known areas.
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Using Sharon right now to book our…
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The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
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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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Guide - Chai
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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We Recommend That These Travelers Choose Koh Samui:
- Honeymooners and couples: Due to its many stunning beaches and activities that are more suited to personal pleasure and relaxation, rather than lively fun and adventure, couples will love Koh Samui.
- Serenity-seekers: If you want a quiet holiday for relaxation, it's actually good that Koh Samui attracts fewer tourists.
- Families seeking natural charm: The picturesque uninhabited islands and crystal-clear waters between will have you and your kids in awe of what is arguably one of the top 20 most beautiful places in the world.
1. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Beaches
Phuket: More Choice, More Activities
As Thailand's biggest island, Phuket undoubtedly has more beach choices. You are bound to find at least one suitable for you among its dozens of beaches. Patong is top for activity lovers. Kata and Karon are best for beach scenery. If you seek quietness, Khao Lak is recommended for you.
Koh Samui: More Leisurely
Though Koh Samui doesn't have as many beaches as Phuket, its beaches offer even better satisfaction in some respects. With its quiet charm, towering palm trees, and intimate beaches, Koh Samui has long been considered an ultimate leisurely destination.
2. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Things to Do
Phuket: Abundant Choice
If you are fond of enjoying all kinds of tropical-island activities, then Phuket is absolutely your go-to. From day to night, Phuket won't let you down. See 26 Things to Do (and Not to Do) in Phuket. Here are just a few:
- Try various water sports like jet skiing, wind surfing, and parasailing.
- Wander around Phuket Old Town.
- Go to Wat Chalong for a Buddhist temple experience.
- Soak up the energy of Phuket in bars and nightclubs in Patong's Bangla Road.
- Go shopping at night markets.
Koh Samui: Also Plentiful, but More Relaxed
Koh Samui also offers many popular water activities, such as kiteboarding and jet-skiing. Other more-relaxing activities, such as Thai cooking classes and luxury spas, are also widely available. The following are popular on Koh Samui:
- Sunbathing on the beach
- Relax and enjoy a treatment in a local spa
- Enjoy water sports like swimming and kiteboarding
- Join a cooking class
3. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Getting There
Phuket: Easy to Get There
Phuket has become a popular entry point to Thailand after it reopened to tourism. You will easily find both international and domestic flights to Phuket.
Most international flights transit in Doha or Bangkok.
As for domestic flights to Phuket, there is no problem. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Koh Samui are all have direct flights.
Koh Samui: Fewer Flights
Koh Samui is also one of the post-reopening entry points to Thailand. There are many international flights to Koh Samui. But most passengers need to transfer twice.
4. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Best Times
Phuket: November to April
The November-to-April dry season is best for sunshine and various water sports in Phuket. May to October is Phuket's rainy season. For more detail, see Best Times to Visit Phuket.
Koh Samui: January to March and July to September
It is easy to make a decision between Phuket and Koh Samui weatherwise for some months, because Koh Samui has a different (more-concentrated) rainy season from October to early December. In November/December Phuket is definitely better for weather.
January to April is best for weather in Koh Samui, as for Phuket. May to September is also a good time to go to Koh Samui to avoid the rainy season in Phuket. >>>Koh Samui Weather
5. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Scenery
Phuket: More Developed
As Thailand's biggest island, Phuket has been attracting visitors for a considerably longer time than Koh Samui. Its advanced development is evident from the tall buildings lining its coasts.
Koh Samui: Comparably Pristine
In contrast, buildings in Koh Samui are not allowed to be taller than a coconut tree, helping to retain the charm of a natural island. The unspoiled, tropical setting of this "coconut island" makes for a great backdrop for photographers.
6. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Nearby Islands
Phuket: Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands
Koh Phi Phi, 1-1½ hours' speedboat from Phuket, must be the most well-known island near Phuket. Its soft white beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, natural rock caves, and unpolluted nature make it stand out from the more than 30 offshore islands around Phuket. >>>How to Get to the Phi Phi Islands from Phuket
The Similan Islands, 2 hours' speedboat from Phuket, attract thousands of travelers to some of the world's most beautiful, unspoiled beaches with an abundance of diverse marine life and spectacular coral reefs that provide a world-class underwater paradise for divers.
Koh Samui: Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao is known as the "World's Diving Factory". This island not only has breathtaking natural scenery and clean seas but also cost-effective diving lessons and courses. It is about 1½ hours' speedboat from Koh Samui.
Koh Pha Ngan is a paradise for young people and backpackers, only half an hour's trip from Koh Samui by speedboat. This lovely island is dotted with coconut trees and plenty of sandy white beaches. Its most famous event is the Full Moon Party, which is held on the night of the full moon every month.
7. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Nightlife
In Phuket, you don't have to worry about what to do at night. It enjoys a thriving nightlife scene offering everything from trendy bars with inspiring views to roadside wagons selling cheap cocktails in plastic buckets.
Patong is the undisputed nightlife center of Phuket: from nine o'clock onwards the town is buzzing and doesn't stop until the wee hours.
Koh Samui: Quiet Enjoyment
There is also no shortage of night activities on Koh Samui. But compared to Phuket's lively parties, Koh Samui offers more relaxed entertainments, such as spa treatments, a quiet bar for wine and music, or a walk along the beach to soak up the sea breeze.
8. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Dining
Phuket: A Wide Range of Choices
There is no difficulty in finding a restaurant for most tastes in Phuket. Phuket has plenty of options for international visitors — from local Thai dishes to Western food to Chinese food. Restaurant choices also range from market stalls to luxury restaurants.
Koh Samui: More Fine-Dining Restaurants
Unlike Phuket's catering to the masses, Koh Samui seems to have a personality of its own, whilst seeking to provide a romantic and elegant vibe. You will find many beachfront or rooftop restaurants there.
9. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Accommodation
Phuket: Very Many Options
As the biggest and the most popular island in Thailand, hotel choice is not an issue on Phuket. From simple guesthouses to high-end 5-star hotels, from busy centers to secluded beaches, you can definitely find a suitable hotel.
But there is something to note: Phuket has few beachfront hotels. Most hotels are a road away from the beach.
Koh Samui: More Beach-Front Hotels
10. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Shopping
Phuket: Big Duty-Free Stores and Shopping Malls
Although shopping in Phuket cannot compared with that in Bangkok, you can still find many places to cater to your shopping needs and wants.
Phuket has a duty-free store, King Power, and two large shopping malls near Patong Beach. Local night markets are good places to explore a big range of Thai handicrafts.
Koh Samui: One Big Store and Walking Streets
Koh Samui has fewer shopping options than Phuket. Phuket has no duty-free store, but there is a big store, Central Festival, near Chaweng Beach.
11. Phuket vs Koh Samui: People and Lifestyle
Phuket is enthusiastic and lively. Its high popularity attracts more visitors, ranging from wealthy resort-goers to families to young people and backpackers.
It is more of a cosmopolitan destination with high-end resorts, fine restaurants, large shopping malls, and plenty of bars and clubs.
Koh Samui: Romantic and Peaceful
12. Phuket vs Koh Samui: Travel Costs
Phuket: From Luxury to Economy
The cost of travel in Phuket can meet different budgets. Whether you're looking for a luxury vacation or an affordable getaway, Phuket can offer great options.
Koh Samui: Relatively Expensive
Flights to Koh Samui are monopolized by Bangkok Airways, so ticket prices are high, about three times Phuket's. You will need to spend more on a trip to Koh Samui, but it's worth it when you see the views.
Visit Asia with Us
Whether you would like to take a trip to Koh Samui or Phuket, or maybe both, we would be delighted to help you organize your international and domestic flights as well as travel, accommodation, and tour activities.
Whatever it is you need, whether you are traveling in a family group, solo, or as a couple, we can tailor-make your entire trip.
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- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
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- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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