Phuket vs Krabi: Which to Visit

Phuket vs Krabi: Which to Visit

By Chris QuanUpdated Aug. 12, 2021

Phuket and Krabi are two of Thailand’s most popular islands. Separated by the Phang Nga Bay, these two islands share a lot of similarities in terms of natural beauty and fabulous tropical climate, but which one is the better destination for you?

Take a few minutes to read through our comparison guide and you will quickly learn which of Phuket and Krabi is more to your personal preference.

Phuket vs Krabi: Quick Facts

Phuket Phuket

Which is better for you depends on you and your interests, though of course, you may decide to visit both Phuket and Krabi.

Phuket is best for activities, nightlife, and for families with children. More expensive by more to see and do.

Krabi is best for a quieter and more relaxing holiday. Suits couples and backpackers who want picture-perfect beaches that are not over-crowded.

Features of Phuket

  • Thailands largest island
  • Has various water sports
  • Buzzing atmosphere
  • More well-known
  • Fantastic cultural experience

We Recommend These Travelers Choose Phuket:

  • Family fun: Thanks to a large selection of activities and a better transport infrastructure, Phuket is ideal for couples with children.
  • If you like enjoying various water sports or experiential activities: With so many beaches, 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.
  • Those wanting a boys holiday: With a great nightlife with lots of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, Phuket is an excellent destination for groups of boys or girls.
  • Those who like historical and religious sites: Take a trip through Old Phuket Town, visit the many museums or visit temples such as the Wat Chalong.
  • First-time travellers: Phuket is one of Thailands premier tourist destinations 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.

Features of Krabi

  • Less crowded
  • Natural and scenery
  • Pristine coastlines
  • More affordable option
  • More remote

We Recommend These Travelers Choose Krabi:

  • You want a quiet holiday for relaxation: Krabi is not as well known as Phuket and therefore attracts fewer tourists. This is starting to change however, so now is the time to visit if you do not like crowded beaches.
  • Rock climbing lovers: Rock climbing is just one of the activities that can be enjoyed in Krabi. Diving, snorkelling, ziplining, caving, and mountain biking are some of the others.
  • Honeymooning couples: Offering a quiet and serene environment, Krabi is the perfect destination for young lovers.
  • Experienced backpackers: Krabi is not as easy to get around in comparison to Phuket but it is cheaper. There are some great hotels and hostels which are very affordably priced.

These Travelers May Consider Visiting Both:

  • If you are a super lover of islands and beaches: Both Phuket and Krabi offers up picturesque beaches and are surrounded by numerous other islands that you can visit.
  • If your travelling time is available: If you have enough time, visiting both Phuket and Krabi is recommended. In fact, 10-days would be the perfect amount of time in Thailand as you could spend 2-3 days on each after visiting one of the major cities. 
  • Lovers of island hopping: There are so many islands around Thailand with these being the most well-known. That said, there are many others in close proximity to both that you can visit as well.
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Phuket vs Krabi: Water Sports & Activities

Phuket Phuket

Phuket: The Island of Phuket is the ultimate activity vacation destination. You can enjoy and learn how to surf, scuba dive, and shoot. You can also enjoy ziplining, beach parties, night markets and some of the best nightlife in Thailand.

Krabi: As for Krabi, there is a more relaxed atmosphere. There are still some activities such as snorkelling, rock climbing and kayaking that can be enjoyed but chilling out is usually the order of the day.

Conclusion: Phuket certainly offers more in terms of activities and entertainment while Krabi is the best for a relaxing and quiet vacation.

Further reading: Top 10 Places to Scuba Dive or Snorkel in Thailand

Phuket vs Krabi: Get there & Get around

Phuket: Direct flights into Phuket airport can be taken from all over the world, so getting there should never be an issue. If you are travelling there from within Thailand, the road is your best bet as Phuket is not accessible via train.

As for getting around, while there are more roads and more transport options, the cost of using those options is notoriously expensive. Taxi and TukTuk fares here are the most expensive in Thailand. >>How to Get in and around Phuket.

Krabi: While many do not realize it, you can also fly directly to Krabi on international flights. Hotel shuttle buses and taxis are on hand to get you from the airport to your hotel. >>How to Get in and around Krabi.

One bonus is that when getting around, there is far less traffic and the cost is far more reasonable. You will never struggle to find a mode of transport that can bring you down to the beaches.

Conclusion: Phuket is easier to get to just because of the number of flights that go there, other than that they are both very similar. Krabi is better for getting around as you get value for money although you will have more choice in Phuket.

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Phuket vs Krabi: Beach Choice

Krabi Krabi

Phuket: There are more than 30 beaches in Phuket and while some of the more well-known beaches are often crowded with tourists, you should be able to find some that offer a bit more secluded privacy.

Our recommended beaches in Phuket: Khao Lak, Bangtao, Surin, Kata, and Karon

Krabi: Though Krabi cannot compete with the number of beaches in Phuket, it certainly can in terms of their beauty. Furthermore, with fewer tourists, the beaches of Krabi are not as crowded.

Our recommended beaches in Krabi: Klong Muang, Koh Lanta, Railay

Conclusion: Beautiful beaches can be found on both Phuket and Krabi, so choosing between the two is tough. You can opt for more beaches with larger crowds on Phuket or fewer beaches with less crowding at Krabi.

Phuket vs Krabi: Accommodation

A hotel in Phuket A hotel in Phuket

Phuket: As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, you can expect a good standard of accommodation in Phuket. You will find many high-end hotels and resorts with most of them just a short distance away from the beaches. >>How to Choose a Hotel in Phuket.

Krabi: There are fewer hotels in Krabi and in general they are of a slightly lower standard although there are some 5-star hotels dotted around. You do get better value for money in Krabi though with your accommodation costing as much as half what you might pay in Phuket. >>How to Choose a Hotel in Krabi.

Conclusion: Phuket has more accommodation choice while on average, they are of a higher standard. Most of the more luxurious hotels can be found on the beaches and in the more touristy areas. Krabi’s hotels are good for value and are usually located in more remote areas.  

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Phuket vs Krabi: Best Time to Visit

Best time to Phuket: Peak season in Phuket is between December and March as this is the driest part of the year with the best sunshine. Of course, you will pay more on flights and accommodation during this season. >>Weather in Phuket

Best time to Krabi: In Krabi, the peak season is slightly different with most people visiting between October and April each year. >>Weather in Krabi

Phuket vs Krabi: Nightlife

Phuket: If you are looking for a Thailand vacation that includes some lively nightlife, you are not going to find anywhere that comes close to the liveliness that Phuket provides. The Patong area, in particular, plays host to numerous bars, boat parties, moon parties, beach parties, and nightclubs.

Krabi: This island offers up a more relaxed atmosphere so you will find that the nightlife is fairly limited here. You will find a few bars with live music in Ao Nang but that is about it. There are some moon parties on the beach on occasion though. 

Conclusion: Phuket offers the best nightlife but that is to be expected in such a tourist hotspot. Krabi is definitely more suited to those that prefer a relaxing, serene, and quiet vacation.

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Phuket vs Krabi: Travel Costs

Phuket: As one of Thailands most popular tourist destinations, it should not come as a surprise that it is also one of the most expensive. You will still be able to find accommodation, food, and an itinerary that suits just about any budget, however.

Krabi: While Krabi is quickly growing in popularity and catching Phuket up, you will still be able to save more money by choosing this island. In fact, in terms of hotels and hostels, you will be able to pay as little as half of what you would have to in Phuket.

Conclusion: Cost will always play a part in any decision when it comes to a vacation. For those of you that want better value for your money, Krabi is probably going to be your best option. If you have your heart set on Phuket, you will still be able to get by on a modest budget, however.

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Whether you choose to visit Phuket, Krabi, or any other Thailand Island, why not let Asia Highlights help you plan your trip? We can put together the perfect itinerary that includes each and every sight and activity that you want to enjoy during your stay. These will all be ordered so efficiently that you will make the ultimate use of your time when on your vacation.

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