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Phuket vs Krabi: Which Is Better to Go? (A Helpful Comparison for You)

Phuket vs Krabi: Which Is Better to Go? (A Helpful Comparison for You)

By Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 2, 2022

Phuket or Krabi, which is better to visit?... 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 out of Phuket and Krabi is more to your personal preference.

Phuket vs Krabi

Phuket vs Krabi: Summary

Phuket is best for beach/sea activities, nightlife, and for families with children. It’s more expensive, but there’s more to see and do.

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

  Phuket Krabi
Features Thailand’s largest island
Buzzing atmosphere
More well-known
Less crowded
Pristine coastlines
More remote
Ideal (shortest) stay 3–4 days 3 days
Best months December–March December–April
Top beaches Patong, Karon, Kata Ao Nang, Railay
Top activities Snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, ziplining, beach parties Rock climbing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, hot springs
Top Attractions Phuket Town, Big Buddha, Chalong Temple, Ao Phang-Nga Krabi Town, Tiger Cave Temple, Emerald Pool, Shell Cemetery
Nearby islands Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands Phi Phi Islands, Koh Lanta
Shopping centers Jungceylon, Central Festival Outlet Village, Vogue Shopping Mall
Travel cost From luxury to economy More affordable options

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We Recommend That These Travelers Choose Phuket:

  • Families: Thanks to a large selection of activities and a better transport infrastructure, Phuket is ideal for parents and children.
  • 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.
  • Culture-lovers: Those who like historical and religious sites will enjoy taking a trip through Old Phuket Town and visiting the many museums or visit temples such as the Wat Chalong.
  • 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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We Recommend These Travelers Choose Krabi:

  • Serenity-seekers: If you want a quiet holiday for relaxation, it’s good that 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.
  • Climbers and outdoor-lovers: Rock climbing is just one of the activities that can be enjoyed in Krabi. Diving, snorkeling, 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.

1. Phuket vs Krabi: Beach Choices

Karon Beach Karon Beach, Phuket

Phuket: More Beach Options

There are more than 30 beaches in Phuket from the most well-known Patong Beach to secluded Khao Lak Beach.

Whether you are travelling with kids, or looking for a honeymoon destination, you will find a suitable one somewhere in Phuket.

Krabi: Fewer but More Pristine Beaches

Though Krabi cannot compete with the number of beaches on Phuket, it certainly can in terms of their natural beauty. Furthermore, with fewer tourists, the beaches of Krabi are not as crowded. >>>How to Choose from Thailand’s Islands (Your Island Hopping Guide)

2. Phuket vs Krabi: Water Sports and Activities

Parasailing Parasailing, Patong Beach

Phuket certainly offers more in terms of activities and entertainment, while Krabi is better for a relaxing and quiet vacation.

Phuket: Rich in Entertainments

Phuket is the ultimate activity vacation destination. You can enjoy and learn how to surf, snorkel, jet ski, and shoot. You can also enjoy ziplining, beach parties, night markets, and some of the best nightlife in Thailand.

Krabi: More Adventurous

Krabi’s activities are more focused on its natural surroundings. Rock climbing is the highlight of Krabi. Other activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, and cave exploring are for the more adventurous.

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3. Phuket vs Krabi: Accommodation

Phuket: More Choice

Phuket has more accommodation choices, while on average, they are of a higher standard. You will find many high-end hotels and resorts, with most of them just a short distance away from the beaches. >>>Where to Stay in Phuket

Krabi: More Remote

There are fewer hotels in Krabi, but many are of the same standard as Phuket’s, if not quite as well equipped/infrastructured. Many hotels, resorts, or villas in Krabi are located in more remote areas, which is great if you are looking for a peaceful and secluded vibe.  >>>How to Choose a Hotel in Krabi

4. Phuket vs Krabi: Ease of Getting There

Phuket is easier to get to for inbound travelers because of the number of flights that go there. Other than that, they are both very similar.

Phuket: Easy to Get To

International and domestic flights to Phuket Airport are not an issue. 

Phuket is one of the best choices for entering Thailand. The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, France, Germany, and many other countries have flights to Phuket.

Major domestic cities have flights to Phuket every day, like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. >>>How to Get in and around Phuket

Krabi: Rare International Flights

There are very few international flights to Krabi — only Singapore currently. But for domestic travel, it is easy to get to Krabi. Like Phuket, domestic flights are available from the major cities. >>>How to Get in and around Krabi

5. Phuket vs Krabi: Nightlife

Patong Patong, Phuket

Phuket: Colorful

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 and nightclubs, parties, night shows, and night markets.

Krabi: Limited

You will find a few bars with live music in Ao Nang and Krabi Town, but that is about it. There are some parties on the beach on occasions too.

6. Phuket vs Krabi: Food

As for food, Phuket is not very different from Krabi. Seafood is the staple food. Thai dishes and snacks can be found on both islands as well as Western, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese dishes. You will also find many beachfront or rooftop restaurants with beautiful sea views.

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7. Phuket vs Krabi: Shopping

Phuket: Big Shopping Malls

Big shopping malls in Phuket are found close to Patong Beach with convenient locations. Two high-end shopping malls — Central Patong and Jungceylon — offer various world class brands. There are two big promotions every year (June to July and mid-December to January).

Krabi: Markets and Handcrafts

Unlike Phuket, Krabi’s big markets and stores are mainly located in Krabi Town, about half an hour’s drive from the beach areas. There you can find many commodity outlets and some supermarkets. But what's even better is that you can find something special and individual at the markets.

8. Phuket vs Krabi: Scenery

Krabi Krabi

Phuket: Coastal Panoramas

Phuket possesses a standard beauty. It is graceful with the white beaches, crystal water, coconuts, and extended coastlines. There are many viewpoints offering a fantastic sweeping view along the coast.

Krabi: Limestone Landscapes

Krabi has its specialty scenery that appears wilder. Limestone hills are Krabi’s highlight. Its karst landscape consists of mountains rising out of the water to form islands of various shapes. Compared with Phuket, Krabi is more suitable for exploring using various outdoorsy means, like kayaking.

9. Phuket vs Krabi: Cultural Experiences

Phuket: Temples, Shrines, and Old Town

Five hundred years ago Phuket was home to tin mining, which led to the initial prosperity of Phuket Old Town. Now the old Chinese-Portuguese architecture, temples and shrines there are the best places to explore its historical side.

Krabi: Few Temples

Most of the attractions in Krabi are natural-scenery-orientated, such as national parks, pools, and beaches. But there is still a Buddhist temple to explore — Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Seua). Legend has it that there was once a monk who practiced in a cave and a tiger outside guarded him and never left.

10. Phuket vs Krabi: Best Times

Phuket: December and March

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 for flights and accommodation during this season. >>>Best Times to Visit Phuket

Krabi: December to April

In Krabi, the peak season is slightly different with most people visiting between December and April each year. >>>Best (and Worst) Times to Visit Krabi

11. Phuket vs Krabi: People and Lifestyle

Phuket: Bustling

Phuket was a booming town due to its rich tin mines, and now it is prosperous because of tourism. High-end resorts, fine restaurants, large shopping malls, plenty of bars and clubs, and sound facilities make Phuket a more cosmopolitan destination.

Krabi: Quiet

Compared with Phuket, Krabi retains a quiet, rural, and natural feel. Less crowding and development allows Krabi to keep its relatively unspoiled scenery and laid-back vibe.

12. Phuket vs Krabi: Travel Cost

Phuket: From Luxury to Economy

As one of Thailand’s 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, though.

Krabi: More Affordable Choices

You will have more choices at the lower end of the price scale for hotels. However, Krabi is quickly growing in popularity and catching Phuket up in many aspects, like food, drinks, lodging, and transportation — they cost about the same.

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