Although Thailand has numerous islands, for a lot of vacationers, all of it comes all the way down to Phuket vs Koh Samui. These usually are not solely Thailand’s largest islands, but in addition its hottest, albeit for very completely different causes.
While Phuket is thought primarily for its giant resorts, accessibility and number of nightlife, Samui’s popularity has alternated between its previous historical past as a castaway idyll and the extra upscale ambiance that defines it within the modern-day. Many vacationers go to each of those islands, in the event that they’re spending lengthy sufficient in Thailand to take action.
If you’re taking a shorter journey, nonetheless, the excellent news is that I’m right here to delineate Phuket and Samui for you. The higher information? No matter which alternative you find yourself making, each journey to Thailand is life-changing.
How I Got to Know Phuket and Samui
I first visited Phuket greater than 5 years in the past, as a day tour from neighboring Phang Nga province the place I used to be visiting a buddy. While I loved the beautiful panorama view from the Big Buddha viewpoint, I usually discovered Phuket’s seashores missing; the whole Patong space left a foul style in my mouth, for each how built-up it was, in addition to the seedy people who hung on the market.
Samui, in the meantime, was an island I found proper earlier than Covid-19 shut down the world. Although I discovered areas of Samui like Chaweng and Bo Phut to be too busy for my style, the island’s lush inside and seashores comparable to Lamai and Nathon evoked the castaway mythology Samui appears to characterize for a lot of vacationers of bygone eras, and in addition many older Thais. I returned to each islands instantly post-pandemic, and was shocked by how rather more I loved Phuket particularly, though I believe this was merely due to how Thailand-starved I’d turn into.
Ways to Compare Samui and Phuket
I’ll be frank: Most of Phuket’s seashores are common at greatest. This is particularly true alongside the island’s southwest coast, from Kamala all the way down to Patong, Karon and Kata. While Nai Harn Beach close to the southern tip of the island is considerably extra palatable, no Phuket seashore compares to Samui solar and surf spots like Chaweng, Lamai and even Bo Phut, though the latter is best for footage than swimming or sunbathing.
If eating and drinks are excessive in your record of priorities when deciding between Phuket or Samui, each islands ought to fulfill you. While Phuket could have extra choices quantitatively talking, and unfold out in additional areas (I significantly like extra conventional markets and eating places in Phuket Town), Samui presents loads of eating places and bars, particularly in Chaweng. On this subject, the competition between Phuket and Samui is just about a draw.
Getting there and round
Although each Phuket and Koh Samui take pleasure in frequent flights from Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand, it’s cheaper and extra handy to succeed in Phuket; “boutique” airline Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on flights to Samui Airport. On the opposite hand, whereas Phuket ought to theoretically have extra developed infrastructure, taxi mafias on each islands imply that getting round (assuming you don’t have your personal automobile or motorcycle) is rather more costly than it needs to be.
As was the case with meals and beverage, the selection between Samui or Phuket is just about even in the case of inns. In Samui, as an illustration, you’ll be able to select between upscale villas like Pawanthorn Samui and extra spartan lodging comparable to Villa Tanamera. In Phuket, then again, vacationers who don’t desire a high-end seashore resort comparable to The Nai Harn may discover themselves extra at residence within the Sino-Portuguese shophouse through which you discover Phuket Town’s Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel.
Quantitatively talking, Phuket presents extra alternatives for day journeys and onward excursions. These embrace close by islands comparable to Koh Racha and the Koh Similan archipelago, in addition to extra distant ones just like the Koh Yao and Koh Phi Phi island chains. In Samui, in the meantime, your fundamental onward choices are Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, which I truly want to most Phuket day journeys, significantly in the event you additionally embrace a visit to idyllic Ang Thong Marine Park.
How Many Days Do You Need in Phuket and Koh Samui?
Phuket is bigger and has extra sights than Koh Samui, however I usually advocate spending 3-5 days in each. This is due to how I strategy both island. In Samui, I have a tendency to seek out 1-2 locations to hunker down and revel in myself, whereas I usually take a extra exploratory strategy to spending time in Phuket—I’m not often in the identical spot for greater than a day.
Approaching Samui vs Phuket as gateways versus self-contained locations, in the meantime, I’d most likely say every week in every is suitable. In the previous, this lets you spend a pair nights every on both Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan. In Phuket, in the meantime, having every week within the space may imply the chance to journey onward to Koh Yao or Koh Phi Phi, and even all the best way throughout the water to Krabi.
Other FAQ About Samui and Phuket
Is Phuket or Koh Samui higher?
Personally, I discover Samui extra gratifying than Phuket because of its higher seashores and barely extra relaxed, rural vibe. On the opposite hand, many vacationers want Phuket as a result of it’s extra accessible and has a higher number of inns and resorts. Ultimately, selecting between Samui and Phuket is mostly a matter of figuring out the precedence of your journey to Thailand and squaring that with the truth of both island.
Is Phuket or Koh Samui cheaper?
If I’m sincere, each Phuket and Samui are fairly costly as islands in Thailand go. Due to their recognition, lodging in each islands is dear; taxi mafias imply you’re going to pay 300-400 Baht for a one-way journey on both island. In all, you’ll be fortunate to go to Samui or Phuket with out spending no less than 100 USD per individual, per day, and possibly much more.
What is one of the best island to remain in Thailand?
My favourite seashore vacation spot in Thailand just isn’t an island in any respect, however somewhat Railay Beach in Krabi. This, after all, is taking into consideration different issues moreover the seashore (or island, because it have been) itself. If we’re simply speaking in regards to the high quality and fantastic thing about the sand and water, the Similan Islands (that are simply off the coast of Phang Nga province) are residence to one of the best seashores and most attractive island surroundings in Thailand.
The Bottom Line
I hope I’ve helped making the unattainable alternative between Phuket and Koh Samui a bit simpler for you. While each these islands are rightly well-known in their very own proper, most vacationers discover they extremely want one island to a different. I personally give Samui the slight edge because of higher seashores and fewer sleaze, though Phuket’s accessibility makes it a winner for a lot of vacationers, regardless of its much less fascinating traits.