Should You Visit Thailand's Phuket or Koh Samui?

Written by Travel & Daily Life Staff |
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Thailand is one of the most unique tropical destinations in the world with its numerous natural and cultural attractions. Whether it be the multiple world-class beaches (with their unique rock formations), temperate climate, great food, or the perfect snorkeling opportunities, Thailand is a destination that will not allow you to become bored, even for one second. Moreover, it provides excellent hospitality services that will keep you pampered and satisfied. However, when deciding where to visit in this lovely country, it always seems like the decision comes down to the famous islands of Phuket or Koh Samui. So, that raises the question, should you visit Thailand's Phuket or Koh Samui? Which island is the best?

Phuket or Koh Samui - Which Island is Better?

One of the most challenging parts of contemplating a trip to Thailand is choosing which paradisical island you want to visit. Phuket and Samui are arguably the most famous islands in Thailand, and choosing between them is a huge dilemma. Both these islands see millions of travelers every year, and each is engaging and beautiful in its own way.

Khao Phing Kan
Khao Phing Kan island near Phuket.

If you are unsure about whether to make Phuket or Koh Samui your next vacation spot, we hope this article will help you come to the best decision. We have compared factors that can help you choose between Phuket or Koh Samui. Take some time and make the right choice.


Phuket is located on the Andaman Sea towards the South. It is the largest island that you can visit in Thailand. Located 862 kilometers away from Bangkok, Phuket is linked to the mainland with the help of modern road bridges. You will find it reasonably easy to travel in Phuket as you hop from one attraction to another. It takes 45 minutes to go to Patong, the primary tourist town in Phuket, from the airport.

A Phuket Resort
A Phuket Resort

Samui is Thailand's third largest island. Koh Samui is located about 700 kilometers to the south of Bangkok, in the Gulf of Thailand. The Ang Thong National Marine Park has some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. You can also visit other beautiful destinations like Chaweng and Lamai, or relax on a beach.


You can reach Phuket via air, sea, or land. The prices are low if you take a public vehicle on one of the road bridges. More than 65 airlines function from the Phuket Airport, which makes it convenient for anyone and everyone to pay a visit. You can also avail yourself to ferry services from Ko Phi Phi.

Samui is only accessible via air or sea. The primary airlines, Bangkok Airways, offers rather expensive flights. There are flights from Bangkok, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur. You can also use the ferry services.

When it comes to accessibility, Phuket is the winner.


Phuket’s tropical climate stays warm throughout the year. The monsoon season sees a high average of rainfall, but the rain comes in short bursts. Expenses are lower at this time, and there are bright days in between. Ideally, you should visit Phuket between November and March as the weather is most pleasant then.

Samui also has a tropical climate, but there are three distinct seasons. While the weather is always warm, the monsoon season can pose dangers to snorkeling because of the high rainfall. You can spot the dry season between December and February. The hot season is centered in March and April, while the monsoon runs from September to November.

Scuba Diving or Snorkeling in Koh Samui
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Koh Samui is the best

Depending on the season or time of your trip, you can take your pick!


You will find that the prices remain similar on both the islands. Phuket has lower travel expenses than Samui, which it makes up for by tempting tourists to pay in shopping malls, restaurants, and nightclubs. The accommodation in Koh Samui can be higher than Phuket.


A Beach at Koh Samui
A Beach at Koh Samui

Phuket’s beaches are well-known as they offer captivating sceneries and a multitude of tourist activities tourists can enjoy. Patong offers beach massages, a busy nightlife, and food by the shore at any of the beach clubs. There are less-crowded beaches also for those who want to relax.

The beaches in Samui are smaller and quieter, but some of them are perfect for snorkeling. If your purpose is to bask in the tropical glory, then you might want to go to Samui instead of Phuket. Some of the beaches in Koh Samui allow you to see the Gulf of Thailand.

Phuket will satisfy you if you are looking to surf or have a social whirlwind or surfing, but Samui is the one for you if you want to relax or snorkel.

Things to Do

Wat Phra Yai
Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) of Koh Samui

Both Phuket and Koh Samui offer plenty of options. For the ultimate tropical relaxation, indulge in a spa or sunbathe. You can go jet skiing, kayaking or parasailing if you want some adventure. Both islands have a rich cultural history. If you are looking for a thriving social life, however, you should opt for Phuket which has more shopping centers and museums. There are temples on both islands.

Phuket offers more variety than Koh Samui for sure.

Dining Experience

You will get great dining options on both the islands. There is no definitive winner in the dining category. You can opt for famous fast food chains or pay a visit to formal dining establishments. If you want a taste of the local cuisine, you should go to the traditional Thai dining places. If you desire to look at a stunning view while eating, you will have to pay a little more. Towns like Chalong in Phuket and Bophut Beach in Samui are dotted with dining venues. Visit the seafood restaurants for fresh items. However, Phuket has a plethora of bars and nightclubs, unlike Samui.


At the end of the day, the choice is personal. You can choose either Phuket or Koh Samui based on what you are looking for in your trip. Your decision should be based on your personal preferences, the lifestyle you prefer, and your taste. If a vibrant nightlife is your priority, then you must pay a visit to Phuket without a doubt. On the other hand, if you are looking for a romantic couple's getaway that will be both intimate and picturesque, then Koh Samui is the place for you.

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Author: Travel & Daily Life Staff
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