Koh Samui vs Phuket: where to go on your next holiday
Heading to a paradise island in Thailand has got to be most people’s idea of the perfect holiday – we know it’s definitely on our wish list. The question is, which island should you visit? Koh Samui and Phuket are two of the most popular, so we’ve decided to take a look at each of these to try to work out which is best for who.
Fingers crossed, this’ll help you decide between them!
We don’t know about you, but when we think of jetting off to white-sand, palm-fringed beaches, we also imagine a totally laidback atmosphere. Both Phuket and Koh Samui are great for relaxing in, but, as the less frenetic and quieter of the two, Koh Samui probably has the most chilled-out vibe.
Don’t get us wrong, Phuket is pretty chilled as well, but you will generally find it’s a busier place overall, which we think means it’s got a less laidback feel – especially if you spend a lot of time in the main tourist area of Patong. Koh Samui also has more secluded spots (you’ll be hard-pressed to find these in Phuket), so there’s more scope for days spent on near-deserted beaches.
Quick tip: if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter on Phuket, head to Nai Han beach on the island’s southern tip.
Overall winner: Koh Samui
If you love water sports, Thailand’s islands are a fantastic place to enjoy them. Both islands are home to amazing beaches and offer great opportunities to try out things like snorkelling and scuba diving.
So, which is best? Personally, we think if you’re really serious about giving water sports a go, Phuket probably comes out on top. This is because it’s got a really good set-up for tourists planning to go on diving trips and such – especially in Patong – to nearby famous sites like Shark Point.
The one thing to remember about water sports in Phuket is that while the beaches look gorgeous, they’re not always safe for swimming. So, keep your eyes peeled for a red flag – if you see this, you shouldn’t swim.
Overall winner: Phuket
Awesome day trips
One of the great things about going to Koh Samui or Phuket is that you’ll have the chance to visit some incredible nearby islands. Now, we know you’ll probably be happy enough staying put (who wouldn’t be?!), but we think it’d be a real shame to miss out on these.
If you choose Phuket for your holiday, taking a boat out to Phi Phi Island (where the film adaptation of The Beach was shot) is an absolute must. Should you pick Koh Samui as your base, though, make sure you head out to Ang Thong Marine National Park.
This group of around 40 gorgeous islands is just to the east of Koh Samui, and boats set sail for here from both Na Thon and Mae Nam.
Overall winner: Koh Samui
The party scene in both Koh Samui and Phuket is seriously good, so if you’re planning to let your hair down, you’ll do well in either place. In Phuket, your best bet is to stick to Patong, since this has heaps of bars and clubs catering for tourists. Plus, it’s likely to be where your hotel is, too, so you won’t have far to go to stumble into bed!
In Koh Samui, it’s actually the nearby island Koh Pha-Ngan that usually steals the limelight, thanks to its amazing Full Moon Parties on Hat Rin beach. If you want the ultimate party experience, definitely time your visit to coincide with one of these. Koh Pha-Ngan’s about half an hour away by boat, so it’s not too long a trip.
Overall winner: It’s a tie!