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Phuket vs. Koh Samui Which Island is Better to Visit

Phuket vs. Koh Samui: Which Island is Better to Visit?

Phuket and Koh Samui are famous Thailand island getaways people think of when planning a vacation. Ultimately, deciding which one is better to visit depends on preference.

There are many families that prefer Phuket for its varied attractions, while solo travellers usually choose to explore Koh Samui.

In this article, we’ll look at different factors to determine which island paradise is better. Certain variables we’ll look at may even reveal that one may not necessarily be better than the other since it all depends on the needs and wants of the prospective tourists.

To find out whether Phuket or Koh Samui is better to visit based on your preferences, let’s look at the different things that they offer, from their stunning beaches to their people and lifestyle.

The Beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui: An Overview

One of the major considerations of tourists when visiting Phuket and Koh Samui is their beaches. Fortunately, we have a list of some beaches that guests may want to visit based on their preference.

Phuket BeachesKoh Samui Beaches
• Freedom Beach
• Kata Beach
• Patong Beach
• Karon Beach
• Nai Harn Beach
• Kata Noi Beach
• Laem Singh Beach
• Ya Nui Beach
• Kamala Beach
• Bangtao Beach
• Silver beach
• Thongson Bay
• Lipa Noi Beach
• Choeng Mon
• Maenam Beach
• Chaweng Beach
• Taling Ngam
• Bophut Beach
• Lamai Beach
• Bang Po Beach

Phuket Beaches

Phuket beaches are some of the most beautiful places in Thailand. There are a number of them on the island but below are some of our top choices when visiting Phuket.

1. Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach
Image Source: Tom Richards on Flickr, Freedom Beach

Considered one of the best beaches in Phuket, Freedom Beach offers tourists with clear blue waters and soft white sand. It’s also amazing that despite being near Patong Beach, Freedom Beach is still relatively quiet and peaceful. 

This is mainly due to the challenge of accessing the said beach which only offers guests one of two options. One is through a steep hill while the other is by boat during peak season.

2. Kata Beach

Kata Beach
Image Source: yuguang on Flickr, Kata Beach!

Next is Kata Beach, an area preferred by families because of its blue seas and white sand. Compared to Patong Beach, Kata is less crowded and provides travellers with tons of options in terms of dining, nightlife, and shopping.

There are also a lot of choices when it comes to available budget hotels on Kata Beach. However, only a few of them are located right on the beachfront.

3. Patong Beach

Patong Beach
Image Source: Jamie Monk on Flickr, Patong Beach

Patong Beach, located on the west coast of Phuket, is considered the main beach of the Island. It’s a sizable area full of go-go bars, markets, shops, and restaurants. 

The northern part of the beach is still relatively peaceful but the middle portion of the area can get a little crowded. There are a number of luxury hotels in the area but there are thousands of others to choose from depending on one’s budget.

Travellers who like to party and enjoy the nightlife would prefer Patong Beach over the other beaches on the island. 

4.  Karon Beach

Karon Beach
Image Source: Joanna Styran on Flickr, Karon Beach

Karon Beach is also one of the most popular beaches on Phuket Island and is also its second-longest beach. In fact, the beach is so vast that even during peak tourist seasons, the shoreline never really feels crowded.

Only the Centara Grand Beach Resort has direct access to the beach but tourists can opt to stay in the other hotels around the vicinity. Travellers who choose to stay here are guaranteed to enjoy the beach’s nightlife, shops, and restaurants.

5. Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn Beach
Image Source: Wootak Felix Suh on Flickr, Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn Beach is ideal for travellers who want some beautiful scenery while on vacation. This is because the beach is surrounded by small islands and green hills, further enhancing the idyllic scenery of Nai Harn beach.

The boundary surrounding the beach is protected and the island only offers a number of hotels. This gives the island a more traditional and local feel compared to other beaches.

6. Kata Noi Beach

Kata Noi Beach
Image Source: Ben Torode on Flickr, Kata Noi Beach, Phuket

Kata Noi beach can easily be missed by tourists since it’s considered out of the way for most itineraries. However, this also kept the area much more quiet compared to the more crowded beaches.

Tourists are advised to check this beach out though, as it’s a beautiful strip of shoreline with clear blue waters. In fact, Kata Noi was once globally considered one of the most beautiful spots.

7. Laem Singh Beach

Laem Singh Beach
Image Source: Jamie Monk on Flickr, Laem Singh Beach

Access to Laem Singh Beach has been restricted since 2017 but tourists may be able to find a way to get in with the help of some locals. This restriction, however, gave the beach a secluded Caribbean island feel to it.

Add to this the beautiful palm trees towering above the sandy white beach and the tranquil splash of ocean waves, this island is definitely a must-see for tourists!

8. Ya Nui Beach

Ya Nui Beach
Image Source: [email protected] on Flickr, Sunset at Ya Nui beach, Phuket

Located in the southern portion of Phuket, Ya Nui Beach is relatively small compared to the other beaches on this list. It may also seem like a private beach at first but it definitely is not since a number of guests visit this island for some leisure activities.

In fact, this beach is popular with travellers for its great swimming, beach diving, and snorkelling spots.

9. Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach
Image Source: agnes’SPACE on Flickr, Kamala Beach

Home of the world-renowned Cafe Del Mar Beach Club and Fantasea Park, Kamala Beach located at the northern end of Phuket is a beautiful beach with white sand and clear blue waters. 

Travellers can also relax and unwind on Kamala Beach with its restaurants and shops. The beach also has several hotels with direct access to the beach. 

10. Bangtao Beach

Bangtao Beach is another beautiful beach in Phuket and is considered to be one of the longest beaches on the Island. Bangtao beach is commonly linked with Laguna Phuket, a resort complex located in the long stretch of sand on the beach.

As an added bonus, tourists can enjoy the numerous dining options and beach clubs Bangtao Beach has to offer.

Koh Samui Beaches

Just like Phuket, Koh Samui offers some of the most stunning beaches in Thailand. Listed below are some of our top picks for Koh Samui beaches when visiting the island.

1. Silver Beach

Silver Beach
Image Source: Matthias Salomon on Flickr, Koh Samui Silver Beach

Sometimes called “the beach of the Ta-Khian Trees” or Haad Thong Ta-khian, Silver Beach is a small beach at just 250 metres. However, don’t let its size fool you as this is one of the best beaches on Koh Samui.

This beach offers tourists a more relaxed atmosphere while offering a slew of activities to enjoy such as kayaking, Thai massages, and snorkelling. All of these can be enjoyed under the relaxing sway of the beach’s palm trees.

2. Thongson Bay

Thongson Bay
Image Source: SOMA SAMUI on Flickr, Koh Samui Thongson Bay (2)

Thongson Bay is the beach ideal for tourists who want a perfectly balanced tropical island vacation. This is because the beach has all the amenities needed by travellers such as restaurants, and the use of sun loungers but with fewer crowds to deal with.

This beach is also perfect for beginners who are a bit wary about swimming in deep waters and those families with young children.

3. Lipa Noi Beach

Lipa Noi Beach
Image Source: floydbloke on Flickr, Lipa Noi Beach

Lipa Noi Beach is the perfect beach to be for tourists who want to see that beautiful Koh Samui sunset. As the evening arrives, the sky turns into a burst of beautiful colours resulting in the sand of the beach turning pink during sunset.

Travellers looking for a quieter getaway should fit right in as Lipa Noi Beach’s remoteness also means fewer crowds around the area. The beach also has shallow waters making it perfect for those who want to go kayaking or for young kids swimming. 

4. Choeng Mon

Choeng Mon
Image Source: Brad Slaney on Flickr, Choeng Mon

Those looking for some peace and quiet such as family travellers or romantic couples may find Choeng Mon to be the perfect Koh Samui beach for them. This beach offers a sense of privacy as it is hidden in its own secluded bay.

Choeng Mon is home to Cape Fahn Hotel, a luxury resort with 22 villas. This resort may be expensive but it offers a quieter environment for guests to enjoy while still offering all the amenities needed by tourists from the mainland. 

5. Maenam Beach

Maenam Beach
Image Source: Kinnaree Samui on Flickr, Maenam Beach

Budget-conscious travellers who want to have a great time in Koh Samui should definitely check out what Maenam Beach has to offer. Tourists can choose from the available bungalows on the beach without spending too much.

Going to either end of the beach will provide tourists with a little extra privacy as other guests tend to stick to one area rather than explore the entire shoreline. Maenam Beach also has various activities for tourists to enjoy such as kayaking and night markets.

6. Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach
Image Source: Claus H. Amundsen on Flickr, Chaweng Beach scenery 1

Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui’s biggest beach and is popular for its white sand and blue waters. This beach is popular so tourists should expect the beach to be rarely quiet and oftentimes crowded.

This beach in Koh Samui is also perfect for all kinds of travellers. Those who want to splurge can book a luxury hotel with direct access to the beach while tourists who are more budget-conscious may opt to go for a simpler bungalow.

7.  Taling Ngam

Taling Ngam
Image Source: Jacques HERREMANS on Flickr, Taling Ngam – Koh Samui

This wild beach in the southwest corner of Koh Samui is ideal for travellers who want their beach to be less touristy. Taling Ngam is considered to be less developed compared to its counterparts and as such, has fewer restaurants and hotels in the area.

The nearest town is around 20 minutes away and tourists will require a tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi if they need to go shopping. This geographical setup, though, also means that tourists at Taling Ngam beach will mostly have the beach to themselves. 

8. Bophut Beach

Bophut Beach
Image Source: Den Williams on Flickr, Bophut Beach

Bophut Beach is one of the most pristine and well-kept beaches on Koh Samui thanks to the many beachfront hotels assisting in the maintenance of the said area. The beach also offers tourists a relaxing atmosphere thanks to its palm trees and soft waves.

This beach is also home to the area known as Fisherman’s Village where Chinese shophouses abound. Dive shops can also be found here in Bophut beach and these shops can provide tours going to Ang Thong Marine Park and Koh Tao.

9. Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach
Image Source: Jutta M. Jenning on Flickr, Koh Samui- Lamai Beach

The second largest beach of Koh Samui, Lamai Beach is a unique tourist spot that offers a lot of activities for travellers but at a more laid-back pace. This beach is also ideal for those on a budget as hotels, shops, and restaurants are cheaper here.

Lamai Beach also offers some activities for guests such as checking out local ancient artefacts and attending religious festivals. Guests are also advised to check out the popular temples in the area such as Wat Khunaram and Wat Lamai.

10. Bang Po Beach

Bang Po Beach
Image Source: Jeremy Gutwin on Flickr, Bang Po Beach

Bang Po Beach can be found right between a thick tropical rainforest and the Gulf of Thailand. This gives the beach a semi-hidden shoreline that can provide travellers with some peace and quiet while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Tourists who also want more traditional and simpler Thai dishes can find them here in Bang Po Beach. This is mainly due to the beach being underdeveloped compared to its counterparts.

Phuket vs. Koh Samui: Which has better beaches?

Both Phuket and Koh Samui have stunning beaches that will surely make tourists want to visit them. However, there are significant differences between the beaches of the two islands.

Phuket island has more beaches and these beaches are packed with hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs. As a result, Phuket beaches have a more lively scene compared to Koh Samui.

On the other hand, Koh Samui beaches have sands that are softer and whiter and are known to have clearer and calmer waters. Tourists who want more private and calmer beaches would find the beaches of Koh Samui to be much more ideal for their tastes.

Our Verdict:

It would depend on the preference of the guests. Those who want a more lively beach and party scene should check out the beaches of Phuket Island.

However, those who want a more relaxed and private beach experience should consider the beaches of Koh Samui.

Which island is cheaper to visit?

When comparing these two Islands to Bangkok or Pattaya, both Koh Samui and Phuket are the pricier destinations. This is mainly due to the fact that both islands have become very popular destinations for tourists and travellers across the globe.

Based on what we found though, we observed that Koh Samui is a little pricier compared to Phuket. This was mainly because eating out and booking accommodations in Phuket are slightly cheaper compared to Koh Samui.

The price difference could also be due to supply and demand. Phuket has much more variety or supply compared to Koh Samui which means competition among these establishments can be quite steep.

Either way, it is a win-win for tourists when hotels and restaurants are competing to provide the best and most cost-efficient service there is.

Our Verdict:

For those who want slightly cheaper accommodation and food options, Phuket Island is the place to go. 

However, those who want to stay in slightly pricier hotels and restaurants in exchange for fewer crowds and straightforward options, Koh Samui may be the ideal island.

Which island is safer?

Which island is safer

Thailand generally has a very low crime rate and this is great news for tourists and travellers who want to enjoy and explore all there is to experience in this beautiful country.

However, based on actual data, Koh Samui is slightly safer when looking at the crime rate of each island. Phuket has a little more pickpocketing compared to Koh Samui, and this crime generally happens at night. 

This slightly higher crime rate could also be due to the larger size of Phuket. Compared to Koh Samui, Phuket is twice as large which may result in a higher crime rate overall due to its larger area and population size.

Our Verdict:

The difference in crime rate between Phuket and Koh Samui is miniscule but if it’s based on data, Koh Samui is the better island due to its lower crime rate.

Things to Do In Phuket and Koh Samui

Activities on Phuket IslandActivities on Koh Samui
Visit the Wat Chalong Buddhist TempleVisit the Angthong National Marine Park
Go Partying on Bangla RoadClimb the Big Buddha
Climb Phuket’s Big BuddhaCheck out the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut
Travel to and Explore Phi Phi IslandsGo on an Adventure at Hin Ta and Hin Yai
Take a Trip to Phang Nga BayVisit the Na Muang Waterfalls

What to Do in Phuket

Phuket is a tourist’s dream destination due to the many different and unique activities it offers travellers. From active adventures to religious experiences, below are some of the things to do in Phuket:

1. Visit the Wat Chalong Buddhist temple.

Visit the Wat Chalong Buddhist temple.
Image Source: Elaine Williams on Flickr, Wat Chalong

There are a number of Buddhist temples around Phuket but the biggest and most popular one is Wat Chalong. The temple has stunning architecture and contains golden statues and landscaped gardens.

The temple observes rules for respectful behaviour and a proper dress code which is common for all temples in Thailand. For example, visitors are expected to wear clothes covering their knees and shoulders. 

Shoes should also be removed before entering the temple.

2. Go partying on Bangla Road.

Go partying on Bangla Road.
Image Source: Pierre 01 on Flickr, Bangla Road

This road might not be everyone’s cup of tea but Bangla Road is undeniably popular based on the huge crowds present every night. This area might be thought of as a type of red-light district for single men but this is inaccurate.

Bangla Road is actually a must-see for tourists who want a vibrant nightlife in an area with bars, shops, restaurants, and dancing girls. In the morning this road may seem calm and silent but at around 9:00 PM onwards, the parties kick in!

3. Climb Phuket’s big Buddha.

Climb Phuket’s big Buddha.
Image Source: Rolf-52 on Flickr, Big Buddha, Phuket

The Big Buddha Statue is located in the southern part of Phuket and is composed of white marble. It has an iconic status and religious significance and as such, demands respect from guests and visitors.

The road going up is well-paved but it can be a bit steep. The climb is worth it since tourists can get a spectacular view of certain portions of Phuket at the top. 

To the south, travellers can see Kata Beach and to the north, tourists can get a great view of Pha Nga and Chalong Bay. 

4. Travel to and explore Phi Phi Islands.

Travel to and explore Phi Phi Islands.
Image Source: Nicolo Righetti on Flickr, Maya Island (Phi Phi Island)

Phi Phi Islands is composed of a number of smaller islands with beautiful sights and exciting adventures to experience. 

Young tourists and party-goers can enjoy the vibrant nightlife Phi Phi has to offer while other adventurous travellers can go snorkelling, rock climbing, and even cliff jumping. 

Phi Phi Islands may have been over-developed in the past few years leading to crowded beaches and increased concerns for environmental maintenance. However, it is still one of the most rewarding things to do when in Phuket.

5. Take a trip to Phang Nga Bay.

Take a trip to Phang Nga Bay.
Image Source: Maria Kotsonia on Flickr, Koh Phanak, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga bay has some spectacular sights to offer and is one of the best places for tourists to visit when they are in Phuket. Tourists can take in the sights through the caves and lagoons via canoe or via a sunset cruise on a Chinese junk. 

Those with money to spend can even go on a private cruise on Phang Nga Bay. This pricier but more laid-back private cruise will surely be one of the most enjoyable experiences for tourists visiting Phuket.

What to do in Koh Samui

Similar to Phuket, Koh Samui has its fair share of man-made and natural attractions where tourists can enjoy various activities. From beautiful beaches to awe-inspiring landmarks, below are some of the things to do in Koh Samui:

1. Visit the Angthong National Marine Park.

Visit the Angthong National Marine Park.
Image Source: Jens Schott Knudsen on Flickr, Angthong Marine Park, Ko Samui, Thailand

This marine park located in the gulf of Thailand is actually composed of 42 islands with white sand beaches, hidden coves, and limestone mountains. Angthong National Marine Park also has a variety of sea creatures and wildlife.

Tourists who want to go on a tropical adventure can go diving, sea kayaking, hiking, and snorkelling at this marine park.

2. Climb the big Buddha.

Climb the big Buddha.
Image Source: BRΔNDON JAMES on Flickr. Big Buddha – Koh Samui

Just like Phuket, Koh Samui also has a Big Buddha statue located on the island’s northern coast. This golden statue of the Buddha depicts him on his path to enlightenment and as such, shows him doing the “Mara posture”.

The statue of the Big Buddha is also surrounded by other smaller temples with Buddha statues of their own. The area also has some small shops and stalls selling trinkets, souvenirs, and some food items.

3. Check out the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut.

Check out the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut.
Image Source: Soma Samui on Flickr, Koh Samui Bophut fisherman’s village

Koh Samui is home to the historical part of Bophut known as the Fisherman’s Village. This area boasts rustic-style architecture and provides travellers with a number of establishments such as hotels, restaurants, and boutique stores. 

Tourists are advised to visit this area on Fridays as the area transforms into a walking street market. Shoppers flock to the shops here for the lively atmosphere and for the variety of wares.

4. Go on an adventure at Hin Ta and Hin Yai.

Go on an adventure at Hin Ta and Hin Yai.
Image Source: Saman on Flickr, Hin Ta

Located at the southern end of Koh Samui, Hin Ta and Hin Yai are rock formations that have elicited laughs and giggles from locals and tourists alike. 

This is because the names of the rocks translate to grandpa and grandma and are seen as being shaped as male and female genitalia.

However, the view around the area and from the rocks is spectacular, giving tourists a great view of the neighbouring islands and the wide expanse of the ocean.

5. Visit the Na Muang waterfalls.

The Na Muang Waterfalls can be touted as one of the best-looking waterfalls in Thailand. 

The waterfalls are actually composed of two levels with the first level offering a natural pool directly beneath it and the second level offering a more beautiful view of the waterfalls. 

However, tourists are advised to visit the waterfalls from September to November as this is when the waterfalls are majestically flowing due to the wetter weather.

Places to See In Phuket and Koh Samui

Places to See in PhuketPlaces to See in Koh Samui
Phuket Old TownWat Plai Laem
FantaseaSecret Buddha Garden
Phuket Elephant SanctuaryWat Khunaram
Gibbon Rehabilitation ProjectParadise Park Farm
Jui Tui ShrineLaem Sor Pagoda

Aside from the various things one can do in both Phuket and Koh Samui, there are also some spectacles and activities that tourists simply need to see in order to enjoy and experience the best the islands have to offer. Here are a few:

Places to See in Phuket

1. Phuket Old Town

Phuket Old Town
Image Source: Rolf_52 on Flickr, Phuket Old Town

Phuket may be popular for its beaches but its centre, Phuket Old Town, is a sight to behold on its own. It has colonial-style buildings and interesting establishments for tourists to enjoy such as cafes, art galleries, museums, and restaurants.

2. Fantasea

Fantasea is a spectacle on its own and one can say that the shows have a very lively Vegas feel to them. Aside from the shows, tourists can enjoy the dining options and the theme park of Fantasea.

3. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
Image Source: Jamie Monk on Flickr, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Elephants are the national animal of Thailand but unfortunately, these majestic animals are sometimes treated cruelly. 

Luckily, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary helps in the rehabilitation of mistreated elephants and educates visitors about the plight of these elephants. This sanctuary offers visitors the chance to feed the elephants as well.

4. Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

Aside from elephants, gibbons are also in need of protection against abuse. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project aims to rescue and rehabilitate Gibbons before they are released out into the wild.

5. Jui Tui Shrine

Jui Tui Shrine
Image Source: James Warren on Flickr, Jui Tui Shrine

This Chinese temple contains statues of different Chinese gods and offers a unique-looking structure for tourists to marvel at. Its beauty and cultural significance are some of the things that draw travellers to Jui Tui Shrine.  

Places to See in Koh Samui

1. Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem
Image Source: Andrea W on Flickr, Wat Plai Laem

Buddhism devotees flock to certain areas in Thailand such as Koh Samui because of its Buddhist temples. One such temple is Wat Plai Laem featuring a unique statue of an 18- Armed Guanyin- the Goddess of mercy and compassion.

 2. Secret Buddha Garden

Secret Buddha Garden
Image Source: Martin Pietrzak on Flickr, Ko Samui – Thailand – Secret Buddha Garden

Tourists will definitely be amazed by the wonderful combination this garden has to offer. Located on Pom Mountain Hill, this site has lush green woods surrounding the majestic buddha statues in the garden.

3. Wat Khunaram

Wat Khunaram
Image Source: phginlon on Flickr, Wat Pho Man Khunaram, Bangkok

The mummified body of Luong Pordaeng, a Buddhist monk, can be viewed in this Koh Samui Tourist attraction. He died way back in 1973 and his mummified body is currently enclosed in glass and is considered a top tourist attraction.

4. Paradise Park Farm

Paradise Park Farm
Image Source: Svetlana Asanova on Flickr, Paradise Park Farm

Perfect for families, Paradise Park Farm is a tranquil 20 acres of land that can provide children with a lot of fun activities. Adults will also have a good time in this park because of the beautiful greenery surrounding the site.

5. Laem Sor Pagoda

Laem Sor Pagoda
Image Source: thirdeye-Berlin (On/Off) on Flickr, Laem Sor, Pagoda

Laem Sor Pagoda is a unique structure located on the rocky beaches of Bang Kao. What makes this tourist spot special is the fact that the pagoda has a solid yellow colour that contrasts perfectly with the clear blue waters of the sea.

Accommodations in the Islands

Phuket and Koh Samui both have a variety of hotel options to choose from which range from luxury hotels to budget-friendly ones. Below are some of these accommodation options for travellers:

Best Hotels in Phuket

1. Rosewood Phuket

Rosewood Phuket
Intended for:Tourists who want luxury accommodations and have excess funds
Address:Muen-Ngern Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 83150, Thailand
Contact No.:+ 66 76 356 888
Average Costper night:Around 29,000 THB

This hotel offers its guests luxurious accommodations with a touch of classy island living. It serves as a  tranquil beach hideaway from the hustle and bustle of crowded tourist spots and hotels.

2. Hotel IKON Phuket

Hotel IKON Phuket
Intended for:Tourists and travellers who are on a budget
Address:400/2 Patak Rd, Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Contact No.:+66 76 396 901
Average Costper night:Around 900 THB

For those on a budget, Hotel IKON Phuket may be the ideal option with its affordable price and its no-frills but excellent room offerings. Aside from having clean and spacious rooms, the hotel provides great service, a shuttle service, and a great view of the beach!

3. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort

Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
Intended for:Tourists travelling with their children or young kids
Address:29 Soi Karon Nui, Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Contact No.:+66 76 370 100
Average Costper night:Around 18,000 THB

Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort not only has a prime beach spot but also offers a ton of family activities within the resort which include squash and tennis. The hotel also has a kids’ pool for children to play around in with their siblings and friends.

Best Hotels in Koh Samui

1. Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui 

Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui
Intended for:Tourists who want luxury accommodations and have excess funds
Address:9, Chaweng Noi Beach, Tambon Bo Put, Amphoe Ko Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Contact No.:+66 77 915 555
Average Costper night:Around 17,000 THB

Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, in Koh Samui is one of the most expensive hotels tourists can stay in when in Koh Samui. In return, guests can get some of the best accommodations and some world-class pampering from the staff.

2. Ibis Samui Bophut

Ibis Samui Bophut
Intended for:Tourists and travellers who are on a budget
Address:Bophut Beach, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Contact No.:+66 77 914 888
Average Costper night:Around 1,125 THB

Ibis Samui Bophut may be a budget-friendly hotel but it has a great location, provides decent rooms, and offers guests some good cocktails. This hotel also has swimming pools within the property, perfect when guests want a break from the beach.

3. Melia Koh Samui

Melia Koh Samui
Intended for:Tourists travelling with their children or young kids
Address:83 หมู่ที่ 5 Bo Put, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Contact No.:+66 77 938 899
Average Costper night:Around 8,500 THB

Melia Koh Samui has great rooms, fantastic staff, and delicious meals for guests. Best of all, the pool of this hotel is designed like a lazy river, perfect for tourists and families who want to relax in the swimming pool with their children or young kids. 

Phuket vs. Koh Samui: Other Aspects to Consider

The Weather

The Weather

Koh Samui experiences more monsoon reasons compared to Phuket but both islands are generally warm the entire year. Normally, Phuket only experiences rains between September and October while Koh Samui has them from September to November.

Our Verdict:

It’s ideal to visit the said islands from April to August as these are months when Koh Samui and Phuket are the sunniest.  



In terms of food, Phuket is more traditional Thai and offers more choices than Koh Samui. This can be attributed to the multicultural and colourful history of Phuket Town. 

On the other hand, Koh Samui is much more convenient in terms of food choices. This is brought about by street restaurants in the major resort towns on the island.

Our Verdict:

For those who want to feast on a variety of traditional and local food items, Phuket is the ideal island to visit. Those who are after convenience, though, would prefer to visit Koh Samui instead.

Nightlife and Partying

Nightlife and Partying

While both Phuket and Koh Samui have vibrant nightlife and party scenes, Phuket has a slight edge when it comes to party-going tourists. This is because Phuket offers various different nightclubs and bars where travellers can enjoy partying the night away.

On the other hand, Koh Samui’s parties are much more modest and mostly centred around Chaweng. Here, clubs and bars are mostly right on the sand and open-bar types with young backpackers as their common customers.

Our Verdict:

Tourists who want to party hard would prefer Phuket Island as their destination of choice. Travellers who want a more laid-back nightlife and modest parties would choose Koh Samui.



Compared to Koh Samui, Phuket has a lot of both local markets and modern malls. Due to this, the island’s got tourists covered whether they want to buy budget souvenir items or designer brands.

Koh Samui offers more walking street markets than malls. This doesn’t mean that there are no designer brands available on the island since these products can still be purchased from boutiques scattered across Koh Samui.

Our Verdict:

Designer brand aficionados would prefer to visit  Phuket. Tourists who want to buy from street stalls and markets would be better served if they travel to Koh Samui.

People and Lifestyle

People and Lifestyle

During the peak tourist season, Phuket attracts more upmarket clients compared to Koh Samui. This is mostly due to the proliferation of high-end restaurants, hotels, clubs, and shops around the island.

Koh Samui has more laid-back travellers and young backpackers who are much more approachable and friendly. Travellers should expect to meet new people and make new friends if they hang around Koh Samui’s tourist spots.

Our Verdict:

Phuket has a more upmarket client base while Koh Samui would have more of the young laid-back traveller crowd.


In terms of accessibility, tourists may find it easier to reach the island of Phuket. This is because Phuket is still connected to Thailand’s mainland via various modern bridges and can be accessed via land travel, aside from air and sea options.

Koh Samui, on the other hand, as an island in the truest sense of the word, can only be reached via sea or air travel.

Our Verdict:

Phuket is more accessible than Koh Samui thanks to the possibility of land travel. Koh Samui on the other hand, can only be accessed by tourists via air or sea travel.

When is the best time to visit Phuket and Koh Samui?

As stated earlier in this traveller’s guide, both Koh Samui and Phuket are generally sunny all throughout the year. However, it is recommended that tourists visit the islands during the sunniest months of the year which is usually from April to August.

However, tourists should try to avoid going to Koh Samui from September to November and Phuket from September to October as these months bring monsoon rains as these rains can adversely affect the scheduled tours of travellers.

Phuket vs. Koh Samui: Our Final Verdict

If both Phuket and Koh Samui offer some of the most beautiful sights and exciting tourist attractions, which destination is better? The answer is it would depend on the tourist’s preferences.

Phuket is the best choice for those travelling with families or those older or more mature tourists who want a combination of beautiful beaches, activities, experiences, products, and flavours unique to Thailand. 

Koh Samui is ideal for the younger crowd and travellers who are interested in exciting activities such as snorkelling, kayaking, and water sports combined with some laid-back beach lounging afterward.

FAQs about Phuket vs. Koh Samui

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