Beach Battle: Phuket VS Koh Samui

Beach Battle: Phuket VS Koh Samui

Beach club umbrellas on Phuket’s Surin Beach.

Phuket and Ko Samui are Thailand’s biggest and most popular island destinations. Both islands are good for travelers who are looking for a lot of activities and choices for shopping and eating during their trip to Thailand. Which one would you enjoy more, Phuket or Ko Samui?

Which Beach Destination is Better, Phuket or Ko Samui?

0–1 Ko Samui has much more island flair. While Ko Samui is located far offshore, Phuket is almost attached to the mainland. On Ko Samui you really feel like being on an island. First point to Ko Samui!

1–1 Phuket excels in travel connections. It is much cheaper to fly to Phuket than to Ko Samui. Samui’s airport is owned by the boutique airline Bangkok Airways, which has almost a monopoly on the flights, what keeps the airfares high. Several airlines fly to Phuket, and the competition keeps the prices low.


You can still find deserted beaches on Ko Samui.
A quiet cove on Ko Samui.

2–1 Phuket’s beaches are much better; Phuket has a full dozen of world-class beaches. If truth to be told, Ko Samui has only one truly amazing beach, Chaweng Beach, and some smaller pretty beaches in hidden coves. The rest of Ko Samui’s beaches are nice but not really world-class. Phuket takes the lead!

Read more: How to Choose Between Phuket’s Beaches?

2–2 Ko Samui has the most fascinating single attraction, the mummified monk. When the famous monk, revered Luang Pho Daeng, felt death approaching, he retired to meditate, and the monk’s body got mummified by itself. Today, revered Luang Pho Daeng is on display on the Wat Khunaram temple – in a glass case with Ray-Ban sunglasses covering his empty eye sockets.


The Library Resort's red swimming pool is a real stunner in Ko Samui.
The Library Resort’s red swimming pool is a real stunner in Ko Samui.

3–2 Phuket has a wider range of shopping opportunities: Phuket has a number of large shopping centers, while Ko Samui has just recently gotten its first real life-style mall.

4–2 Phuket is better for golfers. Phuket has several world-class golf courses, whereas Ko Samui has only two courses to swing your club.

Read more: Phuket for Kids

5–2 Phuket is better for families. There is much more to do for children in Phuket, and most of Phuket’s hotels have large swimming pools, a big bonus for family holidays. Ko Samui’s swimming pools tend to be much more modest, and the whole vibe on Ko Samui is geared more for couples and party people.

5–3 Ko Samui has a more romantic flair, what makes the island popular destination for honeymooners. Most of Ko Samui’s hotels are geared towards couples. Our favorites for honeymoons are Sala Samui, which has jacuzzis on every balcony, and The Library Resort famous for its red swimming pool. Isn’t red the color of love anyway?

In overall score Phuket is a better holiday destination than Ko Samui. But for romantic holidays Ko Samui rules supreme!


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