TLDR; Phuket vs Koh Samui: Phuket wins! There’s a reason I live here.
Unlike Ko Samui, Phuket has everything you need and there’s so much more going on – from the daytime activities and quirky coffeeshops, to the naughty nightlife and hardcore party scene.
Phuket has cinemas, shopping malls, pool leagues, badminton courts, cooking classes, paddle, tennis, go-karting, paintball, rock climbing and the infamous Bangla Road – for those wanting some serious nightlife!
Koh Samui has better waters for diving though.
While Koh Samui might have a few more beach clubs, Phuket easily has more bars and clubs.
Bangla Road in Patong probably has more nightclubs than the entire Island of Koh Samui.
Rawai, the most south part of Phuket is the trendiest place for people looking for nightlife. Whilst there’s only one official club, there’s more bars than most other parts of Phuket now, and it becoming more and more popular for the party scene.
Both islands are full of hostels, hotels and private villas – but if you’re looking for a budget beach digs, you’ll get more for your money on Samui.
There’s fewer options for Phuket in terms of beachfront properties – unless you’re willing to spend more.
A law in Samui prevents buildings being any taller than a coconut tree, so there’s more options in Phuket if you’re looking for a lovely hotel with an ocean view.
Or if you don’t mind spending $$$ – why not hire a villa out which sits nestled between limestone clifftops with incredible ocean views of the Andaman Sea.
Both Phuke and Ko Samui islands have incredible beaches with powder-soft white sand and crystal clear waters.
Koh Samui waters are often more calmer and clearer, with slightly whiter sand.
Phuket has more beaches though (approx 65) – some of which are hidden and you’ll have to go on a little trek to find them.
Patong Beach is Phuket’s most popular, with plenty of places to eat and get p*ssed.
Koh Samui’s most popular beaches include Chaweng and Lamai.
If you’re looking for a fun beach destination to party, come Phuket. Ko Samui is better for private beaches and places to chill.
Both have pretty good weather all year round, but Ko Samui can be a little less forgiving during Monsoon season (late October to mid-December). Phuket’s rainy season (Mid-May to October) isn’t anywhere near as wet. For more detailed whether and climate check this for Samui and for Phuket weather visit here.
Nature and Surroundings
Fortunately, Phuket is a rainforest Island, so most places you’ll find great natural views. Beaches nestled between warm sea and jungles, all the good stuff. Phuket has better infrastructure, like modern malls, cinema, safer / better roads etc..
Check out some of Ko Samui’s nature wildlife tours.
Final thoughts on Phuket vs Koh Samui
Unless you’re looking to spend all day at the beach or go diving, Phuket is the better Island when it comes to activities, nightlife, food, drink and overall things to do.
That said, both locations are incredible, and I’m sure you’ll be happy with either destination.