Phuket and Krabi are two popular places for an exotic vacation in Thailand. Still they attract a different type of holidaymakers and offer very distinct experience.
Many travellers who are planning on staying in Thailand wonder what to choose – the island of Phuket which is considered the capital of nightlife or the Krabi region featuring more than 80 small islands, most of which being inhabited.
We’ve been to both places several times. In 2017, we were looking for a perfect mix of exploring Thailand’s nature wonders during the day and a good nightlife.
In this article we will compare all the points to be considered before choosing where to go – Phuket or Krabi.
The largest island in Southern Thailand – Phuket used to be an ultimate beach destination. Yet, millions of tourists arrive on the island annually and produce tonnes of trash. Considering that fact, it becomes clear why the island is not a pristine paradise anymore. Year after year, Phuket is losing its natural beauty. In 2017, we were very disappointed to see the seawater turning to brown. Local people claimed that this was related to a plankton bloom but it was not the first time we were seeing a dramatic change in the colour of the water. This is a confined problem in tourist areas such as Patong beach and Rassada pier area.
Still, few places still keep the atmosphere of wilderness such as Freedom beach and Mai Khao beach.
Krabi is a huge area neighboring Phuket that features dozens of beautiful islands and a mainland. Many tourists who are planning a vacation in Southern Thailand opt to stay in Krabi resorts, especially those who are looking for tropical beaches and exotic scenery. As Krabi is a huge territory, there are completely remote places and resorts where tourists will get best of both worlds – beach destination and nightlife entertainment.
Speaking about Krabi, it features some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand – Phi Phi islands and Railay beach. Both places boast great snorkeling and diving spots. Beaches are set in a pristine tropical vegetation. Fine white sands fringe the coastline. Krabi and Koh Phi Phi are famous with the impressive landscape featuring majestic limestone cliffs.
For the ultimate sea lovers, we recommend to choose Krabi as holiday destination.
Phuket or Krabi: Things To Do
We have extensively described the variety of things to do in Phuket and Krabi (Ao Nang beach, Railay and Koh Phi Phi) in special articles. Just to summarize, in Phuket you will find activities such as motorized water sports, water parks, shopping and thrilling nightlife. Even the liveliest Krabi’s resort does not have the party atmosphere as you would find in Phuket.
Krabi is perfect for island hopping, snorkeling and climbing. There are secluded tropical places that can be explored. They are spread all over the coast. Krabi is considered to be a romantic escape in paradise for adventurers and nature lovers. Yet, the only place that combines beautiful places to explore during the day and party fever during the night is Ao Nang beach.
Krabi is a relaxing holiday destination while Phuket is a tourist hub. There are no roads, cars or fancy infrastructure in most places in Krabi. Adrenaline seekers find attractions in Krabi’s untouched nature. There are plenty of activities like off road biking, kayaking, rock climbing and zipline experiences.
The more adventurous travellers will look for the secluded Krabi beaches, while party people will opt for Phuket.
Both are great destination to travel with your family, your friends or even solo.
The budget have always been a determining factor to take into account when we plan our vacations. 5 -10 years ago it was considerably more expensive to fly to Thailand but eating outside, booking a daily boat trips and other activities were cheaper. Now we spent only one third of our travel funds to get to the travel destination.
Accommodation costs have risen in the past few years. Now airfare tickets are much affordable but we have to pay more in restaurants, boat rentals offices and hotels.
The average cost of a 10-12 day vacation during peak season vary between 1000 – 1200 euros per person. It was almost the same 3-4 years ago. In 2017, the price included airfare ticket, 10-12 stay in a 3-4 star beachfront hotel with breakfast, transfers, boat trips and daily expenditures on restaurants and bars.
Phuket is a more affordable destination than Phi Phi islands or Railay beach, Krabi. There are more options to eat outside or even to buy drinks or food from markets.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Krabi, Thailand?
The cost of a vacation in Krabi, Thailand may dramatically vary. That was why we were having a hard time to decide where to – in Ao Nang or Railay Beach.
Compared to Phuket, in Krabi you pay 1000 – 1200 euros per person but for a shorter period – 9 days. The cost for the lodging is higher and restaurants are more expensive.
The cheapest destination is Ao Nang. To stay there, you will need as much money for your vacation as in Phuket. Railay beach which is south of Ao nang, just 10-15 minutes by boat, is a more expensive destination. Consequently, accommodation cost and daily expenditures in Koh Phi Phi have also risen considerably in recent years.
In Krabi we used every vacation day for special activities. We rented a boat to different beaches and snorkeling sites every other day. The price for 4 hours was 60-65 USD.
Different type of travelers like both places for different reasons. Still our favourite destinations are Krabi resorts – Railay beach and Phi Phi islands.