Krabi & Phuket are two of the  main tourist destinations in Thailand. These two neighbor regions, just separated by the Phang Nga Bay, offer a very distinct atmosphere and attract a different type of travelers visiting these exotic places.

Whether you are hesitating on where to plan your ultimate Thai paradise experience or have already visited one of them and want to know more about the other. We will compare here all the points you could think of before choosing where to go, in order to give you a clear understanding of what to expect in both Krabi and Phuket.

Please note that the ranking given below is objective as everyone can have a different perception.

Phuket vs Krabi - Where should you travel to?
Phuket vs Krabi – Where should you travel to?

Things to do:
Phuket  ♥♥♥
Krabi

Since Phuket has been a tourist destination for longer than Krabi, you will find a larger panel of activities in Phuket – even though Krabi is catching up quickly!

You will find everything in both destinations from Cooking classes, Diving courses, Boat tours, treetop & Zipline, Spa treatments, etc…  However, if you fancy for activities that are a little  more than the ordinary, such as Helicopter flights, Night Shows, etc… these will only be accessible on the Pearl of the Andaman sea, Phuket.

Things to do Phuket vs Krabi
Snorkeling Tour to Racha Yai, from Phuket

 

Island hopping: 
Phuket 
♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

Phuket, is an excellent base to go for island hopping and the number of options will keep you perplex. Phuket marks a point here, offering you the option to board on a boat from its West Andaman coast that gives you access to more secluded location such as the Similan, Koh Tachai, Surin National Park … well known among divers and snorkelers, and also a wonderful escape in paradise for families or between friends.

Another alternative is to choose amongst the multitude of pristine islands in the Phang Nga Bay,  amongst them Koh Yao, Racha island, the famous James bond island and of course Koh Phi Phi, and the inhabited Bamboo island. Daily departures from both Krabi and Phuket offer you to explore these white sandy islands and their crystal water.

Needless to mention that Krabi is also an excellent destination for island hopping with its 83 islands surrounding the region, most of them being inhabited.

Lastly, if you are still undecided on where to go, we have selected some of our favorites island hopping destinations from Phuket, just here.

Island hopping Phuket vs Krabi
Similan islands

 

Quietness
Phuket 

Krabi ♥♥

If you are looking at a very relaxing holiday, in a quiet location, Phuket might not be the place for you during its peak season between December and January, unless you stay in one of its remote luxurious resort that you can find at each corner of the island.

On the other hand, Krabi, with its quiet roads amongst the jungle and limestones will offer you the serenity you’ve been looking for. You will also meet less tourists on your way, which makes it feel like a real getaway from your busy life.

Quietness Phuket vs Krabi
Waree Raksa Hot Spring Spa in Krabi

Nature
Phuket 
♥♥
Krabi ♥♥♥

Nature often goes with quietness, such is the case when we compare Krabi and Phuket.  For the obvious reason that Phuket has became a tourist hub, fancy infrastructures, bigger roads, more cars, and even malls in the Patong area have covered a part of the nature.  Not to worry, you can still find some hidden beaches, monkey reserves and jungle, however you might have to drive a bit or take a boat to reach these places.

On the other side of Phang Nga Bay, Krabi and its abundant jungles and splendid seascape surrounded by majestic limestones offers a more intimate approach to nature.

Lastly, if you are a nature lover, Khao Sok National Park is the place for you to be, and you can even join on a day trip from Phuket or Krabi.

Nature Phuket vs Krabi
Khaosok Boutique Camps – departs from both Krabi and Phuket

Beaches
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

This is not a secret to say that Phuket owes its fame to its beaches. Indeed the 40 kilometers long island offers access to the World’s finest beaches. The most popular are the one around Patong area,  further south Kata and Karon are two of the popular resort beaches and can offer a quieter scenery than Patong. The number of options is such that the more adventurous will look for the secret beaches spread all over the coast. To give you a hint, you can start looking for Ao yon and Siam beach in the south, or Hua beach and Banana beach if you are in the north or around the Kamala beach area.

Let’s not forget to mention the famous Ao nang beach of Krabi, which is the resort beach of Krabi, a favourite for families. Railay beach is well known for its laid back atmosphere, full moon rites, and offers amazing rock climbing by the beach.

For the ultimate beach lovers, we recommend you to make the way to Koh Lanta (South of Krabi) and discover its long and serene beaches.

Beaches Phuket vs Krabi
Railay beach Krabi – Credit to beachesnearme

Adventure
Phuket ♥♥
Krabi ♥♥♥

Krabi and its wilder roads, dense jungle will give you a better feel of adventure. Adrenaline seekers won’t be disappointed by the panel of attractions Krabi’s untouched nature has to offer. You will find there ATV excursion, Off road dirt biking, White Water rafting, Rock climbing… and for the adventurous families, we recommend the treetop and zipline experiences, a very fun filling attraction.

Adventure Phuket vs Krabi
Rock climing in Railay beach, Krabi

 

Alternatively, Phuket offers similar thrilling activities and sensational gyrocopter and paramotor flights, early morning when the sun is rising and the scenery at its most harmonious.

Needless to mention that both destinations are diving paradises, for this reason you will get access to some world famous diving spots, an extremely rich marine life, and a clear visibility. Phuket and Krabi are amongst the best places in the world to get introduced to the underwater world while discovering Scuba Diving.

Adventure Phuket vs. Krabi
Learn Scuba Diving in Phuket

 

Between friends
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

Phuket is a great destination to travel with your friends ! You’ll find everything you need to make the most of it, bars, restaurants, beach clubs, and plenty of  fun things to do. Make the most of  it during a day out in the sea, wrap it up with a sunset barbecue and relive the full moon party together.

Another appealing alternative is to rent your own yacht for a day (or more), go island hopping, stop where you like, sleep and eat aboard and live some unforgettable moments with your friends.

Simultaneously, Krabi can offer such experiences too. However, the number of options will be limited as compared to Phuket. A great place to hang out between friends at a relatively low cost would be Railay beach, or Koh Lanta.

Between friends Phuket vs Krabi
Day out in the sea between friends, in Phuket

Romantic holidays & Couple
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

Krabi can be an inviting romantic escape with its tranquil beaches and islands, natural spas hidden in the jungle, and also offers a charming local feeling where Thai people will make you spend a lovely time together.

Nonetheless, Phuket will mark some points here thanks to its number of romantic resorts and restaurants options.

At night, sip a glass of wine with your loved one while watching the sun laying down into the Andaman sea, and make place to a splendid candlelight dinner.

Other than this, you’ll find an infinite choice of Spa treatments, and why not experience a day out kayaking in the caves and enjoy a twilight snorkeling ?

Romantic holidays Phuket vs Krabi
Private Romantic setting on an island near Krabi

Family friendly
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

When it comes to families, it is essential to find kids friendly resort or hotels, both Krabi and Phuket offers a good number options. A few options for Krabi can be the Golden beach resort and Krabi resort, in Ao Nang, or the Sofitel in Klong Muang. In Phuket, we recommend the Holiday Inn resort, Dusi Thani Laguna, and the Boathouse in Kata beach.

As for attractions, you will find plenty of things to do with kids, Phuket makes the difference here by offering a wider panel of attractions, water parks, mini golf, shows and performances with the elephant show at FantaSea being the highlight.

Family friendly Phuket vs Krabi
Elephant Dance during FantaSea Show, Phuket

Nightlife
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi 

Beach clubs, Boat parties, Full moon parties, where else in the world than Phuket would you find this ?

Phuket’s capital of all pleasures, Patong is the place where to feel the Phuket’s night fever and why not relive The Hangover movie with your friends. Obviously, this is not a place to go with children, as what you will find in this street are mostly gogo bars and the famous ping pong shows.

Patong is an option, or not. If you are looking at something more swanky and groovy, we then recommend you to head to beach clubs in the north of the island.

On the other hand, if you’ve chosen to go to Krabi, options are more limited, you will always find some bars in Ao Nang but we would not call this a night out. Railay beach offers a laid back party atmosphere where people dance at the rhythm of Bob Marley’s music around fire shows performances, and full moon parties on selected dates.

Lastly, for party seeking travellers wanting to avoid Phuket’s sleazy bars, Phi Phi might be your call for a proper night out, where a great mix of pubs and bars await you and will stay open until late in the night.

Nightlife Phuket vs Krabi
The Yacht Week Thailand December 12 2013. Photo: Beau Pilgrim

Restaurants & Culinary experiences
Phuket ♥♥♥
Krabi ♥♥

Famous Chefs from all over the world came to establish themselves in the paradise island of Phuket, and the number of restaurants exponentially popped up around the island – we advise you reading our Top 10 Restaurants in Phuket to know which places you should not miss.

Krabi is not as competitive as Phuket, but offers a local taste that has became harder to find in Phuket. And if like us, you fell in love with Thai food and want to learn more about this culinary art, we recommend you this Cooking Class held by Ms Ya, a master Thai Chef established in Krabi.

Restaurants and Culinary experiences Phuket vs Krabi
Fresh Seafood at the Kan Eang Pier Restaurant, Phuket

Budget
Phuket  $$$
Krabi $$

Even though you’ve been seduced whether by one of these two destinations, the budget is an important factor to take into account when planning your trip.

You should be aware that room prices increase (sometimes even double) during peak season from November onwards until the end of March or April.

For being a tourist hub, Phuket’s prices are substantially higher than in Krabi, and are also among the highest prices found all over Thailand. Restaurants and transports can be twice the price in touristic areas such as Patong.

Be mindful and aware of the rip off on transportation services, therefore we recommend you to book your transportation services on eOasia website at negotiated rates.

Our last traveller advice is to go local, as it is the best way to get immersed into a culture, you’ll be amazed by the food quality and affordable prices you can get while eating in local restaurants.

What both destinations have in common :

  • A feeling of  paradise
  • Tourist friendly & International airports
  • Splendid landscapes and white pearl beaches
  • Rich marine life and diving
  • Sunny and dry season from November to April
Phuket vs Krabi - Where should you travel to?
Phuket vs Krabi – Where should you travel to?

 

We hope we’ve helped you decide where to go. As you can see, it is a discutable topic as everyone has different expectations. Overall, Krabi is quieter, but Phuket compensates it with a wider range of local experiences. Both destinations offer a different travel experience and are inviting you to discover them.

Now, we would love to hear your opinion. Which one is your favourite, Phuket or Krabi ? What did you like the most in each of these destinations?
Also, if you are still unsure about where to go, please feel free to drop your questions here, we will be happy giving you advice in planning your trip.
Check out our guide maps at Mapspire.
eOasia guide map for Phuket – things to do and recommended places to stay in Phuket

map of things to do and places to stay in Krabi at Mapspire.

By Uriel.

DISCOVER MORE EXPERIENCES IN PHUKET

 

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21 thoughts on “Phuket vs Krabi – Where should you travel to?

  1. Thanks for this very comprehensive analysis! I would add 1 or 2 dimensions to the analysis:

    1. Accessibility . Flights to Krabi are not as frequent as Phuket for instance and poorly timed from Singapore (and probably from other destinations as well). Phuket airport is often congested and immigration and customs can take for ever. From my experience, the experience in Krabi airport is nicer.

    2. Diving: I believe many people visit these places to dive or snorkel. Comparing diving sites is not an easy thing but you may want to mention about a key top spots for each location?

    It’s a difficult analysis to make as both Phuket and Krabi offer a variety of sites (Ko Yao Noi or Yai are very different from Phuket ; Ko Lanta or Railey, although both accessible from Krabi are also very different) but overall I tend to agree. See you somewhere around Krabi or Phuket…
    I tend to prefer Krabi

    Thanks again for this good review
    Jacques – http://www.tripinasia.com

  2. i want to ask something. this is my first time want to travel in Phuket, but i’m lacking of budget. can u give me some suggestion where should i go between phuket and krabi ? i hope u can give me detail on packages also. thank u for helping

    1. Hi Ankit,

      Mid december is a perfect time to visit Krabi or Phuket, you should not see much rain 🙂

      Would be happy to recommend some cool things to do in the area, if needed contact us at support@eoasia.com

      Happy travel!
      The eOasia team

  3. Hey guys, a group of my friends and I are going to go back to Thailand this winter. Krabi and Phuket are the ones we have to chose from. We are hitting up BKK and Pattaya as well. How much more extensive is Phuket vs Krabi. Do you have any examples?

    1. Hi Joel,

      Great choice! You will have lots of fun travelling there with your friends!

      Phuket can be cheap if you avoid the resort areas (Chalong or Phuket Town are slightly cheaper as compared to Kata and Karon). However, I would say it is overall more expensive than Krabi, where you’ll find better deals for restaurants and hotels.

      Do let us know if you find anything interesting on our website, we would be happy to offer you some deals. Contact us at support@eoasia.com

      PS : Do not miss the Hangover Tour when in Bangkok

      Happy travel!
      The eOasia team

  4. Hi Guys, I want to book a honeymoon tour of Thailand,

    Which place should i prefer ? Phuket, Krabi ?

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your message.

      It depends on the kind of honeymoon you are looking for : If you want to impress her, Phuket offers more resorts, private beaches, romantic dinners, etc. While Krabi offers quieter settings to have an intimate experience.
      In Krabi, you can either choose to spend a day at a natural spa in the hot springs (as suggested in the article above) or embark on a private cruise around the small islands surrounding Krabi. Below is a link to a romantic private cruise & dinner, from Krabi. These are amazing experiences for honeymooners.
      https://www.eoasia.com/en/thailand/krabi/activities/2198-private-sunset-cocktail-dinner-on-secret-island-around-krabi

      I hope these sugestions will help you.

      Cheers,
      Uriel

  5. This was a really helpful article. I have been trying to decide between the two destinations for quite some time now and this article made it clear for me. I am very disappointed however that you would recommend elephant shows. With just a tiny bit of effort to look under the surface of these elephant tourist attractions it has become clear that the elephants are subjected to horrible lives and abuse. In order to be trained for such things in the first place a baby elephant is subjected to the cruel torture of phajaan. When directing tourists it would be so kind to raise awareness for them not to support the abuse of animals, especially the majestic elephant.

    1. I totally agree with Jess! The Elephant shows should not be recommended to go to! Rather it should be recommended to avoid!!! Such cruelty to animals for human entertainment!! If they stop making money from it, they will stop doing it.

  6. Last time, I visited Phuket. Enjoyed, it was fun. But this time we were looking for exploring more islands in Phang-Nga Bay. Hence, Decided to stay on some Island like Phi Phi. However, some of my friend recommend be to visit Paradise Koh Yao, And we did. To our surprise the place is really Paradise. I must say, If any one looking to explore Islands. Must visit Paradise Resort on Ko Yao Noi Island. This is little peaceful island in between Phuket and Krabi. Hence, no question of Phuket Vs Krabi. Many parts of this island is untouched. Hence, can enjoy its beauty.

    If looking for more details you can visit there tripadvisor page. It has received Certificate of Excellence every year. We see there certificates at Resort. –
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g661285-d506927-Reviews-Paradise_Koh_Yao-Ko_Yao_Noi_Phang_Nga_Province.html

    or there own official website –
    http://www.paradise-kohyao.com

  7. Hi Andy,

    Really useful information.

    We are going on honeymoon to Thailand, looking at 2 nights in Bangkok and then a bit undecided on Krabi or Phuket…..at the moment we are thinking of 5 nights in each, what do you think? or would it be better to choose one?

    Greg

  8. Hi,

    Ive been to south Phuket for only a week with a friend it was our first ever big trip. Loved it but didnt get to do as much as i would of liked.

    Im looking to go back in at the end of December for 3 weeks On my Own!

    Im still deciding between Krabi or Phuket. As a 24 year lone female, who is nervous but looking for nature and adventure with a mixture of culture what would you recommend.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Yasmin,

      Since you’ve already done Phuket, it would be a good idea for you to explore neighbouring island such as Krabi which has actually a good mix of culture and adventure – head to Railay beach for rock climbing. Or also, you can read our post about Koh Lanta, which is another island you can access from Krabi and that is absolutely beautiful!
      http://blog.eoasia.com/10-reasons-to-visit-koh-lanta-thailand/

      Happy travel 🙂

  9. hello great info given i want u to help make my trip.
    i have been 3 times to thailand 2009 10 and 11. i went to bkk pataya phuket and ko phangan as for fullmoon party.2010 phuket bkk and ko phangan.in 2011 bkk and ko phangan and ko samui. now i am arriving to bkk with my family 3 adults and 1 infant my son of 4 months. after staying 2 nights in bangkok i will move to koh samui for 5 nights then i have decided to go to krabi for 5 nights.
    this is new destination for me.i have dropped phuket i dont know where to stay in krabi. aao nang or railay beach.should i stay 5 nights at 1 resort or i should stay 3 nights some different place or beach and 2 nights on different area. i read above about staying in koh phi phi. so what you guys suggest me i am total confused my wife is saying to stay in 1 resort else she has left it on me.so i need your help after 5 nights in krabi i will move to bkk by air again staying 2 nights there then back home. please help me i have no time left thanks

    1. Hello Zeeshan,

      Thank you for your message. Our team will reply to you by email with some suggestions according to your itinerary.

      Have a nice day.

  10. Well I’m going to do both can’t choose thank you for the comments guys really helpful @britneysnyman

    1. Hello Britainy,

      Glad you enjoy reading the article. Wishing you an excellent time traveling in Southeast Asia. Don’t hesitate to contact us at support@eoasia.com if you need any recommendations.

      Happy travel 🙂

  11. Which destination should we prefer with two kids aged 5 and 8 who will no doubt enjoy any good resort but we are confused! Don’t want to stay at any mid range resorts in Phuket but the good ones seem secluded and far from the airport. Do want a taste of shopping though. Would krabi still win over Phuket or is it just about sand, beach and adventure?

  12. Hello we are going Thailand for 9 nights 2 in bangkok and another 7 in either puket,krabi or an other island near them.Do you have any suggestions as it will be late October and i will be with my girlfriend.

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