Phuket vs. Krabi: Where to Go?

Phuket or Krabi? Personally, I don’t like to compare these two places since they are so different from each other. Phuket is an island famous for its long white sandy beaches and nightlife while Krabi, located on the mainland, is known for its natural beauty including limestone mountains, idyllic beaches, and mangrove forests.

Why choose when you can visit both?
 There is a bridge connecting Phuket with the mainland, and you can drive to Krabi via Phang Nga in two hours. But if you need to choose one place, you might want to know some differences between these two tropical paradises.

Development

First, the most obvious difference; Phuket is an enormous tourist destination and has been around longer than Krabi. Here are over 200 spas to choose from, world-class hotels and award-winning restaurants. And you can’t compare the nightlife – Phuket is a different world. This means Phuket attracts more people, which in turn makes prices a bit higher.

Water sport activities

If you’re into water sports like jet ski and parasailing, you’ll need to go to Phuket. Several national parks incorporate the beaches and offshore islands in Krabi why motorized water sports aren’t allowed.

Mountain View Bar – a Nice Hideaway Overlooking Patong

Even though my wife lived seven years in Phuket, she was never up to the hills of Patong. She didn’t even know there was a panoramic view of Patong until I showed a picture on the internet and suggested that we should drive up and take a look. There are a few restaurants and bars up here, but it is a very quiet area despite its closeness to Patong Beach.

View over Patong from Mountain View Bar

Where to Stay in Phuket – a Guide Through Thailand’s Largest Island

Phuket is bigger than many realize. In fact, Phuket is not only the country’s largest island with another 32 smaller islands off its coast – it’s a province with three districts grouped into 17 sub-districts consisting of 103 villages. Patong is the most popular resort town, famous for its nightlife with go-go bars lined up at Bangla Road and the 3½ km long beautiful beach. If Patong doesn’t suit you, don’t worry – Phuket has something for everyone which I will guide you through in this post.

Surin Beach

Surin Beach in March 2017

Our Stay at Paradise Koh Yao

Koh Yao Noi is a secluded island in the beautiful Phang Nga Bay. Located less than an hour away from both Phuket and Krabi, it’s amazing how untouched this island still is. My wife and I stayed at Paradise Koh Yao, and it was a real gem that we would happily return to. Here are some pictures from our stay in March.

Paradise Koh Yao with its private beach as viewed from a longtail boat.

Windmill Viewpoint Between Ya Nui and Nai Harn Beaches in Phuket

There is a white wind turbine (not windmill despite its name) standing on the hill between Ya Nui Beach and Nai Harn Beach in Phuket, catching the energy of the wind to generate power to the area. This hill is also a popular spot for model airplane enthusiasts as well as paragliders. At the top of the viewpoint, there’s an open-air pavilion where you can sit and enjoy the stunning views of the Andaman Sea.

Baan Rim Pa – a Fine Dining Experience in Phuket

When I asked the girl who would later become my wife out to dinner the first time, I asked if she knew a good restaurant. Sure, she knew. She knew very well! Oh boy, DID SHE KNOW?! When it was time to pay I was a bit shocked it was so expensive. I thought it was cheap eating out in Thailand. It turned out she had taken me to one of the finest and most expensive restaurants in Phuket. She has never eaten there before, but she wanted to try. She is not dumb, my wife. But it was probably the best dining experience I ever had in Thailand. The bill landed at around 2,500-3,000 THB (600 Norwegian kroner or 75 USD).

Wat Koh Sirey in Phuket: a Replica of Kyaiktiyo Pagoda in Burma

When my wife drove to Koh Sirey on the east side of Phuket Town, I had no idea I was on a small island. Koh Sirey (or Koh Siray) is so close to shore that it feels more like a cape. Just 20 km2, this area offers a completely different side of Phuket. Think Phuket 20-30 years ago. Think mangroves and rubber plantations. There’s even a sea gypsie village here, known locally as “Chao Ley.” Now we didn’t get to explore the island that much; we came just before sunset to visit the Koh Sirey Temple: a replica of the famous Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock) in Burma (Myanmar).

burmese-temple-phuket

Monkey Hill (Khao Toh Sae) in Phuket Town

If you have been in Phuket Town, you have probably seen the high hill with TV and Radio masts at the top. Perhaps you didn’t know that this hill is home to hundreds of macaques monkeys. There is a road leading up to the top, where a viewpoint platform was built in 2015. Some people like to walk up there for a good sweat, while others prefer driving a motorbike or car. Before we headed up to Monkey Hill, I read about an “Uncle Hog” who is there daily to do a “show” for you with his little monkey friends. But we couldn’t see any uncle here – just some Russian tourists and many monkeys.

khao-toh-sae-viewpoint