Choosing Phuket or Krabi is not that difficult for me, but it’s a question that many ask themselves because the two are close to each other and you’ve probably heard good things about both.
Here is a list of postives and negatives of both Krabi and Phuket as I see it.
- Amazing beaches. Surin. Kamala. Patong. Magic beach. Really first rate and can reach all by car or motorbike.
- Creature comforts. Anything you want can be found in terms of Starbucks, western food, even some foreign food – pizza places abound. Mexican, Japanese, a lot of variety and of course excellent Thai food.
- Nightlife. Patong Beach is the center of nightlife in the south. There’s nothing close for 600km (Bangkok). If you need nightlife – come to Patong Beach. It’s a mini-Pattaya – but, on a nicer level. I see a lot more families in Patong than Pattaya. Personally I’d not bring my family to either place, but if it was a choice – Patong Beach would easily win over the city of sin, Pattaya.
- Top Rate Accomodations. There are some excellent hotels that can spoil you here.
- Variety. There are a thousand things to do on Phuket. Everyone will (can) have a good time.
- Crowded and Traffic. Beach road and, well, every other road in Patong Beach is too small and dangerous drivers are everywhere.
- Crime. Crime is getting nuts now that so many people are on drugs on the island. It’s unlivable just for this reason in my opinion.
- Prices. High prices compared to other Thailand spots. Higher than Krabi on average for Tuk-Tuks, taxis, etc.
- Bargirls / Ladyboys. Everywhere. Keep track of your husband or he’ll turn a 10 minute 7-11 run into a 5 minute 7-11 run and 5 minute play for pay.
- I’d not call it a family destination. Though the choice between Patong and Pattaya is clear for where to bring your family, Krabi is still much better for families.
- Locals. I don’t get the impression they’re very genuine in Patong / Phuket town. Money is tight in this market. Business is the reason everyone is there. There is a lot of competition. A lot of stress to make enough cash apparently.
- Has everything Patong Beach has: Amazing beaches, creature comforts, top rate accommodations, variety.
- No real nightlife. Can be a positive or a negative. There are some quiet bars in Krabi town on Chao Fa road, or in Ao Nang at the beach there are a couple bars that have live music and good dinners. There are very few bargirls or ladyboy freelancers running around in Krabi.
- Locals. Nicer, more genuine, and yet they don’t stare at you like you’re an ATM machine. Locals ignore you in Krabi.
- Uncrowded. Traffic is non-existent. It’s much safer to ride a motorbike, bicycle, or car in Krabi. People are stressed less. The atmosphere is much more relaxed than the pressure-cooker feeling of Patong Beach.
- No Nightlife. Literally there is very little in the way of anything at all going on at night. You can find bars that are open in Krabi town. At Ao Nang beach you can find a very small soi with some Patong style bars but they’re not anything to get excited about. That’s all there is though – so if that’s what you’re craving look for that soi.
- Few Housing Options. If you already have a home, great. If you’re looking for one that suits you – good luck! We just moved again after 4 years of living in a place that we settled for. Finally we found a nice one. Though we’re paying higher prices than Phuket. That’s another negative.
- Cost of Living. I think it is actually higher than Phuket in many respects. Especially housing.
I can’t think of anything else as a negative for Krabi. Maybe the fact that the level of English here is dramatically lower than in Patong Beach and Phuket. Maybe the fact that there isn’t an international hospital here would be a negative for some.
Krabi overall is the much better choice and has better and less crowded attractions (waterfalls, hikes, mountains, springs, beaches, islands) than does Phuket/Patong.
Am I jaded?