Phuket vs Koh Samui


A Clash of the Titans

 

When it comes to Destination Weddings, Thailand really is a heavy weight. And while there are literally hundreds of locations within this vast country, Phuket and Koh Samui are the consistent rivals, battling for that Heavy Weight Championship Belt.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to talking to brides about getting married in Thailand, the most common question Wedding Destinations are presented with, is “Should I get married in Phuket or Koh Samui, what one is best”? Well, the simple answer is “it is not as simple as whose best”. If only!

In short, the answer to the question is completely subjective and to give a definitive answer, requires a few more questions.

Sunshine on a Rainy day!

Probably the most important question, is what time of year do you plan to get married?
Though Phuket and Koh Samui are less than an hours flight apart, the weather patterns are very different indeed. The reason for this is that Phuket is located West of the Thai mainland and Koh Samui sits to the East of that same Peninsular. Weather is unable to move across the higher middle ground (a natural barrier) so rarely spreads across both regions, resulting in very different weather cycles including the all important ‘wet seasons”.

Phuket vs Samui

Phuket

While weather can never be guaranteed, it is always warm and the rule of thumb is, when the tropical monsoon is in Phuket, the sun is shining in Samui and vice versa.

Dry Season in Phuket is influenced by a wind shift from North East to South West, producing dryer weather from November through to March, with changeable weather in between. As with any holiday destination, prices reflect the best weather, however come April, travellers can enjoy up to 50% cheaper accommodation and venue hire, of course with the possibility of rain.

Koh Samui

Unlike Phuket which has two definitive seasons (Dry / Wet), Koh Samui has three, Dry / Hot / Wet. While Dry Season is still December through to March, it remains dry and gets warmer as the year goes on, with higher levels of rainfall developing much later as the September / October Wet Season arrives.

Mainland

These individual island weather patterns combined with the mainland, make Thailand an all year round wedding destination, therefore location is more often than not, defined by the time of year you are getting married?

How Laid Back?

The next in our series of questions is whether the couple have a preference of their own based upon previous visits. Phuket is on the whole the busier of both locations and for those that love the hustle and bustle of Thailand, Phuket is a winner. The larger of the pair, Phuket is also an island, however it is joined to the mainland by a drivable causeway, making it much more industrial and active. For some however, it is the escape that is more attractive, which is where the more laid back Island feel of Samui comes into play. Again, this is a rule of thumb as Phuket also offers some quitter locations, many of which are to the South of the island.

Sand between the toes

By and large but with obvious exceptions, beaches in Koh Samui are not only quieter, but prettier and more accessible for weddings. Whatsmore, other than limited areas to the North and South of Phuket, beach weddings are no longer authorised, ruling out the popular central regions of Patong and Karon for a beach wedding.
For a lot of couples though, the thought of marrying on a beach is not an option, preferring a more dignified clifftop retreat for the ceremony. For others the sound of the sea and gorgeous beach setting is a non-negotiable. Phuket does offer some magnificent Beach locations such as the Cape Panwa Resort on the far south point of Phuket for example, but there are more options in Koh Samui if a beach wedding is on your mind.

What's the Cost?

Budget is always the settling factor with any wedding and will ultimately dictate, where and when you will tie the knot. As mentioned, Phuket offers some pretty serious discounts outside of the dry season and gambling with the weather can be an acceptable risk for some couples.
The weather and the size of Phuket often translates to the best bang for the buck, unless that is you are looking 5 Star.

The popularity and convenience of Phuket has seen some pretty special 5 star resorts pop up, all of which demand a fairly significant budget. Looking 4.5 Star and below in Phuket is where the bargains are to be found, but if it is the 5 Star experience you seek, Samui may be more accommodating financially.

Yes, Koh Samui is generally the more expensive proposition, with less direct flights being another expense. What Samui does offer however is a Tropical Island feel, with stunning beach settings and picturesque back drops, where the 5 Star options are a plenty and priced more reasonably than the 5 Star venues in Phuket.

The Verdict

For the majority of couples, Koh Samui wins out overall.
This win however often comes with the higher price tag associated with a 5 Star venue, which may not be quite so attractive to some.
Phuket on the other hand has its 5 star locations at a serious premium, but also offers some affordable options below 5 Star and more direct flights.

 

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Comments

Troy Woods:

Thanks for your on-the-ground insight Daniel.

We too have certainly seen a shift towards Koh Samui, which as you say, is in part due to the increase in Phuket Wedding prices and the Beach Wedding restrictions. There are of course some exceptions and affordable options with Beach access do exist in Phuket, such as the stunning Cape Panwa Resort, on the southern tip of the island.
To explore these options, Brides are always welcome to discuss Phuket or Samui weddings with one of our planners.
Websites such as yours Daniel also offer an invaluable perspective into Thailand Wedding Photography that is certain to promote a keen interest for this gorgeous destination, while inspiring couples already decided upon Thailand to get creative with their event.
Thanks again Daniel and we look forward to seeing more of your stunning work in the future.

Daniel Baci:

Great read!, I knew that the weather was better but didnt know why.. And yes Samui is my winner all around better!.. It the past 10+ years Thailand has been a huge growing market for destination wedding!, Phuket and Koh Samui in particular... Phuket's market being the bigger of the islands with the most venues, suppliers, the best photographer & videographers to choose from. However in the past few years weddings have decreased in Phuket and increased in Koh Samui and a few other Islands. Because Phuket banded its beach weddings and all private beaches are no longer private, huge crowds surrounding the wedding celebrations, oh and not to mention the prices for everything have gone up 30% or more, many people have moved over to Koh Samui to have their wedding, Samui has always been popular for weddings but in general they were smaller more simple weddings. Koh Samui with the growth of the market has really stepped up in quality and it has some of the most stunning wedding venues and locations in the world!, its much more private with amazing sea view, beach front villas and resorts making it the new leader for destination wedding couples around the world!.. Check out my website for more info regarding weddings in Thailand as I am a photographer & videographer who has shot over 300 weddings here http://www.dbaciphotography...

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