Phuket or Fiji? How do you choose between these two island escapes which offer a tantalising mix of luxury accommodation, stunning scenery and fascinating culture?
Fiji can be found in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, with Hawaii and New Zealand its closest neighbours. With more than 300 islands and 540 islets – all a little bit different from the next – Fiji is blessed with bountiful fresh, local cuisine, the friendliness and warmth of the Fijian people, for which they are known worldwide, and sensational beaches backed by tropical rainforests.
The island of Phuket in Thailand sits at the southern end of this Southeast Asian country in the Andaman Sea. Here’s an island that fuses postcard-perfect beaches with Thai temples, amazing food and a vibrant party scene.
To decide whether Phuket or Fiji is the best destination for you, read our guide to discover more.
PHUKET VS FIJI: BEACH ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES
Fiji’s beaches are one of the biggest reasons people travel from the far corners of the world to visit. You’re never far from a beach in Fiji, with each one offering a variety of activities.
On Fiji’s mainland on the island of Viti Levu, sits Natadola Beach, one of Fiji’s best beaches. Its vast bank of white sand slides into a cobalt sea which provides ample opportunities for swimming. However the strong tides also mean there’s good body surfing and serious surfing too with Natadola Inside break offering friendly waves for beginners and Natadola Outside, better for experienced surfers.
Another popular spot for catching the waves is Cloudbreak, off Tavarua Island. There are also plenty of options for those not willing to tackle huge waves with paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking.
Fiji’s Coral Coast is one of the most popular stretches of beach in Fiji with international hotels dotted along the beachfront. It starts 15kms south of Nadi Town with sugarcane fields and pine forests with the coastline offering a collection of bays, beaches and mangrove forests with hills rising sharply into nearby mountain ranges.
Given its locale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, much of Fiji’s attraction is the water with world-class diving and snorkeling in abundance here. Known as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ Fiji’s underwater attractions include colorful coral, exotic fish, sea snakes and dolphins as well as five species of sea turtles including Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead.
Tear yourself away from the water and you’ll discover that Fiji is bursting with rugged volcanic mountains, verdant rainforests and lush waterfalls. It’s a playground for adventure-seekers with adrenaline activities galore, ranging from hiking, cycling and white-water rafting. Slow the pace down a little with tours to traditional villages, steeped in Fijian culture.
A vacation to Phuket offers a mix of sleepy beaches and buzzing party resorts, making it a popular destination for young couples.
Phuket’s capital, Phuket Town, is a lively city of early morning markets and tuk tuks, while Phuket Island’s shoreline is home to a 40km stretch of beach.
At 11km-long, Mai Khao Beach is protected as it is part of the Sirinat National Park, so expect to have it virtually to yourselves. However, there are a couple of significant landmarks along the beach including an international hotel and Phuket International Airport, near Nai Yang Beach.
Another beach away from the crowds is Kamala Beach where the unspoilt sand is accompanied by a village with a strong Thai tradition, where visitors can learn local cookery or experience an authentic Thai massage.
If it’s Phuket’s infamous party scene you’re after, then the sandy, crescent-shaped Patong Beach is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. The resort town comes alive at night with go-go bars, nightclubs and cabarets overflowing into the street along the neon-lit Bangla Road.
Head to Kata and Karon beaches if you’re after more of a middle ground, where sun loungers are laid out and snorkeling is the main activity on offer. There are also beachside cafes, restaurants and lively souvenir shops.
PHUKET VS FIJI HONEYMOON
Trying to choose between a Fiji vs Phuket honeymoon will depend on your personal preferences: are you party animals or do you want to take it easy on your honeymoon, and relax after your wedding? Phuket and Fiji both have a lot to offer newlyweds with couples-only retreats and plenty of romance.
Fiji is constantly ranked in the top 10 worldwide when it comes to honeymoon locations. And with its white sandy beaches, aquamarine sea and tropical backdrop it’s easy to see why.
Honeymooners flock to Fiji to be pampered by the warmth of the Fijian people. They want to feel special and be lavished with attention and care. There’s probably nowhere in the world that offers a more friendly welcome than the Fijian people. From the moment you arrive, new visitors to Fiji are greeted with a welcoming ‘bula’ and made to feel like part of the Fijian family.
Turtle Island Fiji – a private island resort on the north-west side of Fiji and part of the Yasawa group of islands – is one of the smaller islands in Fiji and is a vacation home to just 14 couples at any time. And with 12 private beaches this means each couple can have access to their own private beach every second day.
And we’re not talking cold fried chicken and potato salads. A private beach picnic on Turtle Island is all about the fresh catch of the day, be it lobster, Spanish mackerel or yellowfin tuna. Salads are all about the fresh produce from the organic vegetable garden and tropical fruits are handpicked from the trees that morning.
As the sun sets, you can enjoy an intimate pontoon dine-out floating on the famous blue lagoon – the location for the 1980’s Hollywood film of the same name starring Brooke Shields – where your meal is served by boat. Or you can choose a lantern lit dinner at the cliff point, where an inviting saltwater pool serves as the perfect spot for an after-dinner dip.
A Phuket vs Fiji honeymoon will also be an unforgettable experience, offering luxurious hideaways, international resorts and long stretches of beach.
Perhaps more touristy than Fiji, a honeymoon to Phuket is likely to be a more lively vacation with bars and nightclubs more of a feature than in Fiji.
That’s not to say there isn’t romance to be found in Phuket. Who can resist the romance of an evening stroll along the beach as the sun sets? Restaurants and resort dining will offer romantic dinners on the beach and there are plenty of excursions and activities for couples, such as trips to Phi Phi Island, scuba diving tours and trips to Buddhist temples, such as the peaceful Wat Suwan Khiri Wong temple at the north-eastern end of Patong.
Honeymoon couples flying to Phuket from the US might also want to consider a multi-center honeymoon vacation where a honeymoon in Phuket is twinned with a few days in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s cultural north.
HOW TO GET TO PHUKET AND FIJI?
If you’re traveling from the US to Fiji, the flight will normally take around eight to 11 hours. It’s a little closer from Australia or New Zealand, with a flight time of just four to seven hours.
Fiji’s national carrier is Fiji Airways which operates daily direct flights from Sydney, Auckland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Singapore. Arriving into Fiji, you’ll land at Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu, from where you’ll be able to head straight out to the smaller islands by boat, seaplane or helicopter.
Phuket is also a long-haul destination from the US, with most airlines stopping first at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, rather than flying direct to Phuket. Flight times from the US to Thailand are 20 hours from New York including stopovers or around 17 hours nonstop.
To reach Phuket from Australia, Jetstar and Qantas fly direct with a flight time of just over nine hours.
If you can’t decide between Phuket or Fiji, you might be able to combine a Phuket vs Fiji vacation. So how far is Phuket from Fiji? It’s around 9,188 km and there are flights from Bangkok to Nadi with Fiji Airways, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific with stops in Hong Kong and Singapore.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PHUKET OR FIJI?
Phuket and Fiji are lucky to have similar climates due to their tropical, equatorial locations.
In Phuket or Fiji there are two main seasons, winter and summer, which are more commonly known as the dry and the wet.
Winter, which is also the dry season, runs from May to November where temperatures range from 19°C – 29°C. Summer (the wet season) runs from December to April and sees temperatures sitting at a comfortable 22°C – 33°C.
The main difference between the two seasons in Phuket and Fiji is the amount of rainfall, which can be minimal depending on where you go. The islands in the West of Fiji, such as the Yasawa islands, usually see a dry and sunny climate year round.
In Thailand the weather varies between beach resorts. The east coast island resorts like Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Phuket are sunnier and less rainy from May to June, whereas northern Thailand is cooler than Bangkok in the winter and hotter in the summer.
COST OF PHUKET VS FIJI
At first glance it might appear that Phuket is less expensive than Fiji. This is mainly due to the oversupply of tourism in Phuket, and Thailand, and the strong competition among hotels and resorts.
Eating out at street sellers and restaurants in Phuket is also likely to be cheaper than Fiji. However, most retreats and resorts in Fiji will offer an all-inclusive rate which helps to budget for the entire cost of your vacation, with the knowledge that all of your meals, most drinks and activities at your resort will be taken care of before you go.
EXPLORE TURTLE ISLAND FIJI
For an authentic private island vacation look no further than Turtle Island Resort.
With authentic, Fijian-style accommodation for just 14 other couples, Turtle Island offers a retreat with 500 acres of lush forests to explore and 12 private beaches.
Get in touch today to start planning the vacation you’ve always dreamed of.