A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Bangkok vs. Koh Tao for Food, Nightlife, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Bangkok and Koh Tao can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Bangkok

Bangkok is a colorful, vibrant, and high energy capital city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a laid back, mellow, and beautiful island. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It's also known for nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Bangkok and Koh Tao: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for shopping


How is Bangkok different from Koh Tao?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Koh Tao and Bangkok. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Food?

Foodies will find both Bangkok and Koh Tao both to be unique destinations.

Many restaurants in Bangkok have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The city is filled with colorful markets, street food vendors, and a range of restaurants from casual to high end. The aroma and beautiful flavors of local dishes are a big part of the experience in this city. Dishes that you must try include Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong (shrimp soup), and Gaeng Daeng (red curry). Many foods are very spicy so make sure you order with "no spice" if that is your preference.

Koh Tao has a huge number of terrific restaurants. You'll find a huge ex-pat community on the island, and with them they bring a variety of international cuisines. There are also local establishments that sell the typical Thai dishes with lots of seafood, curries, and noodle dishes. It's fun to enjoy a beachside restaurant that lets you sit right by the water looking off into a tropical paradise.

Bangkok
Koh Tao


Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Nightlife?

It's hard to distinguish whether Bangkok or Koh Tao has a better nightlife scene.

People head to Bangkok just to party. Cheap drinks, late nights, and crazy parties make this city a favorite for backpackers and young party-goers. Head to Khao San Road for the biggest crowds and crazy parties. Nana Plaza is another option with a three story building that is filled with bars and clubs.

The nightlife in Koh Tao has something for everybody. While most people head for the island for its scuba diving, when the sun goes down everyone heads to the beach to party. The island has a very active nightlife scene with full moon parties, dance clubs, beachside bars, and more. Head to Sairee Beach for the most active nightlife and entertainment options.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Shopping?

While Koh Tao and Bangkok are both popular shopping destinations, overall Bangkok is considered to be better.

Bangkok is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. Shopping options range from modern malls to more traditional markets. The malls offer bargain prices for technology and gadgets while the markets offer fabric, food, local goods, and a unique experience. The city also has nearby floating markets as well as night markets, which let you experience a different side to the culture.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Koh Tao. The main beach areas of Mae Haad, Sairee, and Chalok Baan Kao have the highest concentration of clothing and dive equipment shops. Because it's an island with limited access, prices can be a bit high.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Families?

Both Bangkok and Koh Tao are fun to visit with kids.

Bangkok is a very family-friendly place to visit. This city is full of energy and kids will love the vibrant atmosphere. There are colorful temples, spirited markets, and kid-friendly museums. It's good to choose a hotel with a pool, as temperatures can get hot during the day. Kids will also enjoy having new experiences like riding in a tuk tuk or taking a boat ride. There are also a number of amusement parks and entertainment centers around town.

Koh Tao offers lots of family activities. The island is popular for its affordable scuba diving certifications, so there are a number of options for families with older kids who'd like to get certified. It's a more laid back and smaller island than some of the nearby places, so it's possible to find quiet beaches where your family can relax. Some of the quieter beaches include Sai Nuan and Ao Luek.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Couples?

Both Bangkok and Koh Tao are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Bangkok is a great capital city for couples, as it has plenty to offer. This is a great city for couples who enjoy culture, food, partying, and soaking up life. Wandering the grounds of the stunning temples, sampling food at the markets, or taking a boat cruise will all make memorable experiences.

Koh Tao is a great capital city if you're traveling as a couple. This laid back island offers a relaxing honeymoon destination for couples who want to learn to scuba dive and enjoy a bit of tropical paradise. There are beachside restaurants, beautiful blue waters, and white sand - everything you need for your own piece of paradise.

Bangkok
Koh Tao


Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Bangkok and Koh Tao are comparable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Bangkok is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. This part of the world is a mecca for backpackers, and many arrive or depart from this city. It's filled with hostels and budget accommodation, as well as entertainment, bars, tours (and even scams so stay alert). The most famous backpacker area is around Khao San Road, where you'll find parties, bars, street food, and large crowds. If you're looking for a slightly more mellow vibe, you should consider a different area like Phaya Thai.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Koh Tao is extremely popular for backpackers. The island is an oasis for backpackers who want to enjoy the mellow island life, cheap scuba diving, and beachside parties. There are plenty of affordable places to stay and countless opportunities to meet other backpackers. The island is also well connected to other nearby islands.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao better for Public Transit?

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Bangkok and Koh Tao.

You'll find some public transit in Bangkok, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. The Skytrain and Metro are the most efficient way to get around. The city's crazy traffic can make buses and taxis a bit frustrating, but tuk tuks are also a fun option.

Public transit is mostly limited in Koh Tao. You can rent a motorbike or bicycle to explore the island. There are also taxis and taxi boats available.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Is Bangkok or Koh Tao a more walkable city?

Koh Tao is generally more walkable than Bangkok.

Koh Tao is very walkable. The island is smaller than many in Thailand, and the small towns are usually no more than 5 kilometers apart. It's also possible to walk around most small towns.

Bangkok is generally not a very walkable capital city. The crowds and size make walking a bit challenging, so it's best to plan your day in advance.

Bangkok
Koh Tao

Should I spend more time in Koh Tao or Bangkok?

How long in Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Both Bangkok and Koh Tao have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Bangkok is 2-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Koh Tao is 2-7 days.


  • How many days in Bangkok or Koh Tao? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bangkok 2-7 
    Koh Tao 2-7

One day in Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Because Bangkok is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. This capital city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Koh Tao, you'll find nightlife and food. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This island offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A weekend in Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Because Bangkok is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Bangkok has to offer.

In Koh Tao, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Koh Tao has to offer.

Five days in Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Bangkok is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Bangkok has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Koh Tao is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Koh Tao has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Bangkok or Koh Tao?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bangkok. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Koh Tao. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Which city is cheaper, Koh Tao or Bangkok?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bangkok is $57, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $29. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bangkok and Koh Tao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bangkok $31
    Koh Tao $11
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bangkok $62
    Koh Tao $22
Compare Hotels in Bangkok and Koh Tao

Looking for a hotel in Bangkok or Koh Tao? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bangkok


Hotels in Koh Tao


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bangkok $3.83
    Koh Tao $6.78
Typical Local Transportation prices in Bangkok

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Bangkok are as follows:


  • Tuk Tuk to bus station
    $2.13
  • Skytrain Ticket
    $4.27
  • Chao Phraya River Express Ticket
    $0.85
  • Ferry Ride
    $0.69
  • Taxi From Airport
    $6.66
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $2.40
  • Boat Taxi
    $1.33
  • Trains to airport
    $4.27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bangkok

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bangkok:

  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Rai with 2h of Sightseeing: $220
  • Moto GP Private Transfer Bangkok To Chang International Circuit: $218
  • Private Transfer Laem Chabang/Bangkok: $212
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Krabi with 2h of Sightseeing: $205
  • Private Transfer from Don Muang Airport to Koh Chang Hotel: $199
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok Airport to Koh Chang hotel: $193
  • Elephant Haven Kanchanaburi with Private Transfer from Bangkok: $192
  • Elephant World Sanctuary with private transfer trip from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: $191
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with 2h of Sightseeing: $190
  • Bangkok Airport Private Transfer to Hotels in Trat: $190
  • Bangkok International Airport Private Transfer to Hotels in Koh Chang: $190
  • Thai Boxing Match including Tickets and Transfer in Bangkok: $189

Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Tao

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Koh Tao:


  • Motorbike Rental
    $5.07
  • Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
    $17

Is it cheaper to fly into Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Prices for flights to both Koh Tao and Bangkok change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Bangkok $14
    Koh Tao $7.24
Typical Food prices in Bangkok

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Bangkok:


  • Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (for Two)
    $24
  • Casual Lunch of Prawns (for Two)
    $5.33
  • 2 Rotis (Bread)
    $1.20
  • Mango & Sticky Rice
    $0.80
  • Lunch at KFC (for Two)
    $5.33
  • Pad Thai
    $1.87
  • Airport Lunch for 2
    $15
  • Lunch for 2
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bangkok

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bangkok.

  • Silom Village Authentic Thai Dinner and Performance Ticket: $17
  • Luxurious Afternoon Tea or Dinner at the Erawan Tea Rooms: $26
  • Skip the Line: Baiyoke Sky Hotel Observation Deck Ticket with Lunch or Dinner: $26
  • Bangkok Thai Classical Dance with Thai Set Dinner Ticket: $27
  • 2-Hour Dinner & Shows on White Orchid River Cruise: $30
  • Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show With Optional Dinner & Transfers: $31
  • Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show Tour With Optional Dinner.: $31
  • Skip the Line:Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show Ticket w/(optional) Dinner &Transfers: $32
  • Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River in Bangkok (Optional Transfers): $34
  • Bangkok Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River: $34
  • Bangkok White Orchid Dinner Cruise: $34
  • Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River: $34

Typical Food prices in Koh Tao

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Koh Tao:


  • Sit Down Lunch (for One)
    $5.33
  • Breakfast
    $4.00
  • Casual Breakfast (for Two)
    $3.20
  • Fancy Dinner (for Two)
    $13
  • Pancake
    $1.87
  • American Breakfast (for Two)
    $7.46
  • Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
    $7.20

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bangkok $11
    Koh Tao $21
Typical Entertainment prices in Bangkok

Here are a few typical costs in Bangkok for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Movie Ticket
    $4.27
  • Grand Palace Entrance Ticket
    $9.33
  • Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) Ticket
    $1.33
  • Dusit Zoo Entrance Fee (for Two)
    $5.33
  • Club Cover Charge
    $10.00
  • Thai Boxing Tickets (for Two)
    $64
  • Fish Pedicure
    $4.00
  • Wat Pho entrance ticket
    $2.67
  • Siriraj Museum (2)
    $11

Tours and Activities in Bangkok

Here are a few actual costs in Bangkok for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • "Phra Nakorn Khiri and Kui Buri adventure in 1 day" (Private trip): $322
  • "Two Day one Night for River Kwai Adventure" (Private): $442
  • 04 DAYS CENTRAL HIGHLIGHTS - Joint Tour: $692
  • 1-day Bangkok Old Town Tuk Tuk Tour - Sawasdee Tuk Tuk: $102
  • 10 Hours Private Tour Ayuttaya: $140
  • 11-Day Thailand Tour to Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phuket: $2,921
  • 12-Day Tour Through Cambodia from Bangkok to Saigon: $1,165
  • 2 Days Private Tour To Ayutthaya' World Heritage Site: $428
  • 2-Day River Kwai Experience from Bangkok: $262
  • 2-Day River Kwai Floathouse Experience from Bangkok: $346
  • 2-Day River Kwai Jungle Rafts Experience from Bangkok: $231
  • 2-Day River Kwai and Kanchanaburi Tour from Bangkok: $228

Typical Entertainment prices in Koh Tao

For Koh Tao, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Kayak Rental (One Hour)
    $6.66
  • Snorkel Rental
    $2.67
  • Kayak and Snorkel (2)
    $2.67

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bangkok $6.36
    Koh Tao $5.58
Typical Alcohol prices in Bangkok

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Bangkok are as follows:


  • Beer
    $1.07

Typical Alcohol prices in Koh Tao

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Koh Tao from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $1.73
  • Bottle of Wine
    $9.86


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bangkok and Koh Tao, we can see that Bangkok is more expensive. And not only is Koh Tao much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Koh Tao would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Koh Tao and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bangkok would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bangkok than you might in Koh Tao.


When is the best time to visit Bangkok or Koh Tao?

Both destinations experience a warmer tropical climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit Bangkok or Koh Tao in the Summer?

Both Koh Tao and Bangkok during the summer are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Bangkok because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Tao because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

Koh Tao gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Bangkok. Bangkok usually gets less rain in July than Koh Tao. Bangkok gets 155 mm (6.1 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 174 mm (6.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the summer, Bangkok often gets less sunshine than Koh Tao. Bangkok gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 195 hours of full sun.

In the summer, Bangkok is a little warmer than Koh Tao. Typically, the summer temperatures in Bangkok in July are around 29°C (84°F), and Koh Tao is about 24°C (76°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Bangkok 29°C (84°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Bangkok or Koh Tao in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Bangkok and Koh Tao. Bangkok attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate. Koh Tao attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

November to February in Bangkok is the dry season. Also, May to October is the rainy season in Bangkok. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Tao. Koh Tao receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Bangkok gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Bangkok usually receives less rain than Koh Tao. At this time of the year, Bangkok gets 242 mm (9.5 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 276 mm (10.9 in) of rain.

In Bangkok, it's very sunny this time of the year. Bangkok usually receives more sunshine than Koh Tao during autumn. At this time of the year, Bangkok gets 206 hours of sunny skies, while Koh Tao receives 167 hours of full sun.

In October, Bangkok is generally a little warmer than Koh Tao. Temperatures in Bangkok average around 28°C (83°F), and Koh Tao stays around 24°C (76°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Bangkok 28°C (83°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Bangkok or Koh Tao in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Bangkok as well as Koh Tao. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Bangkok throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Koh Tao throughout the year.

Also, November to February in Bangkok is the dry season. Also, February to June in Koh Tao is the dry season. Bangkok usually gets less rain in January than Koh Tao. Bangkok gets 9 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Koh Tao. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Bangkok this time of the year. In the winter, Bangkok often gets more sunshine than Koh Tao. Bangkok gets 276 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 255 hours of full sun.

Bangkok is a little warmer than Koh Tao in the winter. The temperature in Bangkok is usually 27°C (80°F) in January, and Koh Tao stays around 22°C (72°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Bangkok 27°C (80°F) 
    Koh Tao 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Bangkok or Koh Tao in the Spring?

Both Koh Tao and Bangkok are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Plenty of visitors come to Bangkok because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Tao because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

The rainy season in Bangkok is May to October. The dry season in Koh Tao is February to June. In April, Bangkok usually receives less rain than Koh Tao. At this time of the year, Bangkok gets 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 74 mm (2.9 in) of rain.

It's quite sunny in Koh Tao. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Bangkok. Bangkok usually receives more sunshine than Koh Tao during spring. At this time of the year, Bangkok gets 262 hours of sunny skies, while Koh Tao receives 239 hours of full sun.

In the spring, Bangkok is a little warmer than Koh Tao. Typically, the spring temperatures in Bangkok in April are around 31°C (87°F), and Koh Tao is about 25°C (77°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Bangkok 31°C (87°F) 
    Koh Tao 25°C (77°F)

Typical Weather for Koh Tao and Bangkok

Bangkok Koh Tao
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (80°F) 9 mm (0.4 in) 22°C (72°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 23°C (74°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 29°C (85°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Apr 31°C (87°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 25°C (77°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
May 30°C (86°F) 220 mm (8.7 in) 25°C (78°F) 189 mm (7.4 in)
Jun 29°C (85°F) 149 mm (5.9 in) 25°C (78°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 29°C (84°F) 155 mm (6.1 in) 24°C (76°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Aug 29°C (84°F) 197 mm (7.8 in) 25°C (76°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Sep 28°C (83°F) 344 mm (13.5 in) 25°C (77°F) 158 mm (6.2 in)
Oct 28°C (83°F) 242 mm (9.5 in) 24°C (76°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
Nov 27°C (81°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 380 mm (15 in)
Dec 26°C (79°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)


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Bangkok vs. Koh Tao Travel Comparison

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