Should you visit El Nido or Koh Tao?
Should I visit El Nido or Koh Tao? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
El Nido is a coastal destination on the Philippine island of Palawan. It consists of about 45 islands and islets all with beautiful beachfront scenery and plenty of opportunities for experiencing nature above and below the water. Some of the island's best features include limestone karst cliffs, coral reefs, lagoons, coves, and waterfalls.
With a name that literally means, "Turtle Island," Koh Tao, Thailand is the type of vacation spot divers dream of. There is the faintest current and a buffet of dive sites and shops.
This tiny island hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, but take not that there are no garbage disposal facilities. Everything that can't be burnt needs to be taken from the island. Avoid plastic bags, and don't dump your trash in the open landscape (then again, why would you?) because there are no departments for road clean up. Water and electricity on the island are scarce, so use them wisely.
Keep in mind that monsoon season from November to January so you may be faced with constant rain for days at a time in those months.
Which city is cheaper, Koh Tao or El Nido?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in El Nido is $37, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $34. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for El Nido and Koh Tao in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $26 in El Nido For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
The prices for places to stay in Koh Tao can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $13, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $26.
In El Nido travelers spend around $11 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.
In Koh Tao travelers spend around $8.69 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.
Meals for one day
El Nido $11
Koh Tao $8.69
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)
Casual Breakfast (for Two)
Fancy Dinner (for Two)
American Breakfast (for Two)
Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
El Nido's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $18 per person, per day on transportation in El Nido.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Koh Tao than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $8.13 on transportation in Koh Tao on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Nido
Also for El Nido, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
El Nido to Sabang Private Transfer:
El Nido to Puerto Princesa - Private Transfer:
Private Van Transfer: One way El Nido to Puerto Princesa:
Palawan Transfers between El Nido and Puerto Princesa:
One Way Sharing Van Transfer El Nido to Puerto Princesa:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Tao
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Koh Tao:
Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Nido can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $5.10 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Sightseeing expenses in Koh Tao, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $25 per day, per person.
Tours and Activities in El Nido
For El Nido, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING (TOUR A)- Lagoons and Beaches with Buffet Lunch:
EL Nido Tour A:
EL Nido Tour B:
EL Nido Tour C:
EL Nido Tour D:
El Nido Island Hopping (Tour A) – Full Day:
El Nido Island Hopping Tour B:
El Nido Island Hopping Tours(A-D):
El Nido Nacpan Beach + Lio Beach + Las Cabanas Tour:
El Nido Nacpan Beach + Lio Beach Tour:
El Nido Tour A Private Tour:
El Nido Tour A With Big Or Small Lagoon:
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)
Kayak and Snorkel (2)
Typically, people visiting El Nido spend on average $7.93 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Koh Tao, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $6.70.
Typical Alcohol prices in Koh Tao
Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Koh Tao from other travelers:
Bottle of Wine
When comparing the travel costs between El Nido and Koh Tao, we can see that El Nido is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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