A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Koh Pha Ngan vs. Koh Tao for Nightlife, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, and Backpackers

Should you visit Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao can help you decide which place is right for you.

Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a beautiful, tropical, and party-oriented party island. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the hiking, nightlife, and food.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a tropical, popular, and laid back 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.

Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


How is Koh Pha Ngan different from Koh Tao?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Food?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

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

Koh Pha Ngan offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There is frequent turnover in the restaurant scene around town, but there are a few mainstay restaurants that offer consistent and reliable Thai or international cuisine. In general, the food is fresh and the typical Thai favorites are available most places. Also make sure you check out the Thong Sala Night Market, which offers unique snacks and local dishes.

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.


Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Nightlife?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Party-goers will find similar levels of energy in Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.

People head to Koh Pha Ngan just to party. The island's famous Full Moon Parties have landed it on many lists for top party destinations around the world. These parties are held every month on the night of the full moon, with the biggest crowds between November and March. The parties are traditionally held at the beach in Haad Rin. If you miss the Full Moon Party, you can check out the Half Moon Festival on Baan Ti. During other times, you'll find a variety of different parties that capitalize on the party reputation of the island, so whenever you visit, you can enjoy some level of festivities.

Many people head to Koh Tao for the nightlife scene. 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.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Resorts?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.

Koh Pha Ngan has a handful of resorts to choose from. Much of the island caters to the backpacker crowd, but there are some luxury resorts to choose from as well. Many resorts take advantage of the beautiful nature on the island or intentionally prioritize a serene environment where you can relax by the pool.

Koh Tao is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. While it's mostly famous as a diving destination, there are also a diversity of resorts, from luxury to affordable, available on the island. The beaches are beautiful and many resorts offer scuba diving packages as well.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Generally, you'll find better scuba diving and snorkeling in Koh Tao than Koh Pha Ngan.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Koh Tao is not to be missed. The island is Thailand's most famous scuba diving destination for it's affordable certifications and prolific dive shops. There are a variety of dive sites near the island, but with fame and popularity come challenges. The coral and sealife is feeling the pressure of the high number of tourists, but the training you receive here is affordable and well-established.

Koh Pha Ngan has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. The island has its share of dive shops and a nice underwater setting where you can see coral and a variety of marine life. The island doesn't draw the huge diving crowds like some of the other islands, but that isn't always a bad thing.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Beaches?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao are good choices for a beach vacation.

With world-famous beaches, Koh Pha Ngan is a very popular vacation destination. The white sand beaches with turquoise blue waters make this island a truly beautiful destination. While most people think of beach parties and Full Moon Parties, the island also has some quieter beaches where you can relax in a peaceful paradise.

The beaches in Koh Tao are among the best in the world. The white sand beaches have a mellow vibe with beautiful blue waters. This is a true tropical paradise with beachside cafes, easy snorkeling, and warm water. The beaches range from quiet and isolated to high energy and vibrant.


Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Hiking?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

You'll find hiking in both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Koh Pha Ngan. On its interior, the island has beautiful jungle and impressive hikes. Some of the best hikes are found in Than Sadet National Park, but be prepared because they can often be challenging. They usually end with a breathtaking viewpoint, secluded beach, or stunning waterfall though.

Many visitors go to Koh Tao for the hiking trails. Hiking is the best way to enjoy the inland beauty of the island. There are paths that take you through the jungle covered land to viewpoints and remote areas. Many paths are rustic and not always well maintained so it's helpful to ask a local for directions beforehand.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Shopping?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Shopping is a popular activity in both Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan.

Koh Pha Ngan is a good destination for shopping. Although shopping isn't particularly popular on the island, it does offer a unique opportunity to support individual shop owners as there are more independently owned vendors on this island than in many other areas. Head to the markets and you'll find the most independent shops to support.

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.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Families?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Koh Pha Ngan. While most people think of full moon parties and backpacker crowds when they think of this island, there are actually some quieter areas on the eastern and northern sides of the island that are good for families. The activities are best suited for older kids and include hiking, windsurfing, yoga, and shopping.

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.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Couples?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Koh Pha Ngan is a nice destination for couples. Couples who enjoy partying, yoga retreats, and outdoor exploration will find something for them on this island. There are beautiful hikes to waterfalls as well as nice beaches and, of course, the wild parties.

Koh Tao is a great party island 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.


Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

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

Koh Pha Ngan is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. This island is synonymous with backpacker vibes and full moon parties. Head to the southern side of the island around Haad Rin and Ban Tai for the highest concentration of backpacker crowds. Like much of Thailand, there is frequent turnover in hostel ownership, so most reviews that you read online will be out of date. It's best to talk to people on the road to get the most up-to-date perspective.

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.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao Better for Public Transit?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

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

Public transit is generally limited in Koh Pha Ngan. Your best bet for getting around the island without a private vehicle is Songthaew taxi, longtail boats, and rental mopeds.

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.

Is Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao a more walkable city?

Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Tao

Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Koh Pha Ngan is somewhat walkable. It's possible, and even enjoyable, to walk from place to place around the island but allow yourself a lot of time and bring water because temperatures can be very warm.

Koh Tao is a very walkable party island. 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.

Should I spend more time in Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan?

How long in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

Both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Koh Tao than Koh Pha Ngan.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Koh Pha Ngan is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Koh Tao is 2-7 days.


  • How many days in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao? Ideal Length of Stay
    Koh Pha Ngan 3-5 
    Koh Tao 2-7

One day in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

In Koh Pha Ngan, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This party island offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Koh Tao, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this popular island offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.


A weekend in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

In Koh Pha Ngan, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Koh Tao is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

Koh Pha Ngan is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Koh Pha Ngan has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

In Koh Tao, many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife that this popular destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A week in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Koh Pha Ngan. Many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting Koh Pha Ngan. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Koh Tao is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Which city is cheaper, Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Koh Pha Ngan is $37, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $30. 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 Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Pha Ngan $19
    Koh Tao $12
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Pha Ngan $38
    Koh Tao $24
Compare Hotels in Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao

Looking for a hotel in Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Koh Pha Ngan Hotel Prices and Koh Tao Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Pha Ngan $11
    Koh Tao $7.12
Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Scooter Rental
    $8.41
  • Ferry Ride
    $14
  • Gas for Scooter
    $3.08

Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Motorbike Rental
    $5.32
  • Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
    $18

Is it cheaper to fly into Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao?

Prices for flights to both Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan 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
    Koh Pha Ngan $8.43
    Koh Tao $7.61
Typical Food prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Koh Pha Ngan:


  • Noodle Lunch (for One)
    $1.12
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $11
  • Smoothies (for Two)
    $1.12
  • Ice Cream
    $0.56
  • Juice
    $1.68
  • 3 Spring Rolls
    $0.84
  • 2 Pancakes
    $1.68

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)
    $5.60
  • Breakfast
    $4.20
  • Casual Breakfast (for Two)
    $3.36
  • Fancy Dinner (for Two)
    $14
  • Pancake
    $1.96
  • American Breakfast (for Two)
    $7.85
  • Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
    $7.57

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Pha Ngan $14
    Koh Tao $22

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)
    $7.00
  • Snorkel Rental
    $2.80
  • Kayak and Snorkel (2)
    $2.80

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Pha Ngan $8.12
    Koh Tao $5.87
Typical Alcohol prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Drinks at Irish Pub (for Two)
    $7.28

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
    $1.82
  • Bottle of Wine
    $10


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, we can see that Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Koh Pha Ngan than you might in Koh Tao.


When is the best time to visit Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao in the Summer?

Both Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan during the summer are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Pha Ngan usually gets less rain in July than Koh Tao. Koh Pha Ngan gets 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 174 mm (6.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the summer, Koh Pha Ngan is around the same temperature as Koh Tao. Typically, the summer temperatures in Koh Pha Ngan in July are around 24°C (76°F), and Koh Tao is about 24°C (76°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao in the Autumn?

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

December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Pha Ngan. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Tao. Koh Tao receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Koh Pha Ngan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Koh Pha Ngan usually receives less rain than Koh Tao. Koh Pha Ngan gets 240 mm (9.5 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 276 mm (10.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

In October, Koh Pha Ngan is generally around the same temperature as Koh Tao. Temperatures in Koh Pha Ngan average around 24°C (75°F), and Koh Tao stays around 24°C (76°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (75°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao in the Winter?

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

Also, December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Also, February to June in Koh Tao is the dry season. Koh Pha Ngan usually gets less rain in January than Koh Tao. Koh Pha Ngan gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

Koh Pha Ngan is around the same temperature as Koh Tao in the winter. The temperature in Koh Pha Ngan is usually 22°C (72°F) in January, and Koh Tao stays around 22°C (72°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Koh Pha Ngan 22°C (72°F) 
    Koh Tao 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao in the Spring?

Both Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Pha Ngan 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 dry season in Koh Tao is February to June. In April, Koh Pha Ngan usually receives less rain than Koh Tao. Koh Pha Ngan gets 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 74 mm (2.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In the spring, Koh Pha Ngan is around the same temperature as Koh Tao. Typically, the spring temperatures in Koh Pha Ngan in April are around 24°C (76°F), and Koh Tao is about 25°C (77°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F) 
    Koh Tao 25°C (77°F)

Typical Weather for Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan Koh Tao
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 22°C (72°F) 51 mm (2 in) 22°C (72°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
Feb 22°C (72°F) 11 mm (0.4 in) 23°C (74°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 23°C (74°F) 24 mm (0.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Apr 24°C (76°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 25°C (77°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
May 25°C (77°F) 164 mm (6.5 in) 25°C (78°F) 189 mm (7.4 in)
Jun 25°C (77°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 25°C (78°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 24°C (76°F) 143 mm (5.6 in) 24°C (76°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Aug 24°C (76°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 25°C (76°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Sep 25°C (76°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 158 mm (6.2 in)
Oct 24°C (75°F) 240 mm (9.5 in) 24°C (76°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
Nov 23°C (74°F) 335 mm (13.2 in) 23°C (74°F) 380 mm (15 in)
Dec 23°C (73°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)


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Koh Pha Ngan vs. Koh Tao Travel Comparison

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