A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Koh Samui vs. Khao Lak for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Koh Samui or Khao Lak?

Should I visit Koh Samui or Khao Lak? 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.

Koh Samui

The largest island on the east coast of southern Thailand, Ko Samui (or Koh Samui) sees a good number of visitors every year who come for its lush rainforest, beautiful shores, and undersea wildlife. The size of the island is still small enough to allow visitors to circumnavigate it with a taxi or motorbike in a day, while hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can find plenty of inland activities in the hills and jungle.

Khao Lak

Resiliency and relaxation. Those are the two words used to describe one of Thailand's most breathtaking cities. Khao Lak is located in southern Thailand, and when the tsunami of 2004 hit, this area saw the most damage. With more than 4,000 fatalities, 3,000 still unaccounted for and enormous structural damages, many thought Khao Lak would not be able to bounce back. They have proved everyone wrong with a strong and impressive recovery. Now it has returned to its status of vacation hotspot. Unlike neighboring Phuket, though, the resorts in Khao Lak are designed for families and some peace and quiet.

Which city is cheaper, Khao Lak or Koh Samui?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Koh Samui is $49, while the average daily cost in Khao Lak is $103. 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 Koh Samui and Khao Lak in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $42 in Koh Samui For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Khao Lak is $96. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Samui $21
    Khao Lak $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Samui $42
    Khao Lak $96

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Koh Samui cost around $17 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $6.80.

On average, meal and food prices in Khao Lak cost around $27 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $11.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Koh Samui $17
    Khao Lak $27
Typical Food prices in Koh Samui

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


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.57

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Koh Samui

For Koh Samui, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Class with Herbal Garden by Amari Koh Samui: $55
  • Koh Samui Jungle Kitchen - Half Day Cooking Class: $77
  • Jungle Kitchen Cooking Class in Koh Samui: $89
  • Red Baron : A Sunset Dinner Cruise from Koh Samui with Return Transfer: $122
  • Koh Samui Red Baron Sunset Dinner Cruise with Return Transfer: $131
  • 4-Hour Koh Samui Red Baron Sunset Dinner Cruise: $131

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Khao Lak

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

  • Riverside Thai Cooking Class in Khao Lak with Market Tour: $63
  • Thai Cooking Class in Khao Lak: $71

Local Transportation

Koh Samui'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 $15 per person, per day on transportation in Koh Samui.

The cost of a taxi ride in Khao Lak is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $47 per person, per day, on local transportation in Khao Lak.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Samui $15
    Khao Lak $47
Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Samui

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Koh Samui:


  • Scooter Rental
    $2.29
  • Gas for Scooter
    $1.22
  • Airport Taxi
    $13
  • Taxi- Na Thon Pier to Lamai Beach
    $13
  • Minibus- Airport to Chaweng
    $3.67

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Koh Samui

Also for Koh Samui, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Guided Zipline Adventure in Ko Samui with Round Trip Transfer: $87
  • Koh Samui Paradise Park Farm Admission Ticket with Return Transfer: $58
  • Private Transfer from Choeng Mon Beach to Samui (USM) Airport: $41
  • The Red Baron Luxury Yacht Cruise from Koh Samui with Return Transfer: $181

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Khao Lak

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Khao Lak:

  • Khao Lak any hotel to Koh Lanta any hotel Private transfer: $212
  • Khao Lak any hotel to Krabi airport Private transfer: $113
  • SUV Car Private Transfer from Khao Lak to Patong, Kata, Karon Beach: $100
  • Krabi Airport: Private Transfer to/from Khaolak: $64
  • Round Trip Private Transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak: $60
  • SUV Car Private Transfer from Khao Lak to Phuket Airport: $59
  • Shared Minivan Transfers between Krabi & Khao Lak: $17
  • Shared Minivan Transfers between Krabi & Khao Sok: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Koh Samui or Khao Lak?

Prices for flights to both Khao Lak and Koh Samui 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Koh Samui can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $9.41 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Entertainment and activities in Khao Lak typically cost an average of $17 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Samui $9.41
    Khao Lak $17

Tours and Activities in Koh Samui

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Koh Samui.

  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Gulf of Thailand Fishing Challenge Tour from Ko Samui: $52
  • Koh Samui Jungle Mountain Adventure Tour: $64
  • Full-Day Koh Samui Jungle Mountain Adventure Tour with Lunch: $64
  • Pig Island Experience & Koh Tan by Speed Boat (Snorkeling, Relaxing, Sunset): $66
  • Koh Phangan Day Tour by Speed Boat from Koh Samui: $70
  • Koh Samui to Koh Taen and Koh Mudsum Day Tour with Snorkeling: $70
  • Koh Samui Island Tour by Boat: $78
  • Ko Samui Angthong Marine Park Full Day Tour : Snorkeling & Sea Kayaking: $82
  • Koh Samui Tour with all Terrain Vehicle: $82

Tours and Activities in Khao Lak

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

  • Adventure Off Road Safari to Khao Lak National Park: $103
  • Cheow Lan Lake & Coral Cave Tour with Kayaking: $87
  • From Similan Islands Speed Boat Tour: $102
  • From Krabi: Cheow Larn Lake Raft House Adventure: $271
  • From Phuket: Full-Day All Adventure w/ White Water Rafting: $115
  • From Phuket: Similan Islands Tour by Speed Boat: $110
  • Jungle Trekking to Waterfall and Adventure Tubing 45 min. (Only Khao lak): $80
  • Khao Lak to Similan Islands Snorkeling Tour: $109
  • Local Life Experience (Takuapa): $84
  • Phi Phi Islands - Early Bird Snorkeling Tour from Khao Lak in English, French, German, Italian: $126
  • Rafting, ATV and Ziplining Adventure in Phangnga: $147
  • Similan Islands One Day Tour From Khao Lak: $118

Alcohol

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 Samui, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.15.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Khao Lak may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $12 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Samui $4.15
    Khao Lak $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Koh Samui and Khao Lak, we can see that Khao Lak is more expensive. And not only is Koh Samui much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Koh Samui would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Koh Samui 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 Khao Lak would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Khao Lak than you might in Koh Samui.

Budget Your Trip

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Koh Samui vs. Khao Lak Travel Comparison

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