A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Koh Samui vs. Palawan for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Koh Samui or Palawan?

Should I visit Koh Samui or Palawan? 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.

Palawan

Palawan is an archipelagic province of the Philippines, named for its largest island which measures about 450 kilometers (or 280 miles) long. The island is known as an ecological frontier with plenty of beaches and resorts as well as opportunities to see a diverse array of wildlife and their habitats on land and sea.

Which city is cheaper, Palawan 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 Palawan is $32. 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 Palawan 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.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $24 in Palawan For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Samui $21
    Palawan $12
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Samui $42
    Palawan $24

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.

While meal prices in Palawan can vary, the average travelers spends about $10 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Palawan should cost around $4.00 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Palawan is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Koh Samui $17
    Palawan $10
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:

  • Thai Akha Kitchen Cooking Class & Local Market Tour: $23
  • Tom Yum Thai Cooking Class with Market Tour in Chiang Mai: $23
  • Asia Scenic Thai Cooking Class: $25
  • Siamese Cookery House Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok: $26
  • InFusion Cooking Classes in Koh Samui: $26
  • Sompong Thai Cooking Class: $27
  • Galangal Cooking Class with Market Tour in Chiang Mai: $28
  • Lanna Smile Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai: $29
  • Pum Thai Cooking Class in Patong Beach: $31
  • Thai Cooking Course Hua Hin: $31
  • Chocolate Cooking Class at SO Sofitel Bangkok: $31
  • Yanui Cape Sunset Catamaran Tour in Phuket with Dinner by We Love Andaman: $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Palawan

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

  • Cebu Street Half Day Food Tour: $17
  • Dining Voucher at the Firehouse Pizza (of Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Manila): $18
  • Okada Manila Sunset Experience with Dinner Buffet: $54
  • Kwentong Dagat Stay with Full-Board Meal & Vegan Cooking Class: $90
  • Holiday Inn Manila Galleria with Breakfast & Dinner: $100
  • Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria with Breakfast & Dinner: $110
  • 4D3N Casa Bianca Siargao Stay with Breakfast, Dinner at Wild Siargao & 20% Discount Coupon at KudoSurf: $184

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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Palawan than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $14 on transportation in Palawan on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Samui $15
    Palawan $14
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:

  • [Next Day Result] COVID-19 RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test by Nabon Inter Medical Clinic in Phuket (Transfer arranged by TTD): $21
  • [Next Day Result] COVID-19 RT-PCR Test by Bangkok Hospital Phuket (Transfer Arranged by TTD): $105
  • Tiger Kingdom Ticket in Phuket with Transfers: $22
  • Tiger Kingdom Ticket in Chiang Mai with Transfers: $5.59
  • The Red Baron Luxury Yacht Cruise from Koh Samui with Return Transfer: $181
  • Shared Airport Bus Transfer Phuket : $3.09
  • Samui Airport Transfers (USM) for Koh Samui and More: $15
  • Private Transfer from Choeng Mon Beach to Samui (USM) Airport: $41
  • Private Suvarnabhumi Airport Transfers (BKK) for Bangkok, Pattaya, and More by Oriental Holiday: $17
  • Private Suvarnabhumi Airport Transfers (BKK) for Bangkok Areas by TTD: $20
  • Private Phuket International Airport (HKT) Transfers for Phuket and Nearby Areas by TTD: $22
  • Private Krabi (KBV) or Phuket Airport Transfers (HKT) for Krabi, Phuket, and More by TTD: $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palawan

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

  • [Stay 3, Pay 2] Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay with Breakfast, Resort Credits and RT Transfers: $535
  • Buy 2, Get 1 Night FREE at Casa Kalaw (Stay with Breakfast & Transfers): $435
  • Discovery Shores Boracay Stay with Dining/Spa Credits and Transfers [Valid til Dec 2022]: $272
  • Club Paradise Palawan Stay with Dining/Spa Credits and Transfers [Valid til Dec 2022]: $268
  • Ferra Hotel and Garden Suites Boracay 3D2N All-In Stay with Breakfast, Island Hopping, & Transfers: $156
  • Kalibo International Airport Transfers (KLO) for Boracay: $132
  • Private Clark International Airport (CRK) Transfers for Manila: $113
  • Private Intercity Van Transfer between Manila and Tagaytay, La Union, Baguio, and More: $110
  • Altabriza Resort Boracay 3D2N All-In Stay with Breakfast, Island Hopping, & Transfers: $95
  • Private City Transfers between Cagayan de Oro and Dahilayan Adventure Park: $66
  • Red Coco Inn de Boracay 3D2N All-In Stay with Breakfast, Island Hopping, & Transfers: $63
  • Private Transfers between Cebu Safari and Cebu City and Mactan: $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Koh Samui or Palawan?

Prices for flights to both Palawan 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.

Sightseeing expenses in Palawan, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $4.75 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Samui $9.41
    Palawan $4.75

Tours and Activities in Koh Samui

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

  • 4 Island Day Tour by Speedboat or Longtail Boat from Lanta Island: $31
  • ATV Half Day Adventure in Pattaya: $28
  • Ancient Ayutthaya Tour: Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Bang Pa-In Royal Palace & More by AK Travel: $33
  • Aquaria Phuket Ticket: $4.95
  • Ayutthaya Day Tour from Bangkok with Bang Pa In and Night Market Visit by TTD: $31
  • Ayutthaya Day Tour from Bangkok with Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and Market Visit: $35
  • Bangkok Floating Markets Day Tour from Siam Paragon by TTD: $28
  • Dii Wellness Med Spa Experience by Divana at Central Embassy BTS Ploenchit: $62
  • Go Bangkok e-Scooter Tour: $46
  • Indoor Go Karting Experience by EasyKart Bangkok: $13
  • Krabi Koh Klang Cultural Day Tour by TTD: $74
  • Krabi Sunrise Tour with Breakfast and Kayaking at Klong Nam Sai: $33

Tours and Activities in Palawan

For Palawan, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • ATV Experience in Rizal by ATV Adventures Rizal: $30
  • 2 Day North Batan and South Batan Tour: $68
  • 2 Day North Batan, South Batan, and Sabtang Island Tour: $95
  • 3 Day Cebu Highlights Tour: $103
  • 3 Day North Batan, Sabtang, and South Batan Island Batanes Tour: $108
  • 4D3N Single Fin Siargao Stay with My Siargao Guide Island Tour & Perks: $154
  • ATV Experience in Legazpi by Your Brother: $7.90
  • Adventure Beach Waterpark Ticket in Subic: $6.35
  • Anilao Awari Bay 2-Day Freedive Experience: $80
  • Anilao Awari Bay The Ultimate Freediver Certification Experience: $300
  • Anjo World and Snow World Ticket in Cebu: $11
  • Apo Island Snorkeling Tour from Dumaguete: $62

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.

Typically, people visiting Palawan spend on average $6.79 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Samui $4.15
    Palawan $6.79

Sample the Local Flavors in Koh Samui

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Koh Samui:

  • PB Valley Vineyard and Wine Tasting Tour in Khao Yai: $22
  • Bangkok Pub Crawl by Pub Crawls Thailand: $22


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

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Koh Samui vs. Palawan Travel Comparison

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