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

Should you visit Koh Samui or Penang?

Should I visit Koh Samui or Penang? 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.

Penang

Just off the northwestern coast of Malaysia is the charming and diverse island state of Penang. As the link between the ancient kingdoms of Asia and Europe's colonial empire, this area is enriched with Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. This exciting culture is centered in George Town, the main city of the state.

Which city is cheaper, Penang or Koh Samui?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Koh Samui is $48, while the average daily cost in Penang is $93. 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 Penang 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.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $86 for a double occupancy room in Penang.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Samui $21
    Penang $43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Samui $42
    Penang $86

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.

In Penang travelers spend around $30 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Koh Samui $17
    Penang $30
Typical Food prices in Koh Samui

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


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.37

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

Typical Food prices in Penang

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


  • Snack
    $1.91
  • Dinner at The Suffolk House (for 2)
    $82
  • Lunch at Sakae Sushi (for 2)
    $69
  • Lassy Juice
    $1.67
  • Dinner for 2
    $3.58
  • Street Stall Food
    $0.67
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $4.54
  • Italian Lunch (for Two)
    $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Penang

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

  • Bachelor's Pizza Co. at EPiC Food Hall: $1.75
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • Pizza Mansion in Klang Valley: $19
  • Cooking Class With Garden Tours in Penang: $38
  • Local Evening Food Tour in Kuala Lumpur: $40
  • Bayu Balau Beach Resort 2D1N Stay at Standard Room with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: $41
  • Kota Kinabalu City Night Tour with Seafood Dinner: $43
  • Kuala Selangor Fireflies Night Tour with Seafood Dinner and Boat Trip: $43
  • Countryside Village Walk and Cooking Tour at Kota Kinabalu: $45
  • Sunset and City Night Dinner Cruise with Complimentary Drinks in Kota Kinabalu: $45

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 $14 per person, per day on transportation in Koh Samui.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $11 per day to get around in Penang.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Samui $14
    Penang $11
Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Samui

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


  • Scooter Rental
    $2.22
  • Gas for Scooter
    $1.19
  • Airport Taxi
    $13
  • Taxi- Na Thon Pier to Lamai Beach
    $12
  • Minibus- Airport to Chaweng
    $3.56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Koh Samui

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

  • Private Krabi/Phuket Airport Transfers (KBV/HKT) for Krabi & More: $15
  • Private Phuket Airport Transfers (HKT) for Phuket and Other Areas by Oriental Holiday: $18
  • 7 Spa Luxury Spa Treatments in Pattaya with Round Trip Transfers: $26
  • Guided Zipline Adventure in Ko Samui with Round Trip Transfer: $87
  • Kata Rocks Resort & Residences (8D7N) with free COE Application and Airport Transfers: $2,321
  • Koh Samui Paradise Park Farm Admission Ticket with Return Transfer: $58
  • Private Bangkok and Pattaya Airports Transfers (UTP, DMK or BKK) for Pattaya: $31
  • Private Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) Transfers for Chiang Mai by TTD: $12
  • Private Chiang Mai International Airport Transfers (CNX) for Chiang Mai and More: $16
  • Private City Transfers between Ayutthaya and Bangkok by TTS: $53
  • Private City Transfers between Bangkok and Pattaya by TTS: $53
  • Private City Transfers between Bangkok and Pattaya, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin & More: $46

Typical Local Transportation prices in Penang

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


  • Local Bus
    $1.43
  • Island Ferry
    $0.57
  • Bus From Airport to George Town
    $0.64
  • Taxi From Airport to George Town
    $11
  • Motorbike Rental (One Day)
    $7.17
  • Bicycle Rental (One Day)
    $2.39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Penang

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Penang:

  • Private Snorkeling Tour with Transfers to Pulau Payar in Langkawi: $743
  • Penang to Kuala Lumpur transfer with sightseeing(optional): $206
  • Private Mangrove Boat Tour With Transfer and Meal in Langkawi: $197
  • [23% Flash Sales] Private Transfers between Desaru and Kuala Lumpur : $194
  • Private Transfers between Desaru and Kuala Lumpur : $194
  • Private Transfer between Penang and Kuala Lumpur : $194
  • Private Transfer between Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur : $185
  • Private City Transfers for Penang and Surrounding Cities : $134
  • [6% Flash Sales] Private City Transfers for Ipoh and Surrounding Cities: $134
  • Private Transfers between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur : $119
  • Private City Transfer between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur : $119
  • Private Transfers between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur : $119

Is it cheaper to fly into Koh Samui or Penang?

Prices for flights to both Penang 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 $9.11 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $44 per person, per day in Penang. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Samui $9.11
    Penang $44

Tours and Activities in Koh Samui

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

  • SHOCK PRICE!! Only at THB10 for Airport Rail Link (ARL) Single Journey Ticket with FREE EMS: $0.30
  • Pattaya Pipo Pony Club Admission Ticket in Pattaya: $1.55
  • Pattaya Sheep Farm Ticket: $2.19
  • Ramayana Water Park Ticket in Pattaya: $3.75
  • Nails, Eyelash, and Waxing Beauty Experience at Ju's Nail: $3.75
  • Wakeboarding Experience at Thai Wake Park in Pattaya: $4.19
  • Pong Yang Adventure Park Experience: $4.49
  • Aquaria Phuket Ticket: $4.95
  • Rejuv Salon Beauty Experiences at Sathon Bangkok: $5.85
  • Nong Nooch Tropical Garden Ticket in Pattaya: $5.89
  • Sleep Salon & Nails Experience in Bangkok: $6.15
  • Kanchanaburi Mallika City Ticket: $6.19

Typical Entertainment prices in Penang

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


  • Butterfly Gardens
    $7.40
  • Trishaw Tour (One Hour)
    $7.17
  • Fort Cornwallis Entrance
    $0.48
  • Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Entrance
    $2.39

Tours and Activities in Penang

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

  • Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast Ticket in Johor: $12
  • Binsuluk River Cruise Tour: $40
  • Dinawan Island Experience from Kota Kinabalu: $46
  • Heritage Staycation at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion with Breakfast & Guided House Tour: $100
  • Historical Klang & Orchard City of Selangor Walking Tour: $64
  • Ice Skating Experience with Blue Ice Skating Rink in Johor: $4.85
  • Langkawi Private Guided Mangrove River Cruise Tour: $116
  • Little India & Mah Meri Cultural Village Tour: $126
  • Private Island Adventure at Paradise 101 in Langkawi: $49
  • Putrajaya Islamic Walking Tour from Kuala Lumpur: $64
  • Sepanggar Island Diving Experience: $67
  • The Sheep Sanctuary Admission Ticket at Cameron Highland: $1.95

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 $4.02.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Penang may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Samui $4.02
    Penang $14

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

Typical Alcohol prices in Penang

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Penang:


  • Beer
    $1.91


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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Koh Samui vs. Penang Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.