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?

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

Should I visit Koh Samui or Penang? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Koh Samui or Penang?

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 $45, while the average daily cost in Penang is $87. 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 Samui and Penang in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Samui $19
    Penang $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Samui $38
    Penang $80
Compare Hotels in Koh Samui and Penang

Looking for a hotel in Koh Samui or Penang? 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 Samui


Hotels in Penang


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 Samui Hotel Prices and Penang Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Samui $14
    Penang $10
Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Samui

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


  • Scooter Rental
    $2.10
  • Gas for Scooter
    $1.12
  • Airport Taxi
    $12
  • Taxi- Na Thon Pier to Lamai Beach
    $12
  • Minibus- Airport to Chaweng
    $3.36

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 Airport (USM): One-Way Private Hotel Transfer: $23
  • 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

Typical Local Transportation prices in Penang

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


  • Local Bus
    $1.34
  • Island Ferry
    $0.54
  • Bus From Airport to George Town
    $0.60
  • Taxi From Airport to George Town
    $10
  • Motorbike Rental (One Day)
    $6.70
  • Bicycle Rental (One Day)
    $2.23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Penang

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Penang:

  • Penang to Kuala Lumpur transfer with sightseeing(optional): $206
  • Penang City to Kuala Lumpur International Airport One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang City to Kuala Lumpur City One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang City Hotels to Kuala Lumpur Airport One-way Transfer: $103
  • Escape Theme Park with One-Way Transfer from Penang: $60
  • Airport Transfer Service: $34
  • Private Economy Penang Airport Transfer-Departure: $25
  • Private Airport Transfer by Car or Van: $25
  • Airport Private Transfer: Penang Airport to or from Town Hotel (6 seater): $23
  • Private Transfer: Penang International Airport to Penang Beach or City Hotels: $22
  • Penang Airport Transfer to any Georgetown City Hotel or vice versa: $19
  • Private Airport Transfer: Penang Island to Penang International Airport (PEN): $17

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Koh Samui $16
    Penang $28
Typical Food prices in Koh Samui

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


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.02

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

Typical Food prices in Penang

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


  • Snack
    $1.79
  • Dinner at The Suffolk House (for 2)
    $76
  • Lunch at Sakae Sushi (for 2)
    $65
  • Lassy Juice
    $1.56
  • Dinner for 2
    $3.35
  • Street Stall Food
    $0.62
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $4.24
  • 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.

  • Private Half Day Penang Tasty Local Street Food Tour: $51
  • Dinner at Penang Hill: $91
  • Private Dinner at THE TOP with Skywalk Experience from Penang: $103
  • Private Malaysian Cooking Tour with Lunch from Penang: $119

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Samui $8.62
    Penang $41

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
  • 4x4 Off Road Island Safari Tour Including Lunch: $40
  • 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

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
    $6.92
  • Trishaw Tour (One Hour)
    $6.70
  • Fort Cornwallis Entrance
    $0.45
  • Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Entrance
    $2.23

Tours and Activities in Penang

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

  • 10 days Non-stop Excitement Peninsular Malaysia Private Tour: $2,031
  • A Fabulous Day in Penang (Private Tour with Lunch): $109
  • Full Day Kedah and Mount Jerai Tour with Lunch from Penang: $106
  • Full Day Lost World of Tambun Tour from Penang: $115
  • Group Tour : Full Day Pulau Penang Exploration with English Speaking Guide: $81
  • Group Tour : Half Day Penang Guided Trip: $61
  • Orangutan & Charcoal Factory Tour: $154
  • Penang Day Tour and Sightseeing: $62
  • Penang Day Tour and Sightseeing: $62
  • Penang Full-Day Private Customizable Tour with Pick Up: $70
  • Penang Heritage Tour: $90
  • Penang Hill and Temple Tour: $36

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Samui $3.81
    Penang $13

Typical Alcohol prices in Penang

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


  • Beer
    $1.79


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.


When is the best time to visit Koh Samui or Penang?

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 Samui or Penang in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Koh Samui as well as Penang. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Koh Samui throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Penang throughout the year.

It's quite rainy in Penang. Koh Samui receives a lot of rain in the summer. Koh Samui usually gets less rain in July than Penang. Koh Samui gets 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain, while Penang receives 210 mm (8.3 in) of rain this time of the year.

Koh Samui is cooler than Penang in the summer. The temperature in Koh Samui is usually 24°C (76°F) in July, and Penang stays around 27°C (81°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Koh Samui 24°C (76°F) 
    Penang 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Koh Samui or Penang in the Autumn?

Both Penang and Koh Samui are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Samui because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Penang because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.


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The dry season in Koh Samui is December to February. The rainy season in Koh Samui is October to December. It rains a lot this time of the year in Penang. It's quite rainy in Koh Samui. In October, Koh Samui usually receives less rain than Penang. Koh Samui gets 240 mm (9.5 in) of rain, while Penang receives 340 mm (13.4 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

In the autumn, Koh Samui is cooler than Penang. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Koh Samui in October are around 24°C (75°F), and Penang is about 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Koh Samui 24°C (75°F) 
    Penang 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Koh Samui or Penang in the Winter?

Both Penang and Koh Samui during the winter are popular places to visit. Koh Samui attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate. Penang attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.


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December to February is the dry season in Koh Samui. Koh Samui usually gets less rain in January than Penang. Koh Samui gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Penang receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.

In January, Koh Samui is generally cooler than Penang. Temperatures in Koh Samui average around 22°C (72°F), and Penang stays around 28°C (82°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Koh Samui 22°C (72°F) 
    Penang 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Koh Samui or Penang in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Koh Samui and Penang. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Koh Samui throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Penang throughout the year.

Penang receives a lot of rain in the spring. In April, Koh Samui usually receives less rain than Penang. Koh Samui gets 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Penang receives 240 mm (9.4 in) of rain each month for the spring.

Koh Samui is cooler than Penang in the spring. The temperature in Koh Samui is usually 24°C (76°F) in April, and Penang stays around 28°C (82°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Koh Samui 24°C (76°F) 
    Penang 28°C (82°F)

Typical Weather for Penang and Koh Samui

Koh Samui Penang
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 22°C (72°F) 51 mm (2 in) 28°C (82°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Feb 22°C (72°F) 11 mm (0.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 23°C (74°F) 24 mm (0.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Apr 24°C (76°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 240 mm (9.4 in)
May 25°C (77°F) 164 mm (6.5 in) 28°C (82°F) 240 mm (9.4 in)
Jun 25°C (77°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 170 mm (6.7 in)
Jul 24°C (76°F) 143 mm (5.6 in) 27°C (81°F) 210 mm (8.3 in)
Aug 24°C (76°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 27°C (81°F) 190 mm (7.5 in)
Sep 25°C (76°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 330 mm (13 in)
Oct 24°C (75°F) 240 mm (9.5 in) 27°C (81°F) 340 mm (13.4 in)
Nov 23°C (74°F) 335 mm (13.2 in) 27°C (81°F) 230 mm (9.1 in)
Dec 23°C (73°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)


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Koh Samui vs. Penang Travel Comparison

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