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 $50, 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 $18 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 $7.20.

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 $18
    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)
    $6.61

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
    $1.91
  • 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)
    $4.53
  • 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.

  • 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

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.

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 $15
    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
    $2.31
  • Gas for Scooter
    $1.23
  • Airport Taxi
    $14
  • Taxi- Na Thon Pier to Lamai Beach
    $13
  • Minibus- Airport to Chaweng
    $3.69

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

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)
    $7.16
  • Bicycle Rental (One Day)
    $2.39

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 City One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang City to Kuala Lumpur International Airport 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
  • 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
  • Private Penang Arrival transfer to Hotel: $12

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 $9.46 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 $9.46
    Penang $44

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

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)
    $7.16
  • 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:

  • 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

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 $4.18.

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 $4.18
    Penang $14

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

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Koh Samui vs. Penang Travel Comparison

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