A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Koh Tarutao vs. Koh Pha Ngan for Beaches, Backpackers, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Koh Tarutao

Koh Tarutao is a beautiful, undiscovered, and secluded island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for beaches and hiking.

Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a backpacker-friendly, tropical, and party-oriented party island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as many resort options
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Full Moon Parties
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly


Is there more to do in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Koh Pha Ngan than Koh Tarutao, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Koh Pha Ngan is more touristy than Koh Tarutao and is popular for its wild Full Moon Parties, large backpacker crowds, and strikingly beautiful beaches. Also, Koh Pha Ngan is famous for the Full Moon Parties. Koh Tarutao is well known for its secluded beauty and undiscovered paradise setting.

How is Koh Tarutao different from Koh Pha Ngan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tarutao. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a decent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

While most people don't head to Koh Pha Ngan specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Visitors come of the natural beauty, outdoor sports, and hardcore parties more than the sights and museums. Kuan Yin Temple is worth visiting, as is Wat Pho and Wat Phu Khao Noi.

Koh Tarutao offers a few options for museum-goers. This island is all about remote natural settings that will take your breath away, but you won't find anything in the form of temples or museums.


Is the Food Better in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a good destination for its restaurants. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Koh Pha Ngan is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There is frequent turnover in the restaurant scene around town, but there are a few mainstay restaurants that offer consistent and reliable Thai or international cuisine. In general, the food is fresh and the typical Thai favorites are available most places. Also make sure you check out the Thong Sala Night Market, which offers unique snacks and local dishes.

Koh Tarutao offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are three restaurants on the island that have limited hours so, if possible, it's best to arrive with some snacks. The food is simple and can get repetitive if you eat the same meals several days in a row.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Nightlife?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is an unbeatable place for its evening party scene. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for nightlife.

The nightlife in Koh Pha Ngan is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. The island's famous Full Moon Parties have landed it on many lists for top party destinations around the world. These parties are held every month on the night of the full moon, with the biggest crowds between November and March. The parties are traditionally held at the beach in Haad Rin. If you miss the Full Moon Party, you can check out the Half Moon Festival on Baan Ti. During other times, you'll find a variety of different parties that capitalize on the party reputation of the island, so whenever you visit, you can enjoy some level of festivities.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Koh Tarutao. There's a good chance you'll have this island almost completely to yourself. The few restaurants on the island close early and you'll likely head to bed early after taking in the stunning night sky.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Resorts?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a good destination for its luxury resorts. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for its resorts.

Koh Pha Ngan has a few great resort options. Much of the island caters to the backpacker crowd, but there are some luxury resorts to choose from as well. Many resorts take advantage of the beautiful nature on the island or intentionally prioritize a serene environment where you can relax by the pool.

While Koh Tarutao is not known as a resort destination, there are some nice places to stay. You won't find luxury resorts (or any resorts) on the island. What you will find is simple bungalows, or tents available for rent at the ranger stations.


Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a good destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Koh Tarutao is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Koh Pha Ngan. The island has its share of dive shops and a nice underwater setting where you can see coral and a variety of marine life. The island doesn't draw the huge diving crowds like some of the other islands, but that isn't always a bad thing.

Koh Tarutao is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Beaches?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan both offer first-rate beaches.

Koh Tarutao offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. A true island paradise, you'll find isolated beaches here that are so remote that you'll likely have them to yourself for large parts of the day.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Koh Pha Ngan. The white sand beaches with turquoise blue waters make this island a truly beautiful destination. While most people think of beach parties and Full Moon Parties, the island also has some quieter beaches where you can relax in a peaceful paradise. The parties are mostly concentrated around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin. This beach also has cheap bungalows that are popular with the backpacker crowd. For the quieter beaches, head to the northern side of the island around Hat Khuat and Hat Thian.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Hiking?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Hiking trails can be found around both Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan, and they are high quality.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Koh Tarutao. There are hiking trails through mangrove coves, inland through the dramatic vegetation, and up cliffs to impressive viewpoints.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Koh Pha Ngan. In its interior, the island has beautiful jungle and impressive hikes. Some of the best hikes are found in Than Sadet National Park, but come prepared because they can often be challenging. They usually end with a breathtaking viewpoint, secluded beach, or stunning waterfall though.


Is the Shopping Better in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a decent place to visit for its shopping areas. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for shopping.

Koh Pha Ngan has some good spots for those that want to go shopping. Although shopping isn't particularly popular on the island, it does offer a unique opportunity to support individual shop owners as there are more independently owned vendors on this island than in many other areas. Head to the markets and you'll find the most independent shops to support.

Koh Tarutao has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. There's a small shop at the visitor center where you can pick up simple drinks and snacks.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Families?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Tarutao is very good for its family-friendly activities. However, Koh Pha Ngan is not particularly known for its kid-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Koh Tarutao. For families who want seclusion, this beautiful island is the place to spend a night or two. There are great beaches, interesting hikes, and kayaks available to visitors.

For families, Koh Pha Ngan is not always the best place to visit. Most people think of Full Moon Parties and backpacker crowds when they think of this island. There are actually some quieter areas on the eastern and northern sides of the island that are good for families. The activities are best suited for older kids and include hiking, windsurfing, yoga, and shopping.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Couples?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Tarutao is well known for romance. Also, Koh Pha Ngan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Koh Tarutao frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. For a truly remote experience, couples will enjoy this often overlooked island. There are hikes and isolated beaches that offer romance in its most simple form.

Koh Pha Ngan makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy partying, yoga retreats, and outdoor exploration will find something for them on this island. There are beautiful hikes to waterfalls as well as nice beaches and, of course, the wild parties.


Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is an unbeatable place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Koh Tarutao is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Koh Pha Ngan, as it is a very popular party island for budget travelers. This island is synonymous with backpacker vibes and full moon parties. Head to the southern side of the island around Haad Rin and Ban Tai for the highest concentration of backpacker crowds. Like much of Thailand, there is frequent turnover in hostel ownership, so most reviews that you read online will be out of date. It's best to talk to people on the road to get the most up-to-date perspective.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Koh Tarutao. Most backpackers overlook this beautiful island for the more party-oriented destinations of Thailand, but those who spend a night or two here will be rewarded with a truly unique and authentic experience.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Visitors will find respectable public transit in both Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan.

Public transit is mostly limited in Koh Tarutao. There are shuttle taxis that travel around the island at fixed times. You can also rent a mountain bike at the ranger stations.

Public transit is generally limited in Koh Pha Ngan. Your best bet for getting around the island without a private vehicle is Songthaew taxi, longtail boats, and rental mopeds.

Is Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan a more walkable city?

Koh Tarutao
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a good destination for its ease of walking around. However, Koh Tarutao is lacking in good options for its walkability.

Koh Pha Ngan is a somewhat walkable party island. It's possible, and even enjoyable, to walk from place to place around the island but allow yourself a lot of time and bring water because temperatures can be very warm.

Koh Tarutao is generally not very walkable. The island is quite large and difficult to explore on foot alone.


For even more information, also check out Is Koh Tarutao Worth Visiting? and Is Koh Pha Ngan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tarutao?

How long in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

In either Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan than Koh Tarutao because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Koh Tarutao, and 3-5 days is enough time in Koh Pha Ngan.

Families should spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan than Koh Tarutao. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Koh Pha Ngan, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan than Koh Tarutao. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Koh Pha Ngan that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan than Koh Tarutao if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Koh Pha Ngan.


  • How many days in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Koh Tarutao 2-3 
    Koh Pha Ngan 3-5

One day in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

In Koh Tarutao, many people enjoy the that this beautiful island offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the tropical party island of Koh Pha Ngan. It's also a great beach destination, too. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Koh Tarutao is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the beaches. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Visitors enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the tropical destination of Koh Pha Ngan. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This party island offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

You'll find around the remote destination of Koh Tarutao. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the beaches. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting the beautiful party island of Koh Pha Ngan. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.


A week in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Koh Tarutao is a popular place to visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many people enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting Koh Pha Ngan. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people come for the beaches. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Thailand, The Best Cultural Tours in Thailand, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Thailand, and The Best Nightlife Tours in Thailand.


Which place is cheaper, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tarutao?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Koh Tarutao is $98, while the average daily cost in Koh Pha Ngan is $45. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Koh Tarutao $49
    Koh Pha Ngan $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Koh Tarutao $98
    Koh Pha Ngan $46
Compare Hotels in Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan

Looking for a hotel in Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan? 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 Tarutao


Hotels in Koh Pha Ngan


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 Pha Ngan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Koh Tarutao $33
    Koh Pha Ngan $13

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Scooter Rental
    $8.15
  • Ferry Ride
    $14
  • Gas for Scooter
    $2.99

Is it cheaper to fly into Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Prices for flights to both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tarutao 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 Tarutao $28
    Koh Pha Ngan $10

Typical Food Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Koh Pha Ngan:


  • Noodle Lunch (for One)
    $1.09
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $10
  • Smoothies (for Two)
    $1.09
  • Ice Cream
    $0.54
  • Juice
    $1.63
  • 3 Spring Rolls
    $0.82
  • 2 Pancakes
    $1.63

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Koh Tarutao $14
    Koh Pha Ngan $17

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Koh Tarutao $6.99
    Koh Pha Ngan $9.85

Typical Alcohol Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Drinks at Irish Pub (for Two)
    $7.06


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Koh Tarutao Expensive? and Is Koh Pha Ngan Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan?

Both destinations experience a warmer 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 Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan in the Summer?

Both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tarutao during the summer are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Tarutao because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Koh Pha Ngan year-round.

Koh Pha Ngan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Koh Tarutao. Koh Tarutao usually gets more rain in July than Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tarutao gets 269 mm (10.6 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the summer, Koh Tarutao is a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Typically, the summer temperatures in Koh Tarutao in July average around 27°C (81°F), and Koh Pha Ngan averages at about 24°C (76°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Koh Tarutao 27°C (81°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Koh Tarutao and Koh Pha Ngan. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Koh Tarutao year-round. Koh Pha Ngan attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

November to April in Koh Tarutao is the dry season. Also, May and October is the rainy season in Koh Tarutao. December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Pha Ngan receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Koh Tarutao gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Koh Tarutao usually receives more rain than Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tarutao gets 281 mm (11.1 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 240 mm (9.5 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

In October, Koh Tarutao is generally a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Daily temperatures in Koh Tarutao average around 27°C (81°F), and Koh Pha Ngan fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Koh Tarutao 27°C (81°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Koh Tarutao as well as Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tarutao attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Koh Pha Ngan throughout the year.

Also, December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Koh Tarutao usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tarutao gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.

Koh Tarutao is a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan in the winter. The daily temperature in Koh Tarutao averages around 27°C (80°F) in January, and Koh Pha Ngan fluctuates around 22°C (72°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Koh Tarutao 27°C (80°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Koh Tarutao or Koh Pha Ngan in the Spring?

Both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tarutao are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Koh Tarutao throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Pha Ngan because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

The dry season in Koh Tarutao is November to April. The rainy season in Koh Tarutao is May and October. It's quite rainy in Koh Tarutao. In April, Koh Tarutao usually receives more rain than Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tarutao gets 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In the spring, Koh Tarutao is a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Typically, the spring temperatures in Koh Tarutao in April average around 29°C (85°F), and Koh Pha Ngan averages at about 24°C (76°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Koh Tarutao 29°C (85°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F)

Typical Weather for Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tarutao

Koh Tarutao Koh Pha Ngan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (80°F) 50 mm (2 in) 22°C (72°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 23 mm (0.9 in) 22°C (72°F) 11 mm (0.4 in)
Mar 29°C (84°F) 51 mm (2 in) 23°C (74°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)
Apr 29°C (85°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 24°C (76°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
May 29°C (83°F) 244 mm (9.6 in) 25°C (77°F) 164 mm (6.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 224 mm (8.8 in) 25°C (77°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 269 mm (10.6 in) 24°C (76°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 262 mm (10.3 in) 24°C (76°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 355 mm (14 in) 25°C (76°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 281 mm (11.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 240 mm (9.5 in)
Nov 27°C (80°F) 204 mm (8 in) 23°C (74°F) 335 mm (13.2 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 116 mm (4.6 in) 23°C (73°F) 134 mm (5.3 in)