A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Phuket vs. Chiang Mai for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Phuket or Chiang Mai?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Phuket or Chiang Mai, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Phuket

Phuket Island is the tourist mecca of southern Thailand. Known for its beaches and resorts, the island brings in a massive amount of travelers from all over the world, year round. Although the beaches are beautiful, Phuket has also become more westernized and tourist-oriented in recent decades, leaving many travelers to venture elsewhere to find that amazing beach with a more authentic Thai vibe. However, Phuket Island is quite large, and hidden gems can still be found.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is both the cultural center of northern Thailand and a launching point for trips into the rural areas, small towns, and lush jungles of the country's northern regions. Known for great food, historic temples, arts and crafts, and a lively night market, Chiang Mai is a very popular destination for travelers. In some areas, tourists and ex-pats dominate, but it's quite easy to get away from the tourist scene and into the real culture of Thailand, as Chiang Mai (and the surrounding countryside) is quite large.

Which city is cheaper, Chiang Mai or Phuket?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Phuket is $89, while the average daily cost in Chiang Mai is $39. 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 Phuket and Chiang Mai in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Phuket is about $98 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Chiang Mai, $44 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Chiang Mai, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $22, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Phuket $49
    Chiang Mai $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Phuket $98
    Chiang Mai $44

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Phuket 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.

The average traveler spends about $8.86 per day in Chiang Mai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Phuket $18
    Chiang Mai $8.86
Typical Food prices in Phuket

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


  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $8.56
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.04
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $13
  • Thai Noodles
    $2.67
  • Bananas
    $0.74
  • Pizza (for Two)
    $8.89

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phuket

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

  • 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
  • Chocolate Cooking Class at SO Sofitel Bangkok: $31
  • Thai Cooking Course Hua Hin: $31
  • Pum Thai Cooking Class in Patong Beach: $31
  • Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy: $31

Typical Food prices in Chiang Mai

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Chiang Mai:


  • Sit Down Dinner (for One)
    $5.78
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
    $0.71
  • Casual Breakfast
    $1.19
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.93
  • Mangoes
    $0.89
  • Coffee
    $1.48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, 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
  • Evening Thai cooking class by Aromdii Cooking School: $27
  • Galangal Cooking Class with Market Tour in Chiang Mai: $28
  • Half Day Cooking Class Including Market Tour from Chiang Mai: $28
  • Private Dining: Thai family dinner in Chiang Mai: $28
  • Thai Khantoke Dinner & Cultural Dance Show with Transfers: $29
  • Traditional Khantoke Dinner & Cultural Dance Show Tour: $29

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Phuket is $8.71 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

To get around in Chiang Mai, the average visitor spends $3.15 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Phuket $8.71
    Chiang Mai $3.15
Typical Local Transportation prices in Phuket

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Phuket:


  • Longtail Taxi (for Two)
    $8.89
  • Taxi from Airport to Phuket Town
    $7.41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phuket

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phuket:

  • Kata Rocks Resort & Residences (8D7N) with free COE Application and Airport Transfers: $2,321
  • Phuket Airport to Koh Lanta any hotel Private transfer: $182
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $154
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - Central Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $136
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Toyota Alphard: $136
  • Minivan Private Transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Sok: $120
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - North Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $118
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - Central Phuket by Toyota Alphard: $118
  • Phang Nga Bay Speed Boat with Private RoundTrip Transfer: $115
  • Phuket Airport Transfers : Phuket City to Phuket Airport HKT in Luxury Van: $106
  • [Next Day Result] COVID-19 RT-PCR Test by Bangkok Hospital Phuket (Transfer Arranged by TTD): $105
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Mercedes-Benz E-class: $104

Typical Local Transportation prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Tuk Tuk Ride
    $1.19
  • Moped Rental
    $5.33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chiang Mai

Also for Chiang Mai, 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
  • Chiang Mai : Night Safari tour with round trip transfer from hotel Ticket: $51
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Four Seasons Hotel: $28
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $15
  • Chiang Mai Airport Departure – Private Transfer from Hotel to Airport: $15
  • Chiang Mai Airport Departure – Shared Transfer: $6.81
  • Chiang Mai Airport Private Transfer - Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai: $218
  • Chiang Mai Airport Taxi Private Transfer - Pai, Mae Hong Son: $145
  • Chiang Mai Airport transfer: $14
  • Chiang Mai City Temple & Museum tour half day round trip transfer from hotel: $43

Is it cheaper to fly into Phuket or Chiang Mai?

Prices for flights to both Chiang Mai and Phuket 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

Phuket's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $37 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

In Chiang Mai, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $11 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Phuket $37
    Chiang Mai $11
Typical Entertainment prices in Phuket

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


  • One Day Boat Tour
    $27
  • Scuba Diving (Two Dives)
    $74
  • Thai Oil Massage
    $19
  • Surfboard Rental
    $8.89

Tours and Activities in Phuket

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

  • 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

Typical Entertainment prices in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Thai Cooking Class
    $39
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
    $1.78
  • Kratong Lessons
    $2.96
  • Pedicure
    $4.44
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)
    $5.33

Tours and Activities in Chiang Mai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Chiang Mai.

  • 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
  • For Art's Sake Ticket Hua Hin: $6.19

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Phuket may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $5.52 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Chiang Mai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.87.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Phuket $5.52
    Chiang Mai $5.87
Typical Alcohol prices in Phuket

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Phuket from other travelers:


  • Cocktails (for Two)
    $5.93
  • Beer
    $2.52

Sample the Local Flavors in Phuket

Also in Phuket, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

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

Typical Alcohol prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Wine
    $2.96

Sample the Local Flavors in Chiang Mai

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Chiang Mai:

  • 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 Phuket and Chiang Mai, we can see that Phuket is more expensive. And not only is Chiang Mai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Chiang Mai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Chiang Mai 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 Phuket would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Phuket than you might in Chiang Mai.

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Phuket vs. Chiang Mai Travel Comparison

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