A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Phuket vs. El Nido for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Phuket or El Nido?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Phuket or El Nido, 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.

El Nido

El Nido is a coastal destination on the Philippine island of Palawan. It consists of about 45 islands and islets all with beautiful beachfront scenery and plenty of opportunities for experiencing nature above and below the water. Some of the island's best features include limestone karst cliffs, coral reefs, lagoons, coves, and waterfalls.

Which city is cheaper, El Nido or Phuket?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Phuket is $91, while the average daily cost in El Nido is $36. 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 El Nido in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Phuket is about $100 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $26 in El Nido For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Phuket $50
    El Nido $13
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Phuket $100
    El Nido $26

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.

In El Nido travelers spend around $11 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
    Phuket $18
    El Nido $11
Typical Food prices in Phuket

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


  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $8.74
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.14
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $13
  • Thai Noodles
    $2.72
  • Bananas
    $0.76
  • Pizza (for Two)
    $9.07

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phuket

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

  • Private Authentic Thai Cooking Class in a Family Home in Phuket: $60
  • Siam Niramit w/ Ticket+ Buffet Dinner + Transfer: $63
  • Half Day Thai Cooking Class including Lunch from Khao Lak: $65
  • Phuket FantaSea: Show with Dinner and Transfers: $75
  • Phijittra Uniqueness Sailing Sunset Dinner Cruise: $79
  • Phuket Cooking Course with Sightseeing Tour plus Kata Local Market (Full Day): $101
  • Dinner Buffet Cruise in Phuket: $109
  • James Bond Island Trip on Luxury Boat & lunch buffet, dinner, water activities: $153
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise on board a beautiful: $204

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Phuket is $8.89 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.

El Nido'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 $17 per person, per day on transportation in El Nido.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Phuket $8.89
    El Nido $17
Typical Local Transportation prices in Phuket

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


  • Longtail Taxi (for Two)
    $9.07
  • Taxi from Airport to Phuket Town
    $7.56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phuket

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phuket:

  • Transfer from Phuket Hotel to Phuket Airport: $43
  • Transfer from Phuket Hotel to Phi Phi Island: $25
  • Transfer from Phuket Airport to Phuket Hotel: $43
  • Transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak Hotel: $50
  • Private Van: Phuket Airport Transfers: $38
  • Private Transfer: Van Charter incl Airport Pick Up or Drop Off: $92
  • Private Transfer from Phuket to Krabi with 2h of Sightseeing: $91
  • Private Transfer from Phuket City to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Transfer from Mai Khao Beach to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Transfer from Bang Tao Beach to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Phuket Point To Point Transfer Services by Minivan: $58
  • Private Car: Phuket Airport Departure Transfer: $35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Nido

Also for El Nido, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • El Nido to Puerto Princesa - Private Transfer: $115
  • El Nido to Sabang Private Transfer: $140
  • One Way Sharing Van Transfer El Nido to Puerto Princesa: $10
  • Palawan Transfers between El Nido and Puerto Princesa: $30
  • Private Van Transfer: One way El Nido to Puerto Princesa: $103

Is it cheaper to fly into Phuket or El Nido?

Prices for flights to both El Nido 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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Nido can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $4.87 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Phuket $37
    El Nido $4.87
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)
    $76
  • Thai Oil Massage
    $19
  • Surfboard Rental
    $9.07

Tours and Activities in Phuket

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

  • Coral and Racha Islands Speedboat Snorkeling Tour from Phuket: $73
  • DAY TRIP - JOIN TOUR Coral Island Phuket by Sailing Catamaran Yacht: $155
  • Early Bird Small Group - Phi Phi Islands Sunrise Tour with Seaview Lunch Buffet: $106
  • Fishing Live Aboard Cruise to the Similan Islands: $7,338
  • Fishing Live Aboard Cruise to the Surin Islands: $7,338
  • Flying Hanuman Phuket Tour: $119
  • Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience: $83
  • Flying Trapeze Adventure in Phuket: $21
  • From 4-Day Tropical Island Cruise - Suwan Macha: $1,328
  • From Full-Day Coral Island Tour & Sea Walking: $79
  • From Soi Dog Foundation and Islands Tour: $85
  • Full Day Phi Phi Island Budget Speed Boat Tour with Lunch: $64

Tours and Activities in El Nido

For El Nido, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Snorkeling/Island Hopping Tour A: $24
  • El Nido Island Hopping Tours(A-D): $25
  • EL Nido Tour A: $26
  • El Nido Island Hopping (Tour A) – Full Day: $28
  • Island Hopping Tour's,private Tours,packages Tours,transportation's: $30
  • El Nido Island Hopping Tour B: $32
  • EL Nido Tour D: $33
  • EL Nido Tour B: $35
  • El Nido Tour A With Big Or Small Lagoon: $39
  • EL Nido Tour C: $40
  • El Nido to Puerto Princesa via Underground River Tour: $49
  • Nacpan El Nido Tour: $50

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Phuket may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $5.63 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting El Nido spend on average $7.57 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Phuket $5.63
    El Nido $7.57
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)
    $6.05
  • Beer
    $2.57


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Phuket and El Nido, we can see that Phuket is more expensive. And not only is El Nido much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to El Nido would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in El Nido 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 El Nido.

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Phuket vs. El Nido Travel Comparison

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