A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Phuket vs. Koh Tao for Nightlife, Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Beaches

Should you visit Phuket or Koh Tao?

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

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

Phuket

Phuket is a energetic, party-hard, and stunning resort island. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the shopping, nightlife, and food.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a popular, laid back, and mellow island. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Phuket and Koh Tao: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Cons
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


How is Phuket different from Koh Tao?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Food?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Phuket and Koh Tao can be difficult as they are each unique in their own way.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Phuket. Because it served as an international port for so long, food around the island has many international influences. For the most authentic local food, head into Phuket Town. Many dishes include seafood, but there are also chicken curries and noodle soup. Like elsewhere in Thailand, the food can be quite spicy but because the island is so touristy, they're accustomed to people asking for "no spice."

Koh Tao has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. You'll find a huge ex-pat community on the island, and with them they bring a variety of international cuisines. There are also local establishments that sell the typical Thai dishes with lots of seafood, curries, and noodle dishes. It's fun to enjoy a beachside restaurant that lets you sit right by the water looking off into a tropical paradise.


Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Nightlife?

Phuket
Koh Tao

It's hard to distinguish whether Phuket or Koh Tao has a better nightlife scene.

Phuket has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. The island has a long running reputation as a party destination and it lives up to expectations. The biggest party area is Patong, particularly around Bangla Road, but even in Kata and Karon, it's hard to escape the party atmosphere.

The nightlife in Koh Tao has something for everybody. While most people head for the island for its scuba diving, when the sun goes down everyone heads to the beach to party. The island has a very active nightlife scene with full moon parties, dance clubs, beachside bars, and more. Head to Sairee Beach for the most active nightlife and entertainment options.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Resorts?

Phuket
Koh Tao

With a similar set of options, resorts can be found in both Phuket and Koh Tao.

Phuket offers an unforgettable resort vacation. It's easy accessibility and larger size make this the premiere resort destination in Thailand. There are five star resorts, family-friendly resorts, and everything in between. Many people use the island as a base for exploring other nearby islands. Any resort or tour company can arrange excursions or activities for guests.

In Koh Tao, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. While it's mostly famous as a diving destination, there are also a diversity of resorts, from luxury to affordable, available on the island. The beaches are beautiful and many resorts offer scuba diving packages as well.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Phuket
Koh Tao

You'll find snorkeling or scuba diving in both Phuket and Koh Tao.

Many visitors go to Phuket to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. You can dive and snorkel year round, but the visibility is usually best between November and May. There are countless boat tours available and the easy accessibility make this a good base for snorkeling and diving. Many areas are overrun with tourists though, so it'll be hard to find a quiet, undisturbed location.

Koh Tao is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. The island is Thailand's most famous scuba diving destination for it's affordable certifications and prolific dive shops. There are a variety of dive sites near the island, but with fame and popularity come challenges. The coral and sealife is feeling the pressure of the high number of tourists, but the training you receive here is affordable and well-established.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Beaches?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Both Phuket and Koh Tao have beaches worth visiting.

The beaches in Phuket are among the best in the world. The island has more than 30 beaches to choose from, ranging from party hard areas to a few quieter gems in more remote locations. The area became a world-famous destination because of its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, and the beaches will not disappoint, even if development has taken over the island.

Koh Tao is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The white sand beaches have a mellow vibe with beautiful blue waters. This is a true tropical paradise with beachside cafes, easy snorkeling, and warm water. The beaches range from quiet and isolated to high energy and vibrant.


Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Shopping?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Shopping is a popular activity in both Koh Tao and Phuket.

Phuket offers some nice shopping areas. Shopping malls offer a range of stores, air conditioning, and fixed prices while markets have more local items and unique souvenirs. There are also galleries and other souvenir shops all over the island.

Koh Tao has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The main beach areas of Mae Haad, Sairee, and Chalok Baan Kao have the highest concentration of clothing and dive equipment shops. Because it's an island with limited access, prices can be a bit high.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Families?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Phuket and Koh Tao are both fun destinations for the whole family.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Phuket. Many people visit this island with kids because it has beautiful beaches and tons of activities including water sports, water parks, and amusement areas. The island is filled with a diversity of tourists, so you'll encounter a number of areas with party-hard atmospheres, but there are also tons of family-friendly resorts to choose from as well.

Koh Tao offers lots of family activities. The island is popular for its affordable scuba diving certifications, so there are a number of options for families with older kids who'd like to get certified. It's a more laid back and smaller island than some of the nearby places, so it's possible to find quiet beaches where your family can relax. Some of the quieter beaches include Sai Nuan and Ao Luek.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Couples?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Phuket and Koh Tao are both fun to visit as a couple.

Couples visit Phuket frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The island is filled with beautiful beaches and plenty of activities for all travel styles. It's a tourist and party mecca in Thailand with many resorts and restaurants to choose from.

Koh Tao is a great resort island if you're traveling as a couple. This laid back island offers a relaxing honeymoon destination for couples who want to learn to scuba dive and enjoy a bit of tropical paradise. There are beachside restaurants, beautiful blue waters, and white sand - everything you need for your own piece of paradise.

Is Phuket or Koh Tao Better for Public Transit?

Phuket
Koh Tao

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Phuket and Koh Tao.

You'll find some public transit in Phuket, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. Tuk tuks, buses, and motorbike taxis are all available on the island. The buses are usually Songtaew, which have open air seating areas.

Public transit is mostly limited in Koh Tao. You can rent a motorbike or bicycle to explore the island. There are also taxis and taxi boats available.


Is Phuket or Koh Tao a more walkable city?

Phuket
Koh Tao

Phuket and Koh Tao both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Phuket is a somewhat walkable place. Most of the hotels and resorts are walking distance to the beach and many resort areas are small enough to be explored on foot.

Koh Tao is a very walkable destination. The island is smaller than many in Thailand, and the small towns are usually no more than 5 kilometers apart. It's also possible to walk around most small towns.

Should I spend more time in Koh Tao or Phuket?

How long in Phuket or Koh Tao?

Both Phuket and Koh Tao have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Phuket is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Koh Tao is 2-7 days.


  • How many days in Phuket or Koh Tao? Ideal Length of Stay
    Phuket 3-7 
    Koh Tao 2-7

One day in Phuket or Koh Tao?

In Phuket, you'll find nightlife and food. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This resort island offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the destination of Koh Tao. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Phuket or Koh Tao?

In Phuket, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people come for the beaches. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Koh Tao is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Phuket or Koh Tao?

Phuket is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Phuket has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Koh Tao. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Phuket or Koh Tao?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Phuket. In Phuket, you'll find shopping and nightlife. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the mellow destination of Koh Tao. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Which city is cheaper, Koh Tao or Phuket?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Phuket is $94, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $33. 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 Phuket and Koh Tao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Phuket $53
    Koh Tao $13
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Phuket $106
    Koh Tao $26
Compare Hotels in Phuket and Koh Tao

Looking for a hotel in Phuket or Koh Tao? 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 Phuket


Hotels in Koh Tao


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: Phuket Hotel Prices and Koh Tao Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Phuket $8.97
    Koh Tao $7.76
Typical Local Transportation prices in Phuket

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


  • Longtail Taxi (for Two)
    $9.15
  • Taxi from Airport to Phuket Town
    $7.63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phuket

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phuket:

  • 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
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Mercedes-Benz E-class: $104
  • Phuket Private Transfer To Ao Nang Beach, Krabi: $101
  • Departure Private Transfers from Phuket City to Phuket Airport HKT: $100

Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Motorbike Rental
    $5.80
  • Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
    $20

Is it cheaper to fly into Phuket or Koh Tao?

Prices for flights to both Koh Tao 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Phuket $18
    Koh Tao $8.29
Typical Food prices in Phuket

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


  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $8.82
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.19
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $13
  • Thai Noodles
    $2.75
  • Bananas
    $0.76
  • Pizza (for Two)
    $9.15

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
  • Phuket Old Town 15-Taster Food Tour: $63
  • 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

Typical Food prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Sit Down Lunch (for One)
    $6.10
  • Breakfast
    $4.58
  • Casual Breakfast (for Two)
    $3.66
  • Fancy Dinner (for Two)
    $15
  • Pancake
    $2.14
  • American Breakfast (for Two)
    $8.54
  • Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
    $8.24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Phuket $38
    Koh Tao $24
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
    $20
  • Surfboard Rental
    $9.15

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 Deluxe Phi Phi Tour by Speedboat & Lunch Buffet: $87
  • From Full-Day Coral Island Tour & Sea Walking: $79
  • From Phang Nga Adventure Tour with Zipline: $70

Typical Entertainment prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Kayak Rental (One Hour)
    $7.63
  • Snorkel Rental
    $3.05
  • Kayak and Snorkel (2)
    $3.05

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Phuket $5.69
    Koh Tao $6.39
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)
    $6.10
  • Beer
    $2.59

Sample the Local Flavors in Phuket

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

  • Bar Crawl Tour: $31

Typical Alcohol prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Beer
    $1.98
  • Bottle of Wine
    $11


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


When is the best time to visit Phuket or Koh Tao?

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 Phuket or Koh Tao in the Summer?

Both Koh Tao and Phuket during the summer are popular places to visit. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Phuket throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Koh Tao throughout the year.

Koh Tao gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Phuket. Phuket usually gets more rain in July than Koh Tao. Phuket gets 287 mm (11.3 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 174 mm (6.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

It's quite sunny in Phuket. In the summer, Phuket often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Koh Tao. Phuket gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 195 hours of full sun.

Phuket is a little warmer than Koh Tao in the summer. The temperature in Phuket is usually 28°C (82°F) in July, and Koh Tao stays around 24°C (76°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Phuket 28°C (82°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Phuket or Koh Tao in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Phuket and Koh Tao. Plenty of visitors come to Phuket because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Tao because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

December to March in Phuket is the dry season. Also, June to October is the rainy season in Phuket. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Tao. Koh Tao receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Phuket gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Phuket usually receives more rain than Koh Tao. Phuket gets 304 mm (12 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 276 mm (10.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

Phuket usually receives more sunshine than Koh Tao during autumn. Phuket gets 181 hours of sunny skies, while Koh Tao receives 167 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In the autumn, Phuket is a little warmer than Koh Tao. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Phuket in October are around 27°C (81°F), and Koh Tao is about 24°C (76°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Phuket 27°C (81°F) 
    Koh Tao 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Phuket or Koh Tao in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Phuket as well as Koh Tao. Phuket attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate. Koh Tao attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

Also, December to March in Phuket is the dry season. Also, February to June in Koh Tao is the dry season. Phuket usually gets less rain in January than Koh Tao. Phuket gets 31 mm (1.2 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Koh Tao. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Phuket this time of the year. In the winter, Phuket often gets more sunshine than Koh Tao. Phuket gets 287 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 255 hours of full sun.

In January, Phuket is generally a little warmer than Koh Tao. Temperatures in Phuket average around 28°C (82°F), and Koh Tao stays around 22°C (72°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Phuket 28°C (82°F) 
    Koh Tao 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Phuket or Koh Tao in the Spring?

Both Koh Tao and Phuket are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Phuket throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Koh Tao throughout the year.

The rainy season in Phuket is June to October. The dry season in Koh Tao is February to June. It's quite rainy in Phuket. In April, Phuket usually receives more rain than Koh Tao. Phuket gets 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 74 mm (2.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.

It's quite sunny in Koh Tao. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Phuket. Phuket usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Koh Tao during spring. Phuket gets 249 hours of sunny skies, while Koh Tao receives 239 hours of full sun in the spring.

Phuket is a little warmer than Koh Tao in the spring. The temperature in Phuket is usually 29°C (84°F) in April, and Koh Tao stays around 25°C (77°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Phuket 29°C (84°F) 
    Koh Tao 25°C (77°F)

Typical Weather for Koh Tao and Phuket

Phuket Koh Tao
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 28°C (82°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 22°C (72°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
Feb 28°C (83°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 29°C (84°F) 52 mm (2 in) 24°C (75°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Apr 29°C (84°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
May 28°C (83°F) 318 mm (12.5 in) 25°C (78°F) 189 mm (7.4 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 279 mm (11 in) 25°C (78°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 287 mm (11.3 in) 24°C (76°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 262 mm (10.3 in) 25°C (76°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 399 mm (15.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 158 mm (6.2 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 304 mm (12 in) 24°C (76°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
Nov 27°C (81°F) 165 mm (6.5 in) 23°C (74°F) 380 mm (15 in)
Dec 27°C (81°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)


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Phuket vs. Koh Tao Travel Comparison

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