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

Should you visit Phuket or Penang?

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

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 Phuket?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Phuket is $93, 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 Phuket and Penang in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Phuket is about $102 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

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
    Phuket $51
    Penang $43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Phuket $102
    Penang $86

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 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
    Phuket $18
    Penang $30
Typical Food prices in Phuket

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


  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $8.89
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.23
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $13
  • Thai Noodles
    $2.77
  • Bananas
    $0.77
  • Pizza (for Two)
    $9.23

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

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

The average price of local transportation around Phuket is $9.05 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.

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.
    Phuket $9.05
    Penang $11
Typical Local Transportation prices in Phuket

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


  • Longtail Taxi (for Two)
    $9.23
  • Taxi from Airport to Phuket Town
    $7.69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phuket

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phuket:

  • Departure Private Transfers from Phuket City to Phuket Airport HKT: $100
  • Departure Private Transfers from Phuket City to Phuket Airport HKT: $96
  • Express Boat Transfers between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi: $16
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - Central Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $136
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - Central Phuket by Toyota Alphard: $118
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - Central Phuket by Toyota Ventury VIP Saloon: $58
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - North Phuket by Mercedes-Benz E-class: $77
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - North Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $118
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - North Phuket by Toyota Alphard: $100
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - North Phuket by Toyota Ventury VIP Saloon: $47
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Mercedes-Benz E-class: $104
  • Luxe Transfer Airport - South Phuket by Mercedes-Benz S-class: $154

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:

  • Airport Private Transfer: Penang Airport to or from Town Hotel (6 seater): $23
  • Airport Transfer Service: $34
  • Escape Theme Park with One-Way Transfer from Penang: $60
  • Penang Airport Transfer to any Georgetown City Hotel or vice versa: $19
  • Penang Arrival Transfer: $11
  • Penang City Hotels to Kuala Lumpur Airport One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang City to Kuala Lumpur City One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang City to Kuala Lumpur International Airport One-way Transfer: $103
  • Penang to Kuala Lumpur transfer with sightseeing(optional): $206
  • Private Airport Transfer: Penang Island to Penang International Airport (PEN): $17
  • Private Economy Penang Airport Transfer-Departure: $25
  • Private Penang Arrival transfer to Hotel: $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Phuket or Penang?

Prices for flights to both Penang 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 $38 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.

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.
    Phuket $38
    Penang $44
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
    $28
  • Scuba Diving (Two Dives)
    $77
  • Thai Oil Massage
    $20
  • Surfboard Rental
    $9.23

Tours and Activities in Phuket

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

  • Phuket Trickeye Museum Ticket: $15
  • Original Phuket Discovery Tour: $20
  • Flying Trapeze Adventure in Phuket: $21
  • One-Day Fun and Easy Package: Adventure Golf with Food and Drink in Phuket: $27
  • Phi Phi Islands Full-Day Tour by Express Boat: $43
  • Organized trip Thailand with Hallelujah TOUR Thailand Resturant Car/Bike Rental: $44
  • Phuket Adventure: Rafting, Flying Fox, Cave & Waterfall: $57
  • HALF DAY KHAI ISLAND TOUR WITH LUNCH-Tour by Speedboat from Phuket: $63
  • Full Day Phi Phi Island Budget Speed Boat Tour with Lunch: $64
  • Phuket, Maiton and 3 Khai Islands Full–Day Speed Boat Tour: $68
  • Zipline Adventure at Hanuman World in Phuket with Skywalk: $68
  • James Bond Nature Tour Spiked with Fun Activities: $69

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:

  • The Habitat at Penang Hill Official Admission Ticket: $13
  • Penang Street Food Experience: $29
  • Penang Hill and Temple Tour: $36
  • Private George Town Heritage Tour from Penang: $49
  • Private Discovery Tour of Entopia from Penang: $58
  • Group Tour : Half Day Penang Guided Trip: $61
  • Penang Day Tour and Sightseeing: $62
  • Penang Day Tour and Sightseeing: $62
  • Penang Full-Day Private Customizable Tour with Pick Up: $70
  • Penang Hourly Tour with Driver cum Guide: $77
  • Group Tour : Full Day Pulau Penang Exploration with English Speaking Guide: $81
  • Penang Heritage Tour: $90

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Phuket may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $5.73 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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
    Phuket $5.73
    Penang $14
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)
    $6.15
  • Beer
    $2.61

Typical Alcohol prices in Penang

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Penang:


  • Beer
    $1.91


When comparing the travel costs between Phuket and Penang, we can see that Penang is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Phuket vs. Penang Travel Comparison

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