A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Railay Beach vs. Koh Tao for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Backpackers, and Food

Should you visit Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Railay Beach and Koh Tao can help you decide which place is right for you.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a fun-filled, adventurous, and dramatic beach area. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Visitors also love the beaches, nightlife, and food.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a tropical, popular, and laid back island. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Railay Beach and Koh Tao: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Koh Tao. Although Railay Beach and Koh Tao are popular destinations, Koh Tao has more sights and attractions for tourists. Railay Beach is famous for its beautiful limestone cliffs and its world famous rock climbing. Koh Tao is famous for its affordable scuba diving courses, laid-back island vibe, popularity with backpackers, and stunning island hikes. It is also well known for Mango Bay Viewpoint.

How is Railay Beach different from Koh Tao?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Neither Railay Beach or Koh Tao offer quality museums and landmarks.

Railay Beach offers a few options for museum-goers. This is an adventure sport destination that is popular for rock climbing and its scenic beauty. Therefore, there are no real museums or temples in the area.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Koh Tao. It's a small island that is all about beachfront beauty. Most visitors enjoy the island's outdoor paradise setting, but on those rainy afternoons, there really are very few indoor activities or temples to visit.


Is the Food Better in Railay Beach or Koh Tao? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Koh Tao makes for a great culinary experience. 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.

Railay Beach has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find a number of tourist oriented restaurants. Many are affiliated with hotels and resorts and serve the standard Thai options along with pizza and burgers.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Nightlife?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a well-known place for nightlife. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for nightlife and partying.

Koh Tao offers plenty to do in the evening. 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 its own Full Moon Parties, dance clubs, beachside bars, and more. Head to Sairee Beach for the most active nightlife and entertainment options.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Railay Beach. It's a secluded area with a decent number of laid back bars that are usually associated with hotels or resorts. There's also a young crowd, including backpackers, who come for the beautiful setting and great rock climbing. This population insures that there's always something going on at night.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Resorts?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Railay Beach and Koh Tao.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Railay Beach. You'll find a mix of beachside resorts and budget hotels, as well as a number of hostels in the area.

Koh Tao is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. 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 Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an unbeatable place for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for its diving and snorkeling.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Koh Tao is not to be missed. 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, and the reefs show their damage. But the training you receive here is affordable and well-established.

Many visitors go to Railay Beach to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. There are dive centers that offer both snorkeling and dive trips to nearby areas.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Beaches?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an unbeatable place for its beaches. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for the beache.

With world-famous beaches, Koh Tao is a very popular vacation 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.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Railay Beach. The beaches are famous for their dramatic limestone cliffs. There are three areas: Railay Beach West is scenic with its surrounding cliffs and popular resorts. This is the place to swim or watch the sunset. Railay Beach East is most popular for its rock climbing. You should also check out Phra Nang Cave Beach, which is the location of Phra Nang Cave.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Hiking?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a well-known place for the nearby hiking options. However, Railay Beach is not a hiking destination.

Koh Tao is a popular spot for hiking. Hiking is the best way to enjoy the inland beauty of the island. There are paths that take you through the jungle covered land to viewpoints and remote areas. Many paths are rustic and not always well maintained so it's helpful to ask a local for directions beforehand.

Railay Beach is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is very good for shopping. However, Railay Beach is not a good beach area for its shopping opportunities.

Koh Tao is a great destination for shopping. 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.

If you're looking to go shopping, Railay Beach has some nice offerings. The Walking Street has shops that sell bathing suits or anything you may have forgotten.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Families?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

You'll find nice kid-friendly activities in either Railay Beach or Koh Tao.

Railay Beach is a family-friendly place to visit. This is a favorite beach area for many visitors to Thailand. It's only accessible by water and it offers adventure sports and calm waters that are nice for kids.

Koh Tao is a family-friendly beach area. 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 also a more laid back and smaller island than some 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. You'll still find a large number of backpackers on the island, but there's a more chill atmosphere with most visitors focused on scuba diving and exploring.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Couples?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Both Railay Beach and Koh Tao are excellent destinations to visit as a couple.

Railay Beach is a very popular place to visit for couples. Rock climbing is a favorite activity here, and couples who have an adventurous spirit will enjoy this dramatic location.

Koh Tao makes for a fun place to visit for 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, white sand, and everything you need for your own piece of paradise.


Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an unbeatable place for backpackers. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Koh Tao is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. The island is an oasis for backpackers who want to enjoy the mellow island life, learn to scuba dive cheaply, and have fun at a beachside party. There are plenty of affordable places to stay and countless opportunities to meet other backpackers. The island is also well connected to other nearby islands.

Many backpackers visit Railay Beach. There's no shortage of affordable accommodation that attracts budget travelers and backpackers. The area's world class rock climbing also appeals to the young and adventurous crowd.

Is Railay Beach or Koh Tao Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Both Railay Beach and Koh Tao offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Railay Beach. The area is only accessible by boat and there is no road transportation.

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 Railay Beach or Koh Tao a more walkable city?

Railay Beach
Koh Tao

Railay Beach is an unbeatable place for its high level of walkability. Also, Koh Tao is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its ease of walking around.

Railay Beach is a very easy beach area to get around on foot. The area has no cars or road transportation so everything, including the beaches are easy to walk to.

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


For even more information, also check out Is Railay Beach Worth Visiting? and Is Koh Tao Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Koh Tao or Railay Beach?

How long in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Both Railay Beach and Koh Tao have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Koh Tao than in Railay Beach. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Railay Beach, and 2-7 days is enough time in Koh Tao.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Koh Tao than Railay Beach 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 Tao.


  • How many days in Railay Beach or Koh Tao? Ideal Length of Stay
    Railay Beach 2-4 
    Koh Tao 2-7

One day in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

In Railay Beach, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This beach area offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Koh Tao, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this popular 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.

A weekend in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

In Railay Beach, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Most people come for the beaches. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Railay Beach has to offer.

Koh Tao is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Railay Beach is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

In Koh Tao, many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife that this beautiful destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.


A week in Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Railay Beach. Many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting Railay Beach. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Koh Tao is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Which place is cheaper, Koh Tao or Railay Beach?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Railay Beach is $108, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $38. 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 Railay Beach and Koh Tao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Railay Beach $64
    Koh Tao $15
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Railay Beach $128
    Koh Tao $30
Compare Hotels in Railay Beach and Koh Tao

Looking for a hotel in Railay Beach 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 Railay Beach


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: Koh Tao Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Railay Beach $26
    Koh Tao $8.85

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Motorbike Rental
    $5.29
  • Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
    $18

Is it cheaper to fly into Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

Prices for flights to both Koh Tao and Railay Beach 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
    Railay Beach $22
    Koh Tao $9.40
Typical Food Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of dining costs in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.57
  • Pizza
    $4.73

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)
    $5.57
  • Breakfast
    $4.18
  • Casual Breakfast (for Two)
    $3.34
  • Fancy Dinner (for Two)
    $14
  • Pancake
    $1.95
  • American Breakfast (for Two)
    $7.80
  • Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
    $7.52

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Railay Beach $23
    Koh Tao $27
Typical Entertainment Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Rock Climbing (for Two)
    $19

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)
    $6.96
  • Snorkel Rental
    $2.78
  • Kayak and Snorkel (2)
    $2.78

Tours and Activities in Koh Tao

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Koh Tao.

  • Full day snorkeling adventure around Koh Tao: $22
  • Snorkel Tour to Koh Nangyuan and the hidden bays of Koh Tao onboard the Oxygen: $23
  • Koh Nang Yuan and Koh Tao 5 Point Snorkeling Tour: $24
  • 5 Islands Full-Day Tour Around Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan: $24
  • Koh Tao Snorkeling Tour to Hidden Bays and Koh Nang Yuan : $29
  • Premium Snorkel Tour to the Bays of Koh Tao onboard the Oxygen: $33
  • Koh Tao Viewpoint and Snorkeling Tour: $55
  • Basic Diver ( One Day Experience): $128
  • Koh Tao Cliff Jumping Snorkeling Experience: $135
  • Koh Tao Snorkeling and Island Hopping Tour (Private) : $175
  • Advanced Adventurer - 2 days ( Advanced Open Water): $285

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Railay Beach $15
    Koh Tao $7.29
Typical Alcohol Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Beer
    $1.67

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
    $1.81
  • Bottle of Wine
    $10


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Railay Beach and Koh Tao, we can see that Railay Beach 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 Railay Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Railay Beach than you might in Koh Tao.

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



When is the best time to visit Railay Beach or Koh Tao?

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 Railay Beach or Koh Tao in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Railay Beach as well as Koh Tao. Railay Beach attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Koh Tao throughout the year.

August to October in Railay Beach is the rainy season. It's quite rainy in Koh Tao. Railay Beach receives a lot of rain in the summer. Railay Beach usually gets more rain in July than Koh Tao. Railay Beach gets 287 mm (11.3 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 174 mm (6.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Railay Beach this time of the year. In the summer, Railay Beach often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Koh Tao. Railay Beach gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 195 hours of full sun.

In the summer, Railay Beach is a little warmer than Koh Tao. Typically, the summer temperatures in Railay Beach in July average around 28°C (82°F), and Koh Tao averages at about 24°C (76°F).


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

Should I visit Railay Beach or Koh Tao in the Autumn?

Both Koh Tao and Railay Beach are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Railay Beach throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Koh Tao because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

The dry season in Railay Beach is December to March. The rainy season in Railay Beach is August to October. The rainy season in Koh Tao is October and November. It rains a lot this time of the year in Koh Tao. It's quite rainy in Railay Beach. In October, Railay Beach usually receives more rain than Koh Tao. Railay Beach gets 304 mm (12 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 276 mm (10.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

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

In October, Railay Beach is generally a little warmer than Koh Tao. Daily temperatures in Railay Beach average around 27°C (81°F), and Koh Tao fluctuates around 24°C (76°F).


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

Should I visit Railay Beach or Koh Tao in the Winter?

Both Koh Tao and Railay Beach during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Railay Beach because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Koh Tao year-round.

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

In Koh Tao, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Railay Beach. In the winter, Railay Beach often gets more sunshine than Koh Tao. Railay Beach gets 287 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koh Tao receives 255 hours of full sun.

Railay Beach is a little warmer than Koh Tao in the winter. The daily temperature in Railay Beach averages around 28°C (82°F) in January, and Koh Tao fluctuates around 22°C (72°F).


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

Should I visit Railay Beach or Koh Tao in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Railay Beach and Koh Tao. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Railay Beach year-round. Koh Tao attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

February to June in Koh Tao is the dry season. Railay Beach gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Railay Beach usually receives more rain than Koh Tao. Railay Beach gets 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain, while Koh Tao receives 74 mm (2.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Koh Tao this time of the year. In Railay Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. Railay Beach usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Koh Tao during spring. Railay Beach gets 249 hours of sunny skies, while Koh Tao receives 239 hours of full sun in the spring.

In the spring, Railay Beach is a little warmer than Koh Tao. Typically, the spring temperatures in Railay Beach in April average around 29°C (84°F), and Koh Tao averages at about 25°C (77°F).


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

Typical Weather for Koh Tao and Railay Beach

Railay Beach 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)