A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Similan Islands vs. Khao Lak for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Couples, and Families

Should you visit Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Similan Islands and Khao Lak can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Similan Islands

Similan Islands is a remote, spectacular, and idyllic island chain. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It's also known for beaches, hiking, and food.

Khao Lak

Khao Lak is a idyllic, serene, and laid back area. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Similan Islands and Khao Lak: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Khao Lak. Although Similan Islands and Khao Lak are popular destinations, Khao Lak has more sights and attractions for tourists. Khao Lak is very popular for its museums, nightlife, resorts, and shopping, while Similan Islands attracts visitors for its scuba diving & snorkeling and hiking. Khao Lak is more touristy than Similan Islands and is popular for its undersea marine life, white sand beaches, and mellow coastal vibe. It is also well known for Khao Sok National Park. Similan Islands is famous for its world class diving and remote setting.

How is Similan Islands different from Khao Lak?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Khao Lak and Similan Islands. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is not a good area for its museums and history. However, Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Khao Lak. You'll find plenty or natural beauty, but not much in the form of temples or museums.

Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Similan Islands or Khao Lak? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Similan Islands and Khao Lak can be difficult as they are each nice in their own way.

Similan Islands has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Most people visit the islands as part of an organized tour, which usually provides meals as part of the package.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Khao Lak area. There's a range of southern Thai classics that include seafood, curries, grilled meats, and even vegetarian options. You'll also find an abundance of western food restaurants that serve everything from pizza to burgers.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Nightlife?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is a area with good options for nightlife and partying. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Khao Lak. While it's a tranquil place, there are still some bars and clubs that have a laid back atmosphere and are fun places to hang out in the evening.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Similan Islands. Peace and tranquility is what makes these islands special, and you'll find very limited amenities and no nightlife on the islands.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Resorts?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Similan Islands is not a resort destination.

In Khao Lak, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. The resorts cater to couples and families and offer a laid back and relaxed setting.

Similan Islands is not a resort destination.


Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Similan Islands is an amazing island chain to visit for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Khao Lak is still popular, but not quite as popular for its diving and snorkeling.

Similan Islands is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. These islands offer one of the world's most famous and impressive diving spots. World class divers travel great distances to experience the undersea world here. There are liveaboard boat trips that range in length from 4 to 6 nights and leave from either Khao Lak or Phuket. These trips will take you to the many great dive spots in the area. Do take note that the islands close every year from May until October.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Khao Lak. There are many great dive and snorkel spots in the area and you'll find no shortage of excursions and day trips, whether you're interested in scuba diving or snorkeling.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Beaches?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Both Similan Islands and Khao Lak are considered to be world-class beach destinations.

Similan Islands is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The world class beaches have white sand and stunningly blue waters. The setting is challenging enough to reach that you'll likely have few people to share the beaches with. The undersea world is also among the best and most vibrant around.

Khao Lak offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The beaches are a highlight of any trip to Thailand. They offer a laid back and peaceful setting with white sand, turquoise water, and tropical marine life. Some of the best beaches include Bang Niang Beach - which is one of the most popular, Nang Thong Beach - which is one of the most beautiful, and Coconut Beach - which is one of the most idyllic.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Hiking?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Similan Islands is a island chain with good options for its hiking experiences. However, Khao Lak is not a hiking destination.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Similan Islands. There are hikes through the jungle and to various viewpoints on several of the islands.

Khao Lak is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is a area with good options for its shopping opportunities. However, Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Khao Lak. You'll find night markets, souvenir shops, local tailors, and other places where you can grab essentials or pick up souvenirs from your holiday.

Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Families?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Similan Islands is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Khao Lak is very family-friendly. This series of islands is filled with outdoor adventures for the whole family. You can explore the undersea world with a mask or snorkel or get out on the water on a kayak. There are also turtle sanctuaries and beautiful beaches where you can pass the time.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Similan Islands. It's a remote setting, but it's spectacularly beautiful with great snorkeling and sandy beaches that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Couples?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Both Similan Islands and Khao Lak are world-class destinations for a couple's getaway.

Similan Islands is a great island chain for couples, as it has plenty to offer. Couples who want to escape the tourist crowds will appreciate this remote and beautiful beach setting. The blue water and sandy beaches make for a true paradise.

Khao Lak is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. Underwater beauty, stunning beaches, outdoor adventures, and wildlife experiences all make these islands a world class honeymoon destination.


Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is an excellent place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Khao Lak. Like most of Thailand, the backpacker amenities are abundant. You'll find plenty of hostels, fun activities, and affordable entertainment throughout the region.

Similan Islands is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's remote setting makes it challenging to reach on a budget, but if you're willing to devote a day or more to travel, then you'll be well rewarded.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Khao Lak is a area with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for its public transit.

Khao Lak has some public transit options. Transportation comes in the form of tuk tuks, Songthaew (pick up trucks), taxis, and public buses. There are also VIP buses and minivans as well.

Public transit is generally limited in Similan Islands. The national park operates boats between the islands. You can also charter private longtail boats, however these must be secured in advance and availability is not guaranteed.

Is Similan Islands or Khao Lak a more walkable city?

Similan Islands
Khao Lak

Similan Islands is a island chain with good options for its walkability. However, Khao Lak is a area with minimal options for its high level of walkability.

Similan Islands is somewhat walkable. There are footpaths that connect the points of interest on some of the islands.

Khao Lak is generally not a very walkable island chain. While there are areas where you can walk, the region isn't particularly walkable.


For even more information, also check out Is Similan Islands Worth Visiting? and Is Khao Lak Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Khao Lak or Similan Islands?

How long in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Both Similan Islands and Khao Lak have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Khao Lak has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Khao Lak than Similan Islands. In general, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Similan Islands, and 5-7 days is enough time in Khao Lak.

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

Couples should spend more time in Khao Lak than Similan Islands. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Khao Lak that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Khao Lak than Similan Islands 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 Khao Lak.


  • How many days in Similan Islands or Khao Lak? Ideal Length of Stay
    Similan Islands 4-7 
    Khao Lak 5-7

One day in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

The beautiful island chain of Similan Islands offers scuba diving and snorkeling and food. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The idyllic destination of Khao Lak offers nightlife and food. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Similan Islands is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

The area of Khao Lak offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Similan Islands is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Similan Islands, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Khao Lak is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. This area offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.


A week in Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Similan Islands is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Similan Islands has to offer. This island chain offers something for everyone.

The relaxed area of Khao Lak offers shopping and nightlife. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. For many, it makes a great getaway for one week. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Bangkok, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Phuket, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Chiang Mai, and The Best 10-Day Tours from Bangkok.


Which place is cheaper, Khao Lak or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $163, while the average daily cost in Khao Lak is $112. 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 Similan Islands and Khao Lak in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $68
    Khao Lak $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $136
    Khao Lak $102
Compare Hotels in Similan Islands and Khao Lak

Looking for a hotel in Similan Islands or Khao Lak? 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 Similan Islands


Hotels in Khao Lak


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: Khao Lak Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $97
    Khao Lak $52

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Khao Lak

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Khao Lak:

  • Transfer Service from Khao Lak to Krabi: $117
  • Similan Island Snorkeling Adventure -Full-Day Tour with Transfers: $122
  • Private Transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak: $45
  • Private Transfer from Khao Lak to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $102
  • Premium Similan Island Day Trip with lunch and transfer pick up: $99
  • Phuket: Private One-Way Transfer to/from Khao Lak by Car: $30
  • Krabi Airport: Private Transfer to/from Khaolak: $113
  • Khaolak Half Day Tour Bamboo Rafting and Hotel Transfer: $99
  • Khao Lak/Bang Sak: 1-Way Private Transfer to Phuket Airport: $42
  • Khao Lak any hotel to Koh Lanta any hotel Private transfer: $176
  • Khao Lak To Khao Sok Private Minivan & Car Transfer: $58
  • From Carnival Magic Phuket Ticket with Transfer: $109

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

Prices for flights to both Khao Lak and Similan Islands 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
    Similan Islands $36
    Khao Lak $30

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Khao Lak

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

  • Authentic Thai Cooking Class in Khao Lak with Market Tour by Pakinnaka School: $56
  • Riverside Thai Cooking Half Day Class: $58
  • Authentic Thai cooking class with market tour.: $61
  • Thai Cooking Class in a Garden with Transfer: $61
  • Thai Cooking Class in Khaolak: $62
  • Authentic Thai Cooking Class from Khao Lak: $67
  • 3 hours Khao Lak Cooking Class and Market Visit: $69
  • Half-Day Cooking Class and Ingredient Hunt: $69
  • 3-Hour Khaolak Cooking Class with Food Market Visit: $71
  • Private Local Style Cooking Class With Charcoal Stove: $75
  • Full-Day Small Group Thai Cooking Class from Khao Lak : $75
  • Khaolak Finger Food Tour with Cabaret Show: $85

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $44
    Khao Lak $19

Tours and Activities in Khao Lak

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

  • 1-Hour Guided Khaolak Elephant Sanctuary Observation Tour: $43
  • 2 Hours-Early Bird Guide Tour in Khao Lak Elephant Sanctuary: $69
  • 30-Minutes ATV Quads and Waterfall Experience in Khaolak : $57
  • Adventure Off Road Safari to Khao Lak National Park: $115
  • Bamboo Rafting and Sea Turtle Conservation Center Half Day Tour From Khao Lak: $38
  • Cheow Lan Lake: 2-Day Guided Tour with Meals and Activities: $180
  • Day Tour with Sea Canoeing at Hong Island from Khao Lak: $83
  • Early Bird Phi Phi Islands Adventure From Khao Lak: $112
  • Eco Grand Canyon with Hot Springs and Elephant Retreat Tour: $99
  • Evening Guide Tour to Khaolak Elephant Sanctuary Free 1 Cocktail: $51
  • Exclusive Khao Lak Highlights - Private Tour: $55
  • From Khao Lak Or Khok Kloi : Phi Phi Islands Adventure Day Trip with Lunch: $105

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $9.32
    Khao Lak $13


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Similan Islands and Khao Lak, we can see that Similan Islands is more expensive. And not only is Khao Lak much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Khao Lak would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Khao Lak 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 Similan Islands would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Similan Islands than you might in Khao Lak.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Similan Islands Expensive? and Is Khao Lak Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Similan Islands or Khao Lak?

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 Similan Islands or Khao Lak in the Summer?

Both Khao Lak and Similan Islands during the summer are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Similan Islands because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Khao Lak year-round.

June to September is the rainy season in Similan Islands. Khao Lak gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Similan Islands. Similan Islands usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 284 mm (11.2 in) of rain, while Khao Lak receives 284 mm (11.2 in) of rain this time of the year.

In Khao Lak, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Similan Islands. In the summer, Similan Islands often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Khao Lak receives 206 hours of full sun.

In July, Similan Islands is generally around the same temperature as Khao Lak. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 28°C (82°F), and Khao Lak fluctuates around 28°C (82°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Similan Islands 28°C (82°F) 
    Khao Lak 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Khao Lak in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Similan Islands and Khao Lak. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Similan Islands year-round. Khao Lak attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

October to May in Similan Islands is the dry season. November to April in Khao Lak is the dry season. Also, May to October is the rainy season in Khao Lak. Khao Lak receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Similan Islands gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Similan Islands usually receives around the same amount of rain as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 351 mm (13.8 in) of rain, while Khao Lak receives 351 mm (13.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

Similan Islands usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Khao Lak during autumn. Similan Islands gets 181 hours of sunny skies, while Khao Lak receives 181 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Similan Islands is around the same temperature as Khao Lak in the autumn. The daily temperature in Similan Islands averages around 27°C (81°F) in October, and Khao Lak fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Similan Islands 27°C (81°F) 
    Khao Lak 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Khao Lak in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Similan Islands as well as Khao Lak. Similan Islands attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Khao Lak throughout the year.

Similan Islands usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Khao Lak receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Khao Lak. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Similan Islands this time of the year. In the winter, Similan Islands often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 287 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Khao Lak receives 287 hours of full sun.

In the winter, Similan Islands is around the same temperature as Khao Lak. Typically, the winter temperatures in Similan Islands in January average around 27°C (80°F), and Khao Lak averages at about 27°C (80°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Similan Islands 27°C (80°F) 
    Khao Lak 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Khao Lak in the Spring?

Both Khao Lak and Similan Islands are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Similan Islands throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Khao Lak because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

The dry season in Similan Islands is October to May. The rainy season in Similan Islands is June to September. The dry season in Khao Lak is November to April. The rainy season in Khao Lak is May to October. It rains a lot this time of the year in Khao Lak. It's quite rainy in Similan Islands. In April, Similan Islands usually receives around the same amount of rain as Khao Lak. Similan Islands gets 157 mm (6.2 in) of rain, while Khao Lak receives 157 mm (6.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.

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

In April, Similan Islands is generally around the same temperature as Khao Lak. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 29°C (83°F), and Khao Lak fluctuates around 29°C (83°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Similan Islands 29°C (83°F) 
    Khao Lak 29°C (83°F)

Typical Weather for Khao Lak and Similan Islands

Similan Islands Khao Lak
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (80°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 27°C (80°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 30 mm (1.2 in)
Mar 28°C (83°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 28°C (83°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 29°C (83°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 29°C (83°F) 157 mm (6.2 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 345 mm (13.6 in) 28°C (82°F) 345 mm (13.6 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 286 mm (11.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 286 mm (11.3 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 284 mm (11.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 284 mm (11.2 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 272 mm (10.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 272 mm (10.7 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 417 mm (16.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 417 mm (16.4 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 351 mm (13.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 351 mm (13.8 in)
Nov 27°C (80°F) 188 mm (7.4 in) 27°C (80°F) 188 mm (7.4 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 27°C (80°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)


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