Should you visit Similan Islands or Khao Sok National Park?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Similan Islands and Khao Sok National Park can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
There are places divers like, and there are places divers love. One of the most popular spots to visit the underwater world is at the national park of the Similan Islands in southern Thailand. With 140 square kilometers of land and nine islands, this area is a paradise for those ready to get their feet wet.
The park is made up of nine islands: Ko Bon, Ko Bayu, Ko Similan, Ko Payu, Ko Miang, Ko Payan, Ko Paying and Ko Huyong. If these names are a bit too similar for you to easily differentiate, don't worry. Most refer to each island with a number from 1 to 9. Two more islands were added to the park – Koh Bon and Koh Tachai – in 1998.
Even though the park was only established in 1982, the islands have been around for approximately 65 million years. They are the product of swells of hot magma during the Cretaceous period and smoothed over by glacial ice and water erosion. The reefs beneath the surface are approximately 5,000 years and therefor the oldest in Thailand. Luckily, because of its deep waters, the islands' underwater landscapes were essentially unharmed during the 2004 tsunami.
Each island is covered in lush, tropical jungle and white, sandy coastlines. There is fish of every shape, color and size – including the famous "Nemo" clownfish, batfish, barracudas, whale sharks and manta rays.
You'll want to plan your visit around monsoon season. So book a trip sometime between December and April. March is a particularly good time to visit as the winds have died down and the water is crystal clear. The park is closed from May to November.
There are a few tents and bungalows on some of the islands. They are government run, and you'll need to reserve them in advance. Many divers will simply take day trips, or sleep on board boats. There are several organized tour and boat options available out of Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong. Both areas will likely offer day trips and live-aboard cruises. These cruises typically start at four days and 4 nights, but shorter trips are available. There is an entry fee to the park, along with a daily usage fee for those spending multiple days in the park. This fee is paid to your driver before the trip.
Khao Sok National Park
In the south of Thailand, visitors will find a gorgeous getaway of pure nature. The Khao Sok National Park is a jungle reserve that covers over 700 square kilometers, and described as one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in the country.
Many say this jungle is over 160 million years old making it one of the world's oldest rainforests. The lush environment of limestone, waterfalls and thickets of vegetation will make any wanderer eager to discover more. Keep your eyes peeled for bears, boars, gaurs, tapirs, gibbons, deer, marbled cats, wild elephants and more. Look to the sky for over 300 species of bird and 38 different types of bats.
You'll find the best time to book is from December to April, better known as the dry season. From June to October there is significantly more rain and the threat of monsoons. Not only does it rain on your parade, but also it causes the leeches to emerge.
To enter the park is a 300 baht fee for foreigners, 150 for children, and 40 for Thai citizens. If someone tries to sell you a ticket for more than that, simply buy one at the park entrance. When planning your stay remember that your entrance fee is only valid for 24 hours. If you're staying multiple days, you'll need to pay up front. Often if you're with a tour, the entrance fee is included in the tour price, but you should inquire about this to make sure.
Which city is cheaper, Khao Sok National Park or Similan Islands?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.