A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Similan Islands vs. Koh Pha Ngan for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

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 Koh Pha Ngan 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.

Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a party-oriented, high energy, and funky party island. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan: 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
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Full Moon Parties
Things to Consider
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Koh Pha Ngan. Although Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan are popular destinations, Koh Pha Ngan has more sights and attractions for tourists. Koh Pha Ngan is very popular for its museums, nightlife, resorts, hiking, and shopping, while Similan Islands attracts visitors for its scuba diving & snorkeling and impressive beauty. Koh Pha Ngan is more touristy than Similan Islands and is popular for its wild Full Moon Parties, large backpacker crowds, and strikingly beautiful beaches. It is also well known for the Full Moon Parties. Similan Islands is famous for its world class diving and remote setting.

How is Similan Islands different from Koh Pha Ngan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a decent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.

While most people don't head to Koh Pha Ngan specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Visitors come of the natural beauty, outdoor sports, and hardcore parties more than the sights and museums. Kuan Yin Temple is worth visiting, as is Wat Pho and Wat Phu Khao Noi.

Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan area. There is frequent turnover in the restaurant scene around town, but there are a few mainstay restaurants that offer consistent and reliable Thai or international cuisine. In general, the food is fresh and the typical Thai favorites are available most places. Also make sure you check out the Thong Sala Night Market, which offers unique snacks and local dishes.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Nightlife?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is an amazing party island to visit for nightlife and partying. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

Koh Pha Ngan has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. The island's famous Full Moon Parties have landed it on many lists for top party destinations around the world. These parties are held every month on the night of the full moon, with the biggest crowds between November and March. The parties are traditionally held at the beach in Haad Rin. If you miss the Full Moon Party, you can check out the Half Moon Festival on Baan Ti. During other times, you'll find a variety of different parties that capitalize on the party reputation of the island, so whenever you visit, you can enjoy some level of festivities.

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 Koh Pha Ngan Better for Resorts?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a party island with good options for its luxury resorts. However, Similan Islands is not a resort destination.

With a selection of resorts, Koh Pha Ngan makes a nice vacation spot. Much of the island caters to the backpacker crowd, but there are some luxury resorts to choose from as well. Many resorts take advantage of the beautiful nature on the island or intentionally prioritize a serene environment where you can relax by the pool.

Similan Islands is not a resort destination.


Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Similan Islands is a world-class destination for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Koh Pha Ngan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its diving and snorkeling.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Similan Islands is not to be missed. 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.

Koh Pha Ngan has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. The island has its share of dive shops and a nice underwater setting where you can see coral and a variety of marine life. The island doesn't draw the huge diving crowds like some of the other islands, but that isn't always a bad thing.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Beaches?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Both Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan are considered to be amazing 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.

Koh Pha Ngan offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The white sand beaches with turquoise blue waters make this island a truly beautiful destination. While most people think of beach parties and Full Moon Parties, the island also has some quieter beaches where you can relax in a peaceful paradise. The parties are mostly concentrated around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin. This beach also has cheap bungalows that are popular with the backpacker crowd. For the quieter beaches, head to the northern side of the island around Hat Khuat and Hat Thian.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Hiking?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is an excellent place to visit for its hiking trails. Also, Similan Islands is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Koh Pha Ngan. In its interior, the island has beautiful jungle and impressive hikes. Some of the best hikes are found in Than Sadet National Park, but come prepared because they can often be challenging. They usually end with a breathtaking viewpoint, secluded beach, or stunning waterfall though.

Similan Islands offers some nice hiking trails. There are hikes through the jungle and to various viewpoints on several of the islands.


Is the Shopping Better in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is a decent place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

If you're looking to go shopping, Koh Pha Ngan has some nice offerings. Although shopping isn't particularly popular on the island, it does offer a unique opportunity to support individual shop owners as there are more independently owned vendors on this island than in many other areas. Head to the markets and you'll find the most independent shops to support.

Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Families?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Similan Islands is very good for its family-friendly activities. However, Koh Pha Ngan is not particularly known for its kid-friendly activities.

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.

For families, Koh Pha Ngan is not always the best place to visit. Most people think of Full Moon Parties and backpacker crowds when they think of this island. There are actually some quieter areas on the eastern and northern sides of the island that are good for families. The activities are best suited for older kids and include hiking, windsurfing, yoga, and shopping.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Couples?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Similan Islands is a world-class destination for romance. Also, Koh Pha Ngan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Similan Islands 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.

Koh Pha Ngan makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy partying, yoga retreats, and outdoor exploration will find something for them on this island. There are beautiful hikes to waterfalls as well as nice beaches and, of course, the wild parties.


Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Koh Pha Ngan is an amazing party island to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Koh Pha Ngan is extremely popular for backpackers. This island is synonymous with backpacker vibes and full moon parties. Head to the southern side of the island around Haad Rin and Ban Tai for the highest concentration of backpacker crowds. Like much of Thailand, there is frequent turnover in hostel ownership, so most reviews that you read online will be out of date. It's best to talk to people on the road to get the most up-to-date perspective.

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 Koh Pha Ngan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Visitors will find reasonable public transit in both Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan.

Public transit is mostly 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.

Public transit is generally limited in Koh Pha Ngan. Your best bet for getting around the island without a private vehicle is Songthaew taxi, longtail boats, and rental mopeds.

Is Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan a more walkable city?

Similan Islands
Koh Pha Ngan

Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan are nice when it comes to walkability.

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

Koh Pha Ngan is a somewhat walkable island chain. It's possible, and even enjoyable, to walk from place to place around the island but allow yourself a lot of time and bring water because temperatures can be very warm.


For even more information, also check out Is Similan Islands Worth Visiting? and Is Koh Pha Ngan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan or Similan Islands?

How long in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

In either Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Similan Islands than Koh Pha Ngan because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Similan Islands, and 3-5 days is enough time in Koh Pha Ngan.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan.


  • How many days in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Similan Islands 4-7 
    Koh Pha Ngan 3-5

One day in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

In Similan Islands, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and food that this idyllic island chain offers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. 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.

The high energy destination of Koh Pha Ngan offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. 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 Koh Pha Ngan?

Similan Islands is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

The party island of Koh Pha Ngan offers scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. 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 Koh Pha Ngan?

In Similan Islands, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and food that this idyllic destination offers. Most people come for the beaches. 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.

Koh Pha Ngan is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. This party island 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 Koh Pha Ngan?

Similan Islands is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. 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.

Many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting Koh Pha Ngan. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


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, Koh Pha Ngan or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $164, while the average daily cost in Koh Pha Ngan is $45. 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 Koh Pha Ngan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $68
    Koh Pha Ngan $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $136
    Koh Pha Ngan $46
Compare Hotels in Similan Islands and Koh Pha Ngan

Looking for a hotel in Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan? 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 Koh Pha Ngan


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 Pha Ngan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $98
    Koh Pha Ngan $13

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Scooter Rental
    $8.19
  • Ferry Ride
    $14
  • Gas for Scooter
    $3.00

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

Prices for flights to both Koh Pha Ngan 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
    Koh Pha Ngan $10

Typical Food Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Koh Pha Ngan:


  • Noodle Lunch (for One)
    $1.09
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $11
  • Smoothies (for Two)
    $1.09
  • Ice Cream
    $0.55
  • Juice
    $1.64
  • 3 Spring Rolls
    $0.82
  • 2 Pancakes
    $1.64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $44
    Koh Pha Ngan $17

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $9.36
    Koh Pha Ngan $9.89

Typical Alcohol Prices in Koh Pha Ngan

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Koh Pha Ngan are as follows:


  • Drinks at Irish Pub (for Two)
    $7.10


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

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 Koh Pha Ngan Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan?

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 Koh Pha Ngan in the Summer?

Both Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan year-round.

June to September is the rainy season in Similan Islands. Koh Pha Ngan 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 more rain in July than Koh Pha Ngan. Similan Islands gets 284 mm (11.2 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

In July, Similan Islands is generally a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 28°C (82°F), and Koh Pha Ngan fluctuates around 24°C (76°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Similan Islands 28°C (82°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan in the Autumn?

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

October to May in Similan Islands is the dry season. December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Also, October and November is the rainy season in Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Pha Ngan 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 more rain than Koh Pha Ngan. Similan Islands gets 351 mm (13.8 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 240 mm (9.5 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

Similan Islands is a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan in the autumn. The daily temperature in Similan Islands averages around 27°C (81°F) in October, and Koh Pha Ngan fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Similan Islands 27°C (81°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan in the Winter?

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

Also, December to March in Koh Pha Ngan is the dry season. Similan Islands usually gets less rain in January than Koh Pha Ngan. Similan Islands gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the winter, Similan Islands is a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Typically, the winter temperatures in Similan Islands in January average around 27°C (80°F), and Koh Pha Ngan averages at about 22°C (72°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Similan Islands 27°C (80°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Koh Pha Ngan in the Spring?

Both Koh Pha Ngan 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 Koh Pha Ngan 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. It's quite rainy in Similan Islands. In April, Similan Islands usually receives more rain than Koh Pha Ngan. Similan Islands gets 157 mm (6.2 in) of rain, while Koh Pha Ngan receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In April, Similan Islands is generally a little warmer than Koh Pha Ngan. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 29°C (83°F), and Koh Pha Ngan fluctuates around 24°C (76°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Similan Islands 29°C (83°F) 
    Koh Pha Ngan 24°C (76°F)

Typical Weather for Koh Pha Ngan and Similan Islands

Similan Islands Koh Pha Ngan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (80°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 22°C (72°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 22°C (72°F) 11 mm (0.4 in)
Mar 28°C (83°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 23°C (74°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)
Apr 29°C (83°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 24°C (76°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 345 mm (13.6 in) 25°C (77°F) 164 mm (6.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 286 mm (11.3 in) 25°C (77°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 284 mm (11.2 in) 24°C (76°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 272 mm (10.7 in) 24°C (76°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 417 mm (16.4 in) 25°C (76°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 351 mm (13.8 in) 24°C (75°F) 240 mm (9.5 in)
Nov 27°C (80°F) 188 mm (7.4 in) 23°C (74°F) 335 mm (13.2 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 23°C (73°F) 134 mm (5.3 in)