A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Similan Islands vs. Koh Samui for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Similan Islands or Koh Samui?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Similan Islands and Koh Samui can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Similan Islands

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.

Koh Samui

The largest island on the east coast of southern Thailand, Ko Samui (or Koh Samui) sees a good number of visitors every year who come for its lush rainforest, beautiful shores, and undersea wildlife. The size of the island is still small enough to allow visitors to circumnavigate it with a taxi or motorbike in a day, while hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can find plenty of inland activities in the hills and jungle.

Which city is cheaper, Koh Samui or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $160, while the average daily cost in Koh Samui is $49. 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 Similan Islands and Koh Samui in more detail.



Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $118 for a double occupancy room in Similan Islands If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $42 in Koh Samui For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $59
    Koh Samui $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $118
    Koh Samui $42

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Similan Islands cost around $32 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 $13.

On average, meal and food prices in Koh Samui cost around $17 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 $6.80.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Similan Islands $32
    Koh Samui $17

Typical Food prices in Koh Samui

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Koh Samui:


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Koh Samui

For Koh Samui, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Class with Herbal Garden by Amari Koh Samui: $55
  • Koh Samui Jungle Kitchen - Half Day Cooking Class: $77
  • Jungle Kitchen Cooking Class in Koh Samui: $89
  • Red Baron : A Sunset Dinner Cruise from Koh Samui with Return Transfer: $122
  • Koh Samui Red Baron Sunset Dinner Cruise with Return Transfer: $131
  • 4-Hour Koh Samui Red Baron Sunset Dinner Cruise: $131

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Similan Islands than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $118 on transportation in Similan Islands on average per day.

Koh Samui's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $15 per person, per day on transportation in Koh Samui.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $118
    Koh Samui $15

Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Samui

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Koh Samui:


  • Scooter Rental
    $2.26
  • Gas for Scooter
    $1.21
  • Airport Taxi
    $13
  • Taxi- Na Thon Pier to Lamai Beach
    $13
  • Minibus- Airport to Chaweng
    $3.62

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Koh Samui

Also for Koh Samui, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • The Red Baron Luxury Yacht Cruise from Koh Samui with Return Transfer: $181
  • Private Transfer from Choeng Mon Beach to Samui (USM) Airport: $41
  • Koh Samui Paradise Park Farm Admission Ticket with Return Transfer: $58
  • Koh Samui Airport (USM): One-Way Private Hotel Transfer: $23
  • Guided Zipline Adventure in Ko Samui with Round Trip Transfer: $87

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Koh Samui?

Prices for flights to both Koh Samui 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Similan Islands, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $39 per day, per person.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Koh Samui can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $9.27 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $39
    Koh Samui $9.27

Tours and Activities in Koh Samui

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

  • Full Day Ko Samui Island Boat Tour: $87
  • Full-Day Koh Samui Jungle Mountain Adventure Tour with Lunch: $64
  • Full-Day Tour to Koh Phangan by Speedboat from Koh Samui: $93
  • Full-Day Tour to Koh Samui Island by Boat with Lunch: $87
  • Full-day diving experience for beginners (no license): $212
  • Gulf of Thailand Fishing Challenge Tour from Ko Samui: $52
  • Ko Samui Angthong Marine Park Full Day Tour : Snorkeling & Sea Kayaking: $82
  • Ko Samui Angthong Marine Park Full Day Tour with Snorkeling & Sea Kayaking: $82
  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Ko Samui City Tour including Wat Phra Yai, Lat Ko Viewpoint, Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock: $29
  • Koh Nangyuan Snorkeling and Koh Tao Tour by Catamaran Cruise from Koh Samui: $92

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Similan Islands spend on average $8.27 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Koh Samui, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.09.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $8.27
    Koh Samui $4.09


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

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Similan Islands vs. Koh Samui Travel Comparison

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