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

Should you visit Similan Islands or Koh Tao?

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 Tao 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

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 Tao

With a name that literally means, "Turtle Island," Koh Tao, Thailand is the type of vacation spot divers dream of. There is the faintest current and a buffet of dive sites and shops.

This tiny island hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, but take not that there are no garbage disposal facilities. Everything that can't be burnt needs to be taken from the island. Avoid plastic bags, and don't dump your trash in the open landscape (then again, why would you?) because there are no departments for road clean up. Water and electricity on the island are scarce, so use them wisely.

Keep in mind that monsoon season from November to January so you may be faced with constant rain for days at a time in those months.

Which city is cheaper, Koh Tao or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $153, while the average daily cost in Koh Tao is $31. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Similan Islands and Koh Tao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $57
    Koh Tao $12
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $114
    Koh Tao $24

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $113
    Koh Tao $7.33

Typical Local Transportation prices in Koh Tao

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


  • Motorbike Rental
    $5.47
  • Chumpon to Koh Tao Ferry
    $19

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

Prices for flights to both Koh Tao 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 $30
    Koh Tao $7.83

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)
    $5.76
  • Breakfast
    $4.32
  • Casual Breakfast (for Two)
    $3.46
  • Fancy Dinner (for Two)
    $14
  • Pancake
    $2.02
  • American Breakfast (for Two)
    $8.07
  • Dinner at Bam Bam (for Two)
    $7.78

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $37
    Koh Tao $22

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)
    $7.20
  • Snorkel Rental
    $2.88
  • Kayak and Snorkel (2)
    $2.88

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $7.90
    Koh Tao $6.03

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
    $1.87
  • Bottle of Wine
    $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Similan Islands and Koh Tao, we can see that Similan Islands 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 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 Tao.

Budget Your Trip

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Similan Islands vs. Koh Tao Travel Comparison

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