Should you visit Similan Islands or Lombok?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Similan Islands and Lombok 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.
Lombok is an island east of the well-tread Bali and west of lesser-developed Sumbawa. While Lombok is not as popular as its neighbor to the west, it is a great place to visit for that very reason. Less popularity means lower prices for accommodations, food, activities, and less-inundated tourist spots. Nonetheless, Lombok is rapidly developing in tourism, and the government is naming it and Sumbawa the number two tourism spots, following Bali.
Which city is cheaper, Lombok or Similan Islands?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $155, while the average daily cost in Lombok is $46. 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 Lombok in more detail.
Travelers usually pay around $116 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.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Lombok, $52 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Lombok, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $26, such as in a hostel.
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 $114 on transportation in Similan Islands on average per day.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Lombok than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $9.92 on transportation in Lombok on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lombok
Also for Lombok, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private airport transfer-Lombok International Airport to Hotel:
Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Lombok?
Prices for flights to both Lombok 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.
On average, meal and food prices in Similan Islands cost around $31 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 $12.
The average traveler spends about $11 per day in Lombok for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Similan Islands $31
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lombok
For Lombok, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
3 Hour Cooking Class Experiences and Lunch at Anggrek Putih Eco Resort in Lombok:
Sightseeing expenses in Similan Islands, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $38 per day, per person.
Sightseeing expenses in Lombok, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $9.15 per day, per person.
Tours and Activities in Lombok
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Lombok.
2-Day Mt Rinjani Volcano Trekking Tour from Lombok:
2-Night Mt Rinjani Beginner Trekking Tour from Lombok:
3-Day Mt Rinjani Volcano Trekking Tour from Lombok:
4-Day Mt. Rinjani Volcano Trekking Tour on Lombok:
Full Day Gili Sudak and Cycling Tour:
6-Hour City and Countryside Biking Tour:
Master Fishing Day Cruise:
North Sendang Gile Waterfall & Senaru Village Tour:
Pengsong Temple Biking Tour:
Private Full-Day Gili Nanggu Tour from Lombok:
Private Tour: Amazing Waterfalls of Lombok:
Private Tour: Full-day Sasak Tour and Horse Cart Riding:
Typically, people visiting Similan Islands spend on average $8.01 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 Lombok, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.24.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Similan Islands and Lombok, we can see that Similan Islands is more expensive. And not only is Lombok much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lombok would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lombok 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 Lombok.
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