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

Should you visit Similan Islands or Pattaya?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Similan Islands and Pattaya 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.

Pattaya

Go where the locals go. If that is your vacation motto, you will want to take a look at the popular weekend getaway of Pattaya, Thailand. This seaside resort on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand is just outside of Bangkok, and full of resorts, beer bars and beaches.

Hosting more than five million visitors a year, Pattaya is easily accessed from the capital and the airport. Keep in mind, the sex tourism industry is still a large money earner for this city, but efforts by local authorities have created resorts and attractions for families and vacationers from all around the world.

Which city is cheaper, Pattaya or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $163, while the average daily cost in Pattaya is $60. 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 Pattaya in more detail.



Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $122 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.

Travelers usually pay around $42 for a double occupancy room in Pattaya If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $61
    Pattaya $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $122
    Pattaya $42

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Similan Islands cost around $33 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.

Food in Pattaya costs travelers about $20 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Similan Islands $33
    Pattaya $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pattaya

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

  • Drink Drunk Drunk night & Sunset landmark selfie with Dinner: $56

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 $120 on transportation in Similan Islands on average per day.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Pattaya than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $11 on transportation in Pattaya on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $120
    Pattaya $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pattaya

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

  • Tiffany's Show Pattaya Admission Ticket with Return Transfer: $44
  • Sanctuary of Truth at Pattaya Admission Ticket with Transfer: $35
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum at Pattaya with Return Transfer: $52
  • Return hotel transfers to Gems Gallery Pattaya (Jewelry): $2.56
  • Ramayana Water Park Admission with Hotel Transfers from Pattaya: $65
  • Ramayana Water Park Admission Ticket with Return Transfer: $55
  • Private Transfer: Pattaya to Bangkok: $82
  • Private Transfer: DMK Airport to Pattaya hotel 100% All-Electric Car: $85
  • Private Transfer: BKK Airport to Pattaya hotel 100% All-Electric Car: $100
  • Private Transfer from Pattaya to Suvarnabhumi Airport: $73
  • Private Transfer from Pattaya Hotel to DMK Airport: $73
  • Private Transfer from Pattaya Hotel to Bangkok Airport or Don Muang Airport: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Pattaya?

Prices for flights to both Pattaya 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 $40 per day, per person.

Sightseeing expenses in Pattaya, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $18 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $40
    Pattaya $18

Tours and Activities in Pattaya

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

  • 3-Hour Mini Siam Tour in Pattaya: $55
  • Admission Ticket to Ramayana Water Park in Pattaya: $41
  • Alcazar Cabaret Admission Ticket with Optional Hotel Pickup in Pattaya: $21
  • Alcazar Cabaret Admission Ticket with Optional Hotel Pickup in Pattaya: $16
  • Alcazar Cabaret Show Admission Tickets: $19
  • Alcazar Cabaret Show at Pattaya Admission Ticket: $17
  • Art in Paradise Pattaya Entrance (Ticket Only): $9.09
  • Art in Paradise at Pattaya Admission Ticket: $15
  • Art in Paradise in Pattaya Admission Ticket: $15
  • Bangkok Temples Private Tour from Pattaya – Full Day: $150
  • Coral Island (Koh Larn) & Sanctuary of Truth Private Tour from Pattaya –Full Day: $85
  • Coral Island (Koh Larn) Tours with Lunch: $18

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Similan Islands spend on average $8.44 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 Pattaya, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.38.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $8.44
    Pattaya $7.38


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

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Similan Islands vs. Pattaya Travel Comparison

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