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

Should you visit Similan Islands or Phuket?

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 Phuket 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.

Phuket

Phuket Island is the tourist mecca of southern Thailand. Known for its beaches and resorts, the island brings in a massive amount of travelers from all over the world, year round. Although the beaches are beautiful, Phuket has also become more westernized and tourist-oriented in recent decades, leaving many travelers to venture elsewhere to find that amazing beach with a more authentic Thai vibe. However, Phuket Island is quite large, and hidden gems can still be found.

Which city is cheaper, Phuket 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 Phuket is $87. 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 Phuket in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $57
    Phuket $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $114
    Phuket $96

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $113
    Phuket $8.47

Typical Local Transportation prices in Phuket

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


  • Longtail Taxi (for Two)
    $8.64
  • Taxi from Airport to Phuket Town
    $7.20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phuket

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phuket:

  • Transfer from Phuket Hotel to Phuket Airport: $43
  • Transfer from Phuket Hotel to Phi Phi Island: $25
  • Transfer from Phuket Airport to Phuket Hotel: $43
  • Transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak Hotel: $50
  • Private Van: Phuket Airport Transfers: $38
  • Private Transfer: Van Charter incl Airport Pick Up or Drop Off: $92
  • Private Transfer from Phuket to Krabi with 2h of Sightseeing: $91
  • Private Transfer from Phuket City to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Transfer from Mai Khao Beach to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Transfer from Bang Tao Beach to Phuket (HKT) Airport: $62
  • Private Phuket Point To Point Transfer Services by Minivan: $58
  • Private Car: Phuket Airport Departure Transfer: $35

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Phuket?

Prices for flights to both Phuket 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
    Phuket $17

Typical Food prices in Phuket

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Phuket:


  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $8.33
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $4.90
  • Sit Down Dinner (for Two)
    $12
  • Thai Noodles
    $2.59
  • Bananas
    $0.72
  • Pizza (for Two)
    $8.64

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phuket

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Phuket.

  • Private Authentic Thai Cooking Class in a Family Home in Phuket: $60
  • Phuket Old Town 15-Taster Food Tour: $63
  • Siam Niramit w/ Ticket+ Buffet Dinner + Transfer: $63
  • Half Day Thai Cooking Class including Lunch from Khao Lak: $65
  • Phuket FantaSea: Show with Dinner and Transfers: $75
  • Phijittra Uniqueness Sailing Sunset Dinner Cruise: $79
  • Phuket Cooking Course with Sightseeing Tour plus Kata Local Market (Full Day): $101
  • Dinner Buffet Cruise in Phuket: $109
  • James Bond Island Trip on Luxury Boat & lunch buffet, dinner, water activities: $153
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise on board a beautiful: $204

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $37
    Phuket $36

Typical Entertainment prices in Phuket

Here are a few typical costs in Phuket for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • One Day Boat Tour
    $26
  • Scuba Diving (Two Dives)
    $72
  • Thai Oil Massage
    $18
  • Surfboard Rental
    $8.64

Tours and Activities in Phuket

Here are a few actual costs in Phuket for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Coral and Racha Islands Speedboat Snorkeling Tour from Phuket: $73
  • DAY TRIP - JOIN TOUR Coral Island Phuket by Sailing Catamaran Yacht: $155
  • Early Bird Small Group - Phi Phi Islands Sunrise Tour with Seaview Lunch Buffet: $106
  • Fishing Live Aboard Cruise to the Similan Islands: $7,338
  • Fishing Live Aboard Cruise to the Surin Islands: $7,338
  • Flying Hanuman Phuket Tour: $119
  • Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience: $83
  • Flying Trapeze Adventure in Phuket: $21
  • From 4-Day Tropical Island Cruise - Suwan Macha: $1,328
  • From Deluxe Phi Phi Tour by Speedboat & Lunch Buffet: $87
  • From Full-Day Coral Island Tour & Sea Walking: $79
  • From Phang Nga Adventure Tour with Zipline: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $7.90
    Phuket $5.37

Typical Alcohol prices in Phuket

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Phuket from other travelers:


  • Cocktails (for Two)
    $5.76
  • Beer
    $2.45

Sample the Local Flavors in Phuket

Also in Phuket, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Bar Crawl Tour: $31


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

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Similan Islands vs. Phuket Travel Comparison

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