A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Similan Islands vs. Railay Beach for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

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 Railay Beach 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

Similan Islands is a remote, spectacular, and idyllic island chain. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a dramatic, spectacular, and fun-filled beach area. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Similan Islands and Railay Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Railay Beach. Although Similan Islands and Railay Beach are popular destinations, Railay Beach has more sights and attractions for tourists. Railay Beach is very popular for its museums, nightlife, resorts, and shopping, while Similan Islands attracts visitors for its scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and hiking. Railay Beach is more touristy than Similan Islands and is popular for its beautiful limestone cliffs and its world famous rock climbing. It is also well known for Phra Nang Cave. Similan Islands is famous for its world class diving and remote setting.

How is Similan Islands different from Railay Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Railay Beach and Similan Islands. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is not a good area for its museums and history. However, Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Railay Beach. This is an adventure sport destination that is popular for rock climbing and its scenic beauty. Therefore, there are no real museums or temples in the area.

Similan Islands does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Similan Islands or Railay Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Similan Islands and Railay Beach can be difficult as they are each nice in their own way.

Similan Islands has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Most people visit the islands as part of an organized tour, which usually provides meals as part of the package.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Railay Beach area. You'll find a number of tourist oriented restaurants. Many are affiliated with hotels and resorts and serve the standard Thai options along with pizza and burgers.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Nightlife?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a beach area with good options for nightlife and partying. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Railay Beach. It's a secluded area with a decent number of laid back bars that are usually associated with hotels or resorts. There's also a young crowd, including backpackers, who come for the beautiful setting and great rock climbing. This population insures that there's always something going on at night.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Similan Islands. Peace and tranquility is what makes these islands special, and you'll find very limited amenities and no nightlife on the islands.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Resorts?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Similan Islands is not a resort destination.

In Railay Beach, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. You'll find a mix of beachside resorts and budget hotels, as well as a number of hostels in the area.

Similan Islands is not a resort destination.


Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Similan Islands is an unbeatable place for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for its diving and snorkeling.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Similan Islands is not to be missed. These islands offer one of the world's most famous and impressive diving spots. World class divers travel great distances to experience the undersea world here. There are liveaboard boat trips that range in length from 4 to 6 nights and leave from either Khao Lak or Phuket. These trips will take you to the many great dive spots in the area. Do take note that the islands close every year from May until October.

Many visitors go to Railay Beach to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. There are dive centers that offer both snorkeling and dive trips to nearby areas.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Beaches?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Similan Islands is an unbeatable place for its beaches. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for the beache.

With world-famous beaches, Similan Islands is a very popular vacation destination. The world class beaches have white sand and stunningly blue waters. The setting is challenging enough to reach that you'll likely have few people to share the beaches with. The undersea world is also among the best and most vibrant around.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Railay Beach. The beaches are famous for their dramatic limestone cliffs. There are three areas: Railay Beach West is scenic with its surrounding cliffs and popular resorts. This is the place to swim or watch the sunset. Railay Beach East is most popular for its rock climbing. You should also check out Phra Nang Cave Beach, which is the location of Phra Nang Cave.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Hiking?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Similan Islands is very good for the nearby hiking options. However, Railay Beach is not a hiking destination.

Many people include a hike when visiting Similan Islands. There are hikes through the jungle and to various viewpoints on several of the islands.

Railay Beach is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a decent place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

If you're looking to go shopping, Railay Beach has some nice offerings. The Walking Street has shops that sell bathing suits or anything you may have forgotten.

Similan Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Families?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Both Similan Islands and Railay Beach are nice to visit with kids.

Similan Islands is a family-friendly island chain. It's a remote setting, but it's spectacularly beautiful with great snorkeling and sandy beaches that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Railay Beach. This is a favorite beach area for many visitors to Thailand. It's only accessible by water and it offers adventure sports and calm waters that are nice for kids.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Couples?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Similan Islands is an unbeatable place for romance. Also, Railay Beach is not as famous, but is still a good beach area to visit for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Similan Islands has plenty to offer. Couples who want to escape the tourist crowds will appreciate this remote and beautiful beach setting. The blue water and sandy beaches make for a true paradise.

Railay Beach makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Rock climbing is a favorite activity here, and couples who have an adventurous spirit will enjoy this dramatic location.


Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is an excellent place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Similan Islands is lacking in options for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Railay Beach. There's no shortage of affordable accommodation that attracts budget travelers and backpackers. The area's world class rock climbing also appeals to the young and adventurous crowd.

Similan Islands is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's remote setting makes it challenging to reach on a budget, but if you're willing to devote a day or more to travel, then you'll be well rewarded.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Visitors will find reasonable public transit in both Similan Islands and Railay Beach.

Public transit is mostly limited in Similan Islands. The national park operates boats between the islands. You can also charter private longtail boats, however these must be secured in advance and availability is not guaranteed.

Public transit is generally limited in Railay Beach. The area is only accessible by boat and there is no road transportation.

Is Similan Islands or Railay Beach a more walkable city?

Similan Islands
Railay Beach

Railay Beach is an amazing beach area to visit for its high level of walkability. Also, Similan Islands is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Railay Beach. The area has no cars or road transportation so everything, including the beaches are easy to walk to.

Similan Islands is a somewhat walkable island chain. There are footpaths that connect the points of interest on some of the islands.


For even more information, also check out Is Similan Islands Worth Visiting? and Is Railay Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Railay Beach or Similan Islands?

How long in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

It's fun to spend time in either Similan Islands or Railay Beach. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Similan Islands due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Similan Islands, and 2-4 days is enough time in Railay Beach.

Families should spend more time in Railay Beach than Similan Islands. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Railay Beach, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Similan Islands than Railay Beach. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Similan Islands that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Railay Beach than Similan Islands if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Railay Beach.


  • How many days in Similan Islands or Railay Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Similan Islands 4-7 
    Railay Beach 2-4

One day in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

In Similan Islands, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and food that this idyllic island chain offers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

The spectacular destination of Railay Beach offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Similan Islands is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

The beach area of Railay Beach offers scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.

Five days in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

In Similan Islands, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and food that this remote destination offers. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Railay Beach is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This beach area offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Similan Islands is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting Railay Beach. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Bangkok, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Phuket, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Chiang Mai, and The Best 10-Day Tours from Bangkok.


Which place is cheaper, Railay Beach or Similan Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Similan Islands is $164, while the average daily cost in Railay Beach is $105. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Similan Islands and Railay Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Similan Islands $68
    Railay Beach $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Similan Islands $136
    Railay Beach $126
Compare Hotels in Similan Islands and Railay Beach

Looking for a hotel in Similan Islands or Railay Beach? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Similan Islands


Hotels in Railay Beach


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Similan Islands $98
    Railay Beach $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Prices for flights to both Railay Beach 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 $36
    Railay Beach $22

Typical Food Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of dining costs in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.46
  • Pizza
    $4.64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Similan Islands $44
    Railay Beach $23

Typical Entertainment Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Rock Climbing (for Two)
    $19

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Similan Islands $9.36
    Railay Beach $15

Typical Alcohol Prices in Railay Beach

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Railay Beach are as follows:


  • Beer
    $1.64


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Similan Islands Expensive? and Is Railay Beach Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach?

Both destinations experience a warmer climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Similan Islands as well as Railay Beach. Similan Islands attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Railay Beach throughout the year.

June to September in Similan Islands is the rainy season. August to October in Railay Beach is the rainy season. It's quite rainy in Railay Beach. Similan Islands receives a lot of rain in the summer. Similan Islands usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 284 mm (11.2 in) of rain, while Railay Beach receives 287 mm (11.3 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Railay Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Similan Islands this time of the year. In the summer, Similan Islands often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Railay Beach receives 206 hours of full sun.

In July, Similan Islands is generally around the same temperature as Railay Beach. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 28°C (82°F), and Railay Beach fluctuates around 28°C (82°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Similan Islands 28°C (82°F) 
    Railay Beach 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach in the Autumn?

Both Railay Beach and Similan Islands are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Similan Islands throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Railay Beach because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

The dry season in Similan Islands is October to May. The dry season in Railay Beach is December to March. The rainy season in Railay Beach is August to October. It rains a lot this time of the year in Railay Beach. It's quite rainy in Similan Islands. In October, Similan Islands usually receives more rain than Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 351 mm (13.8 in) of rain, while Railay Beach receives 304 mm (12 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

Similan Islands usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Railay Beach during autumn. Similan Islands gets 181 hours of sunny skies, while Railay Beach receives 181 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Similan Islands is around the same temperature as Railay Beach in the autumn. The daily temperature in Similan Islands averages around 27°C (81°F) in October, and Railay Beach fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Similan Islands 27°C (81°F) 
    Railay Beach 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach in the Winter?

Both Railay Beach and Similan Islands during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Similan Islands because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Railay Beach year-round.

December to March is the dry season in Railay Beach. Similan Islands usually gets more rain in January than Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Railay Beach receives 31 mm (1.2 in) of rain this time of the year.

In Railay Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Similan Islands. In the winter, Similan Islands often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 287 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Railay Beach receives 287 hours of full sun.

In the winter, Similan Islands is around the same temperature as Railay Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Similan Islands in January average around 27°C (80°F), and Railay Beach averages at about 28°C (82°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Similan Islands 27°C (80°F) 
    Railay Beach 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Similan Islands or Railay Beach in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Similan Islands and Railay Beach. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Similan Islands year-round. Railay Beach attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

October to May in Similan Islands is the dry season. Also, June to September is the rainy season in Similan Islands. Railay Beach receives a lot of rain in the spring. Similan Islands gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Similan Islands usually receives more rain than Railay Beach. Similan Islands gets 157 mm (6.2 in) of rain, while Railay Beach receives 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain each month for the spring.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Railay Beach this time of the year. In Similan Islands, it's very sunny this time of the year. Similan Islands usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Railay Beach during spring. Similan Islands gets 249 hours of sunny skies, while Railay Beach receives 249 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Similan Islands is generally around the same temperature as Railay Beach. Daily temperatures in Similan Islands average around 29°C (83°F), and Railay Beach fluctuates around 29°C (84°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Similan Islands 29°C (83°F) 
    Railay Beach 29°C (84°F)

Typical Weather for Railay Beach and Similan Islands

Similan Islands Railay Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (80°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 28°C (83°F) 22 mm (0.9 in)
Mar 28°C (83°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 29°C (84°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Apr 29°C (83°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 29°C (84°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 345 mm (13.6 in) 28°C (83°F) 318 mm (12.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 286 mm (11.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 279 mm (11 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 284 mm (11.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 287 mm (11.3 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 272 mm (10.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 262 mm (10.3 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 417 mm (16.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 399 mm (15.7 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 351 mm (13.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 304 mm (12 in)
Nov 27°C (80°F) 188 mm (7.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 165 mm (6.5 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)


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