Should you visit Similan Islands or Sihanoukville?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Similan Islands and Sihanoukville 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.
Sihanoukville, also known by locals as Kompong Som, was named after King Sihanouk. Also Cambodia's youngest city, construction started in 1955 to build Cambodia's first and only deep water port so that ships would no longer have to go through the Mekong Delta in order to trade with Cambodia. Today, many visit Sihanoukville as a hub to visit Cambodia's islands.
Which city is cheaper, Sihanoukville 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 Sihanoukville is $41. 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 Sihanoukville in more detail.
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.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $18. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Sihanoukville the cost is $36 on average.
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.
The price of a meal in Sihanoukville can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $15 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $6.00 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
Meals for one day
Similan Islands $33
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.
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $11 per day to get around in Sihanoukville.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sihanoukville
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Sihanoukville:
Sihanoukville Airport Transfer (Airport - Hotel - Airport):
Private Transfer from airport or hotel to hotel or airport in Shinaouk Ville:
Private Transfer One Way Sihanouk to Phnom Penh | Phnom Penh to Sihanouk:
Private Shuttle Transfer From Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh:
Overland transfer from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh:
Is it cheaper to fly into Similan Islands or Sihanoukville?
Prices for flights to both Sihanoukville 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.
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.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $4.26 per person, per day in Sihanoukville. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Tours and Activities in Sihanoukville
Here are a few actual costs in Sihanoukville for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
2 Days Koh Rong Adventure Tour:
2 Days Sihanoukville Free and Easy Private Tour:
2 Days Sihanoukville Highlights Private Tour:
2 Days Sihanoukville and Kampot Experience Private Tour:
3 Days Koh Rong Quad Bike and Ocean Adventure Tour:
3 Days Sihanoukville Adventure Private Tour:
3 Days Sihanoukville Lover and Exploring Island Holiday Private Tour:
3-4 Hours City Tour of Sihanouk Ville:
Best City tour of Sihanouk Ville in 01 Day:
Best Sihanoukville Day Tours From Cruise Port or Hotel:
Best of Sihanoukville City Tour from Cruise Port or Hotel:
Explore Sihanoukville Dirt Bike Tour:
Typically, people visiting Similan Islands spend on average $8.44 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Sihanoukville may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.51 per day on alcoholic beverages.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Similan Islands and Sihanoukville, we can see that Similan Islands is more expensive. And not only is Sihanoukville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sihanoukville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sihanoukville 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 Sihanoukville.
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