Most holidaymakers who travel to Koh Tao have a clear idea of budget and holiday spending. Some have complex tracking systems with categories for food and drink, nightlife, scuba diving, snorkel tours, and other activities. Others keep their receipts and adjust their budget daily based on spending habits. And there’s always some who just wing it and get a shock halfway into their stay when they log on to their online banking apps!
Whatever method you use to budget for your stay, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what things cost before you get here, so we’ve put together this short guide to help you plan your holiday spending.
Koh Tao has such a diverse range of accommodation that it’s difficult to give an average figure. Most Koh Tao visitors book their accommodation ahead of time, which is recommended – particularly in high season or around busy national holidays like Songkran. For those who prefer to wait until arrival however, typical costs for accommodation on Koh Tao are as follows:
Hostel fan dorm: 200-450THB per night
Hostel AC dorm: 400-600THB per night
Budget fan bungalow or hotel room: 500-800THB per night
Budget AC bungalow or hotel room: 800-1200THB per night
Mid-range AC bungalow or hotel room: 1200-2000THB per night
High-end resort AC bungalow or room: 2000-5000THB per night
Private Villa: 5000THB+ per night
All Koh Tao dive centres are part of a Koh Tao Dive Operators Club, which meets on a regular basis to discuss topics that cover diving development, dive site maintenance, diver safety, and pricing. Currently, there is an agreement in place that means every Koh Tao dive school should be charging an agreed minimum price. So whatever dive course or fun diving trip you plan on taking, prices for scuba diving on Koh Tao start at:
Fun Dive (certified divers only): 800-1000THB
Try Dive: 2,500THB
Open Water Diver: 11,000THB
Advanced Diver: 10,000THB
Rescue Diver: 10,000THB
Professional Level Courses: The minimum price for Koh Tao Divemaster courses is currently 30,000THB, and prices for Koh Tao Instructor courses start at around 40,000THB. Please note that at professional level, costs for course materials and certification fees are often not included in the quoted minimum price.
Koh Tao is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and colourful tropical marine life, making round island snorkel trips one of the most popular activities aside from scuba diving. For a full day trip including lunch and snorkel stops at five different beaches and bays including some time on Koh NangYuan, you should expect to pay around 850THB.
There is so much variety when it comes to food on Koh Tao. From cheap eats through to café culture and fine dining, there is something to suit every taste and every budget. Typical costs are as follows:
Snacks: 7-Eleven toasties are somewhat legendary around the Southeast Asian backpacker circuit. You can pick one up for around 30THB.
Street stalls: Snacks like meat skewers and fried chicken are 20-50THB per piece, and full meals are under 100THB.
Thai Restaurants: Expect to pay 80-120THB per meal.
Western food: The more western food you eat, the more expensive your stay becomes. Classic western options like pizza and burgers typically start from 200-250 THB for basic options, and up to 400THB for more expensive combos. Eating at vegetarian and vegan restaurants can sometimes save you a little cash as fresh fruit and vegetable produce is cheaper to buy than meat dishes.
Fine dining: At any of Koh Tao’s higher-end restaurants, appetisers start at around 80-100THB, main meals typically cost 250-400THB, and desserts are around 150THB.
When you buy from a local shop or Koh Tao supermarket drinks are fairly cheap, but you buy in a café or restaurant, expect there to be a 10-20THB mark up on the prices below. If you are staying longer term on Koh Tao, do be aware that you can order water in large containers or crates of recyclable bottles from a local supplier. This will save you money and is also much better from a conservation perspective.
Water: small 10THB, large 25THB
Soda Water: 12THB per bottle
Soft drinks: 20THB
Coffee: 30-40THB for Espresso, 40-60THB for an Americano, 60-80THB for a Flat White, 70-90THB for a Cappuccino.
Beer: small 60THB, large 80THB
Spirit & Mixer: 100-120THB for bottom shelf, 140-180THB for top shelf.
Getting to and from Koh Tao is cheap and easy if you use land transport and buy joint tickets from a reputable travel agent. Once you are on the island your options are fairly limited, so most people prefer to walk or rent a Koh Tao scooter to get the most out of their holiday budget:
Taxis: For a taxi cab the average cost for a short-medium length one-way fare is 400-600THB per cab. For longtail taxi-boats, the starting price for a return charter is around 600THB per trip.
Koh Tao scooter rental: From 200THB per day.
Other costs for incidental items and little holiday splurges will, of course, increase your overall budget. Examples of typical costs for ancillary services are:
Laundry – 40THB per kilo
Massage – 300THB for 1 hour
Haircut – From 300THB