What should I do: Buy a package tour or travel independently?


Two things I have been thinking about recently, whilst on my travels in Thailand.

  1. The cost.
  2. Which is the best way to travel – utilising a package tour or independent travel?

Since the early days of having small children and not a lot of money, I have become a one woman crusade into developing and creating Value For Money trips. These thoughts have had me looking at the cost of taking four adults to the little island of Koh Tao, Thailand.

1. The cost of our flight to Bangkok came in at £489 per person. With a 3 hour stopover in Dubai. Flight time roughly twelve hours on Emirates. 

Use a company such as the Flight Centre UK. My contact Shaun Symonds, has been a real gem, each time I’ve flown.  Really working hard to get me the best price, most suitable flight for my budget and within  my required date and times.

The over night train down to Chumpon and the ferry across to Koh Tao, cost £24 per person  (including the return journey on both) and we left Bangkok on the same day as we arrived. it took some real work, ensuring the flight times and trains times coincided, but was worth it. The train tickets can be booked online with the Thai railway but their e-mail response is very slow, so do it well in advance. Especially around December through to March, when they are at their busiest.

The sleeper train is an experience. I think everyone who travels to Thailand should try it once!

Hua Lamphong Station, Bangkok








Our accommodation at Sunshine was combined with our scuba diving.


Bear in mind that Sunshine is a budget resort. Our rooms and diving for four people cost the princely sum of £657. My Husband and I shared a bungalow and our children both had their own. (With double bed and hot showers, my son could also pick up the wifi in his.)

That included:

Rescue Diver Course – 1 person.

Two Night Dives (2 people)

6 Boat dives (3 people)

All weights, tanks, BCD’s and wetsuits. The cost of the scuba diving comes down, the bigger package of diving you buy.

We stayed in the little resort for 10 nights in total. Making the most of the cheap Thai massages, relaxing company and great food on the friendly island. Even receiving a hug from the baguette lady – being recognised on our return, a really grand feeling.

The total cost for accommodation and Scuba Diving £2709. That makes that roughly £677 per person. (12 days). Without food (which can be inexpensive, depending on where and what you eat) and other activities.

The other alternative, which we all would now prefer to do, if we travelled there again, would be to fly into Koh Samui. Costing roughly another £200 pounds upwards each, but only  a boat ride away from Koh Tao. Making the journey  easier, a judgement call.

2.  I’ve never been a lover of package holidays but I believe both have their benefits and with a bit of research the package tour may be a viable alternative, if on your travels you have a particular activity planned and want to keep the rest of the costs low. A little research will help you find a way of travelling that suits your budget, flexibility and requirements.

This I am going to look at in future arrangements. I’m going to see if I can  find out if by using a package holiday, I can get a better deal, than just booking a cheap flight, then travelling independently and the quality of the experience. So Watch this space…

Where have you managed to find VFM, on your travels?


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