Thailand vs Bali: Which One Should You Really Pick?
Despite so many beach destinations in the world, few are as popular as Thailand or Bali. With gorgeous landscapes, friendly people, and plenty to see and explore, both destinations are a huge hit with travelers across the globe.
But which one should YOU opt for? With so much information available about both Bali and Thailand, it can get too overwhelming to pick one. Luckily, Bali and Thailand can cater to all kinds of travellers and offer excellent choices in budget-friendly as well as luxury travel.
So with that in mind, here are a few key points to consider about Bali and Thailand to help you choose the right one for you.
Thailand vs Bali: The Vibe
Thailand is for those who want to experience it all and have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out)! A luxurious blend of some of the best beaches of the world and tropical rainforests, a skyline flanked by glorious Buddhist pagodas, combined with a healthy dose of partying and endless retail therapy, Thailand is the best of Southeast Asia gift-wrapped into one package.
Often considered to be therapeutic to the mind and body for more reasons than one, Bali calls out to those who are looking for a good mix of sightseeing and uninterrupted relaxation. With a mystical volcanic landscape in the backdrop and long winding roads through paddy fields taking you to places unknown, Bali’s alluring vibe effortlessly brings together spirituality and luxury.
Thailand vs Bali: Best Time To Visit
In general, the best time of the year to visit Thailand is between November and early April. While mid April and May see temperatures soaring, July through October brings in the wet season in North of Thailand, which is best avoided.
It’s a slightly different story in the south where the weather depends on which coast of Thailand you’re on – east or west. The south west coast gets rainfall from April to October while the south east coast experiences it from September to December.
Bali is best visited between April and October if you want to enjoy the sunshine the island is known for. The monsoon season brings in rainfall from November to March, making the weather wet and humid.
Thailand vs Bali: Ease Of Access
Thailand has 11 international airports that make it extremely accessible, no matter where you’re flying in from. That also makes it convenient to fly domestically between major cities and some islands if you’re hard-pressed for time. In addition to that, Thailand’s well-connected road and rail networks are very travel-friendly and easy to use.
Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is serviced by several major airlines of the world that run direct flights to the island. Alternatively, you can also take a 2-hour-long flight to Bali from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
Thailand vs Bali: Beaches
With a coastline spanning more than 3000 kilometres, there is no dearth of sunshine and opportunities for beach fun in Thailand. While it is hard to narrow down the best beach in the country, some of the most popular ones are to be found, unsurprisingly, on Thailand’s islands. Sunrise beach in Koh Lipe, Mae Nam in Koh Samui, Railay beach in Krabi and Phi Phi Don in Koh Phi Phi are ideal for some downtime, while the beaches on Koh Phangan are wildly famous for their raging Full Moon parties.
Seminyak and Kuta are undoubtedly two of the most popular beaches in Bali, thronged by hundreds of tourists at any given point in time. They are also home to some of the best beach bars, clubs and restaurants on the island. However, if you’re after something quieter, someplace to take in Bali’s nature, head to one of these beaches – Sanur, Padang Padang, and Jimbaran Bay for a few hours of tranquility.
Thailand vs Bali: Villas & Resorts
Thailand and Bali are both known for offering a wide range of stay options for travelers. Be it a rustic, eco-friendly villa amid lush greenery or a swanky resort overlooking the endless blue ocean, Thailand and Bali run neck-to-neck as far as accommodation is concerned.
Both destinations also cater to all kinds of budgets, and it is not hard to find beautiful properties in a price range that suits you.
Thailand vs Bali: Adventure Activities
With its diverse terrain ranging from mountains to sea beaches, Thailand is a favourite with travellers who wish to indulge in adventure sports. Go parasailing in Phuket, ziplining in the forests of Chiang Mai, try snorkelling in Similan Islands or head to Ang Thong National Marine Park for a thrilling underwater experience. Whatever your risk appetite, Thailand has something for every kind of adventure enthusiast.
Bali is best known as a surfer’s paradise, with its coastline lashing with magnificent waves. But that’s not the only activity you can sign up for to quench your thirst for adventure. Whether it’s white-water rafting on the Ayung river, kitesurfing on Sanur beach, or even trekking up a volcanic mountain (Mount Batur and Mount Agung), Bali is one island where the possibilities are unique and endless!
Thailand vs Bali: Nightlife
Thailand’s buzzing nightlife is one of the very reasons many travelers head to this country in the first place. So whether you love a good night of dancing or would rather have a romantic sundowner with your partner on a beach, you’ll never run out of options in Thailand. Whether you visit Bangkok’s upscale nightclubs or Phuket’s beachside pubs, there will never be a dull moment no matter which way your heart swings. Alternatively, head to Koh Phangan, best known for its legendary Full Moon parties for an experience to remember!
With gigs from International bands, DJs and live bands, nightlife in Bali is exciting and has a unique charm of its own. Happening beach clubs, casual lounges or classy fine-dining restaurants can all be easily spotted on the island. But apart from these usual experiences, evenings in Bali are made more interesting by local cultural performances, sometimes accompanied by a Balinese dinner. Many restaurants like Bebek Tepi Sawah are popular for their evening musical and dance performances that showcase the local culture alongside service an authentic local fare.
Thailand vs Bali: Island-Hopping
With over a thousand islands off the coast of its mainland, Thailand offers endless opportunities for island-hopping. One of the most popular island-hopping routes starts from Phuket, taking you through Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. All these islands are interconnected by ferry services that you can avail of at reasonable rates. However, if you have the time and budget to only visit any one of these islands, you could still hop across several smaller islands surrounding the bigger one as a quick day trip.
Bali in itself is a beautiful island to explore, but it has some even more stunning islands surrounding it that you can hop to for a day trip. The islands nearest to Bali that have become a popular choice for island-hoppers are Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Pristine and idyllic, they offer a great escape from Bali’s crowd. The other island-hopping route you can opt for is the trio of Gili islands – Gili Air, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. These three islands have come to be known for attracting the backpacking crowd, while still maintaining their romantic charm.
Thailand vs Bali: Places To Visit/Things To Do
Being a diverse country, Thailand offers a wide variety of places to visit and things to see – both natural and man-made. No matter what kind of a traveller you are, Thailand knows how to play its cards right. Start your trip by hitting Bangkok to experience its street-food, shopping and dazzling skyscrapers, and immersing yourself in its ornate Buddhist temples. Wat Arun and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha are two must-visit temples in the city. From there, head up North to Chiang Mai for a dose of religious and cultural heritage, or down south to Ko Phangan and Ko Tao for excellent snorkelling/diving opportunities, Phuket for its nightclubs and markets, and Ko Phi Phi to experience its pristine beaches.
Bali conjures up images of terraced rice fields, ancient Hindu temples and fierce waterfalls amid rich tropical forests. If it’s the beaches, sunsets and the good life you’re after, head to Kuta, Legian or Seminyak for the best experiences. Further, explore Ubud for its rainforests, rice paddies and therapeutic Balinese massages amid nature, South Bali for stunning limestone cliffs, Amed for beautiful coral gardens and marine life, and Lovina for dolphins, charming cafes, waterfalls and hot springs.
It’s a tough choice to make between two destinations as diverse and as beautiful as Thailand and Bali and we can’t blame you for being confused. Both destinations have top-notch beaches, nightlife and activities to boast of, making the decision even harder.
However, if you only have a few days to travel, Bali may be a more convenient choice given that you have just one (albeit huge) island to explore and find your way around, as opposed to Thailand where you’ll need to travel between multiple cities and islands to get a taste of it all.