I get asked a lot about my thoughts between Thailand and Bali as travel destinations. As they are usually a first major destination for many people, especially for the under 30 crowd, I thought I would put my 2 cents down to help guide people.

Let’s start with this: Thailand is a country, and Bali is a part of Indonesia so it is not exactly apple vs apple comparison.  Both are major backpacking destinations, and this is the way I would recommend to travel to both – even if you are there for luxury destinations. It is rare to stay in one part of either destinations and with a backpack it easier to move around and safer (less chance for your bags to stand out, and so are the chances for them to be stolen). You also don’t need to be carrying suitcases in, really all you need is beach wear and it is much cheaper to buy your clothes there.  Most clothing costs $4-$10, I just pack basics and buy what I need there.

My verdict: Thailand > Bali.

Here are the reasons:

Cleaner.

Bali’s western coast is very polluted. Ocean pollution is a big problem there; I even have friends and heard of people getting sick from the water. There are plastics all over the water there and every morning trash is cleaned off the beaches. Ocean conservation is something I became really passionate about after seeing the impact of plastics. Recycle and try not to use plastics please!

Thailand has much more options for beaches and bodies of water, many are spectacular. Don’t get me wrong parts of it has pollution as well, but there are much more options for beaches and we have never had that as an issue.

Easy to get around.

Thailand is extremely easy to get around in. The infrastructure is great, including: taxi, train, car/moped rental (won’t recommend between cities), water taxis, and planes.

Within Bali the main choice is a taxi and it takes forever to get to places, but there are some great stops along most destinations. If you find a good and knowledgeable driver he will show you some gems – negotiate the rates ahead.

Don’t get into this situation!

More for everyone.

Thailand being a country has naturally a bigger choice of everything and amazing islands that are hard to leave. Yes there are different islands around Bali but most travelers stay within Bali or do a couple days out trips and comeback.

Northern Thailand/Chiang Mai is comparable to Ubud in Bali. Both places still reminiscence the roots and culture and a must visit for all.

For the city slickers it is hard to compare Bangkok to anything Indonesia has let alone Bali, including Jakarta. Bangkok is one of those everything goes cities and you can make anything you want out of it.

Food.

Bali doesn’t have as good of a food scene –  that includes street vendors and top restaurants like we would be used to in the western world. Don’t get me wrong, Bali has amazing restaurants but Thailand has just more of them and the street food is almost nonexistent in Bali.  Traditional Balinese food is mostly found in family owned  Warung (literally means “shop”) and Rumah Makan (literally means “eating home”).  When it is got to do with street food a rule of thumb is always to eat at the busy places.

I can live off Thailand’s street food (and I did), it is so good. Actually Thailand just received 17 new Michelin Stars and one of them went to Jay Fai, or Auntie Fai’s street food in Bangkok.

Indonesian sate time 😋🍢

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Conclusion.

If someone offered me a free trip with a choice of either Thailand or Bali, I would pick Thailand every time.  Mostly for the reasons above and partially because I love being in the water as much as possible and Thailand is a better choice for that.

Bali has actually has better hoteling options and one of my most favourite properties in the world, is in Ubud.

An infinity pool overlooking a jungle ✔😍🏞

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Both equally packed and busy with tourists. There is very little chance to escape from crowds at either destination. Thailand is better prepared for them. Both are safe.

Indonesia has over 18,000 counted islands and is by far the largest and most varied archipelago on Earth. It is absolutely gorgeous and has much more untouched areas you can explore than in Thailand, most just don’t.

If you have months of time for a travel destination I would definitely recommend exploring around Indonesia. For anything less or first time South East Asia travelers, Thailand is the recommended choice.

Stay tuned for in-depth posts on both.

Keep exploring!

 

 

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