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Are you dreaming of visiting Southeast Asia and wondering which is better: Thailand or Bali?
It’s not surprising that Bali and Thailand are so often compared – they’re both incredible destinations that are rich in culture and boast some of the world’s most sensational landscapes!
But, despite being paradise locations, there are a lot of differences between them. I visited Bali and Thailand during the same trip and found a completely different vibe in each destination.
It’s no secret that I fell in love with Thailand but, Bali is an amazing island that I’d go back to in a heartbeat.
With glorious scenery, delicious food and lots to see and do, they’re both worthy of a space on your bucket list… So how do you choose between them?!
Here are some of my thoughts to help you decide whether Bali or Thailand is the perfect fit for your next getaway…
Best time to visit Bali vs Thailand
Despite being so close to each other, Bali and Thailand have different seasons. Like all tropical destinations, they have wet and dry seasons. And although it’s best to travel in the dry season, travel is still possible at other times if it doesn’t work with your schedule.
I travelled to Bali in March (in the wet season) and it did rain a lot, but it was still an amazing getaway and we managed to do everything we had planned.
That said, try to visit Bali and Thailand during their dry seasons for the very best conditions and to make the most of your holiday.
For Bali, the dry season is between April and October. During this time you can expect daily temperatures of around 30°C. In Thailand, the dry season is from November to March – this is when the humidity and rainfall will be lower and you’ll have better conditions for the beach.
The exception to this is Thailand’s eastern islands, such as Koh Samui, which have their own rainy season from October to December.
Thailand’s temperatures in the dry season stay around 30°C so you’re guaranteed lovely heat!
Beaches in Bali vs Thailand
Both Bali and Thailand are famed for their beaches but, in my opinion, they’re not comparable. If you’re after powdery sand and palm-fringed beaches, Thailand is the hands-down winner.
Boasting over 1,400 islands, Thailand is heaven for beach lovers.
The beaches are everything you’d expect from a paradise destination and with their iconic limestone cliffs, they’re extra breathtaking in Thailand.
Sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are all amazing in Thailand thanks to the idyllic sandy stretches and calm crystal waters. Some of the best beaches include Railay Beach, Freedom Beach, Koh Phangan’s Bottle Beach and Sunrise Beach on Koh Lipe.
As just one island within the country of Indonesia, Bali, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many beaches as Thailand, but, it’s still a great beach destination!
Although you won’t find so many white sand beaches in Bali, the beaches here have their own unique appeal.
If you’re into surfing, Bali’s beaches definitely top Thailand’s – there are many beaches in Bali that are brilliant for catching waves. There are also loads of cool beaches in Seminyak where you’ll find beachside bars and beanbags that are perfect for watching the sunset.
Some of the more idyllic, tropical beaches in Bali include Nusa Dua Beach, Green Bowl Beach and Padang Padang Beach in Uluwatu.
Nearby, but not actually on the island of Bali, you’ll also be able to reach Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida as well as the Gili Islands which boast gorgeous, postcard-worthy sands.
Nature & scenery in Bali vs Thailand
Both Thailand and Bali are blessed with diverse and beautiful landscapes.
As a country, Thailand has loads to offer visitors – if you have the time for a longer visit, you’ll be able to see lush forested mountains in the north as well as southern Thailand’s glorious beaches.
Thailand also boasts numerous national parks such as Erawan National Park and Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok was one of my favourite places when I visited Thailand. It has the most stunning jungle landscapes and dramatic limestone mountains. The park’s Cheow Lan Lake is a fairytale setting – you’ll want to stay overnight in a floating bungalow if you get the chance.
I was blown away by the scenery in Thailand, so if you want to be wowed, you won’t be disappointed.
But, just like Thailand, Bali has much to offer, too! As a small island, Bali really packs a punch when it comes to natural wonders.
A popular destination for nature lovers, you won’t be disappointed in Bali – it’s an island that’s known for its rice terraces, lush greenery and photogenic volcanic settings.
If you want a back-to-nature jungle getaway, Bali is the place for you. In the heart of the island, Ubud is a paradise location that boasts some of the world’s prettiest natural surroundings.
The Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the most famous spots, but you’ll also find numerous temples set amongst breathtaking natural scenery. Bali is also known for its beautiful waterfalls – some of the best include Tegenungan, Tukad Cepung and Tibumana.
As well as this, many of Bali’s hotels make the most of the scenery, so you’ll find plenty of tranquil resorts that are perfect for grounding into nature.
Vibe & culture in Bali vs Thailand
Bali and Thailand both offer a unique vibe. As you can probably expect, Thailand is known for its vibrant and bustling energy.
Blending tradition with modern lifestyle, this is a country that’s famous for its beach parties, street food and night markets. There’s always a lot going on in Thailand and the energy is fun and contagious.
As a predominantly Buddhist country, the locals in Thailand are known for their friendly and welcoming nature – it’s no surprise that Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles!
You can expect to see magnificent Buddhist temples across Thailand that make for a fascinating visit. Plus, you’ll see monks almost everywhere in Thailand – there are 300,000 Buddhist monks living in the country!
While Buddhism is predominant in Thailand, Balinese culture is deeply rooted in Hinduism. You’ll see little handmade offerings for the Hindu gods on the streets in Bali and there are always ceremonies and events happening.
But, just like Thailand, the locals in Bali are always warm and welcoming, too.
In terms of the vibe, compared to Thailand, Bali has more of a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. While you’ll still find cool beach bars and clubs in Bali, the island is known for its yoga retreats and meditation centres.
There’s a big focus on wellness, spirituality and mindfulness in Bali – particularly in Ubud, where you’ll find lots of vegan and healthy cafes, too. It’s an amazing spot if you want to really unwind.
Food in Bali vs Thailand
If you’re anything like me, food will play a big part in your holidays! Luckily, both Thailand and Bali have a lot to offer.
Bali’s cuisine is heavily influenced by Indonesian, Chinese and Indian cultures – popular dishes include nasi goreng, gado-gado and satay. If you’re vegan or want healthy food, you’ll be in luck with Bali too. You’ll find a whole host of Instagram-worthy spots that offer drool-worthy food.
In my opinion, Thailand is a lot more traditional, but it’s a country that offers some of the tastiest food on the planet! Famous for its spicy and aromatic cuisine, you’ll find dishes like tom yum, pad thai and green curry in Thailand.
I completely fell in love with Thai food while I was there – massaman curry is my all-time favourite and one you should definitely try!
Nightlife in Bali vs Thailand
While Thailand is famed for its parties, you can’t go wrong in either if you’re looking for a destination to dance the night away.
Although Bali has a great wellness scene, you’ll still find bars and clubs along the beaches of Kuta and Seminyak. Sky Garden is the notorious club in Kuta, while Potato Head is one of the world’s best beach clubs.
Thailand, of course, boasts epic beach parties. You can’t overlook the famous Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan island. And over in Bangkok, you’ll find bustling nightlife with numerous clubs and rooftop bars, so you’ll never be short of options.
Hotels in Bali vs Thailand
You’ll find no shortage of brilliant hotels in Thailand or Bali. If you’re planning a holiday or a honeymoon to either of these countries, you’re in for a treat!
As destinations that are on the cheaper side, you’ll also have access to incredible hotels at a better price than elsewhere.
In Thailand, hotels on the islands deliver pristine tropical vibes. You’ll find an abundance of upscale boutique hotels, private beach resorts and heavenly villas.
Bali also has some of the world’s dreamiest accommodation – many of which have been made with couples and honeymooners in mind. If you’re opting for a luxury hotel, you’re guaranteed somewhere extra special in Bali.
Many resorts are also eco-friendly which is a huge win, and you’ll find plenty that focus on wellness, so there’s always a great spa offering.
How to get to Bali vs Thailand
Bali and Thailand are geographically close to each other but it will depend on where you’re travelling from as to which is easier to reach.
If you’re coming from the UK, Thailand is the easiest – there are regular direct flights to Bangkok from London that take 11 hours. There are currently no direct flights from the UK to Bali. You can expect a stopover in Dubai, Qatar or Singapore, and a journey time of around 18 hours.
If you’re coming from Australia, Bali is the easier option and can be reached in 6 hours from Sydney. From the US, both destinations will require a stopover and can each take up to 25 hours.
Which is Better… Bali or Thailand?!
Deciding between Bali and Thailand will always depend on your preferences and interests.
Both are fab destinations and if you have the chance to visit both, I’d highly recommend it! But, if you’re limited on time or only want to visit one, you’ve got a hard decision to make..
As a country rather than an island, Thailand definitely offers the most choice between the two.
If you’re after a postcard-perfect beach break, I’d definitely recommend Thailand over Bali. But, for a romantic, back-to-nature getaway, you can’t go wrong with Bali.
Bali is also an exceptional choice for a laid-back vacation and it could be the better fit if you’re wanting a wellness break.
Whichever you choose, you’ll have an amazing time. Personally, my winner is Thailand, but Bali is still high on my list of dream destinations. Bali is romantic and magical and it’s no wonder it’s on so many people’s bucket lists.
So, truly, you can’t go wrong with either Bali or Thailand!
& there you have it – my thoughts on whether Bali or Thailand is better! I hope this post has helped and I can’t wait to hear which you decide to visit. Let me know in the comments or share with me which you prefer – I’d love to know!