Vietnam or Thailand? What’s the best option for your next adventure?

thailand vs vietnam

Table of Contents

Top Travel Adventures in Thailand and Vietnam


Highlights You Must See in Thailand & Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, a natural wonder where stunning karst rocks descend into the water like dragons taking a dive, is the most popular tourist destination in Vietnam.(thailand vs vietnam)

The south of Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches, where dramatic karst formations plunge into the water like, well, you get the idea.

Both Vietnam and Thailand have a lot to offer if you’re a fan of the outdoors and the ocean. While Vietnam offers many options to board both large and small boats, Thailand is mainly focused on its white sand beaches.

City Explorations

My favorite Vietnamese city is Hanoi, where walking the Old Quarter is a mind-blowing experience. If you haven’t spent much time in Asia, expect severe culture shock. In Ho Chi Minh City, a city of contrasts, the ultra-rich reside in million-dollar condos above shacks where the ultra-poor are housed if you’re looking for something a little more modern.

Bangkok, one of the world’s most perplexing cities, is located in Thailand. Bangkok will astound you with its big-city drama and entertainment. If the thought of all that traffic and people makes you feel a little uneasy, you may always travel to Chiang Mai, which is a well-liked digital nomad destination in the north.(thailand vs vietnam)


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Despite the fact that Vietnam has several beautiful beaches, particularly in the southwest, none of them come close to the world-famous beaches of southern Thailand. Thailand is the clear winner if all you want to do is lay on a sun lounger and gaze out at the flawless cerulean sea.

Trekking and the Wilderness
beautiful view from the Ngu Lam peak in Kim Giao forest

Although there is some great trekking to be done in Northern Thailand, Vietnam is the place to go if you want to spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Vietnam has so many different kinds of scenery that you’ll never get tired of looking at it. In the north, there are hills, and in the south, the Mekong Delta is full of trees.


thailand vs vietnam

When it comes to must-have wildlife encounters, Vietnam doesn’t have a lot to offer. Although Thailand offers intimate access to nature, it has a dismal track record when it comes to animal abuse.

If you plan to visit a wildlife attraction in either nation, please make a thoughtful decision to make sure your money won’t support animal abuse.

ride on elephant
ride on elephant in forest chiang mai, northern Thailand

Never go to a tiger temple or ride an elephant, please! These attractions are intrinsically harmful to animals, and many of them are involved in wildlife poaching in neighboring nations.

Cycling and City Tours
Woman with bicycle
Woman with bicycle near Buddhist ruins

When it comes to wonderful encounters, both Thailand and Vietnam

Use a bicycle in Thailand to:

  • Investigate Bangkok at night
  • Discover the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai, or
  • Take the family on a 5-day trip along the south coast.

Vietnamese citizens can:

  • the Mekong Delta by bicycle
  • Use a boat and a bike to explore Hoi An.
  • Enjoy a fantastic 11-day boat and bike trip.

You may even ride from Bangkok to Saigon if you want to visit Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam all at once!


Vietnam’s buses
thailand vs vietnam
waiting for bus at bus stop

Every imaginable location in Vietnam that tourists could desire to visit is connected by an efficient bus network.

In Vietnam, long-distance buses are reasonably priced, frequently on schedule, and moderately comfortable. In a sleeper-style bus, where you can (nearly) stretch out on a bunk and may even get some sleep, trips lasting more than a few hours are typically taken.

Buses are today, if not luxurious, a reliable method of travel throughout Vietnam, dispelling nightmare stories of reckless drivers and unclean buses.

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Vietnam train
Vietnam train
The train to walk in the mountains,vietnam

In Vietnam, there is only one train route that travels from the far north all the way to Ho Chi Minh City before turning inland. Since railway terminals are typically outside of the heart of the city, the train is slower than the bus, more expensive, and less convenient.

A brief trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne or an overnight trip from Hanoi to Sapa can both be accomplished by train.

Vietnam’s motorcycle riding
motorcycle riding
Vintage motorcycle at vietnamese road

One of my favorite memories from Vietnam is the motorcycle trip I took from Hue to Hoi An. Although you may hire a bike and driver in Vietnam, I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life.

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As they do all the work, you sit on the back and observe the surroundings. Your buttocks (and possibly the rest of you) will pass out after around 5 or 6 hours on this mode of transportation.

A flight over Vietnam

We never recommend flying within a country because it’s expensive, bad for the environment, and keeps you from taking advantage of many other ways to travel. Plan not to see all of Vietnam if your time there is restricted. For the most fun, just concentrate your activities in the north or the south!

Thailand’s transportation system

Although there are certain less-traveled roads that you might have to take by taxi or private minibus, transportation is also fairly simple in Thailand.

Thailand’s buses

thailand vs vietnam

Thailand has a large bus network that can take you almost anywhere, just like Vietnam.

Choose a VIP bus to travel in safety; you’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll get a lot more in return. VIP buses have WiFi, air conditioning, safety features, comfortable seats, and other amenities, but I’d be surprised if WiFi ever worked properly on a bus.As long as you can manage the mad rush of moving traffic on Thai highways, the bus is a terrific option to travel around Thailand on a budget.

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Thailand trains
Trains in Thailand
Diesel train trains with traditional public transport Thai style for commuting train approaches Phitsanulok Railway Station city in Thailand

Use the train in Thailand if the thought of Thai traffic terrifies you or if you wish to travel in a bit more comfort.

Even though there aren’t many train lines, the network is sufficient to get you to the most well-known locations as long as you intend on passing through Bangkok.

You can take the train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet to travel to Cambodia, Nong Khiaw to travel to Laos, Chiang Mai in the north, or both.

The railway travels directly from Bangkok to Hat Yai, a hamlet on the Malaysian border, passing right through the well-known tourist islands of Ko Phangan and Ko Samui.

Indeed, you may go by rail all the way to Singapore through Malaysia.

In Thailand, trains are preferable to buses for overnight travel since you can purchase a reasonably priced (and typically quite contemporary and comfortable) sleeper berth.

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Thailand Air Travel

Flying between the two is your best option if you want to travel to both the north and the south of Thailand but can’t bear the idea of an overnight train journey. Of course, we never advise flying because you miss out on so much and it’s bad for the environment.

Air Asia is typically the most reliable and cost-effective alternative to travel between Thai airports if you must fly.

Thailand vs. Vietnam Transportation

Although it is slightly less expensive to travel around Vietnam than Thailand, the cost difference isn’t significant enough to make a significant difference. Unbelievably, buses in Vietnam are safer than those in Thailand, despite being less comfortable. This is largely because there aren’t as many large vehicles being driven at absurdly high speeds in Vietnam.

If you enjoy taking the train, Thailand is a better choice than Vietnam because of its much more advanced, comprehensive, and dependable rail system.

Thailand’s and Vietnam’s cuisine

Street food Vietnam
Street food at night in Phu Quoc island in Vietnam | Delicious seafood for tourist at market
Vietnamese Food You’ll Eat

I’ve heard that Vietnamese food is inexpensive, plentiful, and delicious for omnivores. Nearly every street corner serves enormous bowls of pho prepared with thick beef broth, along with plenty of fresh Vietnamese seafood, banh mi sandwiches, and other interesting dishes.

street food in Vietnam
Tourists eating street food in Vietnam

Vietnam presents a few more challenges for vegans and vegetarians. Fortunately, you can locate the most mouthwatering vegan meals in Hanoi, Hue, and Hoi An by using my veggie guidebook to those cities!

Thailand food you’ll be eating

Wherever you go in Thailand, the sort of food available varies greatly.

Due to the large number of expats living in Chiang Mai, it is possible to find almost any type of food, including many nutritious vegan and vegetarian options. You can buy Westernized versions of Thai favorites like green curry, papaya salad, and pad thai in the touristy regions of southern Thailand.

Thailand food
Asian people are eating dinner Thailand street food street dining.

Make an effort to visit at least one genuine Thai night market. You must travel to a smaller town and avoid the busiest places in order to accomplish this. With so many unusual and delicious delicacies to taste, Thai night markets are a foodie’s paradise for everyone.

Vegans and vegetarians will have a hard time eating at Thai markets because there aren’t many vegetarian options and almost everything has fish sauce.Request that they make it without an egg after searching until you discover a Pad Thai stall (which is harder than it sounds). Although it might contain fish sauce, it will still be a tasty substitute for going without food.

Thailand or Vietnam for food.

We like the food in Vietnam as vegans because it is easier to find places that are entirely meat-free. Thai food is heavier and fresher than Vietnamese cuisine. Last but not least, if you don’t like spicy food, you’ll find it much simpler to feed yourself in Vietnam.

The Thai night markets, where hot curries and enigmatic meat dishes can be found for a few dollars, will, however, be your new favorite place if you’re an omnivore who likes spicy cuisine.

Of course, you can find whatever food you want in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. Bangkok offers some of the best food in the world for those who enjoy exquisite dining.

Drinking in Thailand and Vietnam

Drinking in Thailand
Group of happy tourist young Asia friends drinking alcohol or craft beer and having hangout party in night club at The Khao San Road
Cocktails for happy hour

You may find happy hour specials everywhere travelers congregate in Vietnam and Thailand. In Vietnam, the cheapest alcohol is more likely to be in a badly mixed cocktail. Yet the cost is reasonable!

You may have higher-quality cocktails in Thailand at your swim-up bar or while relaxing on the beach. The price will likely be double or triple what you would spend in Vietnam, though.

Beer and craft beer
Beer and craft beer
Group of happy tourist young Asia friends pouting craft beer into glass and having hangout party in night club at The Khao San Road

The craft beer industry in Thailand is behind much of the rest of the globe because of restrictions that make it illegal for individuals to manufacture and sell their own beer. In Bangkok, a few new brewpubs are opening up and selling imported beers from all over the world. There is also a balanced

Contrarily, homebrewing has a long tradition in Vietnam, where sipping watery bia hoi, which costs around 50 cents per cup, is essentially a tourist rite of passage.

Vietnam’s craft beer market has exploded in recent years, and it’s become tough to keep up with it. There are now a ton of fantastic beers brewed in Vietnam to keep beer enthusiasts (like Stephen) intrigued!

Vietnam vs. Thailand Drinking

If you like carefully made craft beers or cheap, fun cocktails, Vietnam is the place to go. Thailand is the place to go if you prefer your cocktails to be expertly poured while you lounge by the pool.

Accommodations in Vietnam and Thailand

There are a lot of different places to stay in Vietnam and Thailand, from $4 hostel beds to homes with private pools that cost thousands of dollars.Travelers have a wide range of options due to the excellent standards of accommodations in both nations.

Affordable hotels can be found in Thailand and Vietnam.

Hostels with excellent reviews that offer beds for less than $5 a night are abundant on the market for low-cost lodging in cities like Chiang Mai and Hanoi. In a guest house or homestay, you can have a tidy, pleasant double room for twice that amount. When it comes to cheap lodging, budget travelers will find plenty to appreciate in both Thailand and Vietnam.

Boutique and opulent lodging can be found in Thailand and Vietnam.

In Vietnam and Thailand, there are many similarities between boutique and luxury lodging. If you reserve early, a great modest boutique hotel will cost you about $50 per night; nevertheless, in luxury accommodations, the sky is the limit! You might find that lodging in Vietnam is a little less expensive than Thailand if you’re visiting the cities or well-known tourist destinations.

Thailand vs. Vietnam Accommodation

Both countries have cheap and easy-to-find places to stay, so this one is definitely up for grabs.

Dangers and Annoyances

Bag snatchers and thieves

Bag thieves and snatchers

Both Thailand and Vietnam are extremely safe countries to visit, with significantly fewer risks than are typical in the West.

If you’re not vigilant, bag theft and phone theft can happen anywhere, including Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, like they do in most big Asian cities. Keep a watch on your belongings because credit card and passport theft can also be an issue in Thailand.

sex and scams

Vietnam has made significant improvements over the previous ten years, leaving most of the worst frauds and ripoffs in the past. Now, prices are generally honest and reasonable, but you’ll still spend far more at the marketplaces than the locals do! Also, there are fewer frauds to be on the lookout for, and road safety is greater.

Copies of enterprises are the major target of scams in Vietnam. Individuals who are opening new hotels or restaurants frequently give them names that are similar to those of a well-known spot in an attempt to capitalize on their popularity. Although you’ll see this all across Vietnam, it’s quite difficult to be tricked unless you’re truly not paying attention.

The burgeoning sex tourism industry in Thailand is the source of the worst frauds (yuck!). You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but you’ll save yourself a ton of hassle if you avoid participating in any pornographic or sex industry offerings in Thailand (or anywhere else).

drugs are banned.

You should avoid using drugs as much as you can when visiting Thailand. Yep, even when everyone else is having a good time at a full-moon party. Thailand has severe drug punishments, and the authorities are frequently eager to enforce these laws against foreigners.

But even if you don’t get caught, drugs in Thailand sometimes have dangerous extra ingredients.It is definitely not a good idea to pass away in Thailand from illegal narcotics!

Tuk-tuk stories

Thailand’s tuk-tuk drivers, particularly those in Bangkok, may be quite unpleasant. Before you even enter, they frequently demand outrageous prices, and if you reject them, they won’t even try to negotiate. Be prepared to pay exorbitant amounts when you reach your destination if you neglect to agree on the price before you enter.

When you need to get someplace in Bangkok, it is considerably simpler to download the Grab app (Asia’s equivalent of Uber) and order a Grab car or bike. Although tuk tuks are not available in Vietnam, you may hire a motorbike driver (referred to as a xe om) on practically any street corner. Again, ordering your bike to be picked up by Grab is simpler and more affordable.

Thailand or Vietnam: Risks and Gripes

Thailand is slightly more dangerous than Vietnam, which still has a “village” vibe in many places due to its increased activity, modernity, and party culture. Although neither country poses a significant risk, Vietnam is a little less daunting for newcomers and women traveling alone

Alone travel in Thailand and Vietnam

Vietnam travel alone

Vietnam is a fun, safe, and affordable place to visit alone. The majority of transportation is via bus; therefore, whether you travel alone or with a group, the ticket price is the same.

Nearly anywhere you want to go, there are numerous, affordable, and hygienic hostels. Moreover, for about $12, you can book a wonderful, pristine private hotel room if you value your solitude.

Since there are so many common activities, like visiting caves or taking the night bus, it’s really easy to meet other travelers. When I’ve ended up being the sole person on a tour, I’ve also had wonderful chats with local women.

Thailand travel alone

I’ve only traveled alone in Thailand once, when I was getting treatment for malaria and then getting better. I’ve only ever traveled to Thailand with Stephen.

(By the way, although you can get malaria there and in Vietnam as well, I had malaria in Laos, so this doesn’t count as a Thai threat.)

According to conversations with other travelers, traveling alone in Thailand is just as safe and simple as it is in Vietnam. It will be easy to meet other single travelers to hang out with in Thailand because the laid-back backpacker scene is more developed there (at least in the beach districts of southern Thailand).

Thailand or Vietnam for lone travelers

Both Vietnam and Thailand are safe places for solo travelers. Both nations are quite welcoming and safe as long as you stay alert.

Which Country Is Better for Your Adventure: Thailand or Vietnam?

For me, Vietnam will always prevail in this conflict.Thailand is a little too Western and too convenient to thrill my spirit of adventure. Also, I am quite familiar with the people and culture of Vietnam because I lived there for a very long period of time.

Vietnam If you’re an independent traveler looking for a rich cultural experience combined with lots of time spent outside in nature, consider Vietnam.

Thailand’s is a good choice if you want a vacation where you can just relax on the beach. Thailand is also the best country for spiritual attractions, including yoga retreats and historic temples.

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Have you decided what to do now that you’ve read the entire post? Which country—Vietnam or Thailand—are you visiting? Or are you going to schedule time to go to both? Send a message on Instagram or via email if you have any inquiries.