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Thailand vs Bali: pros and cons

Magical Thailand or mysterious Bali? Which destination to choose? These two amazing Asian locations are world centers for tourism and relaxation. So, which one to prefer, where to go? Personally, I would recommend visiting both Thailand and Bali. However, if you have to choose between them, I suggest familiarizing yourself with my modest comparative review.

Thailand or Bali? Which option is preferable?

Actually, comparing Thailand and Bali on equal terms is difficult. It is probably impossible to determine unequivocally which direction is better. Why? Firstly, as they say, there is no accounting for taste. Secondly, they are so different! Nevertheless, I will try to present some facts, and you will draw your own conclusions.
When is the vacation planned?

Thailand and Bali have dry and rainy seasons. And they differ by time of year.

The Thai dry season (also known as the hot season) lasts from November to March-April. May marks the end of the dry period, and the temperature becomes especially high. The rainy season starts in the summer and lasts until the end of September-beginning of October. In the second half of October, the rains become less frequent and usually stop by November.

On Bali, the rainy season, on the contrary, falls on winter and lasts from November to March. The greatest amount of precipitation falls from December to February. In November, the rains are not yet so frequent, and by March, they practically die down. Thus, the peak of the dry season in Bali falls on summer and early autumn: from June to October.

Naturally, it is reasonable to visit countries during their dry season. However, you can relax in the rainy season both in Thailand and on Bali if you are not afraid of getting wet and are not disappointed that you cannot spend whole days on the beach.

Overall, the choice between Thailand and Bali largely depends on your preferences, time of year, and personal expectations. Both destinations offer their own features and attractions. If you decide to visit both countries, you will be able to enjoy the diversity of culture and nature. But if the choice is between them, take into account the factors described above to make the right decision. In any case, an unforgettable vacation awaits you in the magical East.

Personally, I would not recommend visiting Phuket during the rainy season. The main attraction of Phuket is its beach holiday, which can be spoiled by the rain. The water becomes less clear, there are waves on most beaches, and it's not easy to sunbathe in the rain. In Phuket, the rains can last until noon!

On Bali, the rains are usually brief and often occur only at night, while the sun shines during the day. There can also be weeks without rainfall. But here, you have to rely on luck. The decision to visit Bali during the rainy season depends on your preferences. If your main goal is surfing, partying, or visiting temples rather than a beach holiday, then it is quite possible to take the risk. After the rain, the water can be muddy, and a lot of garbage can wash up on the shore (although this does not stop surfers!). Besides, the rain can start unexpectedly. Imagine seeing a clear sky, going to the beach, and getting soaked under a tropical downpour a couple of hours later. Although it may last only 15 minutes, it can spoil your vacation mood.

In general, if you don't want to get wet in the rain, come during the dry season or in the off-season.
From my subjective point of view, Thailand is a more budget-friendly option compared to Bali. Probably only Phuket and Bali are at the same price level. However! As far as I know, even on Phuket, you can find a more affordable package tour than on Bali. And if you travel independently, in 99.9% of cases, Bali loses in terms of finances due to the cost of airline tickets. In most cases, tickets to Thailand are cheaper.

Is your travel goal to relax on the beach and swim in clear water?

If your main goal is a beach holiday, then I would recommend choosing Thailand. The beach resorts there are better. No matter which resort in Thailand you choose (except for the northern regions where there is no sea), you can find picturesque beaches with white sand and azure water.

In Bali, it's a bit more difficult. Of course, there is also a beach holiday here. Bali is famous for its many beautiful beaches. However, keep in mind that this is the ocean! That means you can expect currents, strong tides, waves, and sharp reefs in some places. Therefore, if you want to swim, you will have to choose places where it is guaranteed to be possible, mainly in the Nusa Dua area, or you can visit the small islands of Gili, which are located near Bali. In other places, at best, you can just dip in and sway on the waves near the shore.

Surfing is everything for you?

Here, without a doubt, Bali comes out as the winner for one simple reason: surfing is practically non-existent in Thailand. Although, during the rainy season in Phuket, it is possible to surf, but firstly, is it worth going to Phuket during the rainy season? And secondly, the quality of surfing there is low.

In general, if you want new experiences, to test yourself and your nerves, to find your limit of fear, then your path lies in Bali! It is better to learn surfing there.

Do you want to have fun, visit an endless number of bars, nightclubs, and lead a predominantly nocturnal lifestyle? Then, in my opinion, Thailand wins.

It should be noted that parties are also present in Bali. But it seems to me that it is much more interesting in Thailand. And if you also want to find girls with low social responsibility, then you should definitely go to Thailand.
Temples, cultural and traditional exploration

Here, I would suggest visiting both Thailand and Bali! The cultural heritage, traditions, and religion in both places are unique, captivating, and incomparable. However, if your main goal is to explore the cultural attractions of the country, then I would advise avoiding Phuket, where, for the most part, only the Big Buddha statue and a few religious buildings worthy of tourists' attention. After all, this is an island where there are more beaches than temples.

Exotic flora and fauna

In this case, again, I cannot determine it unequivocally. Thailand is beautiful with its magnificent beaches on the islands, amazing rocks in Phang Nga Bay, and beautiful nature in the north of the country.

Bali also amazes with its diversity and amazing nature. The ocean and beaches, volcanoes, waterfalls, and mountain lakes... everything is so diverse that you can think that you have visited several countries in one trip.

As for my opinion, I believe that in terms of flora and fauna, Bali is still more diverse. In one trip, you can find yourself on a small island with white sand, climb a volcano, admire majestic waves, beautiful waterfalls, or jungles.

Thailand also has something to show, but it is impossible to see everything in one trip. In this case, you will have to cover significant distances (more than 1500 km from the south to the north), and thus, you can spend half of your vacation on the road.

Let's discuss the advantages and disadvantages. I will try to systematize the possible advantages and disadvantages of Thailand and Bali. The division will be purely conditional, as what may be an advantage for someone could be seen as a disadvantage for someone else. Nevertheless, this can help you make a choice.
Advantages and disadvantages of Bali:


Ocean. The ocean is majestic, powerful, and beautiful. Blue waters are wonderful, but the power and strength of the ocean are incomparable! And what about the sunsets in Bali!

For girls and gay guys. Charming, fit, tanned surfers in a range, many of whom are free, single, and really crave passionate encounters. It is essential to warn you here about contraception and Indonesia's strict laws on public displays of affection, not to mention anything more.

Climate. In my opinion, the climate is more pleasant in Bali. It's constantly hot in Thailand, sometimes even stuffy. There's no coolness in the morning or evening. In Bali, the temperature in the morning and evening is comfortable. Those who have a hard time with heat may prefer Bali more.

Variety. Many people like Bali precisely because of its versatility. Traveling around the island, it seems like you're in a different place. Sometimes it's even hard to believe that you're still in Bali.


Transportation and getting around. Without your own transportation, you will be significantly limited and may miss out on many things. By the way, you won't be able to walk around much either;

Cost. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion, Bali is more expensive than Thailand.

It's definitely harder to get here. In any case, it's easier and cheaper to fly to Thailand;

Local people sometimes try to deceive, cheat, and rip you off. Sometimes unintentionally, somehow it happens by itself.

Advantages and disadvantages of Thailand:


Easier to get to. It is much easier to fly to Thailand with layovers or direct flights.

Tours, packages, and airline tickets are more affordable. As experience shows, in most cases, it is cheaper to fly to Thailand than to Bali.

More delicious food. This is purely subjective, but the local Thai cuisine is much tastier than Balinese (it is important to note that Indonesian cuisine reveals its taste only when using a spicy seasoning called sambal. Without this component, dishes may seem too simple, bland, and unappealing);

Better beach vacation options. This can be a plus if your trip's goal is beaches, sunbathing, and relaxation on the shores of the azure sea.

Many diverse destinations throughout the country for all budgets.

Easier to drive a motorcycle or car. Again, this is a subjective opinion, but in my opinion, driving in Thailand is easier than in Bali, where you will experience constant nervousness on the roads due to lack of experience.

Thai massage. Personally, I think Thai massage is much better than Balinese massage.


Sex tourism. If ladyboys, prostitutes, a huge number of go-go bars, sex shows, and other entertainment do not bother you, then this disadvantage will not bother you.

Crowdedness. Thailand has become very popular. Many tourists, having played enough with Europe and Caribbean, went to explore Asian exoticism. During peak season, there are a lot of people, the beaches become overcrowded, and the water is not as crystal clear. Popular tourist spots do not bring as much pleasure because sometimes there are too many people there. The Thais become less open, perceiving tourists more as a source of income. I'm not saying everything has become terrible, but if you compare Thailand 10 years ago and now, the difference is obvious.

In conclusion, both Thailand and Bali have their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and priorities. Bali offers stunning ocean views, a diverse landscape, and a relaxed atmosphere, while Thailand provides a variety of activities, affordable prices, and delicious food. However, it's essential to consider the potential downsides of each destination, such as the crowdedness in Thailand and the transportation limitations in Bali. Ultimately, the best way to decide which destination is better for you is to research both thoroughly, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the one that aligns with your preferences and interests.

Leonid Ustinov