In Southeast Asia, there are two countries that stick out the most: Vietnam and Thailand. They are by far two of the most popular holiday destinations. Although they are different in culture, they still share a few similarities, which isn’t strange since they are almost neighbors. If you’re contemplating about Vietnam vs Thailand and wondering which to visit first, here is an overview that might help you decide.
Culture and History
The Vietnamese history stretches far back and has been influenced by numerous countries such as China and France. The Confucianism and Taoism has impacted the Vietnamese traditions, customs and beliefs, while the French colonialism is evident in the old colonial buildings and even the food. Thailand’s culture has developed in the direction of Theravada Buddhism. There are many colorful and exuberant festivals connected to both the changing seasons and Buddhism. But as far as culture goes, Vietnam usually wins among western travelers who are seeking a different and big contrast in cultures compared to their own.
There are some who even claims that Vietnam stays more true to their culture than other Southeast Asian countries. But as more and more Vietnamese, who fled the war, returns to the country, they bring with them western cultural influence and the cultures are starting to mix together more. Still, the Vietnamese culture is very strong and still very much alive. Thailand, on the other hand, is more westernised due to the steady increase of tourists. As more expats are starting to settle down in Thailand and even more western travelers are starting to roam around the country, it’s not odd that the country has been influenced by western lifestyle and thought.
Traveling in Vietnam vs Thailand
As both countries are very tourist friendly, it’s safe to say that traveling around both Vietnam and Thailand is fairly easy. Still, there are some who claims that Thailand wins when it comes to comfort and convenience, while the Vietnamese are still a bit behind on that front. However, Vietnam’s transportation system is getting upgraded to become more convenient and it’s easier than ever to take domestic flights, buses or trains around the country. One of the most popular things to do in Vietnam is to drive a motorbike cross country. This way, you’ll be able to decide when you want to go and where. You’ll be able to explore the small, undiscovered villages that can only be reached with a motorbike. But like in many cases in Southeast Asia, traffic can be hectic and the roads can be very underdeveloped. Hence, it’s very important that you feel comfortable driving a motorbike.
It’s safe to say that both countries win when it comes to convenience of traveling. Although Thailand does have more direct international flight connections than Vietnam, it’s still not difficult to travel once you’re inside Vietnam. And as more tourists are setting their eye on Vietnam, there’ll surely be more flight connections.
The Vietnamese are starting to learn more English, but the Thai are very well known with the language already. While traveling in Thailand, it’s very easy to find someone who speaks English. In Vietnam, it can be a bit more tricky, but definitely not impossible. Everyone in the tourism industry are usually required to speak at least basic English, but you’ll have an easier time in Thailand with the language.
Vietnam is more affordable
The prices in Thailand are still very much affordable, but there’s no doubt that the prices are starting to rise more with each year. But it also depends where in Thailand you go. If you find yourself in the northern parts, it’ll be much more affordable than on the islands for example. Vietnam on the other hand is extremely affordable and some even say that it’s the cheapest country to travel in – in the world! So if you’re looking for a low-budget holiday, look no further than Southeast Asia!
Thailand is known for its islands and beaches while Vietnam is known for its diverse landscapes. In the north of Vietnam, you can find beautiful mountains to hike in, natural sceneries that is out of this world, charming old towns and the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site “Halong Bay”. But when it comes to beaches, Thailand wins. Both of the countries have plenty of beaches for those who wants to get tanned, but if you want a spectacular beach, you must visit Thailand. Imagine turquoise water with palm trees lined up on a white sand beach… That’s Thailand.
Thailand is hotter than Vietnam. But this doesn’t always have to be a good thing. When it gets hot, it can get excruciatingly hot. During the cool and dry season, temperatures can still reach up to 20 degrees. Vietnam’s climate is more diverse and also shifts from wet to dry season. In winter time though, the northern parts of Vietnam can get quite chilly. But if you’re not a big fan of cold weather, you can always escape to the south, where the sun will guaranteed be shining.
So… Where to go?
The answer: it all depends on what you’re looking for! Both of the countries have plenty of things to offer. You have beautiful landscapes, great weather, traveling is convenient and the culture is exciting. What more could you want from a holiday destination? What’s more, the two countries are situated so close to each other that you can easily travel between the two. Vietnam and Thailand are very popular tourist destinations for a reason and it would be a shame to skip one of them. So next time you plan a vacation, make sure you visit both of these fantastic countries. You’ll be happy you did.