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Vietnam vs Thailand | Find Your Next Destination

August 19, 2020

Vietnam vs Thailand – Which one to choose? Deciding between traveling to Thailand or Vietnam is definitely a dilemma. I say the best solution is to visit both, without having to choose at all, but that’s not always possible.

As they are practically neighbors, Vietnam and Thailand share many similarities. The climate is usually warm, and so are the people, with greenery spreading as far as the eye can see.

In this article, we’ll list arguments in favor of both of these countries so that you can decide what to prioritize yourself. In any case, you can’t make a bad decision as both of these countries are wonderful, and whichever you choose, chances are you’ll want to visit the other one as soon as possible.

Vietnam vs Thailand – What to Consider:

Your Location and Convenience to Travel

To determine which location is more appropriate for you, it’s important to consider where you’re coming from. Convenience is a major factor for many people, and rightfully so since you want your vacation time to go as smoothly as possible.

Your Budget

The budget is another major factor of consideration for choosing a holiday destination. However, both Thailand and Vietnam are on the affordable side, so this probably won’t be a deciding factor. Most differences will come down to the price of the plane ticket, food, and accommodation, but both of these destinations are very wallet-friendly.

Preferred Type of Holidays

Before determining your budget, you have to establish your priorities. This is probably where the two countries differ the most. Whether you’re interested in the beaches, the exploration or relaxation, both Thailand and Vietnam have a lot to offer. Still, you’ll probably find one of them more to your tastes. The cultural background is where these countries diverge the most, and the overall atmosphere will certainly nudge you in one direction.

Currency Conversion

Currency is another thing to keep in mind whenever you’re traveling abroad. Both countries have their separate currencies, but you can get away with using dollars in Vietnam. Thailand only deals in Thai bahts (THB), so remember to exchange currency before heading out.


Traveling to either of these countries will require a separate visa. While not very difficult, getting a Vietnamese visa is slightly more complicated. Thailand allows a 30-day visit for the citizens of the US, Australia, and most EU countries, without a visa. This can be a major benefit as you can just book a flight and be on your way, without having to worry about getting proper documentation.

Preferred Weather

Weather is another factor that can affect your choice, and Thailand runs a bit hotter. Seasons are less pronounced, and the weather is mostly warm throughout the year with varying levels of rainfall. In Vietnam, the climate is more diverse, and the four seasons are more recognizable, but not throughout the country.


Thai food selection is a bit more varied and rather famous around the world. On the other hand, Vietnamese food is slightly cheaper, but you can’t really go wrong with either. You won’t make it far in Thailand without stopping to sample the delicious curries or their spicy shrimp soups.

The food is really great and affordable, but the Vietnamese dishes are a steal. Their food is even more spicy and full of fresh herbs and unique local flavors. If you’re a food-lover who wants to spend as little money as possible, Vietnam may be the better choice here.


Safety is also a necessary consideration for any journey, especially one into unfamiliar territory. You can read other people’s opinions and negative impressions on the internet but always keep in mind that nothing you read is representative of any one country. Both Thailand and Vietnam are mostly safe countries, and scams or petty thefts are the most common type of crime.

Vietnam vs Thailand – Culture

Thai Culture and Religion

Between Thailand and Vietnam, Thailand will probably feel a bit more familiar to western tourists. Due to the country’s larger focus on tourism and its western influences, it should make for an easier transition. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, and the dominant religion is Theravada Buddhism, where monks have a pretty high societal status.

People, in general, like to have fun and party, and are very passionate about the local cuisine. For party-goers, it should pretty easy to find suitable entertainment, especially in the capital, Bangkok. The city has a noteworthy heritage of housing the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

There are many historical landmarks in Thailand, and the country ranks among the most relevant Buddhist cultures in Southeast Asia. Aside from the temples in Bangkok, the northern capital, Chiang Mai is also a thing of beauty. It contains a walled-off old town, full of temples and other monuments.

Other ancient cities like Ayuthaya and Sukhotai, the old capitals, house some of the ruins of the world heritage temples. The plethora of Buddhist temples and religious imagery dominates Thailand and will be a major selling point for anyone who’s interested in the religion or the lifestyle.

Vietnamese Culture and Religion

As for Vietnam, the Chinese occupation left a lasting impact that can still be felt in the country today. Their colonial past is evident in many foreign influences that are now a part of the Vietnamese culture. Confucianism and the worship of Taoist deities became widespread during the occupation, and still remain popular to date.

If your aim is to immerse yourself fully into a foreign culture and atmosphere, Vietnam might be a better choice. Many distinctive Vietnamese customs are attractive to travelers from non-Asian countries. The dominant religion is a combination of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

There may be some animosity towards westerners in the northern parts of the country from older residents, because of the Vietnam War, but you are much more likely to find welcoming faces wherever you go. There is also a big distinction between the north, central, and southern regions of the country.

Ho Chi Minh, the southern metropolis, is more cosmopolitan and modern. Despite the modernization, the footprint of the colonial era is still visible in its buildings, especially in the downtown area. Hue city in the central regions used to be the capital during the time of the Nguyen emperors. There you can visit the Forbidden City or the Imperial Tombs, also a part of the World Heritage Site.

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