Indonesia vs. Thailand: An Honest Travel Comparison

07/12/2023 by Ashley Yap 1 Comment

This post was written by BMTM’s Malaysia-based writer, Ashley Yap.

Two beautiful tropical paradises stand before you, but you only have time for a vacation in one country… So, between Indonesia and Thailand, which should you choose?

I was born and raised in Malaysia, which is sandwiched between Indonesia and Thailand, each just a quick flight away. I’ve spent a cumulative six months in both over several dozen sojourns over the past seven years, and I am here to help you decide which country to visit if you must choose only one:

Table of Contents

Country Overview

semeti beach

Indonesia: an outdoors lover’s dream come true

One could easily travel this archipelago for years — it’s the largest in the world, after all. Some of our favorite spots in Indonesia include Lombok , Komodo National Park, the Gili Islands, the Nusa Islands , Mount Bromo, Mount Rinjani, Kawah Ijen, and of course, Raja Ampat. No matter where you end up, though, the country offers visitors stunning beaches, hiking trails, unique wildlife (both above and underwater), and friendly, genuine interactions with the locals. The national language, Bahasa, is easy to pick up, and the longer you spend learning various words from residents, the more immersed you can become in the destination.


Thailand: an enchanting country to feel right at home in

Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand carries a rich cultural history as the only nation in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized, thus retaining a strong identity that can be clearly seen — from sites related to ancient kingdoms to the street food stalls serving up authentic and delicious favorites. Tourism makes up over 65% of the country’s GDP, so whether you are planning to visit spiritual Chiang Mai and Sukhothai, buzzing Bangkok, or the gorgeous islands, or intend to experience a meditation retreat , Thailand caters to all. Thai people are used to tourists, and most speak English, which makes communication easy. Finally, we can’t talk about Thailand without mentioning that it’s a foodie paradise — I often joke that it should be nicknamed the Land of Smiling Bellies!

Weather and the Best Time to Visit

The Blue Lagoon on Nusa Ceningan

Best time to visit Indonesia

There are only two seasons in Indonesia: wet and dry. Since most of the adventures there are outdoors, your best bet is the dry season, which is from April to October. If you’d like to avoid crowds and enjoy the shoulder seasons’ low prices, you might consider visit Indonesia in May, June, and September.

koh yao noi

Best time to visit Thailand

As Thailand stretches more than a thousand miles from north to south, the best time to visit may vary, depending on where you want to go. November to March is generally good, but it’s also the busiest season, so try to book your flights and accommodations ahead of time if you plan to visit during this time.

Below, I’ll discuss which country comes out on top when considering various factors:

Budget and Value for Money: Indonesia

tiu kelep

In general, I find that Indonesia offers a better bang for your buck. Everything, from food to accommodation to activities, just seems to be slightly more affordable in Indonesia. On a shoestring budget, you can travel there for just about $30/day (or less!). This includes basic dorm accommodations, a scooter rental, and three full meals a day. Thailand, on the other hand, may cost you about $50/day to do the same.

If you are on a mid-range budget, you can stay in really nice beachfront hotels, eat at cafés with good menus, and hire a personal guide to take you around for the day for less than what you would expect to pay in Thailand.

doi luang chaing dao

Outdoor activities, including diving and hiking, also cost slightly less in Indonesia, yet offer arguably more to see and experience than Thailand. There are also far more beaches, waterfalls, and cultural sites that you can explore for free or for a small fee.

Because of the size of the country, the longer you travel in Indonesia, the cheaper your trip becomes. The only thing is that the domestic flights in Thailand are cheaper and much more widely available, but almost everything else just seems to cost a little less in Indonesia.

Accommodation Options: Indonesia

rumah pohon, nusa penida

With both countries winning the hearts of budget backpackers from all over the world, you are sure to find a well-rated hostel with good vibes and cheap prices in each. I have stayed in numerous dorms in both Indonesia and Thailand, and met so many cool people along the way. I give Indonesia the edge, however, because of the availability of unique stays.

From a treehouse overlooking the jagged islets of Nusa Penida, to live-aboard excursions across the most exquisite dive sites, Indonesia seems to have a knack for unique architecture and unusual accommodation experiences. If comfort is what you are seeking on your holiday, some of our favorite luxury lodgings in Indonesia include Komaneka in Bali , Hotel Tugu in Lombok , and Four Seasons in Jakarta , all of which are under $300/night yet offer an unforgettable stay.

It might not really matter if all you want is a place to lay your head, but if the accommodation makes up part of the experience for you, then Indonesia may have more to offer.

Transportation (getting to and around): Thailand

Indonesia vs thailand

In my opinion, the best way to get around when traveling in Southeast Asia is with a scooter rental. It gives you the ultimate freedom to roam — and renting is cheap and easy in most parts of both countries. That being said, if you do not know how to ride a scooter, Thailand’s public transportation is more reliable and widely available. In cities like Bangkok, you can order a bike from Grab (Southeast Asia’ Uber equivalent) for less than a dollar for a 5 km ride. Get a Thai SIM card to stay connected.

The same goes for long-distance travels. Domestic flights in Thailand are well connected. I could easily change my travel plans and buy a ticket to another city in Thailand, something I never really do in Indonesia. There are also plenty of overnight buses and trains that you can take in Thailand. They are mostly comfortable, have AC, and run on time.

However, you should take the length of your holiday into account when deciding whether to visit Thailand or Indonesia. The last thing you want to do on your precious holiday is to spend a chunk of your time in transit! If you only have about a week or less, I’d suggest picking Thailand.

Safety: Thailand

koh yao noi

As a solo female traveler, I find that I still stand out in a crowd in more remote places in Indonesia. The curious stares from some men have made me feel uneasy in the past, and I’ve also experienced more catcalls in Indonesia, though nothing serious has ever happened to me there.

There are just simply more tourists in Thailand, and so it’s rare to be the only one around. It’s much easier to meet other people and be in a group, which makes you less of a target for catcalling.

Also, economically, Thailand is more developed than Indonesia, which means more streets are well lit at night, and you have stabler reception, even in remote places.

I want to emphasize that I have not felt physically threatened while traveling in Indonesia, but I do feel generally safer in Thailand . If this is your first time traveling alone in this part of the world, Thailand might make you feel safer and more comfortable.


Solo Female Travel in Thailand: A Complete Guide

Food: Thailand

Indonesia vs thailand

This is a no-brainer in my opinion. I mean, out of the official Asia top 50 restaurants list , Thailand made the list 17 times and won first place.

I simply love Thai food. It’s flavorful, it’s fun, it’s simple in principle yet layered and absolutely delicious. In Bangkok, many talented local chefs have put a spin on traditional recipes and curated innovative menus that will blow your mind away. You will also find some of the best Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, and Indian restaurants in the heart of Bangkok.

But perhaps the most rewarding culinary experience awaits on the streets, and it is a true tale of Thailand. Street food is glorious there and a must-do.

This is not to say that Indonesian food is not good — it is actually great. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like satay (meat skewers) with homemade peanut sauce. But Thai food simply has a special place in my heart.

Cultural Diversity: Indonesia (but Thailand comes close!)

Indonesia vs thailand

I debated on this, because I think both countries offer a unique cultural experience to visitors.

Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized, and the evidence is clear in its well-preserved culture. You will see many beautiful and unique Buddhist temples throughout, including the White Temple in Chiang Mai and the Wat Arun in Bangkok. I also have fond memories of watching monks collect alms on a quiet street at the crack of dawn. For people who seek spiritual experiences during their travels, Thailand is also a popular destination for silent and meditation retreats, attracting practitioners from all over the world each year.

Aside from Buddhism, Thailand is also an epic destination for cultural festivals, the most popular being the Songkran Festival, when the entire country celebrates the traditional New Year with three days of giant water fights; and the Yi Peng Festival , during which thousands of lanterns are released into the sky. As a tourist, I felt very welcomed by the locals as I tried to participate in their cultures.

Indonesia bucket list

Indonesia, while a Muslim-majority country, offers a beautiful blend of different cultures and traditions from island to island. In Bali, I love getting up and early for a walk to watch residents performing their morning religious ritual; in Borobudur, you will step on the world’s largest Buddhist structure; in South Sulawesi, death is celebrated, not mourned.

Throughout the year, there are all kinds of festivals and celebrations pertaining to different religions and cultures, and it’s wonderful to see how the locals embrace both their own and each other’s beliefs and celebrate as one.

While both countries offer amazing cultural experiences, I find Indonesia to be more diverse, and therefore more interesting for travelers, especially if it’s your first time in Southeast Asia.

Beautiful Beaches: It’s a tie!

nusa lembongan

Both countries are famous for their beautiful beaches, and it is simply too difficult to pick a winner!

Outside of Bali, the beaches in Indonesia are generally more rugged and raw, often requiring a scooter ride to get to. They are less likely to have infrastructure, like bars, cafés, washrooms, and lounge chairs — but that’s what I like about them. I remember a friend telling me that “a beach is a beach,” but I beg to differ, especially when one is in Indonesia. Some of my favorites include the black-sand beach in Bali, pink-sand beach in Komodo National Park, and numerous others with swim holes, caves, and cliffs that are incredible to explore. Do note that the waves tend to be rougher (which makes it a surfing paradise!), so make your own judgement before diving in.

koh yao noi

On the other hand, if you prefer more developed beaches with a more social atmosphere, Thailand may be a better pick for you. The beautiful tropical sands with limestone cliffs, swaying boats, and naughty monkeys are hard not to love! Those who enjoy nightlife on the shore will love the bars, fire shows, and amazing parties on most Thai beaches. It is also very easy to arrange island-hopping tours and visit several beaches in a day. The only thing I’d say is that those in Thailand tend to give off more or less the same vibe, whereas Indonesian beaches are more diverse.

21 most beautiful places in Thailand

Snorkeling and Diving: Indonesia

mutiara Laut

Diving enthusiasts might have heard of Raja Ampat , one of the most incredible such sites in the world. It’s jaw-dropping how abundant and pristine everything under the water is, and everyone I know who has been there said that nothing comes close.

But one doesn’t have to venture out all the way to Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling and diving in Indonesia. In the Nusa Islands , you can swim out for about 200 meters and be greeted by wild sea turtles. I also spent a part of my honeymoon trip sailing across Komodo National Park, swam with manta rays and sharks, and even spotted dolphins from our deck. If diving is a big part of your trip, then I think you’ve got your answer now.

On the other hand, if you are planning to get scuba diving certification, Thailand may be a better and cheaper place to do so.

Hiking and Other Adventures: Indonesia

Mount Rinjani

For the adrenaline-rush seekers, multiday hikes to active volcanoes like Mount Bromo , Mount Ijen , and Mount Rinjani await in Indonesia. Other adventures include the lush rainforests of Sumatra, and majestic waterfalls like Tiu Kelep in Lombok and Tompak Sewu in Java.

You can also simply rent a bike and create your own adventure for the day, exploring paddy fields and nearby villages and waterfalls. You will find that the locals are super welcoming and always happy to share their favorite spots with you.

Adventures like these are not really available in Thailand, though you may enjoy a morning hike to Doi Luang Chiang Dao in the north.

Both countries come close on many factors on the list, but when it comes to outdoor adventures, Indonesia is the clear winner.

Cities and Nightlife: Thailand

Indonesia vs thailand

I will be honest: I didn’t like Jakarta. The traffic in the capital of Indonesia is consistently horrendous, the public transportation system is lacking, and it is so, so crowded that I understand why most travelers skip it altogether, even though there are a plenty of charming restaurants and lovely hotels to stay in.

On the other hand, there are so many ways to fall in love with Bangkok ! Thailand’s buzzing capital is filled with life, day and night. Each time I visit Bangkok, I make sure to drop by the Chatuchak Weekend Market to shop for both local designer and vintage items. If that’s not enough for you, Bangkok has over 200 shopping malls so you can shop till you drop!

Besides shopping, Bangkok also houses some of the best restaurants in Asia (see above), as well as some of the most happening nightclubs and rooftop bars.

Thailand vs. indonesia

Both countries are near and dear to my heart, and both deserve to be explored, as they have so much to offer. I hope the breakdowns of different aspects of these countries help you make up your mind — though I completely understand if it’s a tough call.

Where are you exploring next?

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10/04/2023 at 1:34 am

Hi Ashley Yap… Thanks for your article quite completely. But you forgot to write some places in Indonesia Indonedia is great for Diving as well Including Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan, Bunaken North Sulawesi of course Raja Ampat, until Conde Nast Magazine write article Most Beautiful Place in the world. Because Beautiful Islands and most diversity sea world in the world. For me Indonesia not just stunning beauty from Aceh until Papua. Therea are 3 World Class Surfing Spot; Mentawai, Uluwatu & Nias . Mist unique country 8n tge world. Because spread out around 17 thousands Islands with different ethnic, culturals & languages. In Sumatra Lake Toba with Samosir Island very Beautiful. Some places in West Sumatra quite nice. Look at Orang Utan in Kalimantan. Until Papua with some most pretty birds on earth. I dont understand why Thai food more popular then Indonesia food. My opinion Indonesian Food more range from Sumatra until Papua hundred different foods. More delicious as well. Including Indonesian Rendang( Original from Indonesia , Nasi Goreng, Satay; CNN choices World’s 50 Best Food. Iam agreed Bangkok much more better then Jakarta. And Thailand more populer then Indonesia except Bali.

But My Opinion….Indonesia The Most Beautiful & Unique Country in The World. I understand everyone opinions are different and I appreciate that.

Days to Come

Travelling Without a Passport

travel to indonesia or thailand

Thailand VS Indonesia

travel to indonesia or thailand

Thailand VS Indonesia ; both are exquisitely beautiful and culturally rich while maintaining a lot of similarities and differences. Each destination promises an experience filled with adventure, relaxation, culinary delights and beautiful memories.

From exotic spices and exciting explorations to genuinely friendly locals and vibrant nightlife, these countries have so much to offer. Let’s take a closer look at what lies in store for you and how these two destinations stack up for your next tour.

Are you ready to find your next touring adventure? Take a look at a tour to  Thailand  or  Indonesia.

What to Do and Where to Do It

Things to do and destinations in thailand.

Thailand offers a wonderful mix of ornate temples and opulent royal palaces, ultramodern cityscapes and pristine white-sand beaches, scrumptious street food and bustling riverside markets. Here are some of the most popular places to visit in the country:

Travel to: Hiking in Thailand

Bangkok: Located towards the north of the city lies Chatuchak Market, a collection of over 10,000 stalls. It’s the go-to destination when it comes to shopping for Buddha statues, jewellery, books etc. Another must-see location is the temple complex of Wat Phra Kaew, with its wealth of Ramakian murals and the Emerald Buddha. Wat Pho houses the impressive Reclining Buddha and is known for being the headquarters of Thai medicine.

Most tours will include a visit to the incredible Dusit Palace Park to see the Vimanmek Teak Mansion, the world’s largest golden teak building. While touring the city, stop by at Jim Thompson’s house to explore this silk entrepreneur’s exquisite art collection.

The diversity offered by Thailand is not easy to find anywhere else, from beach life to monuments and temples, fascinating cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there is something for every type of tourist. Not to mention that if you are willing to travel slow it might be even 50% cheaper than it actually is. Perfect! – Clelia, Keep Calm and Travel

travel to indonesia or thailand

Chiang Mai: Visit the sprawling Wat Chedi Luang to get a glimpse of the Lanna-style chedi built way back in 1441. Wat Phra Singh is another revered temple which houses the Lion Buddha (Phra Singh) and the stucco and teak pavilion called Ho Trai. If you’re a nature enthusiast, hike through the lowland rainforests of the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park or go on a mountain-biking tour on ancient hill-tribe routes. While here, you can also take a dip in the Nam Tok Monthathon waterfall. The Doi Inthanon National Park is also a lovely hiking destination as it lies 2565m above sea level and is recorded as Thailand’s highest peak.

There are so many awesome things to do in Chiang Mai; however, this destination is also known for promoting a number of irresponsible experiences like elephant riding and tiger temples. Luckily, a number of ethical activities also exist in and around Chiang Mai. For instance, you can have an elephant encounter by visiting or volunteering at Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rehabilitation center. You can also get a massage by female ex prisoners to help them assimilate back into the community; eat a delicious vegetarian meal at the not-for-profit Free Bird Cafe, which assists Burmese refugees and Thai minority groups; or paint your own ceramic elephant at Elephant Parade House, which donates 20% of profits to elephant welfare nonprofits – Jessica, Epicure & Culture

Phuket: Nestled in balmy Andaman Sea waters, Phuket has some of the country’s most popular beaches such as Patong, Kata, Karon, Surin, Bangtao and Kamala. While visiting this 540-square-km island it’s hard to miss the grand sight of the 45m-high Big Buddha dressed in Burmese alabaster. If you’re looking for some virgin island rainforest, then head to Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife & Forest Reserve and you might catch sight of langurs, cobras, flying foxes, civets and other creatures. At the Thalang National Museum, you’ll find a 2.3m tall Vishnu statue made of stone and you can trace the country’s history of diverse dialects and ethnicities.

travel to indonesia or thailand

 There are several things which make Thailand a compelling destination. First, is it an extremely affordable destination, with hotel rooms going for a fraction of what you would pay in a western country. Second, it is extremely beautiful with ancient history, beaches, and mountains all in one country. Finally, the people are extremely hospitable. I’ve only experienced top quality treatment wherever I’ve been in Thailand. – Gary, Everything Everywhere

Things to Do and Destinations in  Indonesia

From dramatic volcanic landscapes and breathtaking sandy coastlines, Indonesia offers rich diversity, an intriguing history, and mystifying adventure.

Indonesia is a country rich in diversity and natural wonders. You can travel from one end to the other and experience some of the rarest wildlife in the world, swim among the coral triangle and climb active volcanos. Most first time visitors travel to Bali but Indonesia offers so much more. Push your comfort zone and head for the Komodo Islands for pristine beaches and the world’s largest lizard before flying up north to spend your days trekking in pristine jungle in search of wild Orangutans. To seek an even more rustic and off the beaten path experience, head North to West Papua where few have gone before you and relish in seclusion. – Lina, Divergent Travelers

Komodo National Park: Get a three-day visitor permit to explore the exotic flora and fauna of this national park which houses Rinca, Komodo and other neighbouring islands.

travel to indonesia or thailand

Gili Islands: Go island hopping between Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno with their swaying coconut palms and sun-kissed beaches.

Muara Jambi: You can stroll through the forested site along the northern bank of the Batang Hari and take in the sights of temple ruins and smaller brick mounds called menapo. The Candi Gumpung and Candi Tinggi temples, amongst others have been partially restored.

Klungkung Palace: Located in Semarapura, the palace complex comprises of Kertha Gosa, the ancient Supreme Court and Bale Kambang, the floating pavilion. You can also pay a visit to the salt-making exhibit at Museum Semarajaya.

Orangutan Feeding Centre: Get onto an inflatable boat and scramble up the slopes to get a close up view of the semi-wild primates as they feed. You can also opt to go on a guided trek within the forest to see the orangutans in their natural habitat.

Gunung Sibayak: If you’re looking for adventure, head to Berastagi and trek your way to one of the country’s most accessible volcanoes. There are several ways to reach the summit and some trails are not marked so it is advisable to get a guide to lead the way .

Beaches in Bali : For clear blue ocean, miles of golden sand, vibrant and energetic nightlife and breathtaking sunsets head to some of the world’s most popular beaches such as Nusa Dua, Balangan, Kuta, Sanur and Geger.


I loved Ubud in Bali the most, and ended up spending an entire month there. I think Ubud has some of the best food in all Indonesia. There is an abundant choice of fantastic restaurants in Ubud that offer plenty of healthy cuisine. My best tip is to just rent a motorbike and ride through the surrounding villages. You’ll see plenty of rice paddies, it’s such a stunning scenery! – Sabrina, Just One Way Ticket

travel to indonesia or thailand

Indonesia is a fairytale land! I love how in some parts, like Bali, moss grows on all of the old buildings and statues. It makes everything look so magical. My favourite spots in Indonesia are Bali, Gili T and Lombok. All three areas are close to one another, so you could visit them all in a week time if you wanted to. – Kristen Sarah, Hopscotch The Globe

Kebun Raya: You’ll need at least half a day to explore these botanical gardens which lie at the heart of Bogor. Stop by at the Orchid house to see giant water lilies and watch out for the aerial roots of pandan trees. For lunch, the Grand Garden Café offers a delicious assortment of treats.

Indonesia is a huge and beautiful country, and it’d take months to see it all. However, even if you are lacking time it’s really easy to add Jakarta as a long layover in your itinerary. From the beaches and attraction parks of Ancol Dream Park to a nostalgic stroll through the streets of Pasar Baru, there’s something for everyone in Jakarta. Moreover, if you are a coffee lover, you will love to go coffee tasting; a vibrant nightlife completes the picture. – Stefania, Every Steph

Photo courtesy of Jason Jenkins

While the island of Bali is a great place for curious kids to explore, our family’s most meaningful experiences in Indonesia took place in the northern half of Sumatra. Hiking into Gunung Leuser National Park, we saw orangutans, wild peacocks, and monitor lizards the length of a go-kart. Venturing further south, we hiked near active volcanoes, soaked in hot springs, and nearly ate our weight in a local variety of mango that was the size and shape of an egg. We enjoyed Sumatra so much that we returned six months later! – Jason, An Epic Education

travel to indonesia or thailand

The Cuisine

Food in thailand.

Over the years I have made several trips to Thailand, choosing to split my time between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. While my food cravings have changed a little over the years, there are a few Thai dishes that I always seek out when I’m in Thailand – and you should too! Pla pao is fish stuffed with lemongrass. The fish is coated in a thick layer of salt and then grilled. The salt allows the moisture to stay inside the fish as it grills. It is by far the most succulent dish I have eaten in Thailand – and the accompanying garlic chili dipping sauce is perfection. I typically buy this at a street market in Silom soi 20 in Bangkok. You can get it in most street markets. Another favourite is Khao soi; a coconut curry noodle soup with chicken. It has a Burmese influence, and quite popular in Northern Thailand. Many a foodie venture to Chiang Mai and make a goal of eating at every khao soi restaurant in the city. My favourite is served from the back of a barbershop in the Nimmanheamin neighborhood. Last but not least is roast chicken. It is a favourite in many cultures, including Thailand. Andy Rickman of PokPok in Portland (and now LA and NYC) found his inspiration at SP Chicken in Chaing Mai. Roast chicken varies slightly, the true difference, in Thailand at least, is in the accompanying dipping sauce; sweet, spicy or a little of both, the dipping sauce is key! – Pamela, Savoir Faire Abroad

Give your senses a spicy treat

travel to indonesia or thailand

For the main course, you could dip into either Pad Thai which is fried noodles or Khao Pad which is fried rice. The locals usually eat this with prawns, chicken, crab or pork. Gaeng Daeng is a tender meat dish which comes with a sprinkling of kaffir lime leaves and is made with coconut milk and red curry paste. If you’re in a hurry, opt for Pad Krapow Moo Saap which is a one-plate dish of steamed white rice and minced fatty pork.

Pad Thai – It maybe the most famous dish but it’s a dish everyone has to try at least once when they reach Thailand, preferably from a street stall market. The dish in Bangkok tastes very different from the Pad Thai usually served up in restaurants outside Thailand, where it is usually pretty standard. Being a vegetarian I always go for the tofu version but whichever version you choose, the savoury stir-fried rice noodle dish topped with crushed peanuts and beansprouts is always seriously delicious – and very filling too! – Becky, Global Grasshopper

Unique desserts that will thrill

travel to indonesia or thailand

For dessert, you’ll relish the taste of Khanom Krok, a bite sized dessert sold by street vendors in Bangkok. Thai ice-cream comes in interesting flavours like jackfruit and tea and is often served in coconut shells. You could also try Woon Bai Toey which is made from pandan leaf and topped with jelly and coconut cream. To beat the heat, try some Tup Tim Krob, made of water chestnuts and served in coconut milk and ice.

Thailand is a country filled with more than you expect. The people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet, their food is some of the best in the world, and their land is beyond beautiful. The best part is that each area is unique. You can find different dishes to tantalize your tastebuds in each new city. I recommend trying Kow soy, a wheat noodle dish served in a curry broth that can be found in Chiang Mai. But you can’t only see the north in Thailand. It’s a must to venture down to the islands as well where you can find what I consider one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the world, Freedom Beach viewpoint on Koh Tao. – Taylor, Taylor’s Tracks

Thailand has no shortage of upmarket restaurants, large food courts and western eateries such as McDonalds, KFC, Swenson’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc. At a typical night market you’ll find sweetcorn pancakes, banana leaf rice cakes, sweet stalls, fresh fruit and lots of seafood. Street stall food is usually priced between 40 and 100B whereas a seafood dinner or western lunch would cost about 150 to 350B. If you’re looking for fine dining, prices can go up to 350B.

If you’re hitting the streets of Bangkok, the one place you cannot miss is Thip Samai Pad Thai restaurant. This restaurant has been serving up arguably the best Pad Thai in Thailand for the last 5 decades. Make sure that you order the ‘superb’ version for a Pad Thai served wrapped in a thin layer of fresh yummy omelette with the perfect level of sweet, sour and salty! – Alice, Teacake Travels

Explore the food of Thailand for 8 days with Intrepid here.

Should I visit Thailand?

Food in Indonesia

One of our favourite things about visiting Indonesia is all the fresh fruit you can pick up just about anywhere. Our go-to is a hairy red fruit known as rambutan. It is similar to a lychee but is not overly sweet and much easier to peel. You can pick up a whole bunch for just Rp. 18,000 (about US$1.80). It’s the perfect sweet ending to a spicy meal or as a pick-me-up snack while sightseeing! – Jessica, Notes of Nomads

A variety of tastes and textures

travel to indonesia or thailand

Two beef dishes that you must try are the Soto Betawi which is a soup made with cow milk and beef offal; and Rendang which is a dry beef stew. You’ll love the delicious peanut sauce which accompanies Sate ayam, a dish of grilled and skewered BBQ chicken.

If you fancy some meatballs served in a bowl of beef broth and noodles, try Bakso which also comes with tofu and eggs. For something a little safer, try Indonesian Ayam goreng or fried chicken or Siomay which is something like dim sum.

Give your palate a sense of adventure

travel to indonesia or thailand

When it comes to salads, you can order Lotek or Gado-gado, which is a local favourite and consists of boiled veggies topped with a generous dressing of peanut sauce. Other related dishes are karedok, atah and pecel. While in the country do taste some oxtail soup or Sop Buntut which contains barbecued or fried oxtail.

Another unique dish is Pempek which is made of tapioca and fish and contains an egg at the centre. It comes with a dark dipping sauce called cuka.

Treats for the sweet-toothed

travel to indonesia or thailand

Most street stalls sell desserts like Es Teler, a dessert made of jackfruit slices, shredded coconut, avocado and shaved ice. You could also try green or black Klepon which are sweet coconut rice balls served on a banana leaf. Other desserts to try are the jelly-based Cendol and Pisang Goreng, a type of banana fritters.

Apart from western fast food outlets such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut, you can get a budget meal at street vendors (warung) or at markets (pasar). However, the smaller towns may have more traditional fare and less of western options. Most street meals cost less than 20,000Rp. A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant costs about 150,000.00 Rp while a McMeal would cost 45,000.00 Rp

Growing up in The Netherlands in a multicultural home with a Polish mom, my parents often encouraged me to try new cuisines during our travels. But, while at home, Indonesian food was a staple in our diets, as Indonesian influences are definitely present in Dutch culture (Indonesia is a former Dutch colony). Some of my favorite dishes that I love to replicate with imported spices in New York include Nasi Goreng (a fried rice dish often consisting of a mixture of vegetables, shrimp/shrimp paste, chicken, eggs and more), and chicken satay (chicken skewers in a peanut sauce). In addition, I love side dishes such as lumpia (spring rolls), krupuk (shrimp crackers) and for a bit of a spicy kick, sambal oelek (a chili paste). – Nicolette, CultureTrav

Explore the food of Indonesia with G Adventures 28 day tour.

Thai Culture

Thai culture has distinct Chinese and Indian elements and is highly influenced by their main religion, Buddhism. An Indian link can be seen in local literature, art and customs. The country’s culture is also significantly impacted by China, Myanmar and Cambodia. While Thai is the national language, English is widely spoken in Bangkok and many of the larger towns, which makes the country very accessible to foreigners.

Many people make a beeline for Thailand’s stunning islands, and they are undeniably hard to leave. So before you do make sure to spend some time exploring the fascinating culture and gorgeous nature of North Thailand; trek through the jungle and be amazed by the nature, people, food and temples (don’t miss the White Temple near Chiang Rai) before heading South to relax on the beaches, you won’t regret it. – Anna, Global Gallivanting

With origins dating back centuries, Thailand’s Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivals are two separate but often back-to-back celebrations based heavily on the idea of clearing bad luck, new beginnings and sending love to Buddha. During the Loi Krathong celebrations, people craft “krathong” (rafts) out of banana leaves, lotus flowers, candles and incense, and set them ablaze before floating them down Thailand’s waterways, carrying bad luck away and symbolizing a fresh start.

During the Yi Peng festival, people make “khom loi” (floating lanterns) out of thin fabric such as rice paper, and attach a candle, which causes the lantern to float up into the sky. When thousands of the lanterns are launched into the air at the same time, it resembles a giant flock of jellyfish floating through the sky.

Stay comfortable, stay smart

travel to indonesia or thailand

When it comes to packing for a holiday, take a good pair of sandals which you can easily remove before you enter a temple or museum. At most religious sites it’s advisable to dress conservatively and always check if photography is allowed before taking a picture of Buddha or other religious symbols. If you’re a woman avoid touching a monk as this is considered a taboo. As a tourist, it is better to avoid showing signs of annoyance or shouting while bargaining. Instead of shaking hands, the locals ‘wai’, which is done by bowing a little with your hands placed together in front of your face.

Should I travel to Thailand?

Have fun but keep alert

With respect to safety and health, stay away from deserted beaches as they may not have lifeguard protection. Bottled water is cheap and widely available especially at Seven Eleven and other stores. If you’re travelling by tuk-tuk, remember to negotiate the fare before you get in and alternatively, you can easily get a taxi as they’re available 24 hours a day. Be wary of touts at bus and train stations and at tourist attractions. Some of them may sell you fake Muay Thai boxing tickets. Further, avoid encounters with overly friendly people from your own home country as they may be con-artists who are out to cheat you.

When I think back to my trip to Thailand a few years ago, the one province that really took my breath away was Kanchanaburi, a beautiful mountainous region west of Bangkok and close to the border of Myanmar. I stayed on the River Kwai Jungle Rafts, an eco, floating hotel built upon rafts and anchored on the Kwai Noi River. It was one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I’ve ever stayed in. I would wake early and watch the mist on the river burn off as the sun crept up – everything was so still and quiet. – Rachel, Department of Wandering

Indonesian Culture

Set along some of the ancient trading routes between the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East; Indonesia has a culture that has been influenced by many religions including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian is the official language but many of the locals also speak Sundanese, Madurese and Javanese. English is widely spoken in the country especially among the educated communities and in larger cities.

If you truly want to get away from the daily grind of life and experience something completely different, then Indonesia is the place for you. Few countries capture the sheer diversity that Indonesia does. From the green rice fields of Bandung to the pristine underworld of Raja Ampat, in Papua and the sacred UNESCO World Heritage sites of Borobudur and Prambanan Temples, as well as Ratu Boko, you will be mesmerized by this country. There is, of course, the beaches of Bali and Gili Trawangan too! The locals are genuine and as curious about you as you are about them. Oh, and don’t forget to try the Indonesian rice pudding and the sweet rice balls stuffed with palm sugar! – Cacinda,

Respect local customs and traditions

While clothing is informal, the locals follow Muslim values so avoid wearing revealing clothes especially when visiting religious sites. Long and loose cotton clothes will help you beat the humidity as swimwear is only allowed at resort pools. When visiting a temple women are encouraged to wear a scarf while men are required to wear a sash which can be bought at the premises. Indonesians are quite friendly but reserved so it’s best to maintain a quiet demeanour. Before taking a picture of the locals say ‘boleh’ which translates to ‘May I?’ You’ll find that most people are ready and willing to pose for a photograph.

travel to indonesia or thailand

Try and be patient even if trains are delayed or if the vendors take too long. Showing signs of frustration or anger are frowned upon.

Do your homework prior to travel

With regard to safety it is always advisable to check the official government site for travel advisories before you start your trip. Certain parts of the country are unsafe due to terrorism and civil unrest. During holiday periods and at places of worship, it’s best to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. There is also the possibility of earthquakes and volcano eruptions as the area lies within an active seismic zone. Keep handbags and backpacks close to you as petty theft is quite common.

It is best to buy bottled water and avoid drinking tap water in Indonesia. Even if it looks clean, it is best not to drink directly from the tap. Bottled water comes in 5-gallon bottles, 1 or 2 litre bottles or even as single-serving glasses. Stay away from bottle refilling stations as they are not of a drinkable standard and you could end up falling ill.

Indonesia is one of the most complete destinations one could desire for. There are dense jungles, beautiful corral reefs, ancient temples, majestic volcanoes, and you could continue the list till tomorrow. What makes Indonesia really unforgettable is the kind and ever smiling people you find everywhere. – Rachele, Surfing the Planet


Getting around thailand.

Before you start investigating the best modes of transport in Thailand, consider a group tour as one of the most time and cost-effective ways to get around the country. Depending on your travel style or preference, there is a tour that can cater to your entire travel needs, or maybe just part of your travels so you can mix it up. The most convenient way to travel is by bus but opt for air-conditioned buses which come in either VIP, first class or second class categories. There are several overnight busses you can ride but these are not known to be very safe. Tickets are normally available at departure terminals. Major islands are well connected by ferries but avoid buying a ticket on a boat that looks overcrowded. Tickets can be brought onboard the vessel.

Local transport is available in the form of buses, tuk-tuks, car taxis, motorbike taxis and long tail boats. Since most routes have directions in English, you can also rent a vehicle from reputed dealers such as National, Budget or Avis from 800B. Thais drive on the left. Cycling is another good option as most roads are in good condition. However, watch out for stray dogs on minor roads and get a rabies vaccination in advance. Bangkok has an underground and above-ground mass transport system which offers good connectivity around the city. Public transport costs between 20 to 50B, whereas an organized tour would be more expensive at 1000 to 1500B.

SRT or State Railway of Thailand has four main lines that connect to popular places such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Surat Thani, Lampang, Udon Thani etc. The fare depends on the type of seat that you choose. On longer journeys, it is best to opt for reclining seats that can be converted into a curtained-off bunk in the night.

travel to indonesia or thailand

The quickest way to travel would be to fly using carriers such as Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, Nok Air, Air Asia, Thai Smile etc. A two hour flight can save you days of travel by bus and train and can be quite affordable if you book early. Some airlines offer airpasses that you can use on domestic flights.

Getting Around Indonesia

There are several options for public transport in Indonesia. Bemos or minibuses operate a standard route but they may overcharge tourists if you’re not careful. Before you get into a taxi, check if it has a working meter and if it doesn’t, be prepared to negotiate the fare before the ride.

Most Bluebird or Uber taxi drivers speak English or you can take a prepaid taxi from the airport. Near bus terminals, you’ll find motorcycle riders or Ojeks who will whizz you through Jakarta traffic even at peak hours. A more traditional option is the dokar which is a two-wheeled horse drawn cart that fits 3 or 4 passengers.

The locals prefer public busses but it can be quite crowded and slow. The normal tariff for a taxi ride of about a kilometre would be approximately 4,000.00 Rp. At resort locations, there are tourist shuttle busses which are more comfortable but expensive.

travel to indonesia or thailand

Islands such as Bali, Java, Lombok and Sumatra are well connected by ferries. There are also passenger lines such as Pelni which come with private cabins and meal facilities. If you’re in a hurry, you can opt for ASDP fast ferries, which are more expensive but travel faster.

International flights are operated by Garuda and the country’s domestic operator is Merpati. Airlines such as Batavia Air, Lion Air and Mandala provide provincial services. Tourist hubs such as Bali have several reliable car-rental agencies but you’ll need to have an international driver’s licence before you rent a vehicle. If you feel adventurous you can also rent a motorbike but remember that wearing a helmet is compulsory by law.

If you’re headed to Sumatra or Java, you can use Kereta Api, the national railway. You’ll find train schedules to be reliable and most stations are centrally located. Get a ticket at a loket or ticket window and check if a seat reservation is required.

The Overall Costs

Cost of travelling thailand.

Thai currency is called baht and one baht consists of 100 satang. You can get 50 or 25- satang coins or 10B, 5B, 2B and 1B coins. Paper currency is colour-coded and comes in 20B, 50B, 100B, 500B and 1000B.

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant would cost about 55B, Coke or Pepsi is about 17B, domestic beer would cost 55B, a 1.5 litre of bottled water is 16B and a regular Cappuccino would be around 60B. Branded jeans would cost close to 2000B while mid-range sports shoes cost above 2500B.

You can book a midrange hotel room for between 1000 and 3000B and a basic guesthouse room would be 400 to 1000B.

travel to indonesia or thailand

Cost of Travelling Indonesia

Rupiah or Rp is the currency used and you’ll find coins of 1000, 500 and 200 available as well as notes in denominations of 1,00,000Rp, 50,000p, 20,000p, 10,000p, 5000p and 2000p. At some hotels, you may be able to pay in Euro or USD.

A 1.5 litre bottle of water costs 5,290.65 Rp, a half litre bottle of domestic beer costs about 25,478.90 Rp and regular Cappuccino costs around 25,334.59 Rp. Average prices of fruits and vegetables range between 10,000Rp and 20,000Rp per kilogram. A pack of Marlboro cigarettes would cost about18,000 Rp. To make a local phone call, expect to pay around 1,500Rp and a spa experience will run you about 870,000Rp.

On average, a budget traveller can expect to spend about 500,000Rp per day while luxury living would cost you upwards of 2,000,000Rp per day.

Most major cities and tourist areas have ATMs but they come with low withdrawal limits so plan ahead and carry extra money if you’re heading to a rural area.

travel to indonesia or thailand

We know you’re going to fall in love with both destinations! Take a look at a tour to  Thailand  or  Indonesia.

travel to indonesia or thailand

Sebastian P.

From his hometown of Sydney, Australia, Sebastian has turned travel into a profession. Starting out as a tour guide in Sydney, he then moved to Europe to lead tours across the continent, before returning home where he continues inspiring others to find their own adventures.

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A Travel Comparison for Vacations, Honeymoons, and Tours Thailand vs. Indonesia

Should you visit thailand or indonesia, which country is cheaper, indonesia or thailand.

Should I visit Thailand or Indonesia? This is a popular question for many travelers. By figuring out which country is more expensive, you'll understand where you'll get more bang for your buck. A week in Indonesia can cost you about $417 (per person), while a week in Thailand may cost you around $567. These differences become even more noticable if you plan to spend a longer time in the country. 10 days , two weeks , or even one month of travel to Indonesia or Thailand can really add to your travel budget.

Accommodation is often cheaper in Indonesia compared to Thailand ($31 vs. $35). Budget travelers usually stay in less expensive hostels and guest houses, while nicer hotels often appeal to families and upscale travelers.

Compare hotel prices here: Thailand Hotel Prices and Indonesia Hotel Prices .

Or, compare hostel and guesthouse prices between Indonesia and Thailand to find the cheapest accommodation here: Indonesia hostels and Thailand hostels .

When comparing food in Thailand vs. Indonesia they are not just different in cuisine, but also in price. Meal and restaurant costs in Thailand ($17) are often cheaper than Indonesia ($16).

  • Thailand Prices Indonesia Prices
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day Thailand $ 81 Indonesia $ 60
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person Thailand $ 35 Indonesia $ 31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room Thailand $ 70 Indonesia $ 62
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc. Thailand $ 12 Indonesia $ 8.89
  • Food Meals for one day Thailand $ 17 Indonesia $ 16
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc. Thailand $ 18 Indonesia $ 9.69
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day Thailand $ 8.45 Indonesia $ 4.87
  • Water Bottled water for one day Thailand $ 1.33 Indonesia $ 1.18

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Indonesia vs Thailand: Which is Better to Travel?

Is it even possible to settle the Indonesia vs Thailand debate? Which one is best for you? Eight travel experts stand on their soapbox and tell you where to go

Indonesia vs Thailand? Thailand or Indonesia? Where should I travel to? Many face this question when deciding between two of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations.

So, if you’re planning to visit Southeast Asia and are still undecided if you should visit Thailand or Indonesia, then this travel blog post is for you. We’ll compare these two popular destinations to help you make an informed decision.

After seven trips to Indonesia and three to Thailand, it’s pretty clear that we are Indo-junkies. We love Indonesia for many reasons, which we’ll explain a little later. But Thailand is damn fine, too.

But we’re not a dictatorship now, are we? We asked eight other travel experts to join the Indonesia vs Thailand debate. After spreading my gospel of Indonesia’s splendours, I’ll get off my high horse and let the others speak. They’ll tell you why they like the one over the other, and which one they think you should visit.

We are all about culture, nature and food, but we’ll delve much deeper than that in our Thailand vs Indonesia comparison. While both countries have a lot to offer that might seem similar, there are some key differences that travellers should be aware of when deciding where to go.

Indonesia vs Thailand

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you).

Thailand or Indonesia?

Both Thailand and Indonesia are incredible destinations; you really can’t go wrong with either. But we find ourselves returning to Indonesia again and again for the complete travel experience we get.

For us, it has everything in terms of interesting and varied culture, dazzling beaches, incredible cultural, historical and natural landmarks , unmatched nature, wildlife and dynamite food – all at very affordable prices.

Thailand might be known as the Land of Smiles, but we’ll argue that Indonesia must then be called the Land of the TRUE smile. Indonesians are genuinely friendly, and one of our highlights when travelling to Indonesia.

Many will compare Thailand vs Bali, but the island of Bali is just a tiny part of Indonesia. Indonesia has more than 18,000 islands and is more than three times the size of Thailand. If you’re deciding between Thailand or Bali, go for Thailand. However, for us, Indonesia as a whole offers a whole lot more than Thailand.

Also, Indonesia for us gets better the farther away from Bali you go.

What we like about Thailand:

  • Mango sticky rice, Pad thai, green curry
  • The ease of travel and tourist infrastructure
  • Monks in their orange robes
  • Long-tail boats
  • Thai ice tea
  • Cheap massages

What we dislike about Thailand

  • Tiger tourism and elephant camps
  • Although still affordable, it’s more expensive than in Indonesia
  • The gap year crowd
  • Lacks the adventurous vibes of Indonesia
  • Many places feel over commercialized

Why we love Indonesia

  • Excellent value for money
  • Variety in culture, nature, wildlife, scenery…pretty much everything
  • Excellent snorkelling
  • Easy to get off the beaten path
  • Off the beach snorkelling in Amed, Bali
  • Visitors seem more… mature / responsible, especially outside Bali
  • Rendang, satay, kuih

What we don’t love about Indonesia

  • Dodgy planes and ferries
  • Instagram people and influencers in Bali
  • Cities in Indonesia are not the best
  • Indonesia has a big trash problem

In short, we think Thailand suits those looking for a relaxing holiday with plenty of activities, shopping and nightlife. Thailand is a soft adventure. You should go to Indonesia if you’re looking for incredible nature, culture, surfing, snorkelling or diving. Indonesia is great for big adventures and getting off the beaten path. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with plenty of activities, shopping and nightlife in Indonesia, head straight to Bali.

Let the Weather Decide

travel to indonesia or thailand

The time of year might help you choose between Indonesia or Thailand for your next holiday. Thailand, located north of the equator, and Indonesia, located right on the equator, are best to visit at different times of the year due to weather conditions. 

In short, Thailand is better from November to February, while Indonesia is better between May and September.

Thailand : Generally, the best time to visit Thailand is during the cool and dry season, which runs from  November to February . By cool, we mean comfortable. It is the perfect place for those seeking to escape the winter from Europe and North America. 

One time we went to Thailand in April; it was HOT and humid. Thank goodness we spent most of the time on Railay Beach, but it was still damn hot. 

Another time we visited Bangkok in December, it was lovely – hot and dry.

Indonesia:  Indonesia’s dry season runs from  May to September . However, there are regional exceptions (particularly Maluku and Raja Ampat).

Most of Indonesia follows this weather pattern except for the Malukus, which is drenched in rain from May to early September. I visited the Banda Islands in July, and it was WET – the most rain I’ve ever seen.

Six of our seven trips to Indonesia were in February, the middle of the rainy season. While it was hot, wet and humid, we still had a great time.

Indonesia vs Thailand: Travel Cost & Value for Money

A coin placed inside the hand of a Buddha statue in Bangkok, Thailand

When it comes to cost, both Thailand and Indonesia are relatively affordable destinations. Low prices make Indonesia and Thailand a favourite for everyone, from backpackers to mid-range budgets and the glitterati. Even those on a budget can enjoy a luxurious holiday without having to sell their organs on the dark web in either of these countries.

If you’re loaded and feel like burning money, both will gladly help you do that.

Thailand tends to be slightly more expensive than Indonesia, especially in terms of accommodation and transport.

We think Indonesia offers the best bang for your buck, especially for unique experiences and accommodations. In our search for a luxurious beach holiday (so posh we called it our second honeymoon), we found a private pool villa and luxury resort in Lombok much cheaper than something similar in Koh Samui or Krabi.

For us, when it comes to cost and value for money, Indonesia has a definite edge. Ultimately, the choice between Thailand and Indonesia will depend on your personal preferences, budget and travel style.

Bangkok vs Jakarta

travel to indonesia or thailand

We love Bangkok. Jakarta has nothing on Thailand’s capital. Poor Jakarta

Bangkok is an exciting city with tons of things to see, do and eat. It’s such a great city that it can easily be a trip on its own. Some of Thailand’s most famous cultural landmarks and attractions are in Bangkok, like the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and Khao San Road.

Bangkok’s food is another reason to choose it over Jakarta, with its street food and night markets scattered around the city.

Getting around Bangkok feels a lot easier and safer than in Jakarta. One reason we love Bangkok is the Cho Praya river boats you can take from A to B while enjoying the riverside scenery.

Bangkok is much more of an aviation hub than Jakarta, making flights to Thailand’s capital more convenient and cheaper than to Jakarta. It is also a great city to add as a layover destination.

Jakarta , on the other hand, is not a great city to explore. While it does have its charms, it’s easy to see why most visitors bypass the capital altogether. As far as tourist attractions in Jakarta go, you basically have the Old Town for its colonial-era architecture and the National Museum Indonesia …and that’s about it. Bangkok has places to see and things to do to keep you busy for at least a week.

Even though Jakarta is as safe as Bangkok, it looks and feels much poorer. Called the Big Durian, you either love or hate Jakarta.

So, as far as capital cities go when choosing between Thailand vs Indonesia to travel, Bangkok gets our two thumbs up.

Indonesia or Thailand for Culture

travel to indonesia or thailand

In Thailand, the dominant religion is Buddhism, and you’ll find numerous temples and shrines throughout the country. If you’re looking for monks dressed in orange robes or golden Buddhas ranging from bonsai to bus size, then Thailand is for you.

The Thai people are known for their friendly and welcoming nature and love of food, music, and dance. The Thais love having a good time, and you’re sure to have a good time too.

On the other hand, Indonesia is a Muslim country, but between the 18 000 plus islands, you’ll find many cultures and traditions. The country has a mix of religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and ancestral tribal beliefs. You’ll find beautiful temples, mosques, shrines and landmarks in Indonesia, as well as a thriving arts and crafts scene reflecting its diverse culture.

Once again, Indonesia has the upper hand for us in terms of culture between Indonesia vs Thailand.

Borobudur , the world’s largest Buddhist structure, is an architectural and cultural wonder. Nearby, in the city of Yogyakarta , you can learn about the art of batik, explore the sultan’s palace or visit the exquisite Hindu complex of Prambanan.

Much of Bali’s charm lies in its Hindu culture, seen in the architecture, ceremonies, cuisine and art of the island. The best place to experience this unique side of the Indonesian caleidoscope is the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud .

For the most macabre (yet fascinating) cultural experience, hop over to Sulawesi for a Tana Toraja funeral . It’s grim but shows how fascinating and diverse Indonesia’s culture is.

In northern Sumatra, the Batak people live on the beautiful Samosir island in the middle of Lake Toba. They are predominantly protestant and known for their decorative wooden villages, musical talents and love for having a good time.

Like the Thais, Indonesians are a happy bunch who will welcome you with open arms.

We love Thailand and Indonesia for their cultural attractions. Either won’t disappoint. However, the culture found in Indonesia is much more diverse and, for lack of better words – exotic.

Indonesia vs Thailand: Nature & Landscapes

travel to indonesia or thailand

Thailand is most famous for its islands and beaches, particularly those in the south – but that, for us, is as far as it goes. The country also has beautiful national parks like Khao Yai or Erawan Falls but lacks the epic levels seen in the landscape of Indonesia.

Indonesia, meanwhile, is a nature lover’s paradise. The country has a wide range of landscapes, from active volcanoes, wave-bashed beaches, the snow-capped peak of Puncak Jaya, the rice terraces of Bali to idyllic beaches. Indonesia is also home to some of the world’s most unique and biodiverse ecosystems, including the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo and the marine life around Raja Ampat.

You simply cannot find places like Mount Bromo, Padar Island, Komodo, Lake Toba, Ijen or Kelimutu in Thailand. So for landscapes and nature, it’s a big win for Indonesia. Poor Thailand.

Is Indonesia or Thailand Better for Wildlife?

Bukit Lawang Jungle trek

This is a no-brainer. Indonesia is not only the best place for wildlife and nature in Southeast Asia, but one of the best in the entire world.

Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most iconic primates, including orangutans, langurs and gibbons. The best place to see orangutans in Indonesia is on a jungle trek in Bukit Lawang – it’s quite a magical experience. While Thailand also has its fair share of primates, including macaques and langurs, it has no wild populations of orangutans.

Thailand and Indonesia offer some of the world’s best marine life, but Indonesia is known for its exceptional biodiversity, thanks partly to its location in the Coral Triangle.

Indonesia is an underwater wonderworld with a staggering amount of marine life, while Thailand has a slightly smaller range, although still impressive. Snorkelling and diving in Indonesia are about 6500 times (our rough estimate) better in Indonesia than in Thailand.

Thailand and Indonesia both have populations of wild elephants, although they are different sub-species. Thailand is home to the Asian elephant, while Indonesia has the smaller and critically endangered Sumatran elephant . Sadly, you’re unlikely to spot any wild elephants in Indonesia, and in Thailand, they will be in elephant camps.

Indonesia stands out as the only place on earth to see Komodo dragons. Going on a snorkelling trip in Komodo and seeing the Komodo dragons is one epic adventure you can only have in Indonesia.

What About the Food?

travel to indonesia or thailand

This is a tough one. Southeast Asia is a foodie paradise , and both countries know how to cook. Both have unique flavours and ingredients. But force a chilli down my throat and make me choose; I’ll say Thailand’s food is better than Indonesia’s. 

Thai cuisine is world-renowned and known for its bold and complex sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavours. Some famous Thai dishes include Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Massaman Curry and, our favourite, mango sticky rice. 

Indonesian cuisine is diverse, like the country itself. Famous Indonesian dishes are Nasi Goreng, Bakso, Satay, Rendang and Gado-gado. The country is also known for its coffee, with renowned coffee plantations in Sumatra , Java and Sulawesi.

The food in Ubud , Bali, gives Thailand a good run for its money. Vegans/vegetarians will love Bali’s emphasis on plant-based food, while meat lovers will smack their lips to  babi guling , Bali’s oh-so-delicious suckling pig.

We also think that seafood is MUCH MUCH better and cheaper in Indonesia.

But still, Thai food is dynamite and, approximately, 28 times better than Indonesian food (once again our rough estimate).

Thailand vs Indonesia: Beaches

travel to indonesia or thailand

This is where things get really tough! Most come to Southeast Asia to chill, and there is no better place for that than a beach. You really can’t go wrong with Thailand or Indonesia – depending on how you like your beach.

We like our beaches empty with powdery white sand and gin-clear water ( like this one ). Or wild and rough with pounding surf ( like this one ). That’s why we like Indonesia for our beach time.

If comparing Bali vs Thailand for beaches, go to Thailand. While Bali has lovely beaches ( like this one) , beaches are much better in Thailand.

Beaches in Thailand and Indonesia vary from secluded and pristine stretches of sand to bustling tourist hotspots. However, there are some differences between the two countries’ beaches:

Accessibility: Thailand’s beaches are generally easier to access than those in Indonesia, as Thailand’s tourism industry is more developed and infrastructure is better. Most of Thailand’s beaches are near major cities or towns, and transportation options are readily available. On the other hand, many of Indonesia’s beaches are more remote and require more effort to reach.

Development: Thailand’s beaches are more developed than those in Indonesia, with more resorts, restaurants, and other amenities available for tourists. This can make Thailand’s beaches feel more crowded and commercialized, but it also offers more convenience for travellers. Indonesia’s beaches tend to be less developed and more secluded, which can offer a more authentic and natural experience but with less access to tourist amenities.

Activities: Both Thailand and Indonesia offer a range of activities on their beaches, including swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling, and water sports. Thailand’s beaches are known for their party scene and nightlife, while Indonesia offers more opportunities for snorkelling and exploring nearby natural attractions.

Choosing Ain’t That Easy…

Okay, I’ve said what I had to say. Time to get off my high horse. Let’s hear from other travel experts what they have to say about this whole Thailand vs Indonesia thing.

travel to indonesia or thailand

It’s not a piece of cake – choosing between Thailand and Indonesia. It’s a conundrum, we know. We can happily go to either country and have a fantastic time.

Nuraini from Teja on the Horizon agrees. She says: “As a Malaysian, I’m stumped if you ask me whether Thailand or Indonesia is a better travel destination. They are quite different destinations but evenly matched.

Take food – a Malaysian’s obsession, given our own diverse foodie culture. Thai food is ubiquitous in Malaysia, from fine dining to street food. Tom yam and padprik , green curry and massaman , who can turn it down?

Yet Indonesian cuisine is partially absorbed into my own heritage cuisine. Rendang and sate and soto – these dishes I’d recommend in Malaysia have roots in Indonesia.

As for island vacays? Both have gorgeous beaches – Thailand’s are oh-so-accessible, but Indonesia’s thousands of islands boast hidden gems. And while Thailand dominates the budget tourism segment, Indonesia is affordable too. It has a few special places priced higher for their unique value, such as Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, and Komodo.

How do you choose between quick and easy vs a bit of an adventure?

Travelling for culture? Having friends in both countries, they each appeal for different reasons.

The Thais have a relatively uniform culture and are fairly liberal. This ancient kingdom is dominantly Buddhist and Siamese, though its southern provinces are indigenously Muslim and Malay. So I visit for these paradoxes, and the temples and prasad of IndoChinese culture.

Contrast that with Indonesia’s 1300 native ethnic groups and multiple old civilizations. Indonesia accumulates some of the finest expressions of Austronesian culture. You could revisit Indonesia without going to the same place twice while exploring Indonesia’s ethnic diversity for years and years.

So which one is better? I really can’t decide between two friends.”

Those in Favour of Indonesia, Take my High Horse for a Ride

We are not alone when saying Indonesia is better than Thailand. These wonderful travel gurus agree that you should visit Indonesia for your next trip.

Indonesia is a Very Special Place Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

Cassie from Cassie the Hag says that Indonesia is a very special place. Also, a high five to her for agreeing with us that Indonesia gets better outside of Bali. This is what she has to say:

“From going on an eco-tour to see orangutans in north Sumatra to tackling the insane winding roads of eastern Flores to swim alongside breathtaking coral reefs, there is so much to see in Indonesia. (Perhaps it’s just my experience or personal preference, but it gets so much better outside of Bali.)

It’s Java that took my heart. When I embarked on an  epic two-week Java itinerary , solo backpacking across this extraordinary island, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Although I’d already travelled in other Southeast Asian countries, everything in Java was bigger and better than I could have imagined.

Borobudur is not just another breathtaking temple but the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, and it was spectacular to watch it slowly come to life at sunrise. Likewise, I was mesmerised by spotless and wild beaches and wonderful locals in Karimunjawa – a paradise island 4 hours away from the north coast. And east Java? With the massive Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and two epic sunrise volcano treks – Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen – it’s safe to say that I’d never had so many genuine ‘wow!’ moments in quick succession. 

And I can honestly say that I met the friendliest locals in Java. I was helped out in more ways than I can count, with hostel owners always going above and beyond or inviting me to eat street food with them and their friends. 

Indonesia is an incredibly special and varied country, spanning many different islands, religions, cultures, and terrains. No matter how many times I have my breath taken away by Indonesia, I know there’ll be more to see that will astonish me all over again, and I’ll always be grateful for the locals who helped share their home with me. “

We Love Indonesia Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

Jen and Guy from The Evolista say that choosing between Thailand and Indonesia is tough, but it’s definitely Indonesia for them!

“First, if you are a surfer, Indonesia has incredible remote surf spots like Mentawi and Nias in Sumatra . But some of the best breaks in Indonesia are conveniently located in Uluwatu, Bali. You could spend weeks hitting the waves at various Uluwatu beaches like Padang Padang, Bingin and Balangan. Novice surfers can find gentler waves in Canggu, Bali, nearby.

Thailand has gorgeous white sand beaches and areas with otherworldly karst formations that will take your breath away; however, it just doesn’t have the surf potential that Bali does.

One of our favourite things is that the best hotels in Uluwatu, Bali include a vast range of really great accommodations for every budget. So if you have the money to spend on a private pool villa, you can splurge to have that once-in-a-lifetime stay. Conversely, you can still afford an ocean view, cool-vibe, surf hotel on a limited budget.

Health-conscious individuals will love indulging in Bali’s exotic fusion cuisine and the unbelievable amount of restaurants offering fantastic vegan dishes. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your food, you’ll fill your Instagram feed at every meal in Bali.

Culturally, Bali has beautiful temples and rituals. It seems to result in some of the kindest people we’ve met in any country. Their happy spirit rubs off on you. We felt so at ease and peaceful in Bali that we are holding out for an opportunity to live there at some point. “

Indonesia is Better than Thailand Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

Mal & Robin of WhereToStayBali say Indonesia has something for everyone:

“Without a doubt, Thailand has some incredible beaches, but nothing beats the diversity of the beaches in Indonesia. From the black sand beaches of East Bali and dramatic cliffs in Nusa Penida to the pristine white sands and aquamarine waters of Raja Ampat, Indonesia has something to offer every kind of beach-lover imaginable. 

What I love the most about Indonesia is its world-class surf spots! Bali was where I learnt to surf, and while I travelled to many other famous surf beach towns, nothing really beats the consistency and the quality of swell on the Island of Gods. If you want to learn to surf, there is no better place.

For those that appreciate the diversity of landscapes, Indonesia also excels. If you want to experience the gorgeous beaches of Bali that are swimmer-friendly and perfect for a relaxing holiday,  stay in Nusa Dua  in Bali.

But, just a short boat ride away, there is Nusa Penida island that will leave you in complete awe at its soaring cliffs and pristine beaches, such as Diamond Beach or Kelingking, with unworldly views and where you need to hike down a steep and treacherous path, which is an adventure in its own right.

For the off-beaten track experience, visit Maluku, Sulawesi or Sumba(known for its wild horses), or one of the hidden Gili islands. With over 18 thousand islands, Indonesia is definitely a top destination for beach lovers.”

Thailand is Good, but Indonesia is Great Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

Catherine from Nomadicated knows Indonesia and Thailand, but she says Indonesia takes the cake.

“Having travelled throughout Thailand and Indonesia for over three months each in the past year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Indonesia is a superior destination when it comes to experiences and activities. Although I highly prefer Thailand for its comfortable standard of living and phenomenal cuisine, Indonesia takes the cake when it comes to out-of-this-world landscapes and fascinating indigenous culture.

Physically, Indonesia is 3.7 times larger and has an estimated twelve times as many islands. Just by numbers alone, you can explore much more ecosystems, beaches, and remote villages in Indonesia compared to Thailand.

Indonesia stands out from Thailand with its volcanic mountainscapes;  wherever you stay in Lombok , Mount Rinjani towers over the whole island. Additionally, Mount Kelimutu is home to three lakes of different colors that change throughout the year, while within Mount Ijen lies the most acidic lake on Earth, and there are many more! 

While both countries boast beautiful beaches and lush forests, Indonesia takes it one step further by offering unparalleled mountain views.

Furthermore, certain island societies, such as the Ngada ethnic group of Flores, the indigenous communities in remote West Timor, and even the famous Bali, have managed to preserve their traditional way of life.”

Indonesia is My Wet Dream Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

If you think Indonesia is awesome topside, wait until you put your head underwater. Campbell from Stingy Nomads says it’s the best in the world – and he knows what he’s talking about.

“Diving in Southeast Asia is spectacular, with many travellers heading to Indonesia and Thailand to explore the coral reefs. 

Thailand has good diving in the Gulf of Thailand and the Similan Islands. The dive training in Thailand is known to be excellent and well-priced, especially on Koh Tao. After travelling and working as a dive instructor around the world for years, I think Indonesia is the country with the best diving in the world. 

Around 2500 different fish species can be seen on the coral reefs of Indonesia. Go and  dive at Bali  to swim with the massive oceanic sunfish or dive with manta rays. 

Muck diving is searching for small, alien creatures most people don’t know to exist. Lembeh strait in north Sulawesi is one of the best places in the world for this kind of diving. Here you can find the blue ring octopus, hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, pygmy sea horse, and many other wonderful animals. 

If you want to dive in strong currents with large pelagic species like tunas, sharks, and schools of massive manta rays, Komodo in Indonesia is one of the best places to visit. 

While the diving around Thailand is good, it can not compete with the unreal diving offered by the 18,000 islands that make up Indonesia.”

Thailand Lovers, Please Get on Your Soapboxes

For some, Thailand is simply the best. I told you we’re not a dictatorship, so here is a soapbox for our travel experts who prefer Thailand over Indonesia. Go ahead – spread your gospel.

I Love Thailand Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

Megan from Traveller’s Elixir says Thailand is tops. This is what she has to say:

“When it comes to immersing yourself in culture, I’d choose Thailand over Indonesia any day of the week.

Thailand is a country rich in culture, traditions, and customs passed down from generation to generation. From the vibrant street markets to ancient temples, the culture of Thailand is an integral part of its people’s daily lives.

When I visited Bangkok for the first time, I was amazed at how much the culture shone through. On every street corner, there are glittering shrines and temples where the locals leave offerings to the spirits.

One unusual offering that I saw often was a bottle of red Fanta. There were huge collections of full red Fanta bottles left at every shrine.

Nobody is sure where this tradition comes from, but the locals have apparently been leaving red-coloured liquid at these shrines for decades.

I also loved visiting the  Grand Palace in Bangkok , which was the home of the Kings of Thailand for over 150 years. 

It’s also where you’ll find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most sacred sights in Thailand. 

The Buddha itself is carved from a single block of jade (and not emerald like the name suggests). 

Once a season, the King of Thailand himself will come to the palace and change the Buddha’s clothes as part of a Buddhist ceremony.”

Thailand is Amazing Because…

travel to indonesia or thailand

A man who knows Thailand inside out is Sean from Travel Thailand Together. He says:

“Thailand and Indonesia both boast stunning landscapes, vibrant cultures and friendly locals. You cannot go wrong visiting any of the two countries, but our experiences in Thailand have been slightly better than in Indonesia.

The biggest difference between the two is food. When it comes to food, Thailand has delicious regional dishes such as Tom Yum Goong soup, Pad Thai noodles and mango sticky rice. Thai dishes use a variety of spices, giving them a deep and rich flavour that is unrivalled. On the other hand, Indonesian food is still tasty, but the flavours aren’t as rich, especially with dishes like nasi goreng and satay.

When it comes to beaches, both countries offer stunning stretches of sand where visitors can relax and enjoy the sunshine. Most of the stunning beaches are on the Thai islands, while they’re all over Indonesia.  First-time visitors to Thailand  shouldn’t miss the beaches of Phuket and Phi Phi Islands, and visitors to Indonesia shouldn’t miss the ones on the Gili Islands!

Both Thailand and Indonesia have amazing and friendly locals. It doesn’t matter where you go, locals will greet you with a smile and welcome arms. However, we found that beyond friendliness, Thai locals were more respectful, polite and open-minded. They always greet you with a smile and palmed hands when you walk into their business, something Indonesia isn’t known to do.

Both Thailand and Indonesia have rich cultures and traditions. Thailand’s long history of spiritualism and Buddhism is reflected in everything from ancient temples to traditional festivals. In comparison, Indonesia has a prominent Muslim heritage.

Both countries offer plenty of unique experiences at affordable prices in terms of value for money. They are equal in this category!”

Okay, people, time to choose! We hope that our Indonesia vs Thailand comparison helped you to make up your mind ✌️

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Popular categories, indonesia vs. thailand: which country is right for you.

By: Charlotte · Last updated 9. May 2024 · In: Indonesia , Thailand , Travel

travel to indonesia or thailand

Choosing between Indonesia and Thailand for travel is hard. Both these Southeast Asian gems boast a range of experiences that cater to different tastes, from bustling city life to serene beachside escapes. So is it even possible to settle this debate?

Yes, after traveling in Thailand and Indonesia for 14 years, and even living in Bali and Lombok, I have an idea of which one is my favorite. But I want to do a side-by-side comparison so you can make up your own mind.

So in this article, I’ll compare Indonesia vs. Thailand looking at the cost of travel, beaches, top attractions, food, accommodation, nature, wildlife and safety.

Indonesia vs Thailand


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Article overview

Indonesian archipelago

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Indonesia and Thailand share many drawcards such as spectacular beaches, exotic wildlife, palm tree jungles and turquoise water. But the two countries are also very different in many ways.

Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country I ever heard of when some of my friends in the 5th grade visited with their families. Let’s just say I was jealous and couldn’t wait until it was my turn.

Little did I know that I would visit Thailand 10 years later. My then boyfriend suggested we also visit Bali during our around-the-world trip, and I’m so grateful for that. I got to experience the Island of Gods before Instagram and before it skyrocketed into popularity.

Bali and Lombok have since become like a second home to me. I have visited around 15 times, and Thailand isn’t far behind. So let’s begin with a quick overview of both countries.

Indonesia’s geography is defined by its expansive archipelago, consisting of over 17,000 islands. It stretches between two continents, Asia and Oceania, and spans more than 5,000 kilometers east to west. This gives Indonesia a diverse range of ecosystems, from lush rainforests to volcanic landscapes.

✅ Still great value for money

✅ Variety in culture, nature and wildlife

✅ Excellent snorkeling, diving and surfing

✅ Easy to get off the beaten path, many islands are waiting to be explored

❌ Unsafe planes and ferries

❌ Less developed infrastructure

❌ Waste management issues

❌ Bali is getting too crowded with lots of focus on commercial Instagram spots

In contrast, Thailand combines both a mainland section connected to the Asian continent and over 1,400 islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Its geography includes extensive coastlines, a central plain known as the  Rice Bowl of Asia , and the mountainous North.

✅ It’s easy to get around

✅ Cosmopolitan big cities and paradise islands

✅ Big focus on street food, easy-to-eat healthy

✅ Beautiful temples and colorful culture

❌ Tiger and elephant tourism

❌ Still great value, but has become more expensive

❌ Many places feel very touristy

❌ Lacks the adventurous vibe of Indonesia

In short, Indonesia is the winner for me . You should go to Indonesia if you’re looking for incredible nature, majestic temples, surfing, snorkeling or diving.

Indonesia is great for both off-the-beaten-path adventures and relaxing beach holidays. There are still so many islands to explore.

If you’re all about boho accommodation, hip Instagram cafés and trendy boutiques, then Bali is the place for you. Be sure to check out my popular 2-week Bali itinerary .

I think you should choose Thailand if you want a relaxing holiday with time on the beach, shopping and nightlife. Most places in Thailand are easy to access, you have more options for transportation and the infrastructure is better developed.

Let the weather decide

Scooter driving fast in the rain during monsoon season in Thailand vs Indonesia.

If you have set vacation times, you should let the weather decide between Indonesia and Thailand. Both countries offer tropical climates but with distinctly different seasons.

Indonesia has the best weather from May to September and Thailand from November to February.

Indonesia  is located on the equator, leading to a generally warm and tropical climate year-round with just two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

The  dry season  traditionally runs from May to September, offering less rainfall and lower humidity. This period is commonly considered the  best time to visit   Indonesia for favorable weather conditions. However, there are regional exceptions such as Maluku and Raja Ampat.

My personal favorite time to visit Bali and Indonesia is from February to April, when it’s still green after the rainy season, with mostly clear weather but fewer tourists.

  • Dry Season (May – September):  Ideal for beach activities and exploring.
  • Rainy Season (October – April):  Higher humidity and rainfall; suitable for indoor and cultural experiences.

Thailand , too, has a tropical climate but it’s marked by three distinct seasons. The  cool season , lasting from November to February, is generally the most comfortable time to visit, with moderate temperatures and lower humidity levels.

I have visited Thailand several times during the rainy season, and I’ve never experienced more than a few days of rainfall.

  • Cool Season (November – February):  Pleasant weather, great for outdoor sightseeing and festivals.
  • Hot Season (March – May):  Higher temperatures, perfect for island visits and water activities.
  • Rainy Season (June – October):  Intermittent showers with lush landscapes; ideal for nature enthusiasts.

Stupas at the top of Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta - Indonesia vs. Thailand temples.

Indonesia’s cultural landscape is incredibly diverse , with Islam as the main religion and influences from Hinduism, Buddhism and European colonialism.

Temples in Indonesia are primarily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple in Central Java, is famous for its bell-shaped stupas and detailed relief panels. Prambanan, Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple complex, is celebrated for its tall and imposing architecture.

I especially love the magical temples of Bali, such as my favorite Pura Gunung Kawi in Ubud and the popular Pura Lempuyang in East Bali. You will also encounter colorful funeral processions, festivals, ceremonies for every occasion and daily offerings.

Girl wearing a red kimono walking between two potted trees inside the colorful Wat Pho in Bangkok early in the morning - Indonesia vs. Thailand.

Thai culture is deeply influenced by Buddhism , which is reflected in the country’s numerous temples, festivals, and the prominent practice of merit-making. The emphasis on  sanuk  (fun) and  kreng jai  (consideration for others) is evident in their customs. Thailand is the land of smiles after all.

Thai temples, or “wats”, are known for their steeply pitched roofs, ornate and colorful decorations, and often gold-encrusted facades. The Royal Palaces of Bangkok and the temples of Chiang Mai are among the most popular. The style often varies from region to region, with Lanna-style temples in the north and Khmer-influenced designs in the east.

🏆 In terms of Indonesia vs. Thailand for culture and temples, Indonesia is the winner for me. Even though I love the colors of Thailand, Indonesia feels ancient and spiritual, a magic that can’t be put into words.

Girl in a red dress walking in Tegalalang Rice Terraces during sunset - Indonesia vs. Thailand

When it comes to nature, Indonesia and Thailand both offer incredible stunning landscapes. While Indonesia gives me the feeling of boundless exploration, Thailand offers a more compact and accessible experience.

Indonesia is known for its volcanic landscapes, rich marine biodiversity, thick jungles, the iconic rice terraces of Bali , and even a snowcapped peak called Puncak Jaya.

Indonesia is located in the Ring of Fire and has more active volcanoes than any other country. So it’s no surprise that crater hikes are one of the most popular activities in Indonesia, with Mount Batur in Indonesia often considered the easiest hike.

Thailand, on the other hand, captivates with its lush mountainous regions in the north and the islands and crystal-clear waters of the south. National parks, such as KaengKrachan and  Khao Sok , offer a chance to experience waterfalls and trekking trails.

🏆 For me, Indonesia is the winner again, but it all depends on what kind of holiday you’re after.

Which country has the best beaches?

White deserted beach and turquoise ocean in Kertasari - Indonesia vs. Thailand best beaches

🏆 Both Indonesia and Thailand boast equally beautiful beaches, so I’m calling this category a draw.

The difference is that you can easily find mile-long white sand beaches that you can have all to yourself in Indonesia. When I was staying at Whales and Waves Resort in Sumbawa , I never met another person on the beach. In Thailand, however, most of the beautiful beaches are crowded.

On the other hand, Thailand’s Andaman Sea and Gulf Coast beaches are generally calmer, making them suitable for water sports and family-friendly activities. In Indonesia, the beaches are often more rugged, with steep cliffs and waves perfect for surfing.

Aerial shot of a red boat and people in the turquoise water at Pink Beach in Komodo Island - Indonesia vs. Thailand

  • Tanjung Bira Beach: Nestled on the southern tip of Sulawesi Island, Tanjung Bira Beach mesmerizes visitors with its stretches of soft white sand, swaying palm trees, and stunning turquoise waters.
  • Pink Beach (Pantai Merah): Named for its unique pink sand, Pink Beach in Komodo National Park offers stunning vistas of turquoise waters, rugged hills, and vibrant coral reefs.
  • Ngurtafur Beach: A paradise-like white-sand beach and sandbar stretching 2 kilometers into the ocean from Warbal Island in Southeast Maluku.
  • Tanjung Aan Beach : My favorite beach in Lombok consists of two white sand coves lined by palm trees and rustic warungs.

Best guided tours in Krabi Thailand - Arial view of Maya Beach in the Phi Phi Islands

  • Railay Beach: Renowned for its towering limestone cliffs, clear turquoise waters, and soft white sand, Railay is one of the best tours from Krabi .
  • Maya Bay: Made famous by the movie “The Beach,” Maya Bay is a picturesque cove on Koh Phi Phi Leh.
  • Koh Nang Yuan: Just off the coast of Koh Tao, Koh Nang Yuan is an idyllic trio of tiny islands connected by sandbars surrounded by vibrant coral reefs.
  • Koh Lipe: Known as the “Maldives of Thailand,” Koh Lipe boasts pristine beaches with powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful marine life. Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach are particularly popular for their breathtaking views.
  • Phra Nang Beach: Located in Krabi, Phra Nang Beach is famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and golden sands.

Close up of a hairy baby orangutan glowing in the sunlight in Borneo - Indonesia vs Thailand

Indonesia is home to a multitude of primates , including orangutans, langurs, macaques and gibbons. You will see them on every island, keep your valuables hidden from cheeky long-tailed Macaque monkeys in Bali .

While Thailand has its fair share of primates, including macaques and langurs, no wild orangutans exist.

Thailand and Indonesia both have populations of wild tigers and elephants . Thailand is home to the Indian elephant, while Indonesia has the smaller and critically endangered Sumatran elephant, both sub-species of the Asian elephant.

In Thailand, the Indochinese tiger can be found in the country’s remote forests, with conservation efforts such as those in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Similarly, in Indonesia, the critically endangered Sumatran tiger roams the dense lowland and montane rainforest mainly on the island of Sumatra.

🏆 In this category there’s a clear winner. Indonesia is not only the best place for wildlife in Southeast Asia, but one of the best in the entire world. Here are just some of the examples of animals you can see in Indonesia:

  • Sumatra:  Orangutans, Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, rhinos and elephants.
  • Borneo:  Pygmy elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys.
  • Java: Javan leopards, rhinos, mangrove cats, deer, buffalo, peacocks.
  • Papua:  Bird-of-paradise, tree kangaroos.
  • Sumbawa: Whale sharks, wild horses, various primates.
  • Sumba: Wild horses.
  • Raja Ampat: Bird-of-paradise, Coconut crab, Dugong, Green Sea turtles.
  • Komodo National Park: Komodo Dragons.

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays in Nusa Penida

When speaking of aquatic adventures, let’s take a closer look. Thailand boasts beautiful and easily accessible spots for snorkeling and diving, but not on the scale of Indonesia.

Indonesia forms part of the Coral Triangle with incredible marine life. Raja Ampat is home to the world’s highest marine biodiversity, with around 600 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of mollusks.

But you don’t have to travel that far. In the waters surrounding the Nusa Islands, just off the coast of Bali, you can experience colorful coral, turtles, dolphins, Manta Rays and even the elusive Mola Mola. I usually recommend Nusa Penida for snorkeling , you can easily go there on a day trip from Bali.

On the other hand, if you are planning to get your PADI certification, Thailand is probably a cheaper place to do so. Thailand’s best diving is at  Hin Daeng & Hin Muang , the islands around Koh Haa and Koh Bida.

🏆 In the race of Indonesia vs. Thailand , Indo wins again.

White plate with Mie Goreng fried noodles topped with an egg, cucumber and prawn crackers - Indonesian vs Thai food.

Okay, so this one is almost impossible for me to decide. As a foodie, I love both cuisines, and I don’t think Indonesian food gets enough credit on the world stage.

Rice is the staple food in Indonesia, often served with a variety of side dishes made of meat, fish, vegetables, and legumes. Indonesian food also includes various sambals, a spicy chili-based condiment ranging from mild to extremely hot.

Some of my favorite Indonesian dishes include Mie Goreng (you have to try this recipe), Nasi Campur, Rendang, Gado Gado and Sate (satay). I also find seafood to often be fresher and cheaper in Indo.

But we all know and love Thai food, right? Signature dishes such as Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, curries and, of course, the mango sticky rice. With its fresh ingredients and balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy flavors, you can’t go wrong.

I also love the street food culture in Thailand, there are just so many fun things to taste. Street food tours and cooking classes are some of my favorite things to do in Bangkok .

🏆 I’m giving the food category to Thailand, but please try Indonesian food if you ever have the chance!

Indonesia vs. Thailand: Accommodation

Villa with a private swing set in the palm tree jungle of Ubud seen from above - Indonesia vs. Thailand best accommodation

Both countries have long been favorites among budget backpackers from all over the world. I have stayed on a mattress in a warung on Balagan Beach in Bali, and I have slept on a bamboo cot in the Phi Phi Islands.

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have given the win to Thailand, however, with Indonesia’s popularity skyrocketing in recent years, so have the accommodation options.

In Indonesia, you will find absolutely anything. From mats on the floor close to popular surf spots and quirky treehouses to big resorts and the most spectacular private villas.

For a more local experience, look for “homestays” that allow you to live with local families. North and East Bali do these kinds of stays very well. On the luxury side of things, my all-time favorite places to stay are Goya Boutique Resort in Ubud and The Luxe Bali in Uluwatu.

Boho rustic raised turquoise beach bungalow decorated with seas shells and surrounded by greenery on Koh Samet in Thailand vs. Indonesia

Thailand’s accommodation options are equally as diverse, and they do the $10 a night hostels very well. In Bangkok, my absolute favorite is The Siam Hotel , it doesn’t get much better than this modern colonial gem! The unique boutique experiences have also come a long way in recent years, yet I still feel Indonesia inches in front.

🏆 Because of Bali’s incredible accommodation options, I’m giving the overall win to Indo.

Lone surfer on a wave early in the morning in Kertasari, Sumbawa - Indonesia vs. Thailand

When on the topic of accommodation, why not combine it with wellness and activities? I love retreats, there’s no better way to invest in yourself. Wellness, surfing, yoga, detox, you name it. It is such a great place to meet like-minded people while becoming a better version of yourself.

Bali has some of the best surfing and yoga retreats in the world, while Thailand is big on rejuvenation. Both offer retreats in every price range, but I do think Thailand takes the win here with a better selection of retreat venues.

I book all my retreats through Tripaneer , click below to check out their offerings.

Are you wondering how much you should budget for two weeks in Bali? Click through to find out exactly how much I spent on accommodation, food, transport, shopping and activities in my daily Bali budget breakdown.

As mentioned above, both Thailand and Indonesia are relatively affordable destinations. You can stay in a beautiful 4-star hotel on the beach in Bali for the same price as a campground in Norway. And eat out for about a week in Thailand for the same price as a restaurant visit in Los Angeles.

Yes really, I’ve done it. Of course, there are more expensive places in Indonesia and Thailand too. So if you’re loaded, you won’t have any trouble spending your money.

But overall, Thailand tends to be slightly more expensive than Indonesia , especially for accommodation and transportation. I just compared 5-star resorts in Lombok with similar 5-star resorts on Koh Samui, and the resorts in Thailand cost 15-20% more.

The only exception is that domestic flights in Thailand are cheaper and much more readily available.

On average, here’s what I usually spend per day in Indonesia. I have written about this in more detail in my two-week Bali budget .

  • Accommodation: I spent $20 to $50 per night for 4-star hotels.
  • Food:  Local meals typically cost around $2 to $5.
  • Transportation: Scooter rental $5 per day, private driver $50+ per day.
  • Activities:  Entrance fees for attractions are usually under $10, and organized tour tours are anywhere from $20 to $500.

Thailand’s travel costs are slightly higher but still affordable. My expenses in Thailand looked something like this:

  • Accommodation:  Hostels start around $10 per night, I spent between $30 and $70.
  • Food:  Street food can be as cheap as $1 to $5, with restaurant meals averaging $5 to $20.
  • Transportation:  Scooter rentals are around $8 to $15 per day, and taxis or tuk-tuks have minimum fares starting at about $1. Private driver $120+.
  • Activities:  Temple visits often have a small donation of $1 to $3, whereas guided tours start at around $30 and can go upwards for premium experiences.

🏆 Indonesia is the winner of the travel cost category, it tends to be just that little bit more affordable.

Girl on a scooter with a white surfboard looking out over lush nature towards the ocean in Sumbawa - Indonesia vs. Thailand transportation

In Indonesia, the archipelago’s geography means I often rely on domestic flights to move between islands efficiently. The most prominent airlines include Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and AirAsia. Ferries and fast boats are also common for travel between islands such as Bali to Lombok .

On larger islands like Java and Sumatra, train services are an option for land travel. In Bali, public transportation is non-existent, but it’s easy to rent a scooter and private drivers are common.

For short distances on most islands, I use a range of options from scooters, taxis, and ride-hailing services like  Gojek  and  Grab , to traditional bajaj  (auto-rickshaws) and  ojeks  (motorcycle taxis).

Thailand’s transportation infrastructure is relatively developed, with Bangkok serving as a hub for travel across the country. I prefer to use domestic airlines such as Thai Airways and AirAsia for longer distances or take advantage of the extensive bus network for a cost-effective solution.

Bangkok has a modern and efficient mass transit system, including the BTS Skytrain and the MRT Subway , which are ideal for avoiding traffic.

Outside the capital, I find that buses, taxis, and tuk-tuks are the most common ways to get around. For regional travel, the State Railway of Thailand offers convenient train services, especially scenic routes to the Northern regions. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Domestic flights  for speed and convenience
  • Buses  for affordability
  • BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway  in Bangkok
  • Scooter, taxi, Tuk-Tuk and Grab  for local trips
  • Trains  for longer journeys
  • Ferries, speed boats and long-tail boats to access the islands.

🏆 Infrastructure in Thailand is more developed and you generally have more options for getting around, so Thailand takes the win.

travel to indonesia or thailand


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Photos being taken at Selong Belanak Beach Lombok.

As a solo female traveler, I find that I still get a lot of attention in more remote places in Indonesia. Everyone wants a photo with the super pale girl. Above you can see what it looked like when I first came to Lombok 8+ years ago. I have never experienced this in Thailand.

In Indonesia, you should also be mindful of petty crime, especially in tourist hotspots like Bali and Jakarta. According to several different crime reports, petty theft such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is common , while violent crime rates are relatively low.

My phone was stolen by a gang of children in Legian, Bali even though my small crossbody bag was closed with a zipper that barely worked and I had my hand over the bag. So these pickpockets are skilled!

Additionally, Indonesia is situated in the “Ring of Fire ,” an area with a high potential for natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. During the rainy season, mudslides and flooding are also common.

Thailand, on the other hand, generally has a reputation for being safe for tourists. However, similar to Indonesia, petty theft and scams can occur, particularly in very touristy areas, like Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya. Floods are also common in Thailand during the monsoon season.

🏆 Thailand takes the win in the safety category.

As you already know, I personally prefer Indonesia to Thailand. But as always, the choice depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for.

Indonesia  offers a vast archipelago rich in diverse cultures and nature, from volcanoes to tropical rainforests. Notable for its world-class surf spots  and  rich marine biodiversity , it’s a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers.

In contrast,  Thailand  presents a blend of bustling city life, beaches,  culinary delights  and  thriving nightlife . Its well-developed tourism infrastructure means a more structured and comfortable travel experience.

🏆 Nature: Indonesia

🏆 Wildlife: Indonesia

🏆 Food: Thailand

🏆 Cost of travel: Indonesia

🏆 Safety for travelers: Thailand

🏆 Beaches: It’s a tie

🏆 Attractions: Indonesia

🏆 Transportation: Thailand

🏆 Accommodation: Indonesia (but it’s close)

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Indonesia vs. Thailand - A complete comparison between two of Southeast Asia's most popular destinations. Is Indonesia or Thailand the best country for you?

About Charlotte

Charlotte is the passionate traveler and online business coach behind Sunshine Seeker. She started working as a content creator on Instagram in 2014, before social media was even a thing, and as a travel blogger in 2015. Over the past 14 years she has explored 45+ countries and lived in Oslo, Kraków, Bali and Lombok. Every month she helps more than 50,000 people plan their adventures and learn how to create more freedom by working online.

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Early Traveler

Indonesia vs. Thailand Travel Guide (2024)

The ultimate Asian showdown: Thailand vs. Indonesia. 

These two are often pitted against each other when it comes time to plan a trip to Southeast Asia, and it’s not hard to see why. Both countries offer the utmost in adventure and relaxation, in addition to incredible landscapes, unique culture and cuisine, and some of the best beaches in the world. 

But don’t be confused. Thailand and Indonesia are two very different countries, each with its own list of pros and cons. Before you decide which of these two icons to travel to, there’s a lot to consider. 

Both Thailand and Indonesia will hit the mark if you’re searching for beautiful soft sand beaches and incredible landscapes. But besides the beaches, these lands couldn’t be more different. 

This guide will give you a deep dive into each country to help you decide between Indonesia and Thailand.  

Thailand vs Indonesia

If you’re stressing about deciding between Indonesia and Thailand, fear not. You really can’t go wrong no matter which place you choose – they are both incredible. But figuring out where to start planning your trip can be tricky, so consider what type of experience you want to have. 

Indonesia is more of an off-the-beaten-path destination (with the exception of Bali) since the country is made up of more than 15,000 islands. Getting to and from the islands can be a bit hard to navigate, but there are a lot fewer tourists, which can be a huge pro. 

Thailand has been around the block with tourists for decades, and this tropical country is well-versed in accommodating visitors. This makes planning a bit easier, but it also comes with big crowds and a somewhat less authentic vibe. 

There’s a lot to break down, so we’ve put Indonesia and Thailand head-to-head in some of the key categories you’ll need to consider before your getaway. 

Popular Entry Hubs

We know that both Thailand and Indonesia are in Southeast Asia, but where exactly are you going to fly into?

This is one of the first parts of planning any international vacay, and while it won’t make or break your trip, it’s important to consider which country is more accessible to you. You should also take into account your plans once you arrive – are you spending a few days in the capital, or are you heading straight into another itinerary with additional flights, trains or car rides?

Thailand has two major international airports – one in the capital city of Bangkok and one in Phuket . 

The Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) , also known unofficially as the Bangkok International Airport, is the larger of the two, and it’s one of the busiest travel hubs in Southeast Asia. That means you’ll find tons of flights in and out from all over the world and more options for direct flights than almost anywhere else in the region. 

The Phuket International Airport (HKT) also caters to international travelers, but it mainly services other locations within Southeast Asia and Thailand specifically. You’ll likely fly through Phuket if you planning on visiting Thailand’s famed Gulf Islands like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan, though it may not be your original point of entry. 

There are also some smaller airports in Chiang Mai (CNX) and Krabi (KBV) , that allow you to begin your adventure further north or south respectively, but you’ll likely pay more for these tickets, and direct flights are few and far between. 

The main gateway to Indonesia is Jakarta , and the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) is where you’ll find the most international flights coming in and out of the country. Service is less frequent than at Thailand’s main entry points, and tickets may be a bit more expensive depending on where you’re coming from. 

Bali also has a good international airport (DPS) , though you may not be able to find a direct flight if you’re coming from far away. 

If you want to start your Indonesian adventure in Sumatra there are plenty of international airports, though your best bet will likely be the Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) in Medan.

Visa Requirements

Before it’s time for wheels up and seats back, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct visa for entering either Thailand or Indonesia. For citizens of most countries, the process is pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row to avoid any unwanted surprises. 

Citizens of most countries can enter Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days. If you want to stay for longer than 30 days, you will need to apply for a visa. Popular long-term Thai visas include extended tourist visas for stays up to 60 days, digital nomad visas, and work permits for teaching English. 

Note that visa requirements vary depending on your purpose of travel, where you’re coming from, and how long you hope to stay. 

Just like Thailand, most travelers won’t need a visa for stays under 30 days in Indonesia. Once you’re there, you can apply to extend your visa for up to 60 days. There aren’t currently a lot of great options for work visas in Indonesia, though the digital nomad community is growing, and they may someday have a visa similar to Thailand’s.  

Obviously, the weather can have a big impact on deciding between Indonesia and Thailand. After all, you don’t want to plan a beach vacation during the rainy season or a hiking excursion during the burning season! While both countries are in Southeast Asia, the climate differs greatly between the two. 

As a rule of thumb, the best time to visit Thailand is from November through February . These are the “cool” (read comfortable) and dry months, which offer pleasant sunny conditions for all types of activities. 

Not surprisingly, this is also when most tourists flock to the popular spots all around the country. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the off-season. Just be sure to avoid Northern Thailand between March and May, as this is the burning season, and the air quality and visibility are poor enough for even the locals to head south. 

Thailand’s southern coasts vary quite a bit when it comes to weather. The rainy season on the west coast occurs from April through October, while the east coast gets the most rain in September and December. Visiting during the rainy season is a great way to avoid crowds and steep prices, and it’s usually not as bad as it seems! Sure, there will be times when the downpours ruin a good beach day, but most days the rain only lasts for a few hours before the sun re-stakes its claim in the sky. 

Indonesia’s islands are spread out across the Indian and Pacific oceans, but the climate is relatively consistent, with only a few exceptions. The dry season lasts from May through September , making summer the best time for most travelers. The exceptions are the Maluku and Raja Ampat regions, which get a lot of rain during this time. 

Like Thailand, Indonesia’s rainy season shouldn’t scare you off completely. The wet months usually get a few hours of rain a day, then turn sunny and pleasant (if a bit humid). Those who want to avoid the crowds can expect fewer tourists and decent weather on either end of the dry season (think April and October). 

Note that weather across this island nation can be a bit unpredictable no matter which month you visit. Always double (or triple!) check the weather before you depart and pack accordingly!

Cost and Currency

The worst part of any trip is creating a budget, but, alas, it is necessary. Southeast Asia is a budget-friendly destination no matter where you land, but let’s break down the currency and rough costs of Indonesia and Thailand. 

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Thailand is generally considered to be a bit more expensive than Indonesia, but it all depends on how you like to travel. There are great accommodation options available for much less than that in the West, and if you’re on a backpacker budget, you’ll find hostels across the country for dirt cheap. 

Food in Thailand is usually cheaper than that in Indonesia, especially if you’re dining on a lot of street food. There are also a lot more public transportation options and pretty affordable domestic flights, which will end up saving you a lot in the long run. Of course, if you want to live like a king, things will be more expensive, but it’s definitely possible (and easy, even) to keep costs low in Thailand. 

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (RP)

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia, which makes it a hit for backpackers and low-budget travelers. You’ll find cheap accommodation in guest houses and hostels across the country, and food is extremely affordable (especially street food and fresh produce from markets). 

While Indonesia is undeniably cheap, you can wrack up a hefty bill here if you’re not careful. Certain regions like Bali are overly popular, which drives up prices significantly. It’s also expensive to hop between multiple islands, so if you want to stick to a smaller budget, consider choosing just one or two areas to explore. Transportation can also be expensive as public options are not as widespread, so keep these things in mind while planning and budgeting.  

Beaches and Nature

You won’t want for scenery in either Thailand or Indonesia, and both offer soft sand beaches, unbelievable blue water, and lush landscapes. But away from the coast, the terrain varies quite a bit, and in turn, so do the activities available in each country. 

Thailand is a tropical paradise that knows how to keep visitors coming back to its scenic shores time and again. There’s a little slice of paradise for every type of traveler, from luxury resorts to laid-back spots that have yet to be spoiled by hoards of tourists. 

The gorgeous beaches are a huge draw to Thailand, but there are other stunning areas all around the country that should (but don’t) get the same attention. From the verdant hiking trails and raging waterfalls in northern Pai to the ancient temples and towering mountain ranges of central Thailand, there’s a lot more to feast your eyes on here than just the beaches, incredible as they may be. 

Indonesia is as diverse as it is vast, which makes it a dream come true for those seeking unspoiled nature in all its forms. It should come as no surprise that this island nation is known for its stunning beaches, and you’ll find soft sandy stretches on any and all of the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia. 

There are mountains for hiking, reefs for diving, and dense rainforests teeming with rare wildlife. There is also an impressive collection of volcanoes, pristine national parks, and sweeping rice patty fields. You’ll never tire of the ever-changing scenery in Indonesia, with new backdrops available every time you switch islands. 

One of the best parts of traveling to a new place is trying out the cuisine, and both Thailand and Indonesia offer up dishes with fresh local ingredients and bold flavors. Southeast Asia, in general, is a mecca for foodies across the globe, so you know you’ll be eating good no matter which of these two countries you choose. 

While it’s impossible to say which of these two counties has the better cuisine, Thai food definitely has more of a reputation. Thai food is famous the world over for delicious staples like pad Thai , Tom Yum soup , and colorful curries . 

The cuisine of Thailand is characterized by its balance of sweet, sour, salt, and spice, creating a flavor bomb in the best possible sense of the word. You’ll find tantalizing eats everywhere you go, from the cheap street food in Bangkok to the fresh seafood in the islands, and everywhere in between.

Indonesian cuisine isn’t as popular as Thai food, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. This country is a melting pot of different cultures and religions, and the food is as diverse as the islands. You could travel Indonesia for months and never have the same meal twice, and even if you did, each island puts its own twist on things. 

There are a few classic dishes present throughout the country, including Bakso (a meatball noodle soup, satay (juicy meat skewers), and beef Rendang (a tender beef dish with a rich and spicy sauce), among others. 

Steeped in rich customs and traditions, both Thailand and Indonesia offer a kaleidoscope of cultural offerings. From festivals and historic landmarks to traditional music and ancient temples, both countries have a unique and interesting culture all their own. 

Thai culture is heavily shaped by Chinese and Indian influences, and Buddhism is the main religion. You’ll find breathtaking temples all across the country, including the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai and the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Another noteworthy cultural attraction in Thailand is the ancient city of Sukhothai – the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam in the 13th century. 

While these sites are impressive, one of the best ways to get a feel for Thai culture is by attending a festival.  If you can, try to attend the biggest festival of the year, the Thai New Year celebration, or Songkran . Other ways to experience Thai culture include indulging in the street food and nightlife, both of which you’ll find plenty of in Bangkok.

Indonesia is home to a variety of religions and cultures, including Hinduism, Islam, Chirstianity, and Buddhism. Just like Thailand, Indonesia has some gorgeous temples, mosques, shrines, and other landmarks dedicated to dieties, including the Borobudur and Prambanan temples in Yogyakarta and the Tanah Lot temple in Bali.

Bali is often considered the cultural capital of Indonesia, and over the years it has gained a reputation as a retreat for those focuted on wellness. Don’t forget that Bali is just one small island of many in Indonesia, and there is a lot more to discover beyond this popular hot spot!

Transportation and Infrastructure

As both Indonesia and Thailand are famed for their stunning natural attractions, you’ll likely be doing a bit of traveling within either country you go to. It’s important to take into consideration the infrastructure of each country and how accessible transportation options are to tourists. 

Getting around Thailand is fairly easy. They have a well-developed public transportation system, with trains going long distances and tons of bus options for journeys both near and far. There are also Tuk Tuks ,  songthaews (shared taxis), and motorbike rentals for the more adventurous, plus regular old taxis for those who are more comfortable with what they know. 

Domestic flights within Thailand are affordable, and they’re faster than buses and ferries if you’re going long distances. 

Unfortunately, Indonesia’s vast size and diverse geography make transportation a bit challenging. The easiest way to get from island to island is by plane , and you’ll likely find plenty of affordable domestic flights. Ferries might sound fun, especially if you’re pinching pennies, but you’ll likely spend all day getting from A to B, which isn’t ideal when you only have a limited amount of time. 

Once you’re on an island, there are buses , boats , and rickshaws to transport you around, though these can be pretty slow and unreliable. You could also rent a motorbike , but road conditions are not ideal and local traffic can be chaotic. Your best bet for shorter distances is to hail a taxi and leave the navigation to someone else. 

Capital Cities (Bangkok vs. Jakarta)

Thailand and Indonesia both claim chaotic capital cities with populations topping the 10 million mark. You’ll most likely pass through the capital city of whichever country you end up in, but if you want to spend a few days exploring after you lan, then check out this comparison of Bangkok and Jakarta. 

Bangkok (Thailand)

Bangkok is Thailand’s bustling capital city. It sits near the base of the country’s inland section along the Gulf of Thailand, with the Malay Peninsula jutting out to the south. 

Bangkok is a vibrant city, full of night markets, ancient temples, and other cultural landmarks. Thailand’s capital could be a full trip in itself, there’s simply that much to see and do here. Bangkok is also extremely beautiful. Modern skyscrapers rise up from the lovely Chao Phraya River that flows through the city, and there are plenty of parks and tree-lined streets mixed in with the 21st-century infrastructure.  

Jakarta (Indonesia)

Jakarta, on the other hand, leaves travelers feeling a little lackluster. This capital city is about the same size as Bangkok, but that’s where the similarities end. 

Jakarta sits on Java’s northwestern end along Jakarta Bay. You won’t find the same towering skyscrapers or twinkling lights as you do in Bangkok, and while it certainly has its hidden gems, there simply isn’t as much to do in Jakarta. The population density is higher, so there are more people condensed into a smaller area, and you’ll feel and see the crowds more here than in Thailand. That being said, Jakarta is a bit cheaper for things like food and accommodation, though you probably won’t want to spend much time here before venturing into other areas around Indonesia.

Both Indonesia and Thailand are relatively safe countries. Both nations have low crime rates, though there are a few things visitors should be on the lookout for. 

Violent crime is pretty low in Thailand, and you shouldn’t worry about your overall safety or well-being when you travel here. That being said, Thailand is fairly touristy, which comes with a few connotations. In terms of security, you’ll need to beware of pickpockets in big cities and crowded areas. You should also never leave your things unattended at the beaches, or leave anything of value in rental cars/motorbikes. 

While both countries are considered safe for travelers, Indonesia will likely make you feel more at ease. You’ll likely be taking taxis rather than public transportation, which lessens the chances of pickpocketing. In addition, most of Indonesia is much less touristy than Thailand, so theft is not as big of a risk. Even still, follow the same advice as above and be sure to pay attention in crowded areas and don’t leave your things unattended at the beach. 

Pros and Cons of Thailand and Indonesia

TLDR? Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of Thailand and Indonesia

Pros of Thailand

  • Cheap and easily accessible public transportation
  • Fun capital city and unique festivals
  • Tons of cultural attractions across the country

Cons of Thailand

  • Very touristy and overcrowded at times
  • Forced animal tourism 
  • More expensive than Indonesia

Pros of Indonesia

  • More authentic experience with fewer tourists
  • Variety in everything: food, landscape, cultural sites, etc.
  • More affordable

Cons of Indonesia

  • Harder to navigate 
  • Big cities lack modern infrastructure
  • The “influencers” of Bali

Top Places to Visit in Thailand

Bangkok – You’ll likely fly into Bangkok on your way into Thailand, and you should definitely take a few days to explore this vibrant city. Indulge in lots of street food, visit the night markets, and check out some ornate temples. A few days is all you need in this chaotic hub before moving on!

Kanchanaburi – Just east of Bangkok you’ll find the historic town of Kanchanaburi. This town is known for its part in WWII, specifically, the Bridge over the River Kwai, which many POWs were forced to cross. The area surrounding the city is also breathtaking, especially the waterfalls at Erawan National Park.

Ayutthaya – If you’re interested in Thailand’s gorgeous temples, don’t miss Ayutthaya. This ancient city was once a capital of the ancient kingdom of Siam, and you’ll find a stunning collection of ruins and majestic temples. This was once the largest city in the world, and the scale is truly unbelievable.

Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai is a fairly large and modern city, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite amongst digital nomads. There is a lot to see and do here, from histiroical temples and the stunning old city, to the enthralling night markets and top-notch restaurants. 

Pai – Thailand is known for being pretty touristy, but if you want to get off the beaten path, head to Pai. This small community is known for its laid-back vibe, stunning scenery, and a whole lot of outdoor recreation, including hiking trails and waterfalls. 

Gulf Islands – Looking forward to those beautiful beaches you’ve heard all about? You’ll find plenty of soft sandy stretches along Thailand’s Gulf Islands, and there’s a beach for every type of traveler. For great diving, hit up Koh Tao, for epic beach parties, head to Koh Phangan, and to relax in luxury, make a B-line for Koh Samui.

Krabi – If you’re more into beach bumming, then Krabi offers the perfect setting. Krabi is home to some of the best beaches in southern Thailand, and the landscape that surrounds them is absolutely breathtaking. 

Phuket – Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand, and for good reason. It has everything most people look for on a Thai getaway – stunning beaches, crystal-clear water, and great nightlife. It also has a ton of tourists, but it’s still worth checking out. 

Top Places to Visit in Indonesia

Bali – Bali is perhaps the most famous place in Indonesia, and lately, it’s been all the rave. Although slightly overcrowded, Bali is NOT underrated, and this verdant island has a lot on offer. From the lush rice fields of Ubud to the big waves of Uluwatu, you may never want to leave Bali!

Sumatra – Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s largest islands, located just off of Malaysia. This island is all about nature, with deep lakes, UNESCO-protected national parks, waterfalls, and a whole lot of unique flora and fauna. 

Yogyakarta – Skip Jakarta and spend some time in Yogyakarta instead. Both are located on Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, but Yogyakarta offers a bit more bang for your buck. Yes, it’s a big chaotic city, but there are also ancient temples, awesome markets, and easy access to awesome adventures like hiking through volcanoes and traversing rugged caves. 

Komodo Island – Wildlife enthusiasts cannot miss Komodo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s largest lizards. The island is straight out of a fantasy, with Komodo Dragons lounging around lush forests and lazying on glorious white sand beaches. There are tons of other unique creatures here as well, plus plenty of trails to lead you through the rugged terrain. 

Lombok – If you want the Bali experience without all the tourists, head to Lombok. Located just east of Bali, this island has a lot of the same features (some even say the beaches are better!), but it has yet to be discovered by the crowds. The exception is the Gili Islands which sit off of Lombok’s west coast, but these are still less frequented than Bali. 

Raja Ampat Islands – Further easy, you’ll find the Raja Ampat Islands, famed for their colorful coral reefs and pristine beaches. This is a popular destination for diving, but the scenery makes it a hit with every type of traveler. 

Sulawesi – Most of Indonesia is quite far off the beaten path, but if you really want a hidden gem, look no further than Sulawesi. Criminally underrated, this large island cluster packs a big punch with unique wildlife, crystal clear waters, friendly locals, and next to no tourists!

Who is Thailand better for?

Thailand is better for those who are new to traveling. The country is fairly easy to navigate with its many forms of public transportation, the tourism industry is well developed, and many attractions are geared towards travelers. 

Who is Indonesia better for?

Indonesia is better for those who are looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination unlike anywhere else on Earth. It’ll take a bit more planning and effort to get around, but the lack of crowds and breathtaking and varied scenery make it all worth it. 

Where is Bali?

Many people forget that Bali is part of Indonesia. Emphasis on the part . It is an amazing little island, but over the past few years, it has exploded in the tourism and wellness industries. There’s so much more to Indonesia than Bali, so don’t limit yourself if you choose Indonesia over Thailand.

If you want the Bali experience while exploring Thailand, check out the Krabi Islands – a stunning cluster of islands off the country’s western coast.

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Indonesia vs. Thailand: Which Should You Visit?

Posted by Gabrijela Zec | Last updated Nov 6, 2022

Indonesia vs. Thailand: Which Should You Visit?

This post contains affiliate links. 

These two tropical countries can both feel like a magical paradise, but which one to choose?  This Indonesia vs. Thailand showdown will compare tourist attractions, nightlife, safety, food, and more to help you decide!

swinging over the water at Diamond Beach, Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Swinging over the water at Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Tourist Attractions

Many tourist attractions are spread all over Thailand and the country is rich with history. Bangkok alone is filled with numerous temples but every corner of Thailand has something for tourists to see, like:

  • The towns of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the North
  • The Ayutthaya Ruins
  • Kanchanaburi and the bridge on the River Kwai
  • The city of Pattaya
  • Many islands including Krabi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and more.

green jungle with hotel bungalows in Indonesia

Rice terraces and jungle bungalows in Indonesia

Indonesia’s attractions and experiences are concentrated in Ubud, the cultural and artistic center of Bali. 

This includes the famous Lempuyang Temple outside of Ubud and, of course, rice fields and swings. Volcano trekking can also be done near Ubud. Among the smaller islands of Indonesia, the most famous is Nusa Penida with its beaches.

Though I have a personal affection for Bali and Indonesia, Thailand offers tourist experiences all over the country. It’s hard to choose as Bali is the land of attractive rice fields but because of Thailand’s numerous temples and natural resorts, the overall winner is Thailand.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Tourist Attractions Winner: Thailand

Kelingking beach from above in Indonesia

Kelingking beach in Indonesia

It depends on the season you’re traveling in. Indonesia’s rainy season is from November till March and Thailand’s is from July to October. 

But just how strong is the rainy season? 

While there are days with the perfect sun, on others you won’t be able to go anywhere because the rain is so heavy. So if you only have a few days to visit, make sure to travel outside of the rainy season. 

Indonesia vs. Thailand Weather Winner: Tie

Blue temple with a buddha statue in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand


Now comes the most practical difference because in Indonesia there are no public buses. All the transport between cities requires different sorts of ridesharing apps, taxis, or boats. 

Where are the cheap buses here? 

In some cases, they do exist, like from Ubud to the airport or from the Lombok Harbor to Kuta Lombok. Ridesharing apps like Gojek will help you get to places like the beach and are easy to share with friends. Otherwise, tours and scooters are always an option.

In Thailand, buses are everywhere and will even take you directly to your accommodation. Long distances are pretty comfortable with dinner included. Tours don’t depend on one person, are pretty cheap, and lunch is always covered in the price.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Infrastructure Winner: Thailand.

palm trees and beach in Phuket, Thailand

The pristine beaches in Thailand are the perfect setting for their famous Full Moon Parties

In Thailand, the islands Phi Phi and Koh Phangan are famous for their full moon parties on their fabulous beaches. If you’re a party lover, these will meet and exceed your expectations. 

At Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, though, you will get more than a party: you will get the whole island for yourself. All of the bars are alive and the atmosphere is fantastic as the locals are smiling no matter what. You cannot be lonely here. If you go to Uluwatu in Bali, the beach clubs like Omnia will amaze you. In my opinion, the winner is Indonesia.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Nightlife Winner: Indonesia

Tegalalang rice terraces in Indonesia

Tegalalang rice terraces in Indonesia

Nature and Hiking

This is a tough question. 

Thailand can be proud of its beaches which are crystal clear, have an amazing blue color, and are undoubtedly clean. But Indonesia surprised me. Their beaches were clean but the sea was filled with branches and even some remains of food. 

How would I want to swim there? Many of the hotels and hostels have fairytale pools for this reason. (Like the otherworldly Munduk Moding Resort or the Adiwana Dara Ayu Villas. )

Hiking in Thailand offers amazing landscapes from the north to the south. You don’t want to miss the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon .

Indonesia has some incredible volcanoes with fantastic views. Tours and opportunities are also easy to schedule so everyone can experience this spirit of Indonesia. Rice fields will leave you breathless, especially if you get a view from the swings rising above it. I would say this is a tie but the rice fields decide. The winner is Indonesia.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Nature and Hiking Winner: Indonesia

Oro Oro Ombo volcano in Indonesia

One of the many volcanoes that Indonesia is famous for

Indonesia is a far more elegant place than Thailand and this includes safety. As there’s no public transport in Indonesia, you’ll spend more time in taxis and private cars which keeps you safer. 

On the other hand, Thailand is known for the craziness of Khaosan Road in Bangkok and for beaches full of pickpockets. The safety winner is Indonesia.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Safety Winner: Indonesia

Thai food spread on the table with dishes of dumplings, curry, and more

Thai food in Phuket

Thai food is extremely cheap and I liked the unlimited quantity of tropical fruits. Fresh smoothies are around almost every corner.

Thai food offers mostly Pad Thai noodles or spring rolls but Indonesian food will give you plenty of vegan options from all corners of the world. 

Indonesian specialties include tempeh, tofu, peanut sauce, and lots of sprouts. Indonesian food will win you over, although one disadvantage is that the breakfast at hostels is light, mostly only one banana pancake. Still, the overall food winner is Indonesia.

Indonesia vs. Thailand Food Winner: Indonesia

Aling-Aling Waterfall in Indonesia

Aling-Aling Waterfall in Indonesia

The Indonesia vs. Thailand Travel Winner Is…

It doesn’t mean that Thailand does not win either, as the comparison is pretty tight. Thailand is definitely better to choose regarding beaches and ease of travel. For solo travel, Thailand is a perfect choice and better than Indonesia. 

Indonesia has a special charm, the nature and food is astonishing, and the rice fields speak their own language. In Indonesia, you will feel like royalty. 

Gabrijela Zec is a Croatian blogger at Under Flowery Sky , a travel and lifestyle blog about the outdoors, botany, mountains, and more. 

Ready to go?

Explore  unique stays on Airbnb  – like  this zen getaway with a private pool and garden or this magical vintage treehouse – and the  top hotels on to plan your trip to Indonesia.

Then, check out more  food, cultural, and outdoors experiences  in the country to round out your itinerary (or, book a multi-day Indonesia tour with Intrepid to finish your travel planning in one click!).

This article is part of the Southeast Asia Smackdown series. Read the rest below:

China vs. Taiwan

Thailand vs. Vietnam

Thailand vs. Malaysia

Cambodia vs. Malaysia

Australia vs. New Zealand

Or, explore the complete  Country Comparison Series to choose your next destination from more showdowns around the world!

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Thailand vs Indonesia: A detailed comparison

A detailed comparison, Thailand vs Indonesia, everything you should know before visiting and which country is the best for you.

Last Update: March 29, 2024

After travelling extensively throughout Southeast Asia for over 8 months, we spent two months exploring Indonesia and have visited Thailand many times. Today, we compare Thailand and Indonesia to provide you with our best recommendations for an unforgettable trip.

It can be challenging to choose between two distinct countries, Indonesia and Thailand , when planning a vacation to Southeast Asia. Both exotic destinations have their own unique appeal, charm, and experiences that appeal to various types of travellers.

This comprehensive guide will assist you in comparing and contrasting Indonesia and Thailand across several categories, including beaches and landscapes, culture, food, transportation, and affordability, so you can make an informed decision about which country to visit. Let’s begin our comparison of Indonesia and Thailand.

The view of Black Lava in Bali Indonesia - Is Thailand in Indonesia

What are the differences between Thailand and Indonesia?

Thailand vs indonesia: best time to visit , best time to visit thailand.

Although Thailand is a tropical country with a warm and humid climate all year, the best time to visit is between November and February . During these months, the weather is cooler and drier, making it ideal for exploring the country’s beaches and cities. The rainy season begins in June and lasts until October, which can limit your outdoor activities.

However, the weather is unpredictable, and even during the shoulder season (March-May), you may experience some heavy rain. For example, when we visited Hua Hin , a beach town on the southern coast of Thailand, we had several days of very heavy rain.

Best time to visit Indonesia

The best time to visit Indonesia is between April and October, when the weather is dry and sunny, making it perfect for exploring the country’s beaches and natural attractions. However, keep in mind that Indonesia is a tropical country with a warm and humid climate all year long. As a result, you may experience wonderful weather even during the low season.

We mostly explored Indonesia from February through April, which is considered the low season. The weather was pleasant, and we only had less than 10 days of rain during our 60-day trip. However, it is important to note that the rainy season in Indonesia begins in November and lasts until March.

One thing we may discuss later is that Indonesia’s infrastructure is more impacted by heavy rain than Thailand’s. In Bali, it is common for roads to become completely submerged in water.

This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links ( read our Cookie Policy ), and useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you. Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project and continuing to travel, informing curious explorers.

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Thailand or Indonesia: Insurance

Thailand travel insurance.

Although Thailand is generally safe, you should never travel without insurance. Whether you’re staying for a week or a year, travel insurance is always a good idea.

As digital nomads, we use Safety Wing , which is perfect for people who are constantly on the move. If you prefer to have peace of mind for the entire year and all your trips, you should consider HeyMondo . With our link, you can get a 5% discount.

Indonesia Travel Insurance

In our two months in Bali, you don’t even imagine how many incidents and bike crashes we saw. It was unbelievable, but many people don’t follow the rules and, the majority of the time, don’t wear a helmet.

With this in mind, book your travel insurance before travelling to Indonesia. You can use Safety Wing , the best nomads insurance or Hey Mondo . Via our link, you can get a 5% discount with Hey Mondo!

Must book before travelling

Heading to Bali? Check the insurance Requirements upon entry!

Visiting the incredible Maya Bay - Toti and Ale walking on the beach

Indonesia vs Thailand: Visa Requirements

The visa requirements for Indonesia and Thailand vary depending on your nationality, length of stay, and purpose of travel.

Indonesia Visa

  • Citizens of some countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, can enter Indonesia visa-free for up to 30 days for tourism purposes.
  • For longer stays or other purposes of travel, a visa is required.
  • Visa requirements and application processes vary depending on the type of visa and country of origin.
  • It is recommended to check with the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your country for specific requirements.

Thailand Visa

  • Citizens of many countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, can enter Thailand visa-free for up to 30 days for tourism purposes.
  • It is recommended to check with the Thai embassy or consulate in your country for specific requirements.

Recently, Thailand introduced a new Digital Nomad Visa; you can check the info here . Instead, Indonesia hasn’t introduced any new visas for digital nomads; actually, while exploring Bali, we have seen an increase in deportation because people performed paid work while on a tourist visa .

Toti inside the natrual pool at Gembleng Waterfall Bali | Thailand vs Indonesia

Thailand and Indonesia: Things to do

Unique places to explore in indonesia.

Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, offering a diverse range of experiences. Some of the must-visit places include:

  • Bali, with its stunning beaches and temples
  • Yogyakarta, the cultural heart of Java
  • Komodo National Park, home to the famous Komodo dragons

The country is also famous for its delicious cuisine, diverse wildlife, and ancient temples.

10 Unmissable places to consider visit in Indonesia

Bali | Bali is Indonesia’s most popular destination. The island is home to one-of-a-kind places like Ubud , Canggu , Uluwatu, Nusa Penida , and more. It is often referred to as the Digital Nomads hub of southern Asia. READ OUR GUIDE TO BALI.

Komodo Island | The Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizards, can be found here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Jakarta | Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, is a vibrant metropolis with a mix of modern skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and lively street markets.

Lombok | Lombok is located off the coast east of Bali. It has been described as the Bali of 20 years ago, with its still pristine atmosphere, better beaches than Bali, unique hiking trails, and a culture and traditions that differ greatly from Bali.

Gili Islands | While in Lombok, you must explore the Gili Islands. The three islands off the coast of Lombok are a haven for divers. Gili T, the largest island, has a no-engine policy to preserve the environment, creating a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere.

Yogyakarta | The city in Java is known for its ancient temples, including the UNESCO-listed Borobudur and Prambanan temples.

Raja Ampat Islands | Located in the eastern part of Indonesia, the Raja Ampat Islands are a popular destination for snorkelers and divers. The islands are known for their pristine beaches, coral reefs, and diverse marine life.

Mount Bromo | One of the most alluring destinations in our comparison of Indonesia vs Thailand is Mount Bromo. Located in East Java, this active volcano is a popular hiking spot that offers stunning sunrise views over the surrounding landscapes. If you are an adventure seeker, this is a must-see.

Ubud | Ubud is the spiritual centre of Bali . If you prefer a more tranquil atmosphere than Canggu, head to Ubud in central Bali. The narrow streets are peaceful, and you can stroll or take a day trip. Rice paddies and tiny villages surround the town.

Uluwatu | Uluwatu is an increasingly popular alternative to Canggu’s chaos. It is the ultimate surfer’s retreat in Bali, with hills and cliffs overlooking the ocean, fantastic beaches, and perfect waves.

Phuket Old Town Architecture | Phuket 3 days itinerary

Amazing Places to Visit in Thailand

Renowned for its beautiful beaches, lively cities, and rich cultural heritage, Thailand is a must-visit destination. Some of the country’s most unique places to visit include Bangkok, the bustling capital city; Chiang Mai , a city rich in culture and history.

Ayutthaya, an ancient city with a wealth of temples and ruins; and the stunning islands of Phuket and Koh Samui. Thailand is also renowned for its delicious cuisine, vibrant night markets , and traditional Thai massages.

10 Unmissable Places to Visit in Thailand

Bangkok | Our top choice is Bangkok. We have a love-hate relationship with this city as it is chaotic, too big, and unorganized. However, for us, Bangkok is the heart of Southeast Asia. You will love the city’s lively street life, ornate temples, and delectable street food. See our Bangkok vs Chiang Mai guide .

Chiang Mai | Our love for Chiang Mai endures; it remains our favourite Digital Nomads Hub in the region. The city is in Northern Thailand and is known for its historic temples, cultural festivals, and traditional handicrafts. READ OUR CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE .

Chiang Rai | Chiang Rai is located a short distance from Chiang Mai. Northern Thailand is full of surprises, and in Chiang Rai, you will find unique temples, including the White Temple and the Blue Temple, as well as natural attractions like waterfalls and hot springs. For more information, please see our Chiang Rai vs Chiang Mai article .

Pai | Located a short 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai is the quaint town of Pai. This small community is the hippy soul of Thailand, and here, you find a back atmosphere, stunning scenery, and outdoor activities like hiking and rafting.  READ OUR PAI TRAVEL GUIDE!

Phuket | Phuket is a large island in Southern Thailand renowned for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. See PHUKET 3-DAY ITINERARY .

Ayutthaya | Ayutthaya is home to ancient temples, historical ruins, and regal Palaces. It is also very close to Bangkok, making it a convenient day trip from the capital. READ OUR AYUTTHAYA ITINERARY!

Sukhothai |In Northern Thailand, Sukhothai is another city. It is known for its impressive temples and historical ruins.

Krabi | In Southern Thailand, you can find some of the best beaches, including Phuket and Koh Lanta . Krabi is a popular spot near James Bond Island, where you can enjoy the stunning limestone cliffs, beaches, and coral reefs.

Koh Samui | Koh Samui is a popular tourist destination, and although it can be quite touristy, it is still worth visiting. The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is known for its beautiful beaches, coconut groves, and luxurious resorts.

Kanchanaburi | Located west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is a province renowned for its World War II history, most notably the famous Bridge over the River Kwai.

Famous yellow bridge conencting Nusa Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan | Things to do on Nusa Lembongan

How to get to Indonesia and Thailand

Both Thailand and Indonesia are easily accessible by air. Several international airports serve major cities in both countries. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport are the main gateways for Thailand and Indonesia , respectively. In addition, many airlines offer direct flights to both countries from major cities around the world.

Best airports in Thailand

In Thailand, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is the country’s main international airport, serving several airlines with direct flights to major cities around the world. However, you can also fly to Phuket International Airport and Chiang Mai International Airport on either internal or international flights.

One popular route is from Bali Airport to Chiang Mai, with tickets as low as $30. This is a popular option for digital nomads who need to renew their visas frequently.

Best Airports in Indonesia

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is the primary gateway for international travellers to Indonesia , with several airlines providing direct service to major cities around the world. Other airports, such as Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, also serve international and domestic routes.

We flew to Bali from Krabi Airport and then departed for Vietnam. The cost of both flights, including checked baggage, was less than $50 each.

Perfect Bali Insatgram spot from cretya Sunset

Indonesia vs Thailand | Our Comparison

Thailand vs Indonesia guide

3 Reasons to Choose Thailand

  • Cuisine and Temples
  • Some of the best beaches in Asia and incredible Islands
  • Fascinating nightlife and crazy Festivals

3 Reasons Why Visit Indonesia

  • Stunning scenery and natural beauty
  • Balinese culture in a Muslim country
  • Best waves and unique volcano hikes

Thailand vs Indonesia: Culture and traditions

Both Indonesia and T hailand have vibrant cultures and traditions that are worth exploring. Indonesia is home to over 17,000 islands and hundreds of ethnic groups, each with its unique customs and traditions. The country is known for its beautiful Batik fabrics, traditional dances, and delicious cuisine.

Thailand, on the other hand, is famous for its Buddhist temples, s treet food, and Muay Thai boxing. Thai people are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and they take great pride in their culture and traditions.

Both countries offer tourists a rich and immersive cultural experience. However, Thailand’s cultural heritage is more evident than Indonesia’s. The Northern regions of Thailand, in particular, offer a unique and laid-back vibe that is in stark contrast to the bustling capital city of Bangkok . The famous cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer a serene cultural experience that is not found in Indonesia.

In conclusion, both Indonesia and Thailand have much to offer tourists in terms of culture and tradition. However, Thailand’s cultural attractions are more developed and accessible than Indonesia’s.

Indonesia and Thailand comparison about the tourist attractions

We had a wonderful time in both countries. However, they are vastly different from one another. We had the pleasure of visiting the best beaches in Thailand, but we were not as impressed with Indonesia’s beaches, with the exception of a few well-known ones.

One thing that surprised me more than anything else is the diversity of wildlife and marine life that Indonesia has to offer. Popular tourist destinations in Indonesia include Bali, Yogyakarta, and Komodo Island. Thailand, on the other hand, is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and bustling cities. Popular tourist destinations in Thailand include Bangkok , Phuket , and Chiang Mai .

The best view of Wachiranthan waterfall in Chiang Mai | Top reasons why visit Chiang Mai

Activities and tours | Indonesia vs Thailand: which one is the best?

Both countries were amazing, but we must admit that we experienced more diversity in Thailand than in Indonesia, where we only visited the southern region. Both exotic destinations offer a wide range of activities and tours, making it hard to say which one is better.

In Indonesia, you can explore ancient temples, hike active volcanoes, and unwind on beautiful beaches. In Thailand, you can visit cultural landmarks like temples and palaces, explore bustling markets, and sample world-renowned cuisine.

Both countries also offer opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, snorkelling, and diving. Ultimately, the best activities and tours for you will depend on your interests and preferences.

Best activities in Indonesia

Watch the sunrise at Mount Batur | An active volcano in Bali, and Mount Batur is one of the island’s best hikes. In the morning, you can enjoy a magnificent sunrise over the lake, dense forest, and mountains.

You can hike to the top of the volcano or take a jeep tour to witness the sunrise over the surrounding landscapes. The photo above is from that morning, and it is one of the top highlights of our Bali itinerary. CHECK THE TOUR.

Visit the ancient temples of Java | Java is home to some of the most beautiful temples in Southeast Asia, including the UNESCO-listed Borobudur and Prambanan temples. These ancient structures offer a glimpse into Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage.

Snorkelling with manta rays in Nusa Penida | Book your snorkelling in Nusa Penida for an unforgettable experience that offers a unique opportunity to witness these gentle giants up close and swim alongside them in their natural habitat. BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE!

Attend a traditional dance performance | Indonesia is renowned for its traditional dance performances , which are a testament to its rich cultural heritage. Popular dance forms include the Balinese Legong and the Javanese Wayang Wong.

These performances are typically accompanied by live gamelan music, which creates a truly immersive and memorable cultural experience.

Explore Bali’s rice terraces | Bali is renowned for its gorgeous rice paddies, which provide a glimpse into traditional Balinese farming. You can hike or bike through the paddies and take in the stunning views. CHECK THIS TOUR OF BALI RICEFIELDS AND MONKEY FOREST IN UBUD.

Best tours and activities in Thailand

Take a cooking class | Thailand is known for its delectable cuisine, and taking a cooking class is an excellent way to become acquainted with the country’s traditional dishes and cooking methods. CHECK OUT THIS COOKING CLASS IN CHIANG MAI.

Visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok | A must-see attraction in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, home to the iconic Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The palace features stunning Thai art, intricate details, and beautiful architecture.

Explore the night markets | Thailand’s night markets offer a feast for the senses, with delicious street food, vibrant entertainment, and unique shopping opportunities. READ OUR GUIDE ABOUT THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN CHIANG MAI.

Go island hopping | Thailand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful islands, including Phuket, Koh Samui, and Krabi. Island hopping is a great way to explore the country’s stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique landscapes. LOOKING FOR ISLAND HOPPING TOURS IN PHUKET. WE SUGGEST THIS.

Experience the full moon party | The full moon party on Koh Phangan is a legendary event in Thailand, attracting thousands of people from around the world every month. The party features music, dancing, and plenty of drinking and is a must-see for partygoers.

Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida - Famous spots in Bali Indonesia

Which has the best beaches? Thailand or Indonesia

Thailand and Indonesia are both renowned for their gorgeous beaches, crystal-clear waters, and tropical scenery. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago , with over 17,000 islands, so there is no shortage of stunning beaches. However, we prefer Thailand’s southern region, which boasts the most breathtaking scenery, white sand, and warm waters.

Of course, we constantly compare the Caribbean beaches of Barbados, but that is a different story. Phuket , Koh Samui, Krabi, and Koh Lanta are just a few of the beaches in this region that offer amazing activities like island hopping, snorkelling, and surfing.

If you are searching for the best beaches in Indonesia, go south to the Gili Islands , Nusa Penida , and Raja Ampat. These beaches offer a more secluded and tranquil experience, with crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning coral reefs. Indonesia is recognized for its distinctive and diverse landscape, while Thailand is superior for beach life and beach parties.

Although Bali has some lovely beaches like Uluwatu, Lombok, and the Gili Islands, they cannot compete with the white sand beaches in the Thai islands.

Thailand 3 weeks itinerary for backpackers

A detailed guide on how to spend 3 weeks in Thailand is the perfect plan for backpackers planning a trip to Thailand for 3 weeks! READ HERE!

Looking for more itineraries in Thailand? We have got you covered! Read our Backpacking routes in Thailand.

Best beaches in Thailand

Maya Bay | This is the most beautiful beach we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. This is a bold claim, but Maya Bay, located on the island of Koh Phi Phi, is a true gem. The unspoiled landscape and incredibly soft sand make it a tourist destination that Thailand is working hard to preserve. After all, mass tourism comes here because it was featured in the 1999 movie “The Beach” with Leo Di Caprio .

Railay Beach | Railay Beach, a stunning beach in Krabi Province , is only accessible by boat. It is known for its limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and excellent rock climbing opportunities. Off the coast of Railay Beach , you can see one of the most fascinating phenomena: bioluminescent water. Toti still considers it one of the most incredible memories from our backpacking trip in Asia. Check out this tour.

Patong Beach | If you are looking for a party, a lively atmosphere, and tropical beaches, Patong, in the Phuket area , is the place to go.

Koh Samui | Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the island is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, including Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach, and Bophut Beach.

Koh Lanta | Koh Lanta is the most underrated location in Thailand. The island is located in the Andaman Sea and is known for its stunning beaches, lush forests, and relaxed atmosphere. It is a great place to work and was recommended to us by our favourite travel blogger friends. Some of the best beaches on the island include Long Beach and Klong Dao Beach.

Best Beaches in Indonesia

Gili Trawangan | Known for its stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities, Gili Trawangan is a small island located off the coast of Lombok.

Nusa Dua | Nusa Dua, a luxury resort area on the island of Bali, is home to some of Indonesia’s most beautiful beaches, including Geger Beach and Mengiat Beach. However, it is also one of the most expensive areas in Bali.

Kuta Beach | Located a short distance from Kuta Beach, which is superior to Canggu and Seminyak beaches.

Pink Beach | The most photogenic location in Indonesia is the beach on Komodo Island, with its pinkish sand and stunning coral reef. The best way to explore this part of Indonesia is by taking a sailing tour and discovering the natural landscape. CHECK THIS SAILING TOUR IN INDONESIA .

Senggigi Beach | Often underrated in comparison to Bali, Lombok is an island full of surprises. Senggigi Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand surrounded by lush green hills and clear blue waters.

Best food to try in Thailand - Pad Thai | Thailand vs Indonesia Food

Thailand vs Indonesia: Food

Thai cuisine is regarded as the best in Southeast Asia , and it isn’t easy to disagree. Thai cuisine has something for everyone, from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. The food is fresh, flavorful, and beautifully presented. Green curry, Pad Thai, and Tom Yum Goong are some of the most popular dishes worldwide.

In contrast, Indonesian cuisine is distinctive and varied, reflecting the various ethnic groups and regional specialities. Sumatra’s Padang cuisine and Sulawesi’s Manado cuisine are one-of-a-kind culinary experiences to try . Although Indonesian cuisine is less popular than Thai cuisine, it is equally delectable and worth trying. However, Thai cuisine reigns supreme. After more than two months away from Thailand, we were craving a good Pad Thai.

Budgeting for Indonesia and Thailand

A fair comparison of Thailand and Indonesia must include a discussion of affordability and budgeting. While budgeting is a crucial component of any travel decision, Thailand and Indonesia are generally on par, with the exception of Bali, which has seen a surge in prices in the last few years.

Both Indonesia and Thailand provide a variety of budget options, from backpacker hostels to high-end resorts. However, Indonesia is often seen as more affordable than Thailand , with lower rates for lodging, food, and transportation.

In Thailand, prices can vary greatly depending on the destination, with cities like Bangkok and Phuket being more expensive than other areas of the country. To help you determine which country is the better value for your money, we will go over some of the key differences between Indonesia and Thailand.

Bali Travel Guides

Is Canggu worth visiting? A pros and cons guide to Canggu, Bali

Visiting the incredible Maya Bay - Toti and Ale walking on the beach

How much will you spend in Indonesia?

For budget travelers, expect to spend around $30-40 per day in Indonesia. Mid-range travellers can expect to spend around $50-80 per day . If you are looking for a luxury retreat, you will need to budget upwards of $150 per day.

It is important to note that these prices do not reflect the cost of travel in Bali , which is typically 20-50% higher than the rest of Indonesia. If you are looking for an affordable honeymoon in Bali, consider Nusa Lembongan , which is a more secluded and quiet island with excellent features and activities at a fraction of the cost.

The most cost-effective place to spend an average holiday in Indonesia is Lombok and the Gili Islands.

How much will you spend in Thailand?

Thailand can be extremely affordable or extremely costly. A general rule of thumb is to budget around $40 to $50 per day. This is typical for digital nomads, but we were able to spend the same amount as a couple while staying in Chiang Mai .

If you are looking for mid-range hotels instead of just homestays, you should expect to spend around $70-100 per day. Luxury holidays in Thailand are very affordable compared to the Western world. With high-class hotels costing about $100 per day, you will have 5-star hospitality at a fraction of the price that you would pay in London, New York, or Paris.

Of course, the cost of travel varies widely depending on the destination. Cities like Bangkok and Phuket are more expensive than other parts of the country.

How to travel in Southeast Asia on a budget

We explored Southeast Asia on a budget and hit the roads in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and more. Read our guide!

Affordability Thailand vs Indonesia

Both Indonesia and Thailand are affordable travel destinations , and tourists can travel on a tight budget. However, Thailand is less expensive than Indonesia in terms of lodging, transportation, and food.

On the other hand, exploring Indonesia’s remote locations and vast natural attractions can be expensive. As is often the case, there are advantages and disadvantages to this situation, as popular destinations tend to be more expensive, while less well-known destinations can save you money.

Bali, Indonesia’s most popular destination, has become increasingly expensive over the years. However, it is still worth visiting. In fact, as prices in Bali have risen, tourists have begun to explore other parts of the country and some remote locations.

Cretya Ubud is one of the best places we have been in Bali - The fantastic rice fields just in front of the infinity pool.

Accommodations in Thailand vs Indonesia

Both Thailand and Indonesia have a variety of accommodations to choose from , ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts.

In Thailand, you can find affordable accommodations like guesthouses and hostels for as little as $10-15 per night. Mid-range hotels typically cost around $50-100 per nigh t, while luxury resorts can cost upwards of $200 per night.

In Indonesia, you can find even more affordable options, with guesthouses and homestays starting at just $5-10 per night. Mid-range hotels cost around $20-50 per night, and luxury resorts can cost upwards of $150 per night.

Bali is generally more expensive than other parts of Indonesia, with higher prices for accommodations. However, you can still find some great deals if you’re willing to do some research and book your trip in advance.

Accommodation in North Bali Munduk Moding Plantation Resort

Indonesia vs Thailand | Best place for a honeymoon

This portion of our Thailand vs Indonesia comparison is dedicated to you, who are planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon in Asia . Your specific preferences determine the difficulty of deciding. Phuket is an excellent location to spend your honeymoon if you want the ideal beach retreat.

After a day at the beach, you will have plenty of activities to choose from, including night markets, clubs, and bars that are open until late. If you want a more peaceful atmosphere but still want to visit the beaches and go on tours and snorkelling excursions, Bali is the place for you. The accommodations in Bali are designed with honeymooners in mind.

Imagine a floating breakfast, a private pool, and a jacuzzi with a glass of champagne in your hands. We experienced this in Northern Bali , at Munduk (even though it wasn’t our honeymoon). The photo above is one of the best memories from our trip to Asia. The resort is less expensive than you may think. Check the rates.

Indonesia and Thailand for Digital Nomads, which is better?

Indonesia and Thailand are both popular destinations for digital nomads, offering a range of amenities that appeal to this lifestyle. These include coworking spaces, affordable accommodations, and reliable internet connections.

Thailand is generally more developed in terms of its digital infrastructure , with a wider range of coworking spaces and faster internet speeds. However, Indonesia is rapidly developing its digital infrastructure and is quickly catching up to Thailand. In fact, Indonesia now has a growing community of digital nomads who are drawn to the country’s lower cost of living and its warm, tropical climate.

Ultimately, the best destination for digital nomads will depend on your needs and preferences. Those who are looking for a wide range of coworking spaces and fast internet speeds may prefer Thailand . However, those who are looking for a more affordable option with a warm climate may prefer Indonesia.

Availability of Coworking spaces

Bali and chiang mai: two popular destinations for digital nomads.

Bali and Chiang Mai are two popular destinations for digital nomads and remote workers seeking coworking spaces. Both offer a relaxed atmosphere, affordable living costs, and opportunities to connect with other like-minded professionals. However, some key differences between the two destinations may appeal to different types of nomads.

Bali has a vibrant coworking scene with many spaces available in popular areas such as Canggu and Ubud . The island is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and rich cultural heritage. It is also a popular tourist destination, which can give it a more crowded and commercialized feel than Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is a more laid-back city with a strong focus on Buddhist culture. It is home to a number of temples, monasteries, and meditation centres. The city also has a thriving coworking community, with a range of spaces spread throughout the city. Chiang Mai is known for its outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and rafting.

Which Destination is Right for You?

Ultimately, the ideal destination for you will be determined by your individual needs and preferences. If you are seeking a lively coworking scene with convenient access to beaches and rainforests, Bali may be a good option. If you are looking for a more relaxed city with a strong emphasis on Buddhist culture and outdoor activities, Chiang Mai may be a better choice.

Internet connectivity

Although Thailand has marginally better internet speeds and coverage than Indonesia, both countries still struggle to provide reliable and affordable internet access in rural areas.

In terms of internet connectivity, both Indonesia and Thailand have made significant strides in recent years. While 5G technology is still under development in both countries, 4G coverage is widely available in urban areas.

Can couples stay together in Chiang Mai to Bangkok sleeper train

Thailand vs Indonesia’s final thoughts

In conclusion, we have distinct reasons for loving both countries. We want to visit both again, and while Thailand appeals to us more for its food and beaches, Indonesia is undoubtedly for its natural landscapes and remote islands.

If this is your first time in Southeast Asia, we understand that it can be difficult to choose. We recommend avoiding travelling between the two countries if you only have two weeks. It is not worth it. Instead, spend at least two weeks in Phuket and t wo weeks in Bali to fully immerse yourself in the culture of each country.

We hope this honest and open comparison has helped you make an informed decision and enjoy your travels to the fullest.

Personal recommendation when choosing between Indonesia and Thailand

We have written extensive guides on both Thailand and Indonesia. We have described our observations of these countries from the perspective of digital nomads. You should visit both countries, as they are vastly different from one another.

Here are some guides that may assist you in making the best decision:

  • CHIANG MAI VS BANGKOK | The ultimate decision is up to you, but it is beneficial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of visiting both Chiang Mai and Bangkok. READ OUR GUIDE.
  • IS BALI WORTH VISITING? | We spent over two months exploring Bali and the surrounding area, and we have learned a few things about Bali that may be of interest to you. READ OUR GUIDE.

How long should you spend in Indonesia vs Thailand?

The length of your trip is entirely up to you and the activities you want to do. We created an in-depth 3-day itinerary of Phuket that highlights the best things to do, and we believe that is the perfect amount of time. Additionally, most trips to Thailand begin in Bangkok, and you can spend anywhere from one to three days in the city.

Of course, the more destinations you include in your itinerary, the more time you will need. Keep in mind that Thailand and Indonesia are vast countries with long distances between destinations. To save money and travel time, we often choose to travel overnight by bus or sleeper train.

Overall, you can spend a week or two exploring the cities and beaches of Thailand. Longer trips of three to four weeks allow you to experience the northern region and immerse yourself in the local culture.

In Indonesia, a one- or two-week trip can allow you to explore the highlights of Bali or Java. Longer trips of three to four weeks can allow you to visit other parts of the country, such as Sumatra or Sulawesi. A two-week itinerary should also include Bali, Lombok, and a sailing cruise to Komodo Island.

For the best peace of mind during your travels, be sure to purchase travel insurance with HeyMondo . This will save you a lot of money if something goes wrong!

Asia Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for any trip, including to South East Asia. While Southeast Asia is a generally safe region, there are still risks and unexpected events that can occur during travel, such as accidents, illnesses, and theft.

Travel insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances. For example, if you get sick or injured during your trip, travel insurance can cover the costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, and emergency medical evacuation. Travel insurance can also help cover the costs of trip cancellations, flight delays or cancellations, lost or stolen baggage, and other travel-related expenses.

Consider purchasing travel insurance before you book your trip. This will ensure that you are protected in the event of an unexpected event.

Book your travel insurance now!

Q&a thailand or indonesia, which country is more affordable for travellers in south east asia.

In comparison to Thailand, Indonesia is generally more affordable for travellers in Southeast Asia , with lower costs for lodging, transportation, and food. However, this does not apply if you are only planning to visit Bali in Indonesia , which is one of the most expensive places we visited while backpacking.

What are the must-try local dishes in Indonesia and Thailand?

Indonesia : Nasi goreng (fried rice) Satay (skewered meat) Rendang (spicy beef curry) Thailand : Pad thai (stir-fried noodles) Green curry Tom yum soup (spicy, sour soup with shrimp)

What are the best times to visit Indonesia and Thailand?

The ideal time to visit Thailand is from November to February when the weather is drier and more pleasant. Indonesia, on the other hand, is best visited during the dry season, which runs from May to September.

Which country has better infrastructure and transportation?

Compared to Indonesia, Thailand has a more developed and efficient infrastructure and transportation network. This is evident in the time it takes to travel, which can take ages in Indonesia but is faster in Thailand.

How safe are these countries for tourists?

Generally speaking, both Thailand and Indonesia are safe for tourists. We felt safe travelling throughout the country, even in big cities and on small roads in the countryside. However, as a general rule, it is wise to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas and at night.

Is it better to go to Indonesia or Thailand?

For first-time solo travellers and families, Thailand is a great option, as it is easy to travel through. However, if you are looking to escape the crowds and get off the beaten path, Indonesia has much to offer.

Is Bali or Thailand more beautiful?

If you are seeking a blend of Bangkok’s exhilaration, the beauty and tranquillity of the Thai Islands, and the culture and jungle of Chiang Mai , go to Thailand. If you want to enjoy beaches perfect for surfing and scuba diving and visit gorgeous waterfalls and fascinating temples as day trips, Bali is a great option.

Maya Bay is one of the most incredible beaches on earth. The white soft sand, perfect blue crystal-clear water. Meet Toti and Ale on this trip around Thailand islands

Meet the Authors: Toti and Ale

We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. It's more than five years since we hit the road in search of the perfect place to explore, dive into the local culture, eat tasty exotic food, and discover every corner. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Passport and Stamps and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way. You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross countries and get on the most insane adventures. We are committed to sharing insights, providing valuable information, and inspiring responsible and meaningful travel. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

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Indonesia vs. Thailand: Which Southeast Asian Country Is Better for You?

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See recent posts by Kevin Brouillard

The Southeast Asian nations of Indonesia and Thailand are home to some of the most popular travel destinations in the region, if not the world. From Bali's surfer and yogi havens to Borneo's jungle, Bangkok's bustling streets to Phuket's stunning beaches, it's hard to go wrong with either country. Beyond these hot spots, you'll find plenty of world-class beaches, vibrant cities, remarkable landscapes, underwater splendors, and unique wildlife. To help you decide which country better suits your next Southeast Asian trip, we've put Indonesia and Thailand head-to-head in six key categories, including street food, wildlife, beaches, and more.

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Street Food in Indonesia and Thailand

travel to indonesia or thailand

Bali, Indonesia

Many travelers flock to Thailand for the chance to volunteer or interact with elephants at an ethical sanctuary, such as Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai. Although this is a bucket-list-worthy adventure, Indonesia’s vast geography harbors more diverse flora and fauna. For example, Indonesia’s largest islands — Sumatra and Borneo — have their own subspecies of Asian elephant, with wild populations totaling approximately 2,500 and 1,500, respectively. Both islands also provide the only habitat for wild orangutans. In northern Sumatra, Gunung Leuser National Park offers a great chance of spotting the Sumatran orangutan, a smaller and rarer species than its Bornean relative. Jungle treks out of Bukit Lawang adhere to ethical practices while allowing visitors to view orangutans and other wildlife. Another Indonesian native, the komodo dragon, can be found across the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. July through November is the most opportune time to spot the world’s largest lizard species, as they are out and about during mating and nesting season. Heading offshore, Indonesia’s reefs and watery depths grant opportunities to spot whale sharks, especially off Sulawesi.  

Hiking in Thailand and Indonesia

Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Uluwatu Temple, Bali

The Indonesian archipelago is dotted with many volcanoes, lush jungles, and otherworldly landscapes that are best explored by foot, whether it be a day hike or multi-day trek. For rugged landscapes and solitude, head to the uninhabited Padar island off Komodo island. Scamper up to the Pulau Padar viewpoint to gaze down on three surrounding bays. Wildlife enthusiasts should head to Bukit Lawang in northern Sumatra to witness orangutans, colorful bird species, and a wealth of biodiversity. Farther east, Indonesia’s highest peak, Puncak Jaya, should only be pursued by seasoned trekkers. However, Mount Rinjani’s lower trails are suitable for more leisurely hikers. The towering peak is located on the island of Lombok , which is just a two-hour speed boat ride from Bali. To reach the summit, trekkers must first ascend roughly 6,500 feet through the lush forest to reach the crater rim, where they’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the lake and volcano below. Trekking to this point requires pitching a tent the night before. More experienced hikers should attempt the sunrise hike to the 12,224-foot summit to witness the striking panoramic views and reflection on the lake below.

Thailand may be comparatively lacking in elevation and mountain terrain, but there are some notable treks to enjoy. The northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai feature a multitude of trails, with homestay options making longer treks between the two possible. Even Thailand’s islands offer superb hiking for those able to pull themselves away from the tranquil beaches. Popular Koh Samui is home to Khao Pom, a 2,000-foot peak that can be summited in four hours round-trip. Besides leaving the crowds behind, you’ll be rewarded with views across the island and the Gulf of Thailand.

Capital City in Indonesia and Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok , blends glitzy modernity with historic temples, canals, and bustling markets. Bangkok’s most iconic neighborhood, Banglamphu, merits a visit for its notorious backpacker dives on Khao San Road, as well as golden wats and hidden antique shops. To the south sits Rattanakosin, known as the royal island, which includes numerous architectural marvels courtesy of Rama I’s effort to recreate the former capital of Siam, Ayutthaya. In contrast to Bangkok’s towering glass skyscrapers, the skyline of Rattanakosin stars the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and the National Museum. Bangkok’s Chinatown is a maze of bazaars and alleyways lined with aromatic food stalls and vendors. The city’s nightlife has developed somewhat of an infamous reputation, especially the lewder bars in Patpong district. Less seedy options include frenzied boxing matches, rooftop bars, and the night clubs on Royal City Avenue. 

Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta , makes sprawling Bangkok seem easily navigable in comparison. With more than 20 million people in the metro area, Jakarta is far less user-friendly for first-time travelers to Southeast Asia. However, if you have a connecting flight through this hectic megalopolis, take a moment to dive into the rich sights, sounds, and smells. Head to Kota Tua to admire the colonial architecture and get a sense of Jakarta’s pre-congestion charm. A more thorough look into Indonesian history awaits at the National Museum, which features exhibits on traditional textiles, artwork, and heritage. Nearby, the expansive Merdeka Square occupies an entire square-kilometer, providing a much-needed space for locals to congregate.  

Beaches Thailand and Indonesia

Rayavadee Resort in Railay Beach, Thailand

Beach at Rayavadee Resort in Krabi, Thailand

Thailand’s abundance of white-sand beaches, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea, have made the country an internationally-renowned beach destination. Surrounded by jagged limestone cliffs, Railay Beach in Krabi is well worth the choppy boat ride to explore its coves, laze on the beach, or go rock climbing. On Thailand’s eastern coast, Trang Province boasts many idyllic stretches of sand, especially on Ko Libong. This isolated island, located off the coast of Hat Chao Mai National Park, features deserted beaches and offers the chance to spot dugongs grazing on seagrass just offshore. The popularity of Thailand’s beaches has come at a cost, though. Maya Bay, which was the filming location for “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has closed to boats due to environmental degradation and coral bleaching. 

Home to over 14,000 islands, Indonesia is not lacking in beautiful beaches. That being said, Bali-bound travelers should note that the coast of Kuta and the southern region have seen extensive development since their rise as a surfing mecca. More natural stretches of sand can be found farther north, such as black-sand Canggu Beach or sleepy Pasir Putih. The Gili Islands — a cluster of three small islands northeast of Bali — are encircled by fine white sand. It’s not uncommon to spot sea turtles while snorkeling in coral reefs just offshore. Among the three, Gili Meno has the sparsest crowds. Farther east, the island of Flores is home to Kanawa Beach, which maintains a thriving sea turtle population. Nearby on the shores of Komodo island, Pink Beach sparkles from microscopic foraminifera, creating a delightful sunbathing spot between the clear sea and grassy green slopes. 

Budget-Friendly Options in Indonesia and Thailand

Pool at The Dewa Koh Chang, Thailand

Pool at The Dewa Koh Chang, Thailand

On the whole, both countries can be visited on a budget, but Thailand gets an added edge from transportation costs. If you plan on visiting more than one island in Indonesia, you’ll need to book a ferry or regional flight. For example, round-trip tickets for the speed ferry between Bali and the Gili Islands cost approximately $100. Accommodations in Thailand offer better savings, too. Grungy hostel rooms can be had for under $10, while luxury properties, such as The Dewa Koh Chang , a beachfront hotel in Trat Province, can cost as little as $70 during the off-season. 

You’ll Also Like: 

  • The 19 Most Beautiful Resorts in Thailand
  • Indonesia: Where to Go Instead of Bali
  • 6 Underrated Destinations in Southeast Asia
  • The Best Itinerary for Thailand

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Indonesia Vs. Thailand: An Honest Travel Comparison – Be My Travel Muse

Published: September 22, 2023

Modified: January 3, 2024

by Verna Ketchum

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Welcome to this honest comparison between two of Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destinations, Indonesia and Thailand. Both countries offer an abundance of natural beauty, rich cultural experiences, and exciting adventures. However, they also have distinct differences that make them unique in their own way. Whether you’re an avid traveler looking for your next adventure or someone planning a relaxing vacation, this comparison will help you decide which country suits your preferences.

Indonesia, with its stunning archipelago of over 17,000 islands, is a country that offers a diverse range of landscapes and experiences. From the tropical paradise of Bali with its pristine beaches and lush rice terraces to the bustling capital city of Jakarta, Indonesia has something to offer every type of traveler. In contrast, Thailand captivates visitors with its vibrant street markets, ornate temples, and bustling cities. From exploring the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya to basking in the beauty of Thailand’s picturesque islands, this country has an enchanting allure.

Both Indonesia and Thailand boast warm and welcoming locals, known for their hospitality and friendliness towards travelers. English is widely spoken in the main tourist areas of both countries, making communication relatively easy for visitors. Additionally, both countries offer a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into various aspects of travel in Indonesia and Thailand, such as weather and climate, visa requirements, transportation, accommodation options, food and dining, cultural experiences, natural beauties, adventure activities, city life, safety and security, shopping, nightlife, and budget-friendly travel. So, let’s get started on this exciting journey and discover which destination suits your travel desires.

Weather and Climate

When it comes to weather and climate, both Indonesia and Thailand offer a tropical climate, but there are some variations to consider.

Indonesia experiences a diverse range of climates due to its vast size and numerous islands. In general, the country has a tropical climate with two seasons – the dry season and the wet season. The dry season typically runs from May to September, characterized by warm temperatures, low humidity, and clear skies. This is an ideal time to visit popular destinations such as Bali, Lombok, and Java. However, it’s worth noting that some regions, like Sumatra and Kalimantan, may experience occasional rain throughout the year.

Thailand also has a tropical climate but is divided into three distinct seasons – cool, hot, and rainy. The cool season, from November to February, offers pleasant temperatures and is the most popular time to visit. The hot season, from March to May, can be quite intense, with soaring temperatures and high humidity. The rainy season, from June to October, brings frequent showers, but they are often short-lived, and the weather can still be enjoyable for travel.

It’s essential to consider the weather when planning your trip. If you prefer warm and dry weather, the dry season in either country would be the ideal time to visit. However, if you don’t mind occasional rain and want to avoid crowds, the shoulder seasons or even the rainy season could be a good option.

Both Indonesia and Thailand offer plenty of outdoor activities and natural wonders, so it’s essential to choose the season that aligns with your interests. Whether you want to dive in Bali’s crystal-clear waters or explore Thailand’s national parks, understanding the weather patterns will help you make the most of your trip.

Visa Requirements

When planning a trip to Indonesia or Thailand, it’s important to understand the visa requirements to ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry into the country.

For many nationalities, Thailand offers visa-free entry for a duration of up to 30 days if arriving by air and up to 15 days if arriving by land. This includes most Western countries, such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For longer stays, a visa extension or a visa run may be required. It’s important to note that visa regulations may vary depending on your nationality, so it’s essential to check with the Thai embassy or consulate in your country before traveling.

Indonesia also offers visa-free entry for certain nationalities for a maximum stay of 30 days. This includes nationals from various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many European countries. However, if you wish to stay for longer or have a different nationality, you will need to apply for a visa in advance. The most common visa for tourists is the 30-day tourist visa, which can be extended for an additional 30 days while in the country.

Both countries have implemented e-visa systems to facilitate the visa application process. So, it’s advisable to check the official government websites or consult with relevant embassies or consulates for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding visa requirements.

It’s crucial to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date and that you have sufficient blank pages for immigration stamps.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that visa policies can change, so it’s always wise to stay informed and plan your trip accordingly. Consulting with the appropriate authorities or seeking guidance from travel agencies or visa processing services can help you navigate the visa requirements more easily.


Getting around in both Indonesia and Thailand is relatively easy, thanks to their well-developed transportation networks. Here’s a comparison of the transportation options in each country:

Indonesia: As a vast archipelago, Indonesia offers various modes of transportation to navigate its many islands. Domestic flights are the quickest way to travel between major cities and popular tourist destinations. Airlines like Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and AirAsia operate domestic routes. Ferries are also commonly used for inter-island travel, especially in popular areas like Bali, Lombok, and the Gili Islands. Additionally, cities have local transportation options such as taxis, ride-hailing services like Grab, and traditional modes like becak (rickshaws) and ojek (motorcycle taxis).

Thailand: Thailand has an extensive transportation system that connects its major cities and provinces. Domestic flights are available and are operated by carriers like Thai Airways and budget airlines such as AirAsia and Nok Air. The State Railway of Thailand operates an extensive rail network, making train travel an affordable and scenic option. Intercity buses also provide a convenient way to travel between cities and towns. In urban areas like Bangkok, public transportation options include the efficient BTS Skytrain, MRT subway, buses, and taxis. Tuk-tuks and songthaews (shared taxis) are popular for short distances.

Both countries offer options for renting cars or motorcycles, but it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local driving conditions and regulations if you choose this mode of transportation. Be aware that traffic can be congested, especially in urban areas.

When choosing between transportation options, consider factors such as comfort, convenience, cost, and the distance you plan to travel. It’s also advisable to book flights or long-distance transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best prices and availability.

Each country offers its unique transportation experiences that can add to the adventure of your trip. Whether you’re cruising along on a motorbike in Indonesia or taking a scenic train journey through the Thai countryside, exploring the local transportation options can be a memorable part of your travel experience.

Accommodation Options

Both Indonesia and Thailand offer a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here’s a comparison of the types of accommodations you can find in each country:

Indonesia: From luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses, Indonesia provides a variety of accommodation choices. Bali, in particular, is known for its stunning beachfront resorts and private villas that offer a luxurious and indulgent experience. In popular tourist areas like Ubud and Yogyakarta, you’ll find a range of hotels and guesthouses catering to different budgets. For a more authentic and local experience, homestays and bed-and-breakfast establishments are available in some areas. Backpackers and budget travelers will find affordable hostels and guesthouses, especially in popular backpacker destinations like Kuta and Gili Islands.

Thailand: Thailand is renowned for its diverse range of accommodations that cater to all types of travelers. From world-class resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses, there’s something for everyone. In popular tourist destinations like Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui, you’ll find a wide selection of luxury beachfront resorts and boutique hotels. Hostels and guesthouses are plentiful in backpacker hotspots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the islands of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan. For a more cultural experience, you can opt for traditional Thai-style accommodations, such as staying in a converted teakwood house or a floating raft house in the jungle.

Both countries also offer the option of staying in eco-lodges and resorts, particularly in more remote and natural areas. These accommodations focus on sustainability and provide a unique experience for travelers looking to connect with nature. It’s important to book accommodations in advance, especially during high season, to secure the best rates and availability.

When choosing accommodations, consider factors such as location, amenities, proximity to attractions, and your budget. It’s advisable to read reviews from fellow travelers and check reputable booking websites or seek recommendations from trusted sources to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious beachfront retreat or a cozy guesthouse nestled in the heart of a bustling city, both Indonesia and Thailand offer a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs.

Food and Dining

Both Indonesia and Thailand are renowned for their delicious and diverse cuisines. Here’s a comparison of the food and dining experiences you can expect in each country:

Indonesia: Indonesian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and the use of aromatic spices. Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles) are popular staples, often served with a side of satay (grilled meat skewers) or rendang (spicy beef stew). The country’s diverse culinary heritage means each region has its specialties. In Bali, you can savor dishes like Babi Guling (suckling pig) and lawar (a mix of vegetables and minced meat). In Sumatra, don’t miss the opportunity to try dishes like Rendang Padang and Soto Padang. Indonesian street food is also a must-try, with favorite snacks like bakso (meatball soup) and martabak (stuffed pancake).

Thailand: Thai cuisine is famous worldwide for its harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty flavors. From the iconic Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles) to the aromatic Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup), Thailand offers an explosion of tastes. Other popular dishes include Green Curry, Massaman Curry, and Som Tam (papaya salad). Thailand’s street food scene is legendary, with bustling night markets offering a wide range of dishes and snacks like grilled satay, mango sticky rice, and crispy fried insects for the more adventurous eaters.

Both countries offer a wide range of dining options, from local street stalls to upscale restaurants. In Indonesia, you’ll find warungs (small family-owned eateries), where you can enjoy inexpensive and authentic local dishes. In Bali and other tourist areas, there’s also a thriving culinary scene with a variety of international cuisines and fusion dishes. In Thailand, in addition to street food, you can choose from traditional restaurants, riverside eateries, and trendy rooftop dining with stunning city views.

Vegetarians and vegans will also find options in both countries, with an increasing number of restaurants catering to plant-based diets.

Exploring the local food scene is an essential part of the travel experience in Indonesia and Thailand. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors and dishes, and venture outside of your comfort zone to truly savor the culinary delights these countries have to offer.

Cultural Experience

Both Indonesia and Thailand have rich cultural traditions that are deeply rooted in their history and way of life. Here’s a comparison of the cultural experiences you can immerse yourself in:

Indonesia: With its diverse population and a multitude of ethnic groups, Indonesia is a melting pot of cultures. Each region has its unique traditions, languages, and customs. One of the cultural highlights is the ancient temple complex of Borobudur in Yogyakarta, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The traditional arts and dance forms, such as the Balinese dance performances and the Javanese wayang kulit (shadow puppet theater), showcase the country’s artistic heritage. Traditional festivals like Nyepi (Day of Silence) in Bali and Galungan celebrations are vibrant displays of Balinese Hindu culture. Exploring traditional markets, visiting local villages, and engaging with local communities can give you a deeper insight into the diverse cultural fabric of Indonesia.

Thailand: Thailand boasts a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and modern influences. The country is known for its stunning temples, with iconic sites like Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. The annual Songkran festival, where people engage in a water fight to welcome the Thai New Year, is a lively and joyous celebration. Thai massage, with its roots in traditional medicine, is widely practiced and provides a unique cultural experience. Thai etiquette and respect for the monarchy are important aspects of Thai culture, so it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with basic customs before visiting. Exploring the vibrant markets, participating in a Thai cooking class, or joining a traditional Thai dance workshop are all opportunities to immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Thailand.

Both countries offer a beautiful blend of nature and spirituality. Temples and sacred sites can be found throughout Indonesia and Thailand, offering opportunities for reflection and spiritual connection. Whether you’re exploring the ancient temples of Borobudur or attending a traditional Thai ceremony in a Bangkok temple, these experiences allow you to witness the locals’ devotion and gain insight into their spiritual beliefs.

Immersing yourself in the local culture through respectful interactions, attending cultural events or festivals, and learning about traditional arts and crafts is a fantastic way to appreciate and understand the cultural richness of Indonesia and Thailand.

Natural Beauties

Both Indonesia and Thailand are blessed with stunning natural landscapes, offering travelers a wealth of natural beauties to explore and appreciate. Here’s a comparison of the natural wonders you can encounter in each country:

Indonesia: Indonesia is renowned for its breathtaking natural landscapes, which include pristine beaches, lush rainforests, active volcanoes, and unique marine biodiversity. Bali is famous for its picturesque beaches like Kuta, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua, while the Gili Islands and Lombok offer turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, making them perfect for snorkeling and diving. In central Java, you can hike to the top of Mount Bromo and witness stunning sunrise views over the volcanic caldera. The Komodo National Park is home to the mythical Komodo dragons and offers beautiful remote islands for exploration. Raja Ampat in West Papua is a paradise for underwater enthusiasts, with its vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life.

Thailand: Thailand boasts incredible natural landscapes that range from dramatic limestone cliffs and tropical islands to lush jungles and cascading waterfalls. Phang Nga Bay, with its towering limestone karsts rising from emerald green waters, is a must-see attraction. The islands of Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi offer stunning beaches and clear waters. In northern Thailand, you can explore the lush green hills of Chiang Mai and visit waterfalls like the Mae Ya Waterfall or the Erawan Waterfall in Kanchanaburi. Khao Sok National Park, with its ancient rainforests and serene man-made lake, provides opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and exploring limestone caves.

Both countries offer incredible opportunities for eco-tourism and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking to hidden waterfalls, snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs, or embarking on a wildlife safari, you’ll be in awe of the natural beauty that awaits you.

It’s important to note that with the rising popularity of certain natural attractions, such as Maya Bay in Thailand or Bali’s rice terraces, there has been an increased focus on sustainability and responsible tourism practices. It’s essential to respect the environment, follow designated trails, and support eco-friendly initiatives to help preserve these natural wonders for future generations.

Whichever country you choose to explore, prepare to be captivated by the sheer natural beauty that Indonesia and Thailand have to offer.

Both Indonesia and Thailand offer a plethora of exhilarating adventure activities for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s a comparison of the thrilling adventures you can embark on in each country:

Indonesia: Indonesia is a playground for adventure seekers with its diverse landscapes. In Bali, you can catch some epic waves and try your hand at surfing on famous breaks like Uluwatu and Padang Padang. The island is also known for its excellent diving and snorkeling spots, including the iconic USAT Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben. For those seeking a higher altitude, Mount Batur in Bali and Mount Rinjani in Lombok offer challenging yet rewarding volcano hikes, with the chance to witness stunning sunrise views. The rainforests of Sumatra and Kalimantan provide opportunities for jungle trekking, wildlife spotting (including orangutans), and river rafting adventures.

Thailand: Thailand offers a diverse range of adventure activities that cater to all levels of adrenaline. In the north, Chiang Mai is a popular base for trekking through the jungle, visiting hill tribes, and participating in activities like zip-lining and white-water rafting. Krabi and Phuket are renowned for rock climbing, offering towering limestone cliffs with spectacular views. The islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phi Phi provide opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, and diving, with vibrant coral reefs and marine life. For a unique experience, you can try elephant trekking or bathing with elephants in sanctuaries that promote ethical practices.

Both countries also offer plenty of opportunities for thrill-seekers to try their hand at water sports such as jet skiing, wakeboarding, and parasailing. With their stunning coastlines and clear waters, you’ll find ample spots for these activities.

It’s important to prioritize safety and choose reputable operators when engaging in adventure activities. Be sure to research and follow any necessary precautions and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Whether you’re scaling towering cliffs, exploring ancient forests, or diving into crystal-clear waters, Indonesia and Thailand offer a wide range of adventure activities that will get your heart racing and create unforgettable memories.

Indonesia and Thailand both boast vibrant and bustling cities with a unique blend of modernity and traditional charm. Here’s a comparison of the city experiences you can expect in each country:

Indonesia: The capital city of Jakarta is the heart of Indonesia’s urban scene, offering a cosmopolitan atmosphere with its towering skyscrapers, shopping malls, and thriving nightlife. It’s a city that never sleeps, with a vibrant culinary scene and a mix of modern and historic neighborhoods to explore. Bali’s capital, Denpasar, provides a more relaxed urban experience, with its bustling markets, art galleries, and cultural performances. Ubud, known as the cultural heart of Bali, offers a peaceful retreat where you can immerse yourself in traditional arts, visit ancient temples, and explore the surrounding rice terraces. Yogyakarta, with its rich cultural heritage and historic sites like the UNESCO-listed Borobudur and Prambanan temples, is another city that offers a unique blend of modern and traditional Indonesian life.

Thailand: Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is a vibrant and eclectic city that seamlessly combines ancient traditions with a fast-paced modern lifestyle. From its ornate temples like Wat Arun and Wat Pho to its bustling street markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok offers a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and flavors. Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand provides a more laid-back city experience, with its temples, night bazaars, and renowned Sunday Walking Street Market. The vibrant city of Phuket is known for its nightlife, with an array of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Other cities like Pattaya and Hua Hin also offer a mix of beachside relaxation and urban excitement.

In both countries, cities offer a plethora of dining options, from street food stalls to international restaurants, catering to all tastes and budgets. Shopping enthusiasts will find a wide range of markets, malls, and boutiques to explore, offering everything from traditional handicrafts to designer brands.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Jakarta or getting lost in Bangkok’s maze of alleyways, the cities in Indonesia and Thailand offer a dynamic and vibrant energy that blends modernity with centuries-old traditions.

Safety and Security

When traveling to any destination, ensuring safety and security is of utmost importance. Here’s a comparison of the safety and security aspects in Indonesia and Thailand:

Indonesia: Indonesia is generally a safe country to visit. Like any other travel destination, it’s important to take common-sense precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, keeping your belongings secure, and following local laws and customs. Some areas, particularly in remote regions and outer islands, may have limited infrastructure and medical facilities, so it’s advisable to travel with appropriate travel insurance and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. It’s also worth noting that Bali, being a popular tourist destination, is more accustomed to catering to tourists and has a relatively low crime rate. However, it’s still important to exercise caution, especially in crowded tourist areas.

Thailand: Thailand is also considered a safe country for travelers, with a well-established tourism industry. However, like any other destination, it’s advisable to practice common-sense precautions. Be cautious of your belongings in crowded places, use reputable transportation services, and be aware of potential scams targeting tourists. It’s important to note that political demonstrations can occur in Thailand, so it’s advisable to stay informed about the current situation and avoid participating or getting involved in such events. It’s also recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

It’s always a good idea to stay updated on the latest travel advisories and safety information from your home country’s official travel website or embassy. It’s also helpful to consult with locals, hotel staff, or tour operators for any specific safety concerns in the areas you plan to visit.

Both Indonesia and Thailand have tourist police and helpline numbers that visitors can contact in case of emergencies or if they need assistance. Keeping photocopies of important documents such as your passport and emergency contact numbers can also be beneficial.

By staying vigilant, practicing common-sense precautions, and respecting local customs and laws, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience in both Indonesia and Thailand.

Indonesia and Thailand offer fantastic shopping experiences, with a wide variety of products and markets to explore. Here’s a comparison of the shopping scenes in each country:

Indonesia: Indonesia is a shopper’s paradise, offering everything from traditional crafts to modern fashion pieces. Bali is famous for its vibrant markets, such as the colorful Ubud Art Market and the bustling Kuta Night Market, where you can find unique handmade items, including traditional Balinese sarongs, woodcarvings, and silver jewelry. Jakarta, as the country’s capital, boasts modern malls and luxury boutiques, offering international and local fashion brands. In Yogyakarta, Malioboro Street is a popular spot for shopping, known for its rows of shops selling batik fabrics, traditional crafts, and souvenirs. Bali and Jakarta are also home to several renowned designer boutiques and high-end shopping centers.

Thailand: Thailand is famous for its markets, known for their vibrant atmosphere and affordable prices. Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market is a must-visit, with more than 8,000 stalls selling everything from clothing and accessories to antiques and artwork. The city is also home to modern shopping malls like Siam Paragon and CentralWorld, featuring international luxury brands. In Chiang Mai, the Night Bazaar is a bustling market where you can find a wide array of handicrafts, textiles, and traditional Thai art. Floating markets, such as Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa, offer a unique shopping experience where vendors sell their goods from boats along the canals.

Both countries are known for their local handicrafts and traditional arts. In Indonesia, you can find beautifully crafted batik fabrics, intricately carved wooden masks, and handwoven textiles. In Thailand, you’ll find exquisite silk products, intricate silverware, and delicate porcelain. It’s worth noting that bargaining is common in both countries’ markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate the price with the vendors.

When shopping for souvenirs and handicrafts, it’s important to support fair trade and ethically sourced products that promote sustainable practices and benefit local communities.

Whether you’re searching for traditional crafts, fashion items, or unique souvenirs, both Indonesia and Thailand offer a captivating shopping experience that will delight any shopper.

Indonesia and Thailand are no strangers to vibrant nightlife scenes. From bustling city centers to beachside bars, both countries offer a range of options for those seeking evening entertainment. Here’s a comparison of the nightlife experiences in each country:

Indonesia: Bali is renowned for its lively nightlife, catering to a diverse range of tastes. In popular tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian, you’ll find a plethora of bars, clubs, and beachfront venues. From relaxed beach bars with live music to sleek lounges and vibrant nightclubs, Bali offers something for everyone. The island also hosts regular beach parties and themed events, including the world-famous Full Moon Party in Gili Trawangan. Jakarta, as the capital city, boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with trendy bars, rooftop venues, and nightclubs offering a diverse range of music and entertainment options.

Thailand: Thailand, particularly Bangkok and the popular tourist destinations, offers an eclectic and energetic nightlife experience. Bangkok’s nightlife is legendary, with bustling street-side bars, rooftop clubs with panoramic views, and renowned entertainment areas like Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy. The islands of Phuket, Koh Samui, and Koh Phi Phi are also famous for their bustling beach parties, beach clubs, and lively bars where you can dance the night away. Pattaya is known for its vibrant and sometimes wild nightlife scene, with a range of entertainment options, including cabaret shows and go-go bars.

In both countries, night markets are popular evening destinations, offering a mix of street food, shopping, and live performances. These markets provide a vibrant atmosphere and are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and sample delicious local cuisine.

It’s important to note that while nightlife in both countries can be lively and exciting, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Take necessary precautions to ensure your safety and avoid excessive alcohol consumption or involvement in illicit activities.

Whether you’re dancing the night away in a trendy club, enjoying a relaxed beachside drink, or exploring the colorful night markets, Indonesia and Thailand have a vibrant nightlife that will keep you entertained until the early hours of the morning.

Budget-Friendly Travel

Both Indonesia and Thailand are popular destinations among budget-conscious travelers, offering a range of options that allow you to explore and experience the country without breaking the bank. Here’s a comparison of the budget-friendly travel options in each country:

Indonesia: Indonesia is known for its affordability, making it an ideal destination for budget travelers. Accommodation options in Bali and other tourist areas vary, with budget-friendly guesthouses, hostels, and homestays available at reasonable prices. You can also find local warungs and street food stalls offering delicious Indonesian cuisine at wallet-friendly prices. Transport in Indonesia, such as using public buses or shared transportation services, is generally economical, although long-distance travel between islands may require more planning and budget allocation. Entrance fees to popular attractions and cultural sites are generally affordable, with some offering discounted rates for students or local residents.

Thailand: Thailand is another budget-friendly destination that offers good value for travelers. Cheap accommodation options, including budget guesthouses and hostels, are available throughout the country. Street food is a highlight of Thai cuisine and is not only delicious but also inexpensive. Local markets and street vendors serve up an array of tasty dishes at affordable prices. Public transportation in Thailand, such as tuk-tuks, songthaews, and local buses, offer cost-effective ways to get around cities and towns. Entrance fees to popular attractions, such as temples or national parks, are generally affordable, although some may have additional fees for non-Thai residents.

Both countries offer opportunities for budget-friendly activities and experiences. Free or low-cost activities include exploring local markets, visiting public parks and gardens, and enjoying the natural beauty that each country has to offer. It’s always advisable to plan and research in advance, compare prices, and look for deals or discounts available for attractions, transportation, and accommodations.

When dining out, trying local street food or eating at local establishments can help keep costs down while allowing you to savor authentic flavors. It’s also worth noting that both countries have a wide range of souvenir options, from inexpensive trinkets to local handicrafts, so you can bring back mementos without breaking your budget.

By being mindful of your spending, exploring affordable options, and immersing yourself in the local culture, you can enjoy a budget-friendly trip to both Indonesia and Thailand without compromising on experience and enjoyment.

Communication and Language

Communicating effectively and understanding the local language is essential for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. Here’s a comparison of communication and language in Indonesia and Thailand:

Indonesia: The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia, a standardized form of Malay. English is widely spoken in popular tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants, making it relatively easy to communicate with locals. You should have no trouble finding English-speaking staff at hotels or seeking assistance in tourist destinations. However, in more remote areas or when interacting with local vendors or taxi drivers, English proficiency may be limited. Learning a few basic Indonesian phrases can greatly enhance your interactions and demonstrate respect for the local culture.

Thailand: The official language of Thailand is Thai, and learning a few key phrases or greetings in Thai can go a long way in connecting with the locals. In popular tourist areas and major cities, many Thais working in the tourism industry, such as hotel staff, tour guides, and restaurant employees, speak English. However, in more rural areas or with street vendors, English fluency may be limited. Additionally, the Thai language has its unique written script, which may appear unfamiliar to travelers. Nevertheless, most signs and important information in tourist areas are also displayed in English, making navigation easier for foreign visitors.

It’s always helpful to carry a phrasebook or use translation apps on your smartphone to aid in communication, especially when venturing off the beaten path. Non-verbal communication, such as using hand signals or pointing to items, can also be effective in overcoming language barriers.

Both countries have a warm and welcoming culture, and locals appreciate visitors making an effort to learn a few local words or phrases. Regardless of the language barrier, you’ll find that people are often willing to help and will go out of their way to assist you.

In addition to verbal communication, it’s worth noting that Indonesians and Thais commonly use WhatsApp for messaging and communication. Having this app downloaded and being familiar with its usage can be helpful for staying in touch with locals, accommodations, or tour operators during your trip.

By being open-minded and respectful of the local language and culture, you can enhance your overall travel experience and foster positive interactions with locals in both Indonesia and Thailand.

Both Indonesia and Thailand offer captivating travel experiences, but they each have their unique characteristics that make them special. When deciding between these two destinations, consider your interests and preferences to choose the one that aligns with your desires for your upcoming trip.

Indonesia’s diverse natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality make it a compelling choice. From exploring ancient temples in Yogyakarta to relaxing on the pristine beaches of Bali, Indonesia offers a wide range of experiences for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike.

Thailand, on the other hand, captivates visitors with its vibrant city life, delectable cuisine, and unique cultural traditions. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Bangkok, immersing yourself in the beauty of the Thai islands, or interacting with elephants in the north, Thailand will leave an indelible impression.

It’s important to take into account factors such as weather and climate, visa requirements, transportation options, accommodation choices, and the activities and experiences that resonate with you. Consider the budget-friendly opportunities, safety measures, and the level of English proficiency important to you as well.

Ultimately, whether you choose the idyllic island paradise of Indonesia or the bustling vibrant cities of Thailand, both countries offer a wealth of unforgettable experiences. By immersing yourself in the local culture, exploring the natural wonders, savoring the delectable cuisines, and engaging in activities unique to each destination, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.

So, pack your bags, embark on your adventure, and get ready to create your own unforgettable journey, be it through the wonders of Indonesia or the charms of Thailand.


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  • Indonesia , Thailand

Thailand vs. Indonesia

Thailand vs. Indonesia

Table of Contents

Both Thailand and Indonesia are undeniable natural beauties. This is why they’re some of the top tourism powerhouses in Southeast Asia. And while they’re perfect beach getaways, that’s where their similarities end.

From their culture to their food to their landscape, they are vastly different. Each country has its strengths, and they know how to play with them.

Apart from beaches, what else do you want out of your vacation? If you’re wondering where to go, this is where you should start.

Are you looking for an electrifying night scene? Or are you planning to go on outdoor adventures? This alone should make you sway toward one over the other.

There are a plethora of reasons why both Thailand and Indonesia should be on your bucket list. But this article will help you decide on which one to tick off of your list first.

Thailand has perfected the art of keeping tourists coming back for more. This tropical paradise has everything a tourist would want, and more. From stunning beaches to rich culture to delectable cuisine, it has prided itself as the gateway to Southeast Asia.

What Makes Thailand Unique

Gorgeous tropical beaches.

Thailand has a glowing reputation for being a slice of tropical paradise. Its strikingly gorgeous beaches are world-famous, being the backdrop of several Hollywood films. While Thai beaches can be quite lavish, it has a wide array of choices to accommodate every type of tourist no matter the budget.

This is why Thailand is a crowd favorite for a beach vacation: there is always a dream beach for every visitor.

If you have deep pockets, going all out on Thailand’s luxury resorts is a worthwhile option. These resorts are insanely gorgeous, from the placement to the exteriors to the rooms!

Keemala Phuket, for example, has unusual architecture, nestled within the rainforest. It’s a perfect blend of rustic charm and luxury all in one. A few of their villas with their private pool and other grand amenities rest in the canopy.

Some other luxury resorts for you to choose from are Banyan Tree Phuket, Amanpuri, and Soneva Kiri. All these have high-end amenities for relaxation, upscale restaurants, and more.

Sometimes, all the dynamic action of Thailand’s beaches can get overwhelming. If you want to relax under the sun hearing nothing but the swaying palm trees, you also have choices.

Koh Tao, Hua Sin, and Koh Lanta are for laid-back visitors or those who just want to get away from the large crowds. Koh Tao is popular for being a wholesome beach, one that you can enjoy with your children. While Hua Sin is a quiet and less-traveled resort, perfect for napping by the shore.

These beaches may only have the basics, but they are every bit as beautiful too.

While you can always choose a luxury beach or a secluded one, the face of Thailand is its lively beaches. Some of the popular ones are Long Beach, Haad Rin, Railay Beach, and Maya Bay.

Wherever you go, you’ll get a stunning stretch of soft white sand and sparkling turquoise seas. Complete with the evergreen forests and palm trees on the coast, every beach is a sight to behold.

Opulent Natural Wonders

Away from the dazzling coasts of Thailand, the country still has many scenic wonders to display. Waterfalls, rock formations, cliffs, caves, and many more, the country has them all. While they’re often overlooked for the beaches, Thailand is just as beautiful on land.

There’s always a patch of greenery somewhere in Thailand. And most of them are accessible too, so you always have an escape when you need to disconnect from the busy capital.

If you’re planning to get away from the buzzing beaches and city, here are some top picks for you.

Sam Phan Bok

An unusual sight, this rock formation lies in the middle of the glistening waters of the Mekong River. The Mekong River itself is a natural wonder too, as it stretches throughout East to Southeast Asia.

Being bombarded by water throughout the year, Sam Phan Bok gets eroded by the river. As a result, it has many holes and burrows to discover, a thrilling part of any visit. Each burrow or cave takes on a different form, leaving much to your imagination.

If you want to visit Sam Phan Bok, it would be best to do so between December to May, the dry season. These months are when the river doesn’t overflow Sam Phan Bok, so you get to explore more of it!

Sra Morakot

In the heart of the Khao Nor Juji lies Sra Morakot, also called the “Emerald Pool”. When you see the bright turquoise waters of this hot spring, you’ll see why it has its moniker.

Although it’s a beautiful sight no matter when you visit, try to head to Sra Morakot on a sunny day. The bright rays of the sun will amplify the spring’s color, making the blue-green as bright as it can be.

You can take a dip in the glistening waters, soaking up the beauty of the lush forests that surround it. The forest that cradles Sra Morakot is also home to many wildlife. So you’ll hear the birds chirp away as you unwind.

Doi Mon Jong

Within the Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary is Doi Mon Jong, a mountainous hill famous for its otherworldly sights. This place is full of life, from the ground you walk on to the forests that surround it.

The hike to the peak of Doi Mon Jong may not be the most difficult, but it can be tiring. With this, visitors often stay the night camping at its peak.

But one cannot complain about this extended stay. This increases your chance to see more of the wildlife that calls the sanctuary their home. From elephants to mountain goats to the rare goral, the place is full of life.

Not only that but Doi Mon Jong is also one of the best places to view the Milky Way in Thailand. But even if you don’t get a glimpse of it, the blanket of stars is surely a surreal sight for many.

A Tropical Wildlife Haven

Thailand is full of life, not only of people on its beaches and city but also in its forests and underwater wonders. Rich in diversity, the country also attracts tourists from around the world for its exotic flora and fauna. With its national parks, Thailand is home to rare, endangered, and endemic species.

Of all the national parks, Khao Yai National Park shines the brightest. It’s not only the country’s oldest protected site, but it’s also a world heritage sight.

Khao Yai houses a diverse mix of wildlife, such as civets, sambar deers, and Chinese water dragons. But even rarer to see are the jackals, Gibson’s wolf snakes, and Austen’s brown hornbills.

This park is a popular destination for tourists as it is one of the easily accessible ones. Not only that, Khao Yai has put efforts to make their visitors comfortable. From campgrounds to accommodations to coffee shops, you’ll have what you need in the park.

Alluring Thai Night Scene

Some recurring visitors to this stunning nation come back for its pristine beaches. But others return for the festive, electrifying, and cultured nightlife. And much like its beaches, Thailand’s nightlife is full of diversity too!

Your night of merrymaking can be naughty, wild, chill, or classy, depending on where you go. You can rave on the beaches of Thailand one night, and drink at a sophisticated rooftop bar the next day. There’s so much that awaits you when the sun goes down in the Land of Smiles, you’ll never get bored!

What seems to be a strong magnet for night lovers in Thailand is the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan. You can dance all night with blasting music, have neon paint on your face, and watch the beach light up with colorful lights. And while this happens a few times a year, beach parties happen every night in the area, and even in Phuket and Koh Phi Phi.

If the salty air gets tiring for you, then why not flock to pool parties? The Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya is the face of this. With foam-filled pools, neon lights, and upbeat music, they know how to keep the fun going.

But what if you’re not much of a party animal? Thailand has an answer for you too.

The capital city of Bangkok alone is full of places for your nightlife ventures. From wild nightclubs and go-go bars to trendy hidden bars, sophisticated rooftop bars, and more. The latter two often have tastefully-made interiors, worthy of thousands of pictures.

Indonesia is without a doubt, a nature lover’s paradise. It has such a dramatic landscape across the country, leaving so much for you to discover. From tropical deep seas to smoking volcanoes to frigid glaciers, Indonesia is a breath of fresh air among its Southeast Asian neighbors.

What Makes Indonesia Unique

Island-hopping and beach paradise.

Indonesia has a massive network of more than 17,000 islands. You can spend a lifetime going from one island to another and always discover something new! Each island also has a distinctive flare, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for you.

Some islands have an exhilarating party scene, while others are serene, relaxing, and unknown. Meanwhile, other islands are best suited for the active traveler. Other islands are a treat for the wildlife lover, as you can get a glimpse of endangered ones.

But no matter where you are in Indonesia, you’re bound to be within shouting distance of a stunning beach. Almost everyone knows or has heard about the beauty that is Bali. Even so, the country has a plethora of other beaches that are just as worthwhile.

Lombok and Gili Islands are famous for their pristine beaches and lively party scene. The latter has a trio of breathtaking islands: Air, Meno, and Trawangan.

Trawangan is a crowd favorite and a prime destination for backpackers. Meno is the most serene of all three and is the place to be to unwind peacefully. While Air has the most abundant accommodation and dining places of all.

Nusa Dua and Bintan are the places to be if you want to splurge on a luxurious trip. Both have plenty of high-end resorts to pamper you on your stay.

If you’re looking for an unusual sight, head over to the stunning colorful beaches of Padar. It has pristine white and black beaches and a striking pink-sand beach. Its blushing sands come from the red shells of tiny coral insects, giving the coastline a flamingo-pink hue.

A Diver and Surfer’s Wonderland

Vastly bounded by waters, Indonesia is a water sports enthusiast’s paradise. Sure, you can go parasailing or ride a banana boat. But to get the best water experiences in this stunning country, go scuba diving or surfing.

Divers and surfers from all around the world flock to Indonesia’s islands for the best diving spots and waves. But the country’s diving scene shines most, offering you a whole spectrum of sea life.

If you want to swim with underwater creatures, go to Watakobi Islands, Bunaken, or Pulau Weh. All three have excellent diving spots to see plenty of fish and coral species.

But of all the islands, Raja Ampat is the top spot for you to experience the exotic and majestic underwater. It lies in the heart of the coral triangle, thus, its islands have one of the most biodiverse marine life in the world. With thousands of fish species, 540 coral species, and over 700 mollusk species, it’s an underwater wonderland.

Some popular diving sites in Raja Ampat are the following:

  • Manta Sandy
  • Sardine Reef

Swimming with jellyfish is an unthinkable experience for many. But this is possible in Indonesia’s Kakaban Lake!

Here, you can dive with a million floating non-stinging jellyfish surrounding you. The lake may not be the easiest to get to. But this is an experience you’ll get in only a few places in the world.

Unsurprisingly, Indonesia is also one of the best places in the world to catch some waves. From international surf contests to surf lessons, everyone can ride the waves.

Padang Padang in Bali is one of the most popular surf spots in Indonesia. It’s also home to the best pipeline waves in Bali!

Hollow Trees in Mentawi Islands is a perfect blend of an amazing surf spot that’s also photogenic. Desert Point in Lombok has world-renowned waves and is a famous left-hand barrel. Although it’s only for serious and highly experienced surfers.

Don’t feel left out if you’re a beginner, as Kuta Beach in Bali is the best place to start learning. The waves here are more manageable, and there’s always someone to show you the ropes.

An Exciting Hiking Scene

Because Indonesia is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, it’s dotted with plenty of mighty mountains. But what’s unique about scaling the heights of the country is that most of them are active volcanoes. Conquering these hissing and smoking volcanoes is possible only with a qualified guide.

Mount Rinjani, Mount Batur, and Mount Merapi and some of the stunning hike options you have. But two volcanoes in Indonesia stand out the most.

Mount Bromo

Standing at 7,848 ft (2,392 m) tall, Mount Bromo isn’t one of Indonesia’s tallest volcanoes. And yet, it’s the most iconic and heavily visited one across the nation. Its beauty and awe lie within its dramatic landscape and sunset views.

When Mount Bromo is not spewing lava, it’s a breathtaking natural wonder. You don’t get to climb an active volcano every day; thankfully, this mountain is easy to climb! So it’s easy to add Mount Bromo to your Indonesian bucket list.

Another unique selling point of hiking Mout Bromo is that you get to view the crater of a smoking volcano.

If you’re planning to conquer this, the best time to visit is between April and October. Avoid the wet season as the trail can be quite slippery to hike.

Mount Ijen is arguably one of the world’s most fascinating natural wonders. It’s a truly unique mountain to scale as it has features that you won’t see elsewhere in the world. Two things make Mount Ijen so fascinating; you’ll find out what these are below.

For one, Mount Ijen is home to the most acidic lake in the world. In the middle of the volcano lies a photogenic neon-turquoise lake.

While it’s stunning, keep your hands off it as the lake’s pH is an astounding 0.3! This is much stronger than the pH of battery acid at 0.8.

The other reason why Mount Ijen is so famous is a natural phenomenon called the “Ijen Blue Fire”. While this happens throughout the day, you can only see it in the dark of the night. The ideal time for this is around 1 AM to 4 AM, so you need to stay overnight to see it!

This occurs when the sulfur clouds come in contact with the extreme heat from the fissures of the mountain. The crater comes alive with electric blue flames that cascade down the rocks like lava. Mount Ijen is only one of the two places on earth where you can see this, other than Ethiopia.

Dramatic Landscapes Teeming With Life

Indonesia is the second most biodiverse country on Earth. With over 17,000 islands, one of the world’s oldest rainforests, and the Coral Triangle, the country is full of life underwater and on land.

Not only that, Indonesia is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest too. These forests are the habitat of some critically endangered species. This includes orangutans, rhinos, and Sumatran tigers. The country is the only place on earth where you can find orangutans, rhinos, bears, and tigers sharing the same forest.

For these reasons alone, Indonesia is an exciting wonderland for wildlife spotting. And while the country’s overflowing with wildlife hotspots, some are more popular. Below are exciting places to start your wildlife-watching journey.

Komodo National Park

A trip to this park will allow you to meet real-life dragons. While they don’t spit fire, Komodo Dragons, the largest lizard in the world, are a rare sight.

This massive creature can own any ecosystem it thrives in. It hunts animals much bigger than its own, even humans! So make sure to visit this national park with rangers for protection.

While Komodo Dragons are the star of this park, there are other activities to do here too. You can go diving, hiking, and snorkeling if you wish. And on the same island, you can visit the pink-sand beach for some relaxation!

Lorentz National Park

This is the largest protected area in Southeast Asia. But this isn’t the main reason why Lorentz National park is special.

It has a continuous link from snowcaps to lowland wetlands and, finally, to topical marine environments. You can see glaciers, mangroves, and tropical waters in one park. This is the only protected area on Earth where you can find such dramatic landscapes.

And because of this, Lorentz has such a high level of biodiversity and endemism. Thousands of vascular plant species, 411 bird species, tens of thousands of insect species, and much more.

So while Lorentz is not the most accessible national park, it’s certainly rewarding. To get there, you need to fly to Biayk, Jayapura, Wamena, or Timika. And from there, make your way to the park.

Wamena may be the best choice as from there, you can get a permit to enter the park.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Indonesia has an interesting blend of cultures, influenced by race and religion, although the latter has a stronger hold. The nation’s major religions are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. And each has its own traditions that form the culture of modern Indonesia.

Each island across the nation has a different culture, a fact that history lovers can rejoice too. With this, you have a vast variety of historical attractions to explore in the country! But some of Indonesia’s cultural gems are the following.

Borobudur Temple

This is the largest Buddhist monument in the world, dating back to the 9th century. With thousands of relief panels and hundreds of Buddha statues, it’s as grand as it gets. This temple’s most iconic feature is the many bell-shaped stupas that riddle the area.

While the monument in itself is stunning, visiting at sunrise makes it even more majestic.

Prambanan Temple

Another imposing temple, Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. There were once over 200 shrines that stood here, but only 16 buildings remain. Still, the unique and intricate architecture of the temple is breathtaking.

Interesting Gastronomic Ventures

Getting a taste of a place’s culture is always a must when traveling. Indonesian cuisine is famous around the globe, with nasi goreng being the most famous dish.

But there are countless other must-try, mouthwatering dishes in the country. And getting served by the locals is the most authentic experience you can get.

The two main contributors to Indonesian local cuisine are their spices and cooking techniques. But since the nation’s scattered over the seas, each island has a twist to each dish. Thus, even if you eat for months in Indonesia, you’ll always try something new!

Other than nasi goreng, satay, which is lamb or chicken skewers, is also popular. Other must-try dishes are gudeng, bakso, and mie ayam.

While you’re in Indonesia, grab a cup of the world-famous Kopi luwak if you’re adventurous. This coffee’s prepared unusually: the coffee beans used are defecated by the Asian palm civet! As you can expect, this coffee is rare, and there’s a hefty price tag to it.

Indonesia or Thailand – Which Is Better?

Both Thailand and Indonesia are a complete package for a beach vacation. Not only are they riddled with beaches, but they also host a wide array of beaches fit for almost any type of tourist.

But even with this, each country offers a distinct experience from the other. Thus, you may find that one is better for you depending on what you want out of your tropical getaway.

Thailand is a better option for you if you want a lively night scene. This is one of the country’s selling points, and likely no other Southeast Asian country can top its nightlife experience.

But if you’re craving to explore the great outdoors, go for Indonesia. It’s the second most biodiverse country on Earth, with much more terrain variety than Thailand. It’s one of the best places in the world to scuba dive and surf too.

If you’re seeking a cultural experience, you can never go wrong with both. From their food to their historical sites, both will not disappoint you. Although this is subject to taste, you may find one more fascinating than the other.

Is Indonesia Cheaper Than Thailand?

Because Indonesia has a smaller tourism scene, it is a cheaper travel destination across the board. The average cost in Thailand is around 87 USD a day, while in Indonesia only costs around 49 USD.

Thailand or Indonesia for Honeymoon?

Both countries have stunning and romantic sceneries, perfect for honeymoon goers. But they have a different vibe in general, and one will be better depending on what you want as a couple.

If you want a serene honeymoon with a peaceful and spiritual ambiance, go to Indonesia. But if you’re a party-loving couple who loves the glitz and glamor, go for Thailand.

At the end of the day, both countries have romantic stays where you can spend intimate time with your spouse. But if you’re looking for something outside of that, this should give you a bit more clarity.

Is Thailand in Indonesia?

Thailand and Indonesia are two separate countries, so you can’t find one in the other. Both are in Southeast Asia though, with the former being on the mainland.

Is Indonesia Near Thailand?

Although they are quite close on the map, Thailand and Indonesia have a vast sea separating them. With this, you’ll have to ride a plane if you want to go from one to the other.

How Far Is Thailand From Indonesia?

The distance between Bangkok in Thailand to Jakarta in Indonesia is 1450 miles (2334 km). But you can travel a shorter or longer distance depending on your inbound and outbound destination.

Indonesia to Thailand Flight

Flight durations from Jakarta in Indonesia to Bangkok in Thailand are 3 hours and 30 minutes. Your inbound and outbound destination will affect this though, making it shorter or longer.

Plane ticket prices are around 151 USD. But this will vary depending on your trip date and your airline of choice.

Thailand to Indonesia by Boat

There are no direct ferries that will take you from Thailand to Indonesia. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pass through both Malaysia and Singapore to reach Indonesia.

If you do want to ride a ferry, you need to travel from Thailand to Malaysia first by train. And then take a bus or train from Malaysia to Singapore. Finally, you can take a ferry from Singapore to Indonesia.

This takes a long time, and the costs aren’t cheap too. Unless you want to tour these countries, the best option is to just take a plane ride from Thailand to Indonesia.

Thailand to Indonesia by Train

Taking a train ride from Thailand to Indonesia is impossible. Other than passing through two countries, there is a vast expanse of water between the two. With this, a plane ride is the best option for travel from Thailand to Indonesia and vice versa.

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Thailand or Indonesia: How Do They Compare?

Thailand or Indonesia: How Do They Compare?

With the football world cup in full swing, we are all in for some healthy competition, and when it comes to travel, these countries put on a thrilling match. Thailand and Indonesia are two tropical paradises that sit high on every traveller’s bucket list. With striking scenery, fabulous food, unique landmarks and tropical climates, these Southeast Asian hots spots are worthy competitors and it’s a tough bet to make. Thankfully, our experts are here to help you decide whether Thailand or Indonesia scores highest for your next Southeast Asia adventure.

  • Unmissable Experiences

In Thailand, the charm of Chiang Mai and the lush green landscapes of Pai are well balanced by balmy beaches, turquoise waters, and idyllic islands in the south. The capital city of Bangkok is a feast for the senses where every colour, smell and flavour is heightened, while sun seekers and barefoot climbers can belay their way up sheer cliffs in Krabi. In Indonesia, otherworldly islands and surreal underwater worlds in Raja Ampat, dragons in Komodo, and volcanoes in Java are softly framed by deep green rice terraces, bustling beaches, and a laidback lifestyle in Bali. If you want to tick off some trekking, the mountains of Mae Hong Son in Thailand offer ancient trails through forest covered hills and lush valleys, while in Indonesia you can chase waterfalls in East Java or hike up Mount Batur at sunrise and look out towards the distant peaks of Mount Rinjani and Mount Atung across the mist. Thailand’s southern islands are idyllic, and with regular ferries between them it’s easy to island hop, but their popularity over the years has led to overcrowding and occasionally less-than-pristine beaches. Meanwhile, Indonesia still has plenty of pristine sandy spots, like Kanawa Island in Flores, that are off the beaten track, as well as the more tourist trodden Gilli Isles.

Both countries offer some spectacular scenes, but Indonesia’s pristine landscapes takes the lead here. One – nil.

Thailand and Indonesia are both havens for food lovers, boasting fantastic fusions of flavours that can satisfy every palate. Thailand is for the spice lovers, where food can be ordered ‘tourist spicy’ or ‘Thai spicy,’ and hot heads can really test their limits. Classic dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum (sweet and sour soup) and Som Tum (papaya salad) shine while fruit smoothies, fresh coconuts, and summer rolls make for the perfect beach-side snack. The food scene in Indonesia has a growing consciousness around health and wellness, with an incredible selection of vegan and superfood options. Traditional dishes such as Nasi Goreng (fried rice with meat and vegetables) and sateh (skewered meat) are salty and sumptuous, and tropical fruits make for the perfect pud.

Both Indonesia and Thailand leave travellers spoilt for choice when it comes to food, but Thailand really turns up the heat, so it wins this round by one hot point. One all.

Both Thailand and Indonesia are tropical climates that really only have two seasons: dry and rainy. In Thailand, the dry season runs from November to May, while in Indonesia the dry season runs from May to early December. In both countries, heading into the hills is the best way to escape the hot humidity and find cooler climates. Equally, Indonesia’s rainy season runs from November till March and Thailand’s runs from July to October. So, if you’re planning a sabbatical or extended trip, why not chase the sun and start with Indonesia in the summer and then on to Thailand for some winter sun?

Two seasons, two goals – 2 all.

Unmissable experiences

There is so much to see and do in Indonesia and Thailand, and both countries offer an array of unmissable experiences. For divers, a liveaboard diving cruise in Raja Ampat is an experience second to none, while keen trekkers won’t want to miss the ethereal beauty of Mount Batur at sunrise. In Thailand, it’s all about temples, and Wat Rong Kun in Chiang Rai with its unique and intricate design should definitely be on your list. A street food tour in Thailand is a treasure for your tastebuds, and the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is unlike anything you will have ever seen before.

Thailand is full of experiences, but Indonesia is country like nowhere else, so Indonesia takes the lead here.

It’s a close match but Indonesia wins the gold with a final score of 3-2. Thailand is easy to travel through, making it perfect for first time solo travellers and young families, but for those seeking to escape the crowds and get off the beaten track, Indonesia has so much to explore. The scores are close, so why not chase the sun and go to both on your next Southeast Asia adventure?


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15 things to know before going to Indonesia: culture, etiquette and safety

Mark Eveleigh

Dec 7, 2023 • 10 min read

Ubud, Indonesia - March 08, 2016: Indonesian food vendor hides from the rain under the ​umbrella of his stall on the street of Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on March 08, 2016

From etiquette to safety, here are 15 things you need to know before you go to Indonesia © ErmakovaElena / Getty Images

If you’re looking for culture, activities, wildlife or sheer adventure, Indonesia  is one of the richest countries in the world. With an estimated 13,466 islands, it's a whopper too. But Indonesia beyond Bali and Lombok (and the Gili Islands ) remains largely unknown to many travelers. To pick just one example, Sumatra (80 times the size of Bali) is almost a world in itself. And yet people ask the question: “Is Indonesia worth visiting?”

Of course! This chain of islands – many culturally unique – stretches west to east across more than 5000km (3110 miles), making it one of the world’s most excitingly diverse countries. From getting ready before you go to important etiquette and safety information, here are 15 things you need to know to help you plan your trip to Indonesia.

1. Pick the best season depending on where you're going

Most visitors to Bali do their best to avoid the rainy season (normally November to March), but there is really no bad time to visit Indonesia. Even at the height of the monsoon, rains are normally short and sharp and can form an unforgettably dramatic sound and light show. You will often have several bright sunny days between relatively brief storms. There are benefits too in reduced crowds (and dropped prices) since this is also low-season… but the greatest disadvantage comes with the first rains of the year that wash plastic trash (one of Indonesia’s greatest problems) down the rivers and onto the beaches.

At other extremes of the archipelago,  West Papua and the Maluku Islands tend to have their dry seasons between September and March. Giant Sumatra (1000km/620 miles long) and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) are big enough to have weather patterns all of their own. As a general rule, March to October is a good bet for avoiding the heavy rains in these areas. This can be important in jungle regions since some areas might be inaccessible during the rains.

2. Choose the right visa

It is possible for citizens of the UK, USA, Canada and Australia to be granted a Visa on Arrival (VOA) at some international airports, seaports or land crossings. However, it is best to apply for an e-Visa (e-VOA) at least 48 hours before departure instead. This can also be extended for a further 30 days. The initial 30-day tourist visa costs around US$35. Make sure you have at least six months before your passport expires before departure. 

If you're planning to stay longer in Indonesia to work or study, there are different visa options available. For citizens of other countries, check your visa options and  apply online . 

3. Learn a few words and phrases in Indonesian

It’s been said that one in 10 of all the world’s languages are spoken in Indonesia. Many islands have their own unique languages (some have hundreds), and English is spoken only in tourist areas. Fortunately for the traveler, Bahasa Indonesia (literally "Indonesia language") is spoken by everyone, with the exception of the youngest preschool children and some of the elderly in rural areas.

Indonesian is a relatively easy language to learn and people from all walks of life will appreciate even minimal efforts to communicate in their own tongue. (Bahasa Indonesia shares much in common with Malay, so your efforts to learn the language will also serve you on trips to Malaysia , Sarawak  and Sabah ).

A solo woman sits at the top of a ladder leading up to a treehouse overlooking a bay with several rocky islets

4. What to wear: pack for the tropics, but be respectful

Indonesia is tropical, and wherever you go in this country, you’re likely to want shorts, t-shirts or beach clothing much of the time. It can be surprisingly chilly in the highlands, however, and if you plan to do some trekking or volcano climbing, you will appreciate some warmer layers. Also beware that transportation (planes, trains and buses) are often surprisingly cold, and air-con units in shopping malls and hotels are often set to frigid levels, allowing fashionistas to dress in the sort of chic style you might associate with a European fall.

Even in beach areas, it’s considered extremely impolite to walk around shirtless (especially to enter a shop or restaurant), although you will see this often in the party areas of Bali. Male Indonesians will often be shirtless if in the comfort of their own home but would never dream of removing a shirt on someone else’s property.

If you are visiting temples, you will often be expected to wear a sarong and (for women) to cover your shoulders. Religious buildings and ceremonies in most parts of the country will often be off-limits if you’re wearing shorts. In most of Muslim Indonesia, dress codes are relatively relaxed, but you are likely to feel more comfortable (and appear more respectful) in long pants in communities that are predominantly Muslim.

5. Buy a local SIM card and download useful apps

Buy a local SIM card upon arrival at the airport so that you have calling credit and internet data wherever you go. It is inexpensive and easily done – staff will upload and activate the card for you within a couple of minutes. Make a note of your national consulate or embassy contact details in case of emergency.

Prior to traveling, download the transportation apps for Grab and/or Gojek . For  solo travelers , this may be reassuring because drivers/riders are vetted and reviewed, and there is a security alert button to hit if you feel threatened.

6. Etiquette includes respecting your hosts’ religious beliefs 

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country. While this is true (87% of the country’s 275 million people are Muslim), it is also misleading since – with the exception of Aceh (northern Sumatra ), where Sharia law still prevails – Indonesia’s Islamic restrictions are very relaxed. Indonesian Muslims are also among some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet.

Vast tracts of the country are also predominantly Christian (large sections of the Maluku Islands, for example) and Bali itself is almost entirely Hindu. Intermingled with these "formal" religions – and sometimes almost inseparable from them – are an entire spectrum of animistic beliefs. Your trip will be all the richer for any attempts to understand and appreciate the beliefs of your hosts.

7. Kick off your shoes when entering a building

Most people realize that in Asia, you shouldn’t walk into a house wearing shoes, but it surprises many visitors to Indonesia that this also often extends to homestays and sometimes even to hotel rooms. While it is not strictly necessary, many owners of small souvenir shops also appreciate your politeness in leaving slip-off shoes at the door.

Three women on the surface if the water wearing snorkeling gear and laughing

8. Never ask elderly people their names

In many traditional communities (including rural Bali) there’s a strong prohibition on speaking the name of an older person. The gods have a list of people who are "due to be called," and there’s a pervasive belief that speaking a name can remind the gods that someone has been "overlooked." Older women are invariably known simply as Nenek (grandmother), and older men are most commonly known as Bapak (mister) or Kakek (grandfather). In general, an older person should always be referred to respectfully as Pak (mister) or Ibu (mother).

9. Offer a gift to your hosts

If you’re visiting a family home, a small gift (an oleh oleh ) might be appreciated – especially something that is representative of your own country. Locally bought sarongs – often available for just a couple of dollars – are a conveniently lightweight alternative. It’s considered uncouth for an Indonesian to make a big fuss about receiving a gift, so don’t feel offended if it is received with just a brief word of thanks and then carefully put away (still unwrapped) to be inspected later.

10. Staying safe in Indonesia: there's a small risk of pickpocketing

In general, you are more at risk of crime in a European or American city than in Indonesia, and most trips are hassle-free. However, it's worth staying alert in crowded bars and marketplaces as there’s a small risk of pickpocketing or being approached by scam artists here.

The vast majority of Indonesians from all regions (and all cultures and religions) are instilled with an almost inviolable tradition of hospitality towards strangers and travelers. Wherever you travel throughout the world’s greatest island nation – among the fabled Dayak ex-headhunter communities of Kalimantan or among the ex-cannibal communities of the Batak (Sumatra) or Asmat (West Papua) – you’re likely to realize very quickly that you are among friends. Almost uniquely, Lombok has a reputation for organized robberies on quiet roads, but elsewhere, community law is usually enough to ensure that such penjahat (evildoers) are promptly punished.

A woman sits with their back to a tent looking out over a volcanic landscape

11. Be prepared for volcanoes and earthquakes

Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are almost a daily event on the Ring of Fire. The excellent Volcano Discovery site and app provides up-to-the-moment details (and alerts) – and some fascinating background reading – for almost 200 Indonesian volcanoes. When there's heightened activity, be sure to respect official advice concerning exclusion zones.

During a period of particularly regular and intense earthquakes, travel with a small lightweight (particularly sensitive) wind chime – the sort you’d usually string up in a garden. Hang it in the wardrobe (away from the fan) in hotel bedrooms, and it serves as a very effective early-warning system for tremors.

12. Drug laws are extremely strict in Indonesia 

Indonesia has some of the strictest anti-drug laws on the planet. Possession of illegal narcotics can result in up to four years imprisonment, while a conviction for trafficking can often result in a death sentence – carried out by firing squad.

13. Know the laws regarding LGBTQI+ travelers

In Aceh, where pre-marital sex, in general, is considered a crime, same-sex relationships are also criminalized. This is the case to a lesser extent in the Sumatran city of Palembang. Throughout most of the rest of the country, discreet same-sex couples will find themselves welcomed.

Displays of public affection, regardless of sexual orientation, are considered inappropriate by typically conservative Indonesians. Parts of Indonesia – especially Maluku – have traditionally had a very natural acceptance of waria (considered to be men born with women’s souls), but increasing anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric among politicians is making the situation harder for Indonesians in same-sex relationships. Few Western-style tourist hotels have an issue with same-sex couples sharing rooms, but, especially for travel in more off-the-beaten-track areas, increasing numbers of same-sex couples appreciate the anonymity of booking through sites like Airbnb .

Mom and daughter on the beach in Indonesia

14. Get up to date with vaccinations before you go

Travelers to Indonesia should check official sources such as their embassy or consulate for what vaccinations are required for your visit at least eight weeks before travel. Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended. Typhoid vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are also recommended for some areas. If you are coming from a country with a prevalent risk of yellow fever, you may be required to produce a yellow fever certificate upon arrival.

15. Don’t drink the tap water

Even locals don’t drink tap water in Indonesia; they buy bottled water or boil it. To be on the safe side, where possible, use bottled water for ice and for cleaning teeth, too. Indonesia suffers from a problem with plastic garbage: if you are staying in a property for more than a couple of days (or are traveling in a group), consider buying a big 19-liter bottle (known locally as a galon ), which you can then exchange for refills, rather than run through scores of liter bottles throughout your stay.

This article was first published Apr 11, 2022 and updated Dec 7, 2023.

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Indonesia Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Indonesia

Be aware of current health issues in Indonesia. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions

  • Global Polio April 26, 2024 Some international destinations have circulating poliovirus. Before any international travel, make sure you are up to date on your polio vaccines. Destination List: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, including Zanzibar, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Updated   Dengue in Asia and the Pacific Islands May 16, 2024 Dengue is a risk in many parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Some countries are reporting increased numbers of cases of the disease. Travelers to Asia and the Pacific Islands can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Destination List: Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka
  • Global Measles April 26, 2024 Many international destinations are reporting increased numbers of cases of measles. Destination List: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia

⇧ Top

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Indonesia.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to Indonesia.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Indonesia take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Indonesia.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

In Indonesia poliovirus has been identified in the past year.

Travelers to Indonesia are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus.

Vaccine recommendations : Adults traveling to Indonesia who received a complete polio vaccination series as children may receive a single lifetime booster dose of inactivated polio vaccine; travelers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated should receive a complete polio vaccination series before travel. Children who are not fully vaccinated will be considered for an  accelerated vaccination schedule .

Polio - CDC Yellow Book

Polio: For Travelers

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Indonesia. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Indonesia, there may be limited or no rabies treatment available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Indonesia. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥9 months old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  • Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance


  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites


  • Mosquito bite
  • Avoid Bug Bites
  • Mosquito bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Indonesia, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Indonesia. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Indonesia include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Indonesia. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Indonesia’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Indonesia. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Indonesia may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Indonesia, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Indonesia, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Indonesia .

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Indonesia.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Indonesia for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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This website is managed by Siam Legal International - a law firm in Thailand

travel to indonesia or thailand

Latest Thailand Entry Requirements

Legal Advisor

After two years of dealing with Covid, international travel is returning to normal. To help welcome visitors back to the Land of Smiles, the Thai government lifted its final restrictions on July 1st, 2022.

From July 1st, the following changes have been implemented for all international travelers.

  • Foreigners do not need to show proof of Covid Insurance.
  • All mandatory hotel quarantine has been removed.
  • Thailand Pass is no longer required for foreign travelers entering Thailand.
  • Vaccinated travelers do not need to provide proof of vaccination to Thai authorities before arriving.
  • Unvaccinated travelers (including children traveling with unvaccinated parents) will need to complete an RT-PCR or Professional Antigen Test (Pro-ATK) 72 hours before departing for Thailand. Proof does not need to be uploaded before traveling.
  • Airlines and Thai Immigration will do random checks to confirm travelers meet Covid prevention requirements (vaccination or Covid test).

Below is a full list of what international travelers need before entering Thailand.

Travel to Thailand 2022

Required Documents for Travel to Thailand

Please have the following documents ready.

  • Passport with at least six month validity
  • Visa or visa exemption qualification
  • Buy Thailand Travel Insurance
  • Boarding pass to be presented at Passport Control
  • Hotel booking confirmation if asked by Immigration Officer
  • Note: Vaccination record no longer required

Incorrect documents will delay the entry screening by rules from the Thai immigration bureau and its Thai immigration officials.

Buy Your Insurance Now

Passport Validity / Visas

The first thing to check before planning to travel to Thailand is the validity of your passport. International travel requires that your passport is not expiring within six months of your travel date. If you have less than six months left on your passport, you cannot enter Thailand.

If you are planning to travel in the future, check your passport early so you know if you need to apply for a new one or not. It is best to check with your local embassy about how long it will take to receive your new passport. As people look to travel again, passport departments are swamped with new applications and this is causing a backlog in many countries.

There are several visas available to foreigners who are planning to visit Thailand. The visa you need will depend on where you are from, your purpose of travel, and how long you intend to stay.

Visa Exemption

A foreign visitor may enter Thailand under the Visa Exemption Program . Nationalities under the Visa Exemption Program may enter Thailand without a visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate.

Upon arriving in Thailand, most nationalities who are part of the Visa Exemption Program may stay for up to 30 days. Certain nationalities can arrive as part of this program, but for a shorter time. It is best to check the country exemption list and confirm how long you can visit Thailand without needing to apply for a Visa.

Tourists arriving under visa exemption are eligible to extend their stay for up to a further 30 days by visiting a local Thai Immigration Office. The cost to extend is approximately 2000 baht.

There is often confusion about Visa Exemption and “Visa on Arrival”. Visa on Arrival is a 15-day visa for travelers from India,  China, and 16 other countries. If you do not find your country on the Visa Exemption list, it is best to check the Visa on Arrival list.

There are some important things to note for Visa on Arrival:

  • A passport must be valid for at least 30 days.
  • The purpose of the visit is strictly tourist.
  • A visitor must show an address in Thailand where they will be staying.
  • A traveler must have a confirmed return flight.
  • Must show proof of funds to the value of 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht for a family.
  • A fee of 2000 baht is paid on arrival. The fee must be paid in cash and in Thai baht.

Tourist Visa and Special Tourist Visa (STV)

Foreigners may also apply for a Tourist Visa from a Thai embassy or consulate. There is the normal 60-day tourist visa that can be extended for additional 30 days, or the 90-day Special Tourist Visa (STV), which can be extended for 90 days twice at a local immigration office. There are certain requirements needed for the STV, but it allows a visitor to potentially stay in Thailand for 9 months. The Special Tourist Visa is currently scheduled to halt applications in September.

Contact your local Thai Embassy to verify what documents are needed to complete the process. When your visa is approved, the Embassy will place a sticker on your passport, so allow time for potential postage.

For those entering Thailand for a different purpose of stay, they need to obtain a Thai visa from their local Thai Embassy or Consulate prior to coming to Thailand.

Non-Immigrant Visa

Foreigners may apply for a wide range of long-term non-immigrant visas:

  • Non-immigrant B Visa – for conducting business or employment
  • Non-immigrant O visa – for visiting Thai spouse and family
  • Non-immigrant ED visa – for students of recognized institutions in Thailand and their Parents or Legal guardian
  • Non-immigrant O retirement visa – for those who wish to retire in Thailand
  • Non-immigrant OA and OX visa – for those who wish to obtain a Thailand retirement visa for a long stay (it differs from type O visa)

The above visas can be organized at a local Thai Embassy or Consulate. The paperwork can be quite involved, but there are companies that can help.

Siam Legal International is a reputable company in Thailand that has offered visa assistance to foreign visitors for years. They are well versed in Thai immigration policies and processes. If you would like to streamline your long-term stay in Thailand, it is worth contacting them.

Thai Elite Visa

If you wish to make Thailand easily accessible for many years to come or are perhaps thinking of relocating permanently, it is worth having a look at the Thai Elite Visa.

The Thai Elite Visa allows foreign citizens to live in Thailand for 5, 10, or even 20 years. Thai Elite members do not need to worry about some of the eligibility criteria that are needed when applying for other long-term visas.

The Thai Elite visa is an exclusive visa that offers a host of benefits to holders. If you want to enjoy “Thai life” for the long term, you can read more about the Thai Elite Visa .

Thailand Elite Visa eBook

Proof of Vaccine or Testing

How a visitor enters Thailand will still depend on their vaccination status.

Vaccinated Travelers

Vaccinated travelers do not need to provide proof of vaccination to Thai authorities before arriving. A vaccinated traveler will need to have a copy of their vaccination certificate either printed or on a digital device and be able to present it if asked.

Thailand does not require visitors to have had a third booster shot. 2 shots (1 shot for Jansen) is considered fully vaccinated and accepted.

Unvaccinated Travelers

Unvaccinated travelers will need to complete an RT-PCR test or Professional Antigen Test (Pro-ATK) within 72 hours before boarding a flight in their departure country. They will need to have a copy of the test result and be able to present it if asked.

The RT-PCR and Pro-ATK test must be completed by a medical professional and a test report received. The home ATK (RAT) self-test is not acceptable for entering Thailand.

Vaccination and Testing for Children

The testing requirement for children under 18 depends on the vaccination status of their parents. Children traveling with vaccinated parents do not need to complete any RT-PCR or Pro-ATK test before entering Thailand. Children traveling with unvaccinated parents will need to complete the same test as their parents within 72 hours of departing their home country.

It is important to note that many airlines are still asking for proof of vaccination or a Covid test before boarding flights. If you cannot produce one of these documents, you might not board the flight.

Though foreigners no longer need to provide evidence of testing or vaccination prior to arriving in Thailand, they are still required. Thai authorities are conducting random checks of international passengers and if a vaccination certificate or test result cannot be shown, a visitor will not be allowed to enter Thailand.

Insurance has become a dirty word during Covid. Seasoned travelers have always understood the importance of having comprehensive Travel Insurance when traveling abroad. Travel insurance protected travelers from unexpected incidents like:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Personal injury & accidents
  • Missed or delayed flights
  • Damage to belongings
  • Lost luggage

It was one of those things that people hoped they would never need but regretted not having when needed.

During the Pandemic, proof of insurance became mandatory when visiting countries like Thailand. Over time, people stopped referring to insurance as “Travel Insurance” and always referred to it as “Covid Insurance”. Because you had to have it, it was another hoop to jump through.

The good news is that you no longer need to provide proof of “Covid Insurance” to enter Thailand. But it is recommended because all the things listed above can still happen, and Covid has not disappeared completely.

Foreign visitors are not eligible for free medical care in Thailand if something should happen. Whether it be an accident or personal injury, if a visitor needs medical help, or has a canceled flight, they will need to cover any expenses themselves. Depending on the severity, this could be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Buying good Travel Insurance shouldn’t break the bank. Protecting yourself is cheaper than medical bills, new flights, and replacing lost luggage.

You can buy Travel Insurance from many companies. But if you are looking for coverage that is designed for Thailand, is trusted by Thai authorities and medical institutions, and offers a helpline with people who speak the local language and know the country’s procedures, it is worth checking out AXA Thailand .

Their policies are well priced, straightforward, offer many benefits to its customers, and can be approved in minutes.

Get your travel insurance here:

COVID Travel Insurance Thailand

Hotel and Proof of Address Updates

Previously, a foreign visitor would complete an Arrival Card (TM6) before entering Thailand. This requirement has been temporarily removed as part of a new initiative by the Thai government.

A visitor no longer needs to provide proof of a hotel booking before departing their country, but will still need to provide an address when passing through Passport Control in Thailand. This address can be a hotel, home, or friend’s address.

This is especially true with people arriving on a pre-approved visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate.

From July 1, travelers are no longer required to book a SHA+ hotel and undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival. Most hotels have removed their SHA+ quarantine packages, but you will still see the SHA+ badge displayed on hotels.

It is recommended to browse hotels in Thailand on before arriving as it is easier to organize transport to your first night’s rest if pre-booked.

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Thailand Pass

From July 1st, 2022, foreign travelers no longer need to apply for a Thailand Pass before entering Thailand. The system is still in place but is now a platform where visitors can notify the Thai authorities and medical facilities if they are diagnosed positive for Covid during their stay.

If you need to access the Thailand Pass system while in Thailand, please visit and register by filling in your personal details on the Thailand Pass registration page.

International Arrivals

Travelers do not need to provide any proof of flights before leaving their home country.

There is a lot of discussion about whether a return flight needs to be booked when entering Thailand. Technically, all visitors should have a return flight booked. However, you will not always be asked to present evidence of a return flight.

If a visitor is entering Thailand with a pre-approved visa, or Visa on Arrival, they will often be asked to present details of their exit flight. Sometimes a visitor did not have a return flight and had to book a flight on the spot before being processed through Passport Control. To avoid this, it is best to book an exit flight that can be changed. You can always change your plans once in Thailand.

Domestic flights

There are no longer any restrictions on domestic flights and travel. When entering Thailand at an international terminal, a traveler is free to transit to a domestic flight right away. “Sealed” flights have been removed.

Domestic airlines will not always ask for proof, but it is best to have your vaccination certificate or Covid test result on hand in case you are asked to show it.

Siam Legal has received reports from potential clients that some hospitals are creating difficulties for them until full payment is made for their medical expenses. Also, foreigners have allegedly been threatened with lawsuits for not settling their medical bills before being discharged. Using out-of-country policies can be problematic. We recommend using insurance providers headquartered inside Thailand with a proper cover to avoid any undesirable outcomes.

Siam Legal International, a premier law firm in Thailand, recommends purchasing the proper insurance and so endorses AXA Insurance for your travel to Thailand insurance needs.


  • Please review the details of any insurance before purchasing to understand if the policy has adequate cover. Cheap policies with inadequate levels of cover can lead to significant personal liability, and scenarios where policy holders incur hundreds of thousands of baht in out-of-pocket medical expenses have been reported. There are significant financial risks to being underinsured during your stay in Thailand.
  • These policies do not cover medical costs from accidents (like motorcycle accidents) or common unexpected illnesses (common fever or food poisoning). Best to pay a few baht more for the peace of mind that comes from having proper coverage.
  • AXA covers medical expenses (outpatient and inpatient) for accidents and illnesses, including COVID-19. Other insurance coverage might not.
  • AXA also covers telemedicine and teleconsultation, which may be required during the quarantine period of any traveler.

Thai hospital staff are familiar with AXA cover, which should prevent any inconvenience during hospital admission or medical treatment from your hotel room. AXA Thailand also offers 24/7 local support during your stay in Thailand.

You can buy your Thailand Travel insurance today at:

List of approved covid-19 vaccines.

As of December 1, the MoPH has approved the following vaccines:

  • Pfizer–BioNTech or Comirnaty
  • Janssen or Janssen/Ad26.COV2.S
  • AstraZeneca or Covishield
  • Sinopharm or COVILO
  • CoronaVac or SinoVac
  • Sputnik Lite

How to Obtain Travel Insurance

Though COVID-19 insurance is no longer mandatory for entry to Thailand, it is recommended to have comprehensive Travel insurance for the duration of your stay. Good travel insurance covers not only medical expenses relating to Covid but also accident cover, personal damage, loss of possessions, and missed or delayed flights.

It is best to purchase insurance before you travel. The easiest way to buy your policy is online through a reputable insurance provider. The insurance company will provide you with the all-important certificate of cover that you can present to authorities or medical professionals if you need to make a claim.

You may also be asked to present this certificate to the airline before they will allow you to onboard. It’s quick and easy to do online. You can choose your length of policy from 7, 15, 30, 60 days, and 180 days. Just make sure that the policy covers your entire period of stay in Thailand as foreigners are not eligible for free medical care in Thailand and insurance companies will not cover claims for existing conditions.

You may purchase AXA COVID-19 travel insurance within a few minutes. Check them below.

You can buy budget insurance here:

AXA Travel Insurance Thailand

How to Open a Bank Account in Thailand

Siam Legal offers and provides aid for a smooth and hassle-free way to open up a Thai bank account.

  • You will receive help in opening a savings/current bank account
  • You will receive a Bankbook and a debit/ATM card
  • Online Banking (Thai mobile number is required)


  • Guarantee letter (to be provided by Siam Legal)
  • The applicant may book our service online.
  • Our staff will prepare the application and necessary documents for the bank and arrange an appointment with the applicant.
  • The applicant will collect the application form and documents from the Siam Legal Bangkok office and proceed to the specific bank branch. Opening the account at the bank takes 1 to 2 hours.

Service Fee

Our service fee is 150 USD for opening a Thai savings account in Bangkok.

City Travel Guide

  • How to Travel to Bangkok
  • How to Travel to Phuket
  • How to Travel to Pattaya
  • How to Travel to Chiang Mai
  • How to Travel to Samui
  • How to Travel to Hua Hin

Useful Links

  • Best COVID-19 Insurance for Foreigners  
  • Thailand Elite Visa – long term visa option for Thailand
  • How to Travel to Thailand in 2022 – Your Ultimate Guide

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Thailand Travel Restrictions 2023

Thailand Travel Restrictions 2023

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  • Lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for trekking and exploring.
  • Trekking gear such as sturdy hiking boots, waterproof jackets, and backpacks.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat for protection against the sun.
  • Lightweight clothing suitable for tropical weather.
  • Swimsuit and beachwear for coastal areas.
  • Light and breathable clothing suitable for humid weather.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities and attractions.
  • Rain jacket or umbrella for unpredictable weather.
  • Vietnamese phrasebook or language app for basic communication.
  • Lightweight and modest clothing for visiting temples and cultural sites.
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen for protection against mosquitoes and sunburn.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring markets and tourist attractions.
  • Lightweight and modest clothing suitable for hot and humid weather.
  • Sandals or flip-flops for beach outings and casual wear.
  • Waterproof bag or pouch for protecting electronic devices and valuables.
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing for exploring temples and outdoor sites.
  • Comfortable footwear for walking and exploring uneven terrain.
  • Reusable water bottle and snacks for staying hydrated and energised.


  • Lightweight clothing suitable for tropical weather and beach activities.
  • Swimsuit, snorkelling gear, and reef-safe sunscreen for water adventures.
  • Portable water purification system or water purification tablets for remote areas.
  • Light and breathable clothing suitable for warm and humid weather.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities and nature reserves.
  • Travel adapter for charging electronic devices with Malaysian power outlets.
  • Modest clothing covering shoulders and knees for visiting temples and religious sites.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring uneven terrain and historical sites.
  • Flashlight or headlamp for areas with limited lighting or power outages.
  • Warm clothing layers for cool evenings and high-altitude treks.
  • Sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction for mountain trails.

Frequently asked questions

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On Monday evening, 30 July, the last 174 Thai climbers of the 269 in the group who were trapped on the slopes of Mt. Rinjani in Lombok when a huge landslide obstructed their trail,  came down safely,  personally welcomed by the Ambassador of Thailand to Indonesia, H.E. Songphol Sukchan.  They  were then transported to Mataram, capital city of Lombok.  Here the Lombok tourism industry had prepared Free Accommodation and meals for all those affected by the Lombok quake.

Upon hearing this great news, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya was clearly emotionally affected. With glistening tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, Minister Yahya admitted that for two days he had been deely concerned for the safety of the hundreds of young people who remained trapped up the montain since the earthquake struck North East Lombok, Sunday morning, at 06.47 hrs. local time.


The evening before, on Sunday, all  21 Malaysian climbers were also accounted for, where, unfortunately, one had lost her life when a wall of the lodge, where the group stayed, collapsed. All others are also safe in Mataram, although 10 are reported to have lost their passports, but have been given special passes by Indonesia’s Immigration upon approval from the Government of Malaysia.

The latest good news received from Lombok was that another 20 French climbers handled by their travel agent had also been rescued and are reported safe.


When the earthquake struck on Sunday at dawn, hundreds of tourists were trekking up to the crater of the popular Mt. Rinjani , renowned for its fabulous sceneries. The quake caused a huge landslide  which completely blocked the trails down, so all were trapped near the crater. An integrated joint Rescue Team comprising  among others of SAR members, the local government, members of the Army and Airforce  was immediately activated to rescue those trapped, while  Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya, also immediately activated the Tourism Crisis Center.

With the support of tourism stakeholders and the tourism industry of Lombok, all agreed to make available 8 hotels in Mataram  for all victims Free of Charge for the first night, and a discount between 50% to 75% for the following nights.  The government would also provide free transportation to other islands for onward flights should the Lombok Airport be closed, said  Head of Tourism Office for  West Nusatenggara province, Lalu Mohammad Faozal. All rescue operations and hospital treatment  of victims are also being supplied by the Indonesian Government.


“ Thai Ambassador Songphol Sukchan looked most happy to greet all Thai  climbers safely down from the mountain at the evacuation point. He also assisted with distributing food and drink to them. Excellency Songphol Sukchan, moreover, expressed his deep appreciation  for the assistance of the rescue team and the Indonesian Government, said Faozal.

In this context, Faozal said that the Povincial   Government of West Nusatenggara declares the island of Lombok is Safe and Open for all visitors ,except to the areas affected by the quake around the village of Sembalun in the district of East Lombok, and the village of Senaru in the district of North Lombok, which are temporarily closed”.

Faozal further urges the public  not to spread fake news and select their information that are sourced only from reliable government sources. The provincial government promises to continue to provide factual information.

On his part, Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya, also gave his appreciation to all participating private sectors in Lombok, who have given their unstinting support during this natural disaster. These include: PHRI (Indonesia Hotels and Restaurants Association) of West Nusatenggara, Asita (Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies) NTB, INCCA (Indonesian Congress and Convention Association) NTB, IMA (Indonesia Marketing Assosiation ) NTB and Astindo  Indonesia Travel Agencies Association).  Also the Government of West Nusatenggara and the Head of the Tourism Office who have worked around the clock in handling Management of this Crisis.


Breathtakingly Beautiful Mt. Rinjani

The mighty Rinjani mountain of Gunung Rinjani is a massive volcano which towers over theisland of  Lombok . A climb to the top is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have in Indonesia. At 3,726 meters tall, Gunung Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia.


Within the mountain is a crescent shaped lake, the breathtaking Segara Anak which is a spiritual place. This lake of sulfur is located 600 meters below the crater rim. Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, Mt Baru, which is the result of a series of eruptions during the 1990’s.


Mt Rinjani lies within the Gunung Rinjani National Park. The park covers 41,330 hectares and sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallacea). This is where the tropical flora and fauna of South East Asia meets those of Australasia. This National Park was established in 1997 and is one of over 40 throughout Indonesia.

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Cross Hotels & Resorts introduces hybrid hotel brand Lumen

C ross Hotels & Resorts has introduced its 'destination-centric' and hybrid hotel brand, Lumen, by opening Lumen Bangkok Udomsuk Station in Thailand. 

The brand is noted to highlight the company's commitment to tailored guest experiences, with the tagline ‘A Brighter Way to Stay’. 

Each Lumen hotel aims to reflect the local culture and provide curated signatures that resonate with the destination. 

Cross Hotels & Resorts CEO Harry Thaliwal said: “Lumen is a special hospitality brand that truly matches the destination to the product, making it a really unique proposition. It is a brand that adapts to its neighbourhood and brings the local community into its fold.  

“Our unique firefly icon symbolises the constant sparkle and warmth that we aim to add to every guest's experience.” 

The alliance with Italmar (Thailand) is the second joint venture following the launch of Cross Vibe Bangkok Sukhumvit in 2017.  

Italmar (Thailand) chairman Direk Vongvairoj said: “Lumen is an exciting offering that allows us to pioneer the development of Udomsuk and the eastern part of Bangkok.” 

The new property has 102 guest rooms and offers dining options.  

Among other amenities provided at the property include a rooftop infinity pool, a gym, a family-friendly game room, a co-working space with an attached boardroom, and a 24-hour bar.  

The hotel's location offers convenient access to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. 

Cross Hotels & Resorts' portfolio currently includes 28 hotels across Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam, under six brands.

"Cross Hotels & Resorts introduces hybrid hotel brand Lumen" was originally created and published by Hotel Management Network , a GlobalData owned brand.

The information on this site has been included in good faith for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely, and we give no representation, warranty or guarantee, whether express or implied as to its accuracy or completeness. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

The new property has 102 guest rooms and dining options. Credit: Cross Hotels & Resorts.


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