Traveling to Thailand or The Philippines – Which Destination Is Better for You?
Deciding between the Philippines and Thailand can be a tough choice. Both destinations are on the backpacking and luxury travel route, have beautiful beaches, fantastic activities, and jaw-dropping scenery.
Travelers can talk tales for hours about Thailand’s mouth-watering local food, their fascinating local culture, and incredible wildlife. On the other side, the Philippines attracts those looking to escape the crowds, get off the beaten path and experience a different side of South East Asia.
On the other hand, the Philippines attracts those looking to escape the crowds, get off the beaten path and experience a different side of South East Asia.
But choosing the right destination all depends on your interests, the size of your budget and how you want to travel.
Here’s a quick breakdown to help you make up your mind and discover which country is perfect for your next South East Asia vacation!
If food plays a big part in your travel plans, Thailand will thrill your inner foodie.
From its delicious local food that won’t break your budget to it’s up class restaurants in tourist hubs like Bangkok and Phuket, your taste buds certainly won’t be lacking in the tantalized department.
The Philippines culinary scene, on the other hand, is not as developed. It has made leaps and strides in recent years, but still, lags behind Thailand. However, if you are missing the Western food, it is far cheaper in the Philippines along with beer and liquor.
With local dishes, Thailand does have a heavy hand when it comes to spicy food. So if you are not a fan, head to the Philippines where their milder dishes will better suit your palette.
It’s no secret that both Thailand and the Philippines have excellent beaches. With their sandy white shorelines, lined with palm trees and sparkling blue waters, both countries can satisfy any beach bums wanderlust.
However, the Philippines does win this section because of the sheer variety and the awards their coastline continues to rank up.
Their beaches consistently rank in the top 10 of Asia, the top 25 in the world and are home to some of the best surf spots in Southeast Asia. Despite this, access to certain beaches is still more of a challenge compared to Thailand.
Regarding infrastructure, price points and the ease of getting around with public transport, Thailand wins hands down.
With the high volumes of tourists the country sees on a yearly basis, Thailand has a strong structure to support the demand. From its extensive bus, rail and ferry routes which boast excellent prices for the frugal traveler to its equally well-priced air travel, travelers will not have a problem getting around the country.
The Philippines is still playing catch up. It does not have a network of overland travel like Thailand, it’s public transport services are often crammed to over capacity and tourists tend to find the metered more sketchy than Thailands.
Travel around the islands requires more air travel and as a result, drives up the cost of reaching your final destination.
You can read more in my post about Camiguin Tourists sports (Philippines).
If you are looking for four to five-star hotels, you can expect to pay more in the central Philippine cities compared to Thailand. However, once you move out of these busy metropolitan cities, accommodation prices are pretty much the same in both regions.
However, if you are on the backpacking route, the Philippines works out slightly cheaper for a decent hostel. You can expect to pay anything from $8 to $14 in Manila for a shared dorm that won’t have bed bugs and a little more in Bangkok for the same quality.
The Language Barrier
In the Philippines, English is taught as a second language and is widely spoken throughout the country. Whereas in Thailand, it can be difficult to find locals that know more than the basics once you leave heavy tourist locations like Chiang Mai and the islands.
According to the country’s tourism board, the Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world and nearly everything from road signs to menus, and even product labels are translated into English.
I don’t think language barrier should be a consideration when choosing which country to travel to, but if you are really concerned about the language barrier while traveling, or would like more opportunities to make friends with the locals, the Philippines is your best bet.
If you are trying to decide between these two countries as diving destinations, it all comes down to your skill level. If you have not earned your Open Water qualification yet, Thailand would be the better choice as it is one of the cheapest locations in the world to become PADI or SSI certified.
Alternatively, if you already have your diving qualifications, Philippines is the better diving destination without a doubt. It’s home to more than 7000 tropical islands and vast coral reefs that make it a scuba diver’s paradise.
Apart from its abundances of marine life like whale sharks, dugongs, and 1200 other aquatic species, its rich WWII history makes it a top-rated spot for wreck dives, and it’s visibility far surpasses Thailand’s best dive spots.
Is It Your First-Time in South East Asia?
For your first vacation in South East Asia, Thailand is a top choice over the Philippines. With its well-established tourist infrastructure and ease of getting around, it’s far less daunting navigating your way around than its less developed counterpart.
That being said, the Philippines does see far fewer tourists than Thailand and is less crowded as a result. So if you are looking for ease of travel on your first trip to the region, Thailand wins for sure, but if you want to escape the hordes of humans, the Philippines and its thousands of islands will be more your speed.
So there you have it, a quick breakdown between two of Southeast Asia’s biggest heavyweights. With both destinations offering something for any traveler, it will never be an easy decision to decide between the two.
Hopefully, this list has helped you weigh up your options and given you a better idea into which country is perfect for your traveling style and budget