A person relaxing in a red kayak in Krabi, Thailand

Thailand or Vietnam Beaches? We Help You Choose

Thailand or Vietnam: it’s a question dozens of travellers ask themselves when making plans to travel through Asia. While the countries are undoubtedly similar, in many ways they are vastly different; from their culture, history, and of course, the things you see while you’re there. Obviously, the best option is visiting them both, but if you can’t manage a two-for-one trip, knowing the difference between the two countries is important.

For travellers who are always in search of the best beaches, Thailand and Vietnam are known for being home to some of the best beach destinations in the world. Photos of Thai beaches look almost too good to be true, while Vietnam’s unique beach landscapes offer something completely different. But which destination’s beaches are right for you?
Here are some comparisons that will help you make your decision when choosing between Thai and Vietnamese beaches: .

Thailand

Beaches

Beaches in Thailand are considered by most to be more picturesque than beaches in Vietnam. This is where you’ll find your isolated island paradise, with many beaches only accessible by boat. Thailand’s two most famous beach destinations, Phuket and Krabi, are home to some of the most photographed beaches in the world. The landscapes are otherworldly, with massive tree-covered cliffs surrounded by clear blue water. From jet skiing, rock climbing, snorkelling, and kayaking, there’s an endless amount of activities that make your day about a lot more than just sunbathing. Because these destinations are increasing in popularity, they do sometimes become crowded with tourists, but for the most part, that just makes the beach parties that much more inviting. Thai beaches are bursting with life, activity, parties, and some of the best beach views ever found.

Culture and History

Thai culture has been heavily influenced by India, including the influence of both Buddhism and Hinduism. While more heavily influenced by Western culture than Vietnam, Thailand is still regarded as a prodominatnly Buddhist country, with 90% of the country practising the religion. Historically, Thailand has been safe from external powers and pressures as it was never conquered or colonized, unlike Vietnam. Family, faith, and respect are all important aspects of culture that Thais take very seriously, but they’ve also adopted many Westernized ideas.

Today, the country has become known as one of the best destinations for partying and nightlife. Here, you’ll find an endless number of clubs and bars, open, seemingly, 24/7.

Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand | © Mo Baghdadi/Unsplash

Food

Authentic Thai food is a combination of fire and spice that will awaken every tastebud you have. The hotter the better, regardless of the dish. The food does vary greatly depending on where you are, but for the most part, you’ll also be able to find Western favourites wherever you go.

Top Sites

  • Floating Markets near Bangkok
  • Prasar Hin Phimai
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Sukhothai Historical Park
  • Wat Arun
  • Phanom Rung
  • Full Moon Party at Haad Rin
  • Ayuthaya Historical Park
  • Ko Phi Phi
  • The Grand Palace
Koh Chang, Thailand
Waterside houses in Koh Chang, Thailand | © Ragnar Vorel/Unsplash

Vietnam

Beaches

Vietnamese beaches are definitely more low-key than Thai beaches. That said, Vietnam does offer more diversity in its beaches, from the dreamy white sands of the Con Dao Archipelago to the enthralling golden-sand beach of Ho Coc Beach. Vietnam’s beaches are both remote and cityside, so depending on what you’re preference is, you can plan your beach day accordingly. There’s always time to snorkel, hike, and jet-ski, but the party scene is much more subdued when compared to the nature of Thai beaches. Vietnam’s beaches, depending on when you visit, are often a lot less crowded. Some days you may find you’re the only one there, making the entire coastline your own personal oasis. One of the country’s most beautiful and iconic destinations, Halong Bay, should not be missed, and though not technically a beach, it’s easily one of the most beautiful spots in Vietnam.

Culture and History

The Vietnamese hold their culture very close to their heart, and rightfully so. The country has seen many hardships, being invaded multiple times, by the French, Japanese, and Americans. These disputes have pushed Vietnam to hold their culture as one of the most important aspects of life. That said, they are a proud country that has fought for their way of life, so they tend to find comments about war or criticisms to their culture extremely offensive.

Today, the country continues to share their love of food, history, and faith with visitors, so be prepared to listen and learn with open ears and an open heart.

Halong Bay, Vietnam
The stunning Halong Bay | © Andrew Ouellet/Unsplash

Food

Vietnamese food is light, fresh, and involves a ton of local fish and meat. Pho made from steaming beef broth and fresh seafood is sold on nearly every corner, but there are also more adventurous delicacies to try if you’re looking to really eat like a local.

Top Sites

  • Hang Son Doong Cave
  • My Son
  • Phong Nha Caves
  • Mekong Delta
  • Mui Ne
  • Sa Pa Terraces
  • Hoi An
  • Ha Long Bay
  • Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Phu Quoc
Fishermen in Vietnam
Fishermen in Vietnam | © Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

What’s the Difference?

When it comes down to it, Thailand is typically known for its beaches while Vietnam is known for its culture. That being said, both Thailand and Vietnam are both rich in culture, history, and stunning beaches – it’s more or less about deciding which combination of highlights is the right choice for you, your interests, and your travel style.

Thailand’s Best Beaches

No one can deny it – Thailand’s beaches are some of the most picturesque destinations on the planet. Dramatic limestone cliffs, fresh island air, and crystal clear waters are almost too good to be true. Regardless of which beach you visit, either island or mainland, you’re going to have an amazing time with the pictures to prove it.

Long Beach – Ko Phi Phi Islands

Ko Phi Phi is easily one of the most famous islands in Thailand, known for its beautiful beaches complete with mountainous cliffs, sandy white shores, and caves for exploring. Long Beach is one of the most popular, surrounded by towering mountains covered in lush jungle. The marine life is endless, making it a perfect location for snorkelling and the longtail boats make for a great afternoon cruise.  

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand | © Humphrey Muleba/Unsplash

Patong Beach – Phuket

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and Patong is its largest beach, also making it one of the most popular. There’s a constant flow of life and activity here, so it’s impossible to get bored. Plus if you’re looking to meet people and enjoy the nightlife, this beach is always pulsing with vibrant people, great food, and loud music.

Railay Beach – Krabi

Only accessible by boat, Railay Beach has an isolated feel you won’t find on the more popular beaches. A secluded paradise, this beach is an adventure junkie’s paradise, with endless activities to keep you busy. Rock climbing, swimming, snorkelling, or just enjoying the scenery, you’ll be amazed either way.

A person relaxing in a red kayak in Krabi, Thailand
Relaxation in Krabi | © Toomas Tartes/Unsplash

Vietnam’s Best Beaches

Though not as well-known as some of Thailand’s world famous beaches, Vietnam is home to some stunning beaches that are in many traveller’s opinions, extremely underrated. Whether you want to relax and enjoy the sunset or cool off in the sparkling waters, you’re sure to find a beach that makes for a dreamy afternoon by the water.

Long Beach – Phu Quoc

Long Beach, this time in Vietnam, is famous for its never-ending shoreline, beautiful sunsets, and squid fishing. From sunbathing to stand-up paddle-boarding, this oasis is the perfect combination of relaxation and activity. Plus, just a few kilometres from Phu Quoc International Airport, you can be there just a few minutes after stepping off the plane.  

Mui Ne – Phan Thiet

If you’re looking for a beach that will really let you relax, Mui Ne is your spot. Located in the fishing district of Phan Thiet, this beach can’t help but instill tranquillity and relaxation into its visitors. The beautiful coastal landscape will leave you speechless, and an afternoon sailing will make you consider never leaving.

Ho Coc Beach, Ho Coc

Ho Coc Beach is one of Vietnam’s most uniquely beautiful, best-kept secrets. Unaffected by mass tourism and commercialization, this beach boasts a stunning shoreline of bright golden sand, dotted with boulders and coracles. A little off the beaten path and isolated from tourism, this beach is perfect for anyone looking to escape the high-traffic beaches and experience something more authentic.

A person rowing a boat in Tam Coc, Vietnam
Tam Coc, Vietnam | © Peter Livesey/Unsplash

No matter where you choose to have your beach adventure, expect to experience great food, incredible opportunties for snorkelling and exploring, and, of course, plenty of time to relax on the sand!

Where would you visit for your next beach holiday?

Jesse is a blogger and content creator who loves travel, the outdoors, and her dog, Molly. With a never-ending bucket list of places to go, she's is always up for an adventure and loves trying new things. When Jess isn't planning her next trip, she can be found watching Netflix documentaries, enjoying time by the water, or eating soft serve ice cream. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or check out her blog.

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