Bali vs Thailand: Which should be your next holiday destination?

Find out which tropical paradise is going to be your dream holiday destination: Bali or Thailand.

Bali and Thailand are both exotic destinations that offer budget-friendly and luxurious options.

Stuck between the two? We break down costs, accommodation and types of holidays to help you choose the paradise for your next big break.

TL;DR: Our verdict

The winner: Thailand works out to be cheaper overall, has a wider range of cuisines and activities for families and has cleaner beaches. If nightlife is where you're at though, Bali is the winner. Scroll here for our quick side-by-side comparison of each destination.

Bali vs Thailand

Price

Which is better for cost?

Generally, Thailand comes out cheaper in all aspects of travel (accommodation, food, drinks) except tours and flights. You can score flights for as little as $99 each way on budget airlines, whereas to Bangkok cheap seats tend to cost closer to $199 each way.

Price also varies depending on where you are going. For example, ground costs on Thai islands such as Phuket or Koh Phangan during the full moon party cost more than Bali.

Bali cost Thailand cost
Flights $917 return (average paid by Australians in 2018) $1,015 return (average paid by Australians in 2018)
Hotels (3-star hotel) From $41 per night (based on a stay on 1 November 2019 via Hotels Finder) From $28 per night (based on a stay in Bangkok on 1 November 2019 via Hotels Finder)
Beer $2.30 $1.50
Meals $3-28.50 $2-$16.50
Tour 10-hour Bali tour from $51.71 8-hour Bangkok city tour from $169.48

Prices obtained on 25 March 2019. Food and meal prices obtained from Numbeo.

  • Winner: Thailand is cheaper for on-ground costs such as hotels and food, though comes up much pricier for tours. If you can travel on your own, it'll save you a bundle. The average flight price paid by Aussies is only marginally cheaper than Bali.
Bali art market stall. Image: Getty Images

Bali art market stall.

Chatuchak market in Bangkok. Image: Shutterstock

Chatuchak market in Bangkok.

Flights

How do flights compare from Australia to Bali or Thailand?

  • Cost: As mentioned above, flights to Bali start lower than those to Thailand. The average cost paid by Australians to Indonesia is also cheaper ($917 return) than to Thailand ($1,015 return).
  • Airlines: A variety of budget and full-service airlines service both Bali and Thailand. Budget airlines that fly direct to Bali include Jetstar and AirAsia. Popular full-service airlines that fly to Bali are: Garuda Indonesia, Qantas and Virgin Australia. Flights can start from $99 out of Perth on carriers like Jetstar. Budget airlines that fly to Thailand include: Jetstar, AirAsia and Scoot Airways. Popular full-service airlines that fly to Thailand include: Qantas, Virgin Australia, Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines.
  • Airports: Bali only has one airport while Thailand, being a country and not a city, has multiple popular tourist cities, each with their own airport. This includes Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
  • Flight duration: Bali is much closer to Australia than Thailand. From Sydney direct flights to Bali take 6.5 hours while flights to Phuket take 9.5 hours and into flights to Bangkok take 14 hours.
  • Flight times and frequency: Something you might also like to consider is when flights depart. If you're flying from Sydney, journeys will take at least 6.5 hours so you may prioritise night flights where you can sleep on the plane to max your working hours and holiday hours. These vary per airline and season.
  • Winner: Thailand has more options for budget and full-service airlines. Price-wise, Bali does come up cheaper though. Find your flight with Skyscanner.

Hotels

Which is better for hotels?

Bali offers a wider variety of choice than Thailand with everything from budget hostels to homestays (guesthouses), hotels, luxury beach resorts and villas available.

Prices vary significantly depending on which area you're staying in. Hostels in Bali start at $10 a night, homestays at $15, hotels at $30 and entire villas for $100. Depending on the level of luxury you're going for, accommodation can be upwards of $500 per night. Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua are the most expensive areas on Bali.

In Thailand your choices for accommodation include hostels, bungalows, hotels and resorts. Hostels start at $5 a night, bungalows at $15, hotels at $40 and resorts at $50. Again, prices vary significantly depending on where you're staying in Thailand. Expect accommodation in places such as Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai to be pricer. Top luxury resorts can cost as much as $1,000 per night.

Compare your hotel options now on Booking.com.

  • Winner: Outside of heavily touristic areas Thailand offers better priced accommodation for a similar variety of styles and hotel classes.
Melia Bali hotel. Image: Supplied

5-star hotel Melia Bali, Bali.

Baan Laimai Beach resort in Phuket. Image: Supplied

5-star hotel Baan Laimai Beach resort in Phuket.

Things to do

Which is better for nightlife?

The top areas to party in Bali include Kuta and Legian, but you'll find plenty of beach clubs in Seminyak and Canggu too. The nightlife scene is Bali is more sophisticated than Thailand as Bali brings in big-name DJs and international artists for concerts at high-end beach clubs and rooftop bars. See it all in a short amount of time with a skip-the-line Bali party crawl walking tour from $50.27 per person.

Thailand's nightlife is best for those on a budget, where buckets (large alcoholic drinks are served in buckets typically used for sand) are common and go-go bars are everywhere. Thailand's nightlife is more seedy than Bali's but it is still abundant with something for all ages. You can hit up the streets of Patong, Phuket from $28.73 on a dedicated Phuket pub crawl.

  • Winner: Bali takes this round with its sophisticated range of nightclubs, which aren't too pricey as well if we do say so ourselves.

Drinks on Lovina Beach, Bali

Bangkok's Khao San Road. Image: Getty Images

Bangkok's Khao San Road, known for its nightlife. Image: Getty Images

Klook Klook

7% off Bali tours and attractions

Save on snorkelling tours, Waterbom entry, whitewater rafting, Mount Batur hiking tours especially on holidays like Christmas, New Year's and more. Sample discount is for a day tour in Bali. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Which is better for beaches?

Bali is surrounded by beaches and is the spot to go if you're interested in surfing. Beginners can try surfing in Canggu and the pros can hop on their boards in Uluwatu. Bali has both white sand beaches and volcanic black sand beaches. While Bali does offer some stunning beaches, not all are spectacular as it is common to find garbage floating in the water and on the beaches.

Thailand's islands have all types of beaches, most of which are idyllic. You won't have issues running into garbage like you do on some Bali beaches. The waters are calmer in Thailand making it an ideal destination for snorkelling and diving.

While most Bali beaches are busier, you will find some with few people. But in Thailand it is easier to find a paradise mostly to yourself.

  • Winner: Thailand's beaches are cleaner and more geared toward the visitor with snorkelling and diving opportunities. If you're a keen surfer though, we say Bali all the way.
Bali beaches. Image: Getty Images

Bali beaches. Image: Getty Images

Boats on the Phuket coast.

Which is better for food?

Another point of consideration is food. If there are some picky eaters in your crew then Thailand is the winner as there is an abundance of choices, with Thai cuisine that is loved by travellers and Western food also easy to come by. Bali also has many Western food choices, which is great for anyone who loves the creature comforts of home, but the local food has less variety than Thai cuisine.

  • Winner: Thailand has food that can please just about anyone.
Chicken satay skewers in Bali Image: Getty Images

Chicken satay skewers in Bali Image: Getty Images

A sample of Thai cuisine Image: Getty

A sample of Thai cuisine.

Travel style

Which is better for a honeymoon?

Both Bali and Thailand are filled with romantic resorts, restaurants overlooking the water and spas.

The best way to decide which is ideal for your honeymoon is when you're planning on going. Thailand and Bali have opposite rainy seasons, so Bali should be visited between April and September while Thailand is best between November and April.

If you have limited time and want to see everything, Bali may be best as it is much smaller than Thailand.

  • Winner: Bali wins for honeymoons between April and September and Thailand for honeymoons between November and April. What can we say? We'd prefer good weather over anything else when celebrating.

Lovers enjoying the view in Bali

Which is better for families?

Bali and Thailand both offer a wide-variety of family-style accommodation and family-friendly activities.

Bali's landscape of beach, rice paddies, temples and mountains offers marine activities, sightseeing and hiking trails for families. Thailand's landscape is much more rich and varied, particularly as it is a country rather than an island. Within its borders are beaches, jungle and city which seek to please beach bums with water based activities, adventurous souls with animal sanctuaries and shoppers and sightseers with buzzing markets, shopping centres and temples.

  • Winner: Thailand has a greater variety of activities up its sleeve to please everyone in the family.
Groupon Groupon

Up to 70% off hotel stays and vacation packages

Destinations include Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Vietnam and Hawaii. Sample packages include a 5-night stay in Surfers Paradise for $299 (Regularly $579) and a 5-night package to Fiji for $999 (Regularly $2101),

Last verified

Bali vs Thailand: Features compared

Feature Bali Thailand Winner
Popular activities
  • Visiting temples
  • Surfing
  • Sunrise volcano trek
  • Beaches
  • Rice terraces
  • Visiting temples
  • Night markets
  • Hanging out with elephants
  • Island-hopping
  • Beaches
Both
Transport options Bali has no public transport system so transport is limited to private drivers and some shuttles. Flights, ferries, trains, buses and shuttles. Thailand
Best months to visit April–September November–April Both
Type of scenery/landscape Lush jungles, mountains and volcanoes, scenic beaches, rice terraces. Jungle, mountains, scenic beaches, islands, cities. Both
Popular airlines that fly there from Australia
  • Jetstar
  • AirAsia
  • Virgin Australia
  • Qantas
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Jetstar
  • AirAsia
  • Scoot Airways
  • Thai Airways
  • Qantas
  • Virgin Australia
Thailand
Average flight cost from Australia (according to Skyscanner)
  • $277 (Darwin, cheapest city to fly from)
  • $753 (Sydney)
  • $749 (Melbourne)
  • $643 (Brisbane)
  • $662 (Sydney to Phuket)
  • $680 (Melbourne to Phuket)
  • $899 (Brisbane to Phuket)
  • $865 (Sydney to Bangkok)
  • $777 (Melbourne to Bangkok)
  • $882 (Brisbane to Phuket)
Bali
Cuisine Indonesian cuisine mostly consists of rice, noodle or soup dishes. Dishes are typically fried and are packed with flavour. Typical dishes include rice, noodle and soup dishes. Thai food is typically light and flavoursome. Thailand
Travel style best suited for
  • Adventure travellers
  • Beach lovers
  • Culture
  • Foodies
  • Beach lovers
  • Culture
Both

Bali vs Thailand: Who won?

Thailand wins our vote here with its wider range of activities and cuisines, cheaper on-ground costs and greater family-friendly appeal. It's best for foodies, beach lovers and culture.
If you're after a better party scene or surf however, then Bali is the place to go.

Bali

  • Cheaper flights from Australia
  • Cheaper tours
  • Wider variety of hotels, including villas and homestays
  • Better weather from April-September
  • More Western food options
  • More sophisticated nightlife
  • Beaches are better for surfing

Thailand

  • Cheaper food and drink
  • Cheaper hotels
  • Better weather from November-April
  • More family-friendly activities
  • Wider variety of food
  • Cleaner beaches with snorkelling and diving opportunities
  • Wider variety of public transport options
  • Wider variety of airlines fly to it

Top Bali and Thailand deals

Contiki Contiki

Up to 25% off last-minute tours worldwide

Book a range of last-minute Contiki tours, from week-long jaunts to month-long journeys, to destinations including Italy, France, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, Canada and more.

Last verified

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 60% off Asia tours

Valid for travel between September 2019 - April 2020. Destinations include India, Japan, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Bali flights from $235 return

Valid for travel between September - December 2019 including Christmas season. Sample fare is Perth-Denpasar with AirAsia.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off fares with code

Valid for travel until on select dates. Includes 10% discount on elevate, getaway, freedom and business fares across Australia, Bali, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Port Moresby or Pacific Islands. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Flight Centre - Holidays Flight Centre - Holidays

Phuket: 6-night hotel stay + return flights from $629

Valid for travel between May - June 2020. Includes accommodation at Amata Resort Patong Beach, return flights from Melbourne with Jetstar, free Wi-Fi, daily breakfast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Klook Klook

7% off Bali tours and attractions

Save on snorkelling tours, Waterbom entry, whitewater rafting, Mount Batur hiking tours especially on holidays like Christmas, New Year's and more. Sample discount is for a day tour in Bali. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Up to 75% off accommodations worldwide

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019. Destinations include Bali, Phuket, Miami Beach, Santorini, Athens, Barcelona and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Columbus Direct Columbus Direct
Exclusive

Get 5% off your next travel insurance policy

Use our exclusive code to get 5% off any Columbus Direct travel insurance policy, domestic or worldwide. Destinations would include Thailand, Bali, Fiji, USA, UK, Italy, France, Japan and more.

Last verified

Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International

Bali flights from $528 return

Valid for travel from 1 February - 31 March 2020 with Air New Zealand. Sample fare is from Sydney.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

International flights from $232 return

Valid for travel between October - November 2019 and February - June 2019. Sample fare is Perth-Bali. Destinations include Hong Kong, Bali, Colombo, London, Barcelona, San Francisco, Ho Chi Minh and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Bali flights from $394 return

Valid for travel on select dates until December 2019. Sample fare departs from Sydney with Malindo Air.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

Bali flights from $636 return

Valid for travel on select dates in October - December 2019 with airlines like Jetstar, Malindo Air and more. Sample fare departs from Sydney.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Cheap Flights Cheap Flights

Thailand flights from $740 return

Valid for travel on select dates until December 2019. Sample fare is Sydney-Bangkok.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Thailand: 8-nights stay

Valid for booking until 30 October 2020. Includes daily buffet breakfast at Átrio Restaurant for 2. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

Thailand: 40% off car rental

Valid for rental until 17 October 2019 for Mitsubishi Xpander. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 20% off advance bookings

Valid for stays on select 2019-2020 dates across China, Kenya, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, UAE, USA and more. Discount applies when you book in advance on dusit.com. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 35% off stays and services at Dusit Princess Chiang Mai, Thailand

Valid for stays in select 2019 dates booked until 31 October 2019. Discounted services are spa, food and beverage for up to 30% off. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 35% off stays + daily breakfast at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket

Valid for select 2019-2020 dates on stays booked until 7 October 2019. Minimum 2 night stay is required.​ T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Daily deals: Up to 75% off hotels

Valid for travel on select 2019 dates. Destinations include Phuket, Nadi, Bangkok, Tokyo, Honolulu and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Holidays Flight Centre - Holidays

Thailand: 5-night Sunsuri Phuket + return flights from $999

Valid for travel between 20 August 2019 - 30 June 2020. Includes daily buffet breakfast, hotel accommodation, return flights from Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Thailand flights from $407 return

Valid for travel on select dates between September - December 2019. Sample fare is Perth-Bangkok with AirAsia. Destinations include Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Phuket flights from $408 return

Valid for travel from October - November 2019 with AirAsia. Sample fare is from Sydney.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Up to 58% off Thailand hotels

Valid for travel on select September 2019 dates. Destinations include Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Groupon Groupon

Thailand: 10-night holiday with flight return for $949

Valid for travel on select dates between July - October 2019. Includes accommodation a Bay View Resort Phi Phi Island, daily breakfast, airport transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Up to 50% off Bali hotels

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Seminyak, Ubud and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

30% off Yesaway car hires

Valid for pick-up until 30 September 2019. Destinations include United States, New Zealand and Thailand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

EasyRentCars.com EasyRentCars.com

Get 20% off Xpander car hires with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Phuket, Bangkok and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Kayak Kayak

Thailand flights from $439 return

Valid for travel between January - March 2020. Valid for travel departs from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 10% off Asia 2020 trips

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Phuket: 8-night getaway + flights from $1,903

Valid for travel until 31 October 2020, including over Christmas. Package includes accommodation at The Pavilions, flights from Sydney, Melbourne and more, airport transfers, daily breakfast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Bali: 5-night hotel + flights luxury holiday from $1,925

Valid for travel until 20 December 2020. Includes flights departing from Sydney, accommodation at The Leaf Jimbaran, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Millennium & Copthorne Hotels

Asia: Up to 20% off dining + Extra 10% off bookings for members

Valid for stays on select dates in 2019. Destinations include Phuket, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakara, Penang and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Thailand: 8-night luxury holiday with flights from $4,534 for two

Valid for travel until 30 June 2020. Includes accommodation at Koh Samui’s five-star Samujana, VIP butler service, dining experience at Thai cuisine, island tours, activities and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Bali: 9-night holiday with flights from $1,885

Valid for travel between 15 August 2019 - 14 August 2020. Includes accommodation at TS Suites, daily buffet breakfast, private airport transfers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Wendy Wu Tours Wendy Wu Tours

Up to $300 off last-minute Asia tours

Valid for travel on select dates between August - December 2019 until sold out. Destinations include Laos, Borneo, Indochina, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Extra 10% off Asia 2020 tours

Valid for travel between January - December 2020. Destinations include Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Up to 75% off Thailand hotel

Valid for travel between 4 March - 19 December 2019. Includes accommodation at Baywater Resort Samui, free parking, free Wi-Fi and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Tick Travel Insurance Tick Travel Insurance
Exclusive

10% off your Bali travel insurance policy

Want to save more on your Tick Travel Insurance policy? Simply enter this code to receive a 10% discount on your cover.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Wotif Wotif

Holiday sale: Asia hotels from $95

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Bali, Phuket, South Korea and more. Sample fare is for a 4-star Whistle Lark Hotel in Jeju Island. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Agoda Agoda

Bali 3-star+ stays from $12 per night

Bali villas, homestays, hotels and hostels from just $12 per night. Sample destinations in Bali include Jimbaran, Seminyak, Kuta, Denpasar, Legian and more. $12 sample price is for Vilarisi Hotel in Legian.

Last verified

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
16 Sep 2019 10% off local experiences 10F****
10 Sep 2019 Get $20 credit FIN****
31 Jul 2019 Extra 8% off flights worldwide AUM****
20 May 2019 Up to 15% off airport parking across Australia AWA****
9 Apr 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code FIN****
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Latest Travel Offers

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site