11 places like Thailand you should visit

Looking for some awesome, affordable places like Thailand for your next trip? Check out our list of 11 alternatives.

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Thailand has long been a popular destination for Aussie travellers, providing a mixture of affordability and adventure activities from surfing and diving to kayaking and kite surfing – there’s plenty to keep you busy on a Thai holiday.

That said, you might be ready for something new. Maybe you’ve lost count of the number of times you have basked on the beaches of Phi Phi or strolled the boozy backpacker haven of Koh San Road, or maybe you’d like to find somewhere that isn’t quite as heavily frequented by other Australian tourists.

Check out our list of 11 destinations like Thailand that could be the perfect place for your next holiday.

How much does Thailand cost?

  • Flight time from Australia: 7 hours and 30 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $507 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $398 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $13+ per night in Phuket
  • Domestic beer: $3.59
  • 3-course meal for two: $29.09
  • Package holidays can start from: $489 for 3 nights departing from Perth

1. The Philippines

Boasting 7,107 islands and gorgeous beaches to delight any beach bum, the Philippines offers a wonderfully diverse island-hopping experience.

The widespread use of English is an added attraction for many travellers, especially first-timers as it makes getting around easy.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours (from Brisbane, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $527 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $429)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $12+ per night in Palawan
  • Domestic beer: $1.35
  • 3-course meal for two: $21.53
  • Package holidays can start from: $899 for 3 nights from Perth
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2. Malaysia

The natural beauty of Malaysia is only surpassed by its assortment of cuisines and idyllic sandy beaches. Some of the must-see Malaysian attractions are the pristine beaches and dense jungles of Pulau Langkawi and the breathtaking surrounds of Pulau Tiga National Park, also known as "the Survivor Island".

  • Flight time from Australia: 5 hours and 35 minutes (from Perth, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $483 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $285)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $27+ per night in Langkawi
  • Domestic beer: $2.04
  • 3-course meal for two: $30.55
  • Package holidays can start from: $465 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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3. Bali

Bali has long been a magnet for Australian tourists seeking an affordable tropical paradise and for good reason. It offers something for all sorts of traveller, from adrenaline junkies and party hunters to nature enthusiasts and family tourists.

  • Flight time from Australia: 2 hours and 45 minutes (from Darwin, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $422 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $257)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $12+ per night in Bali
  • Domestic beer: $3.41
  • 3-course meal for two: $24.35
  • Package holidays can start from: $779 for 7 nights departing from Perth
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4. Cambodia

Cambodia's beaches are only matched by its rich cultural history. The temple at Angkor Wat is a must-see, depicting the might of Cambodia’s early kingdoms.

Cambodia is also riding a growing wave of ecotourism that introduces travellers to the country’s tropical wilderness and unique wildlife.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 15 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $592 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $405)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $41+ per night in Koh Rong
  • Domestic beer: $1.42
  • 3-course meal for two: $21.37
  • Package holidays can start from: $81 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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5. Vietnam

The natural beauty of Vietnam is breathtaking and some of the most memorable in the world. For something akin to Thailand, make a visit to Ha Long Bay. Here, thousands of rugged limestone islands jut out of pristine waters.

Another foodie paradise, Vietnam’s street food also rivals Thailand’s for those who want to eat like a local.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 20 minutes (from Melbourne, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $477 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $427 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $49+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $1.26
  • 3-course meal for two: $18.44
  • Package holidays can start from: $455 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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6. Goa, India

Goa boasts white beaches and wide-ranging outdoor activities on top of the glimpse into a rapidly developing nation. The infrastructure in most places is good and easy transportation options are available for those who wish to travel further.

  • Flight time from Australia: 30 hours and 5 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $884 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $810 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $33+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $1.22
  • 3-course meal for two: $20.29
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,709 for 7 nights departing from Sydney
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7. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is hotly becoming the place to explore spectacular beaches, tropical rainforests and ancient culture. In it, adventurers can indulge in adventure activities and watersports, spiritual travellers can meditate in 2000-year-old temples and families can while away days on any one of its unspoilt beaches.

  • Flight time from Australia: 10 hours and 40 minutes (from Melbourne, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $788 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $588 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $12+ per night in Kandy
  • Domestic beer: $2.74
  • 3-course meal for two: $11.73
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,169 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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8. Tonga

Tonga’s 170-odd islands provide an excellent opportunity for travellers who want to get off the beaten track. The overall atmosphere in this tropical paradise is incredibly relaxed and it’s largely unspoilt by tourists. A visit provides an excellent opportunity to gain a true cultural experience from a tiny Pacific island nation.

  • Flight time from Australia: 4 hours and 40 minutes (from Sydney, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $888 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $711 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $38+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $4.21
  • 3-course meal for two: $62.41
  • Package holidays can start from: $975 for 7 nights departing from Sydney
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9. Borneo

Borneo often gets overlooked amongst its more popular neighbours but for those who make the effort to travel there, it provides some of the most astounding natural scenery on Earth. Expect lush green rainforest, vivid blue ocean and rugged mountains as well as hundreds of pristine beaches undiscovered by tourists.

  • Flight time from Australia: 5 hours and 40 minutes (from Perth, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $610 return (cheapest flights are from Melbourne where the average fare is $567 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $21+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $5.13
  • 3-course meal for two: $17.09
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,259 for 6 nights departing from Perth or Darwin

10. Myanmar

Thailand's neighbour to the west, Myanmar is noticeably less crowded and boasts beaches and temples that rival those in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui.

Historical and spiritual sites abound with some areas boasting so many attractions that it would be impossible to see it all in a single visit.

  • Flight time from Australia: 9 hours and 30 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $646 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $533 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $28+ per night in Yangon
  • Domestic beer: $1.99
  • 3-course meal for two: $31.93
  • Package holidays can start from: $672 for 7 nights departing from Perth
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11. Okinawa, Japan

Still a relatively undiscovered gem amongst the travel crowd, Okinawa is all about the sun and the sea. While there are plenty of shrines and temples to fill your days, the focus is all on the 160 islands and whether you want to dive, snorkel, surf or sail.

  • Flight time from Australia: 11 hours and 40 minutes (from Brisbane, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia: $992 return (cheapest flights are from Brisbane where the average fare is $764 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $66+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $6.44
  • 3-course meal for two: $39.92
  • Package holidays can start from: $990 for 7 nights departing from Sydney

Food, drink and hotel costs sourced from: Numbeo.com and Hotel Finder. Hotel price based on a per-night price in June 2019 quoted on 29 December 2018. Prices are based on a per-night rate for a 7-night stay at a 3-star hotel in the above destinations. We used the dates 17-24 June 2019 as a guide.


Which place like Thailand is best for…?

Thailand can seem like the perfect hub for Aussie travellers, attracting those looking for white-sand beaches, exotic food, ancient culture and cities full of life. It’s a well-worn destination that is easy and convenient to travel through for first-timers but also offers plenty of opportunities to get lost and away from the crowds for those craving some time off-the-beaten-track.

As the region develops and more travellers venture to new countries, it’s becoming easier to find all of the things we love about Thailand in a brand new location just waiting to be explored.

      • The Philippines: With many of its islands making the list for some of the best in the world, you know you’re in for a treat. The Philippines is also known for its island hopping that could certainly rival Thailand’s.
      • Tonga: Unpolished and authentic, exploring the islands around Tonga is not just a feast on the eyes but also a cultural experience. Step into life in the slow lane and navigate the islands by kayak stopping to admire beaches, snorkel and chat with the locals.
      • Okinawa: The islands around Okinawa truly offer something for everyone. From white sand beaches, snorkelling spots, a national park filled with mangroves and wildlife, hot springs and even the opportunity to see humpback whales.
      • Myanmar: If you’re looking for the remote island vibe found in the likes of “The Beach” then Myanmar is actually your best bet. With islands that have limited place names on the map, no hotels and where you are likely to be the only tourist in sight, island hopping here is sure to have you going native.
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