For those who are not in Asia or who are not really familiar with the geography of the Asia region, Bali and Thailand might be mistaken to be in the same place. There are apparently a lot of people asking this question “Is Bali in Thailand?”. Let us do you a favor and clarify up front that they are located in different parts of Asia, both are in the Southeast Asia region but the location is different. Read more to understand the difference between Bali and Thailand.
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Where is Bali island?
Bali is an island paradise located in Indonesia. It is not a country, and instead, it is an island. Some of my friends who are not in Asia often mistaken Bali as a country on its own. From Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, Bali is around 2 hours away by flight. There are a lot of domestic flights to Bali from Jakarta or other parts of the Java island. Going to Bali is very convenient for Indonesians, people often go there during the weekend for a weekend getaway.
Common things to do in Bali
Bali has a lot of amazing food. If you like pork, this place has a lot to offer. One of our favorite foods in Bali is the Balinese suckling pig and pork ribs. Food is affordable there and the taste is very rich. They utilize a lot of herbs and spices in their cooking. Other than their pork, make sure you try their mixed rice (“nasi campur”) as well. It is widely available in many small street vendors or we call it “warung” and can be as affordable as USD 1.5-2. Our favorite is this Warung Liku. One more thing to beware of is the chilli in Balinese food. Always add a little first and try it out to make sure you really can take it. You don’t want a stomach ache during your trip, do you?
A lot of tourists, especially Australian tourists, come to Bali to surf. The island has an East and West side and in different months, people go to the different sides of Bali to surf. There are many surfing camps in Bali as well so if you want to learn surfing or if your kids want to learn it, there are plenty of opportunities to do that in this island. Learn more about Bali and surfing in a more comprehensive guide here.
Chill at the beach
Bali’s beaches are famous for their soft sand and picturesque sunsets. Our personal favorites are the beaches in Sanur and Seminyak. The sunsets in these Balinese beaches are unlike any other, there is always a burst of colors nearing the dusk – pink, orange, and light blue color strokes on the sky which make one truly beautiful scenery.
Spa and massage
There are many massage places in Bali that offer very relaxing massage services. When you enter the place, you can immediately feel very relaxed because of the herbs and floral scents filling the space. You can easily use Google map to locate some of the nearby spa and massage vendors around where you stay. One thing to beware though, just like in any other Southeast Asian countries, there are reputable and non-reputable massage places in Bali. Go check their Google map reviews to ensure that you go to the reputable ones. We personally prefer to do this massage and spa in the Ubud area.
Party and clubbing
At least before the pandemic hit last year, Bali was popular among tourists for its party scene and beach clubs. There are many popular beach clubs where you can hang out from day to night like Potato Head, Finns Beach Club and many others. Most of the party places are in the Seminyak, Kuta and Legian areas. We have been to the beach clubs before but we did not go there to party, but more to have a cocktail or two and enjoy the chill nighttime vibe. Check out this comprehensive article about Bali’s party scenes.
Distance between Bali and Thailand
Bali and Thailand are not that close to each other (duh, obviously!). They are in different countries and the distance between the two places is around 3,000 km. From the research that we do now (in the midst of the pandemic), there is no direct flight between Bali (Denpasar) and Thailand (Bangkok). However, there are many flights from Denpasar to Bangkok via Singapore and also via Jakarta. If there is any direct flight though, given the distance mentioned above, the flight duration will be around 4h 20min.
Difference between Bali and Thailand
Bali and Thailand have similarities and differences but we will focus more on how different these two places are.
Island vs country
First, Bali is an island and Thailand is a country. Bali is quite small (its size is approximately 5,780 km2 with a population of 4.4m) but it might be the case that it is more famous than the country itself, Indonesia. We believe most foreigners have heard of Bali before but not necessarily Indonesia. And not many know that Bali is a part of Indonesia. On the other hand, Thailand is a country with a size of approximately 513,120 km² (89x of Bali’s) with a population of 69.8m people (16x of Bali’s). There are many islands and cities/provinces in Thailand. Thailand will have a lot more to offer given its size – even its north and south sides have very different offerings to people travelling within the country.
Religion and culture
Second, is the religion that heavily influences the local culture. Bali is predominantly a Hindu island and the local culture and customs are influenced by Hinduism. There are a lot of Hindu temples that you can visit in Bali and make sure you really follow their restrictions and requirements to the T because not doing so will be seen as a huge disrespect to the culture. Thailand, on the other hand, is very much influenced by Buddhism. A lot of the local cultures are also related to this religious belief.
Third, the weather in these two places. Bali is heavily influenced by the weather changes in the southern hemisphere. When it is winter in Australia around June/July, this is when Bali is the coldest/chilliest across the year. The winter wind blows into Bali and gives Bali cooler weather, vice versa for December and January where Australia is at its hottest because of summer, Bali is also hotter during that time. Thailand, on the other hand, is influenced by the weather in the northern hemisphere. With its close proximity to Mainland China, during the winter months around November-January, you can experience colder weather in Thailand as well (especially if you are in the Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai area). June/July will be quite hot in Thailand. Read more about Thailand weather here.
Bali alternative in Thailand
Thailand has a lot of tropical islands that have similar things to offer to what you can find in Bali. We love going to the various islands in Thailand. They have soft sand beaches, have amazing sunsets that do not need any Instagram filter, and they have great seafood! Check out our other posts discussing various cities and places you should visit in Thailand when you can travel again!
A few popular alternatives you could consider for similar Bali experience include:
- Koh Samui
So, is Bali in Thailand?
By now you should know that Bali is in Indonesia, that’s not too near to Thailand but not too far either. Bali to BKK will take around 4h+ with direct flight.
If you were to choose Bali or Thailand to visit, you can consider this: Bali is a smaller island with many wonderful beaches and amazing food, whereas Thailand has various types of sightseeing you can do ranging from beaches/islands to mountain/hills. So it depends on the objective of your travels. If you want variety, perhaps Thailand is a better option as you can travel extensively within the country. You can visit Bali if the main purpose is to enjoy the beach.
Check out our other posts about Thailand:
- Is working remotely in Thailand in 2021/2022 a good idea?
- Thai language overview and useful tips to navigate Thailand
- Is marijuana legal in Thailand? 2021 update and outlook
- Thailand tourist visa and how to stay up to 3 months
- Taiwan vs Thailand: differences and similarities
- Thailand vs Vietnam: Similarities and Differences
- Thai Foot Massage and Its Benefits
- Swedish vs Thai massage: similarities and differences