Thailand vs. Malaysia – what’s the better travel destination?

Neighbors, same climate, big cities, beautiful beaches, mountains – there are many things Thailand and Malaysia have in common. If you got the time to visit both, I recommend visiting both as they are still very different and fabulous in their way. However, if you only got time to visit one of them you can find out here which one suits you better.

Thailand vs. Malaysia
Temple in Georgetown Malaysia

What do they have in common?

Both countries have beautiful beaches, fantastic food, and super friendly people. The climate in both countries is also very similar, and it’s hot all year round. Both countries have some exotic islands to relax and to do watersports. Thai food is world-famous but also Malaysian food is fantastic and much underrated in the outside world. People like in all of southeast Asia are very friendly and welcoming, and they go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are both amazing world-class cities, and both countries are on the edge of becoming first world countries.

Thailand vs. Malaysia
Beach in Thailand

In general, I can say that both countries have a wide variety of things to offer. In Thailand, you get the Islands in the south, Bangkok as a megacity, and the north is filled with Rainforest and amazing nature. In Malaysia, you get the Islands in the north, Kuala Lumpur in the middle as the center of the country and the Cameron Highlands filled with fantastic nature and colder climate.

Thailand vs. Malaysia
Street art in Malaysia

What is different?

One of the most significant differences lies in the religion both countries have. On one side, you have Thailand with Buddhism as mayor religion, super open and tolerant where Malaysia has Islam as its dominant religion, which makes the country more conservative. Thailand is also a well-known travel destination around the world and tourism developed a lot earlier than in Malaysia which has the consequence that the tourist infrastructure in Thailand is slightly better than in Malaysia – Although Malaysia is keeping up pretty well. Where you can find relaxation on every Island in Malaysia and Thailand, the Thai Islands also offer a big party scene with beach parties, bars, and nightclubs. Koh Tao in Thailand is world-famous for its diving schools and Koh Phangan with the world-famous Full moon party. As I described in my previous post – Kuala Lumpur is a modern capital city, but it seems like a small village compared to Bangkok. And the variety of Thai cuisine can hardly be toped.

Thailand vs. Malaysia
Pool party in Bangkok one of the best parties ever

What do I conclude?

Thailand has everything Malaysia has, and a lot more. Both countries are amazing and worth a visit, but I felt a little disappointed as I visited Malaysia after Thailand. Everything you can find in Malaysia is also present in Thailand – beaches, watersports, mountains, nature, friendly people and so on. But Thailand has bigger cities, slightly better beaches, better food and more open culture with parties, and fun regularly. Thailand is by far my number one in Southeast Asia and that after visiting all of the countries in the region.   

  • Total countries I visited until now: 38


  • Planes: 20
  • Busses: 45
  • Trains: 19
  • Boats: 24
  • Km driving: 8000
  • Km running: 2802

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Author: Flo

Hey everybody, I took the decision of my life and will start my worldtravel on the 1. October 2018. Hope you'll follow my journey and enjoy all the posts.

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