While vastly different, covering the lands of Taiwan and Thailand are a vast array of natural scenic wonders.
With its pristine white-sand beaches alone, Thailand is a popular destination for any adventurous traveler. The country knows how to please its tourists from all walks of life. From the budget traveler to the outdoor adventurer to the lavish spender.
While Taiwan is mostly overlooked by many, it’s never short on excitement and adventure. Taiwan is lavish and quirky in many aspects, from its temples to its festivities. There’s always something fascinating or amusing around the corner in Taiwan.
Both countries have stunning beaches and natural attractions. But this is where their similarities end. Thus, each country caters to a different type of traveler, and you’ll find out which of the two fits you best below.
Stunning beaches and an exciting night scene are two of what make Thailand well-known. But what truly makes the country stand out is the variety it offers, and this applies to its beaches and nightlife too. Thailand has perfected the blend of adventure, relaxation, natural beauty, and much more.
What Makes Thailand Unique?
Countless Postcard-Worthy Beaches
Because of its reputation, Thailand is arguably synonymous with pristine and golden beaches. It’s one of the top beach destinations in the world, and very few can compete with its sophisticated beaches. And no matter your taste or budget, Thailand has you covered with its many gorgeous beaches.
If you’re mainly in Thailand for its beaches and have a big budget, why not go for luxury resorts? The country is no stranger to giving its visitors the best trip one could ask for. Many resorts could treat you like royalty, such as Six Senses Ya Noi, Soevea Juru, and Rayavedee.
These stunning luxury resorts offer more than their pristine beaches. They also have stunning pools, spas, high-end restaurants, and more. They also provide a superb view, blending the place with the lush forests in the backdrop.
For a wholesome or laid-back beach trip away from the crowds, you have Koh Tao, Hua Sin, and Koh Lanta. All these places have beautiful and quiet beaches, perfect for relaxation. While the amenities here are basic, you’ll have the beach all to your own.
You can always choose opulent resorts and secluded beaches. But the best Thailand experience is in their busy and lively beaches. Each beach is famous for something, such as the party scene in Haad Rin and the lagoons of Koh Phi Phi Leh.
Railay Beach is also among the top tourist destinations in the country. To get there, you need to ride a longtail boat. While not as accessible as the other beaches, you’ll get a generous reward once there.
The beach is a natural wonder, a massive expanse of thrilling jungles, cliffs, and caves. One of the main attractions is the imposing limestone monoliths. It’s a delightful mix of relaxation and exploration in an idyllic setting.
Staggering Scenic Views
When it comes to natural beauty, Thailand doesn’t pale in comparison to its neighbors. The country has a vast array of lush, scenic wonders. Most of them are accessible too, so you can easily escape the busy city of Bangkok.
The beaches aren’t your only retreat in Thailand. If you want to go under the radar a bit, here are the top spots for you.
A hidden gem nestled within the forests of Khao Nor Juji, Sra Morakot is an offbeat haven for many. This natural spring, also called the Emerald Pool, is best visited on a sunny day.
You’ll see why it has this nickname, as the sun’s rays light up the waters, giving it almost a neon blue-green hue. And with the vibrant green leaves in the background, you’ll be in awe of nature’s color palette.
The forest that hugs the natural spring is also home to several wildlife, so you may get a glimpse of them during the visit, especially birds. They often sing to their visitors, giving you a relaxing vibe during your stay.
Sam Phan Bok
This rock formation sits in the middle of the Mekong River, a vast water system that spans several Southeast Asian countries. As a result of erosion by the river, Sam Phan Bok has many secrets to discover. It has thousands of holes and burrows to explore, adding to the thrill of going through it.
The best time to visit Sam Phan Bok is between December to May, as the water levels are low. This way, you can traverse the rock formations with ease and see more of its secrets. If you visit during the wet seasons, it can be unsafe as the waters may be too high and strong.
Doi Mon Jong
Doi Mon Jong lies within the Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary. This mountainous hill is among Thailand’s top ten highest peaks. It was once a rich haven for a staggering variety of wildlife, but it’s as beautiful as it is now.
Doi Mon Jong’s lands are thriving with rhododendrons and colorful flowers. Because it’s in a sanctuary, you may also get a glimpse of the wildlife that call this their home. Some are the nearly extinct mountain goat, the rare goral and serow, and wild elephants.
The hike to Doi Mon Jong, while not very difficult, can be exhausting. Thus, it’s best to camp the night at its peak. But plan ahead, as you’ll need permission from the sanctuary.
While this will extend your stay, the star-filled sky will shine bright as if welcoming you.
An Exotic Wildlife Haven
Thailand is an alluring destination for many, as it has a rich biodiversity. This is enough motivation for animal lovers and shutterbugs to flock to the country. Thailand is home to one-tenth of the animals around the world, some of them rare, endangered, and only found in the country.
If wildlife spotting is on your travel bucket list, here are some of the best places in the nation for this.
Khao Yai National Park
Operating for more than six decades, this is Thailand’s oldest national park. Khao Yai is a wildlife haven, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Covering a massive area, the park even reaches the border of its neighbor, Cambodia.
Khao Yai is one of the most accessible national parks, being only 85 miles (137 km) away from the city’s capital. It’s also one of the few parks that gear heavily toward visitors. Khao Yai has campgrounds, accommodation, sealed roads, and even coffee shops.
Because of this, you can stay longer to get a glimpse of the majestic wildlife that lives there. Common sights include sambar deers, civets, Vogel’s pit vipers, and Chinese water dragons. Rare sights include jackals, Austen’s brown hornbills, and Gibson’s wolf snakes.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is a special park as one of Asia’s oldest rainforests is within it. This park is also one of the few that’s easily accessible by public transportation. It also has a strategic location, between Phuket and Koh Samui.
Covering its lands are plenty of lush rainforests, thundering waterfalls, and untouched islands. The diversity of Khao Sok’s terrain makes it a haven for an astounding variety of wildlife.
You can find most of Thailand’s wildlife staples here, such as elephants, sun bears, and gaurs. Khao Sok is also home to rare reptiles, such as brown wolf snakes and Burmese peacock softshells.
But where the park shines is its astounding 400 bird species. This easily makes Khao Sok a bird-watcher’s paradise. Some of the recorded birds in the area are the black magpies, giant pitta, and great argus.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Another world heritage site, Kaeng Krachan is the country’s largest national park. With its vast land, this protected site likely has the biggest variety of animals in Thailand. Kaeng Krachan is also one of the remaining habitats for tigers along with other near-extinct species.
This Kaeng Krachan is famous for wildlife-spotting. But it’s also popular for camping and hiking as it has stunning views of a sea of clouds. You’ll also find some waterfalls and caves in the vicinity.
Leopards, bears, elephants, and serows are some of the mammals you can find here. Some rare sights are the monitor lizards, white-handed gibbons, and black giant squirrels.
If you want to see more animals, you’d have to stay the night. Civets and mouse deers, for example, only come out at night.
Dynamic and Vibrant Nightlife
To skip a night of merrymaking in Thailand means you’re missing out on all the fun! The country’s world-famous nightlife is festive, cultured, and vibrant. Depending on where you go, it can be naughty, classy, or laid-back.
Variety is the spice of life, they say. And Thailand tastefully perfects this from their beaches to their nightlife. So even if you’re not a party animal, there are plenty of chill and wholesome places for you to visit!
Without a doubt, the main event for partygoers in Thailand is the Full Moon party at Haad Rin Beach. This all-night beach party has blasting music, neon face paints, fire dancers, and more. You’ll also have unlimited booze as fuel for dancing all night under the dark sky.
The Full Moon Party happens several times a year, so you can plan your trip to coincide with this. But even if you don’t make it, Thailand keeps the good vibes going year-round.
Both Koh Phi Phi and Phuket are also home to electrifying beach parties too. Although they’re on a smaller scale, it’s still as wild as what you’d expect it to be. Thus, you’ll never have the fear of missing out on the Land of Smiles!
Going to foam parties at the Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya is also a crazy night of fun. Like beach parties, this neon-lit setting also has loud music and buckets of beer.
If the wild night scene isn’t for you, then Thailand has an answer for their laid-back visitors too. The country has a plethora of bars to fit your liking. But Bangkok has the best bars you can find, hands down.
The capital city boasts rooftop bars that give you a gorgeous view of the Bangkok skyline. The top ones for this are ABar and The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar. The former is an indoor bar with a moody vibe, while the latter is a romantic alfresco bar.
Bangkok also has picture-worthy hidden bars with detailed and quirky interiors. The Rabbit Hole, The WoodShed, and Havana Social are some of these spots.
A string of islands between East and Southeast Asia, Taiwan may be unassuming at a glance. But for a small nation, Taiwan is grand and lavish in many aspects. From its scenery, temples, festivals, and more, a visit to Taiwan will leave anyone speechless.
What Makes Taiwan Unique?
Breathtaking Modern and Cultural Architecture
Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the world, is arguably the face of Taiwan. It stands out in the skyline, especially during New Year, when it fills the dark sky with sparks. But there’s so much more to Taiwan than this imposing structure.
You’ll find a delightful mix of Chinese and European influences in cosmopolitan Taipei. The Red House is a great example of this, an octagonal structure that’s been a meeting point for eastern and western cultures.
But you’ll also find some quirky structures dotting the map of Taiwan. This includes the High-Heel Wedding Church, shaped in the form of a stiletto. Another church, The Paper Dome, is also an unusual sight to behold. With paper tubes as its structural element, it’s a must-see for tourists.
With Taiwan’s many interesting structures, you’ll always have a feast for your eyes. But some stand out more than others, and below are some of these.
Shennong Street is one of, if not, the most preserved historical street in Tainan, Taiwan. Once one of the channels during the Qing Dynasty, most of its buildings still look like how they did before. Although many of them now have quirky facades, giving each spot a unique twist.
During the day, you can clearly see the artistry of each building. But during the night is where the street lights up with an amber hue from its many lanterns. In both scenarios’ Shennong Street is picture-worthy, so take tons of pics!
Dalongdong Baoan Temple
This is one of the busiest and perhaps the most gorgeous folk-religion temple in Taiwan. UNESCO classifies this temple for its cultural significance. And for many, this makes the Baoan Temple a must-see.
At a glance, the Baoan Temple has an extremely ornate and traditional design. From intricate stone-lion carvings by the entrance to the complex dragon pillars of the structure. The temple has astounding attention to detail, there’s something to awe at in every corner.
Fo Guang Shan Temple
The Fo Guang Shan is a massive complex and is one of Taiwan’s top tourist attractions. The sprawling complex is also lavish and grand, a visually stunning sight to behold. It’s also home to the tallest Buddha statue in Taiwan, standing at 108 m (345 ft).
In the front hall, large statues of lions, elephants, and cubs are welcoming committee. Thousands of Buddha statues lavishly decorate the complex.
In the older monastery area, you can find a stay program for visitors who want to stay the night. The newer area offers vegetarian restaurants and even a Starbucks for tourists. This striking contrast between the two adds to the quirkiness of the complex.
Astonishing Natural Beauty
You’ll see a dramatic change as you go across Taiwan’s incredibly green island. In the heart of Taiwan, you’ll find stunning verdant summits. And to the south, you can sunbathe on pristine, sandy beaches.
Wherever you are in Taiwan, there’s a lush patch of forest or greenery around every corner. From impressive cliffs to coastal wetlands to offshore islets, Taiwan is a natural paradise.
But among its rich landscapes, some are bound to be a crowd favorite. Below are some of the natural wonders that tourists flock to in Taiwan.
Taroko National Park
Taiwan is home to a total of nine national parks, all sprawling over lush lands. But this is the busiest of them all, with stunning caves, rock formations, and hiking trails.
You’ll also find one of the most beautifully-placed religious sites in the world here, the Eternal Spring Shrine. The shrine sits on top of a waterfall, amid the vibrant green forest surrounding it. The way it’s hugged by the natural landscape creates such a stunning and peaceful scene.
But Taroko National Park also has other must-see natural attractions. This includes several waterfalls, cliffs, trails, and temples.
Although this is also in Taroko Gorge, this stunning and world-famous cliff needs its own highlight. Qingshui Cliff is special among the rest in that it does not give you a view of the Liwu River Valley. Instead, it offers a breathtaking view of the mighty Pacific Ocean.
You’ll get a gorgeous view of the Pacific color palette from the top. The blue-green sea, the neon blue sky, the vibrant green forest, and the pebbled coastline.
Grand and Raucous Festivals
Taiwan has so many colorful festivals, each one starkly distinct from the other. Most of them have ties to the lunar calendar, while others celebrate Taiwan’s indigenous heritage. Many others don’t have cultural roots but are as captivating.
Because Taiwan has a lot of celebrations, your trip is bound to coincide with at least one of them.
Perhaps the most popular of them is the Lantern Festival at Chinese New Year. Here, thousands of attendees release amber-hued paper lanterns, lighting up the night sky.
In the past, this was how people used to send their messages to their deceased loved ones. But today, attendees can adorn their lanterns with prayers, dreams, and hopes. This is a beautiful and moving experience that you’ll want to be a part of.
There are plenty of other interesting festivals that you can enjoy in Taiwan. The Sandsculpture Festival, Organik Techno Festival, and Balloon Festival, to name a few. But below are some of the more noteworthy celebrations on the island of Taiwan.
Dragon Boat Festival
This festival involves a thrilling race of Dragon Boats on local rivers across Taiwan. These colorfully adorned boats are between 50 to 100 feet long (15 to 30 meters). A drummer will be onboard with the crew, offering a rhythm for them to row on.
For indigenous festivities, one of the most accessible is the Ear-Shooting Festival. This is the most important celebration for the Bunbun people of south Taiwan. This festival is historically linked to the tribe’s hunting culture.
Every late April to early May, the tribesmen display their impressive archery skills. You can see them shoot at animal ears nailed to a post. But this is only one facet of this indigenous event.
The Bombing of Master Han Dan
This annual festival is not for the fainthearted. Each year, brave volunteers get chosen to act as master Han Dan. They get paraded on thrones, with nothing but a pair of red shorts and a scarf as locals blast firecrackers at them.
According to folklore, Master Han Dan’s power grows with each blast. And the more firecrackers you hurl at him, you’ll enjoy greater fortune in the coming new year.
The Hiker’s Wonderland
Taiwan is home to over 250 mountains that are over 9842 ft (3000 m) tall, and they cover more than two-thirds of the island. From light and scenic treks to difficult yet thrilling climbs, you’ll always have a mountain to scale.
The king of them all is the Jade Moutain, also called Yushan. This is the tallest mountain in Taiwan at 12,965 ft (3,952 m) tall.
Second to the mighty Yushan is the Snow Moutain or Xueshan. Another imposing natural wonder, it stands over 12,749 ft (3,886 m).
If you’re a beginner, Taiwan will not make you feel left out. Hehuanshan is an alternative for you, but it’s also a tall mountain at 11,227 ft (3,422 m) high. Because it’s in Taroko National Park, it’s very accessible too.
A Hot Spring Paradise
Sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Taiwan is not only blessed with mountains. No matter where you are on the island, Taiwan has hot springs across the map. Thus, it’s highly likely that you’re always within close range of an amazing one.
With sparkling rivers and the calming sound of water, this can be your retreat away from the city. If you want to unwind in warm springs, here are the top places to be in Taiwan.
Zhaori Hot Spring
This hot spring is in Green Land, a small southeast island off of mainland Taiwan. While it may not be accessible, this hot spring is a rare visit. It’s one of the few three saltwater hot springs in the world!
Apart from this, Zhaori gives you a stunning view of dusk and dawn. You can sit by open-air pools or spa pools and listen to the sound of waves.
If you don’t want to leave the bustling city of Taipei for a hot spring, then you don’t have to! Xin Beitou has a plethora of hotels and resorts that have piped-in hot springs. There are also some excellent public hot springs in the neighborhood for you to try!
A great choice is the Bayan Wild Springs in Yangminshan National Park. This is a natural hot spring that’s only an hour away from the city center.
Jiaoxi is a northern town in Yilan Country. Only a two-hour bus or train ride from Taipei, it’s flocked by a lot of spring lovers from across the island. There are countless hot springs here, and you’ll find the best one for you depending on your budget and likes.
They have hot spring parks, where you can unwind freely in the great outdoors. Two of these are Tangweigou Hot Spring Park and Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park Forest Furo.
For hot spring resorts, you have Jiaoxi Chuan Tang Spring Spa Hotel. This is a crowd favorite as it has a wide array of hot spring baths. You can also go to the Jiaoxi Art Spa Hotel, they have the only hot spring water slide in Taiwan.
Which Is Better – Thailand or Taiwan?
To say that one country is better than the other is an injustice to both, as they are greatly different from another. Both Taiwan and Thailand have their strengths, so you need to play with them.
If beaches are your main priority for your vacation, Thailand is much better for you. The Land of Smiles has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they have plenty. Taiwan also has beaches, but they only have a few of them, and they don’t hold a candle to Thailand’s.
If you’re a party animal seeking some exciting nightlife you must go to Thailand. The country is by far, one of the best countries for night lovers. From wild beach and pool parties to quirky bars to chill, they have it all.
But if you’re craving the thrill of outdoor adventures, Taiwan is perfect for you. Taiwan’s landscape dramatically changes as you travel across the island. It’s dense with mountains, forests, and other natural wonders for exploration.
And if you’re seeking some unusual escapades, go for Taiwan as well.
They have so many surprising festivals and sights that will take you aback. Have you ever seen a person intentionally hit by a firecracker for a festival? You may only find that in Taiwan.
When it comes to relaxation though, it’s a fair tie between the two. Thus, this will depend on how you want to unwind.
Thailand has many serene beaches for you to watch the day fade into the night. What Taiwan has is a plethora of hot springs, even from the capital of Taipei City.
Is Taiwan or Thailand Cheaper?
Thailand is the cheaper country to travel to across the board. The price difference isn’t even small enough to overlook, it’s a big difference. For the same budget, you can stay months longer in Thailand than you would in Taiwan.
Thailand gives you more bang for your buck all in all. From your accommodation, food, transportation costs, and everything else.
Is Taiwan Part of Thailand?
Taiwan is not a part of Thailand as each is a sovereign entity. While the former is a part of East Asia, the latter is a part of Southeast Asia.
Is Taiwan Close to Thailand?
Taiwan is quite close in distance to Thailand. For context, it’s just a short plane ride away, less than 4 hours.
Taiwan to Thailand Distance
The straight line distance from Taipei in Taiwan to Bangkok in Thailand is 1547 miles (2490 km). The distance can be shorter or longer depending on your inbound and outbound destination.
Where Is Thailand and Taiwan?
Thailand is in the center of mainland Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Taiwan is in East Asia.
Thailand’s bordered by Myanmar in the west and northwest. The Andaman Sea in the southwest. And by Laos in the east and northeast.
Taiwan’s islands are at the intersection of the East and the South China Sea in the northwest Pacific. To its northwest is China, and to its northeast is Japan. And to its south is the Philippines.
Thailand to Taiwan
Because you need to cross the sea and several countries, you need a plane ride to get to Taiwan from Thailand. Plane fares from Bangkok to Taipei are anywhere between 120 to 200 USD. The price will vary on your travel date, airline, and your inbound and outbound airport.
How Long Is the Flight From Taiwan to Thailand?
Direct flights from Taiwan to Thailand are anywhere from 3 hours and 25 minutes to 3 hours and 45 minutes. The flight duration will depend on the speed of your plane.
Meanwhile, the quickest one-stop flight is around 6 hours. But the longest one will take a whopping 31 hours.