The stunning nations of Thailand and Vietnam are alike in many ways, making it hard for you to decide which vacation destination to pick. Both have pristine beaches, incredible sceneries, thrilling jungles, and more. But focusing on what makes them special in their own right will help you gauge which fits your dream tour best.
When you talk about culture and natural wonders, Vietnam is such a diverse and rich country. Its northern and southern regions, and even its three major cities, are vastly different from one another. Thus, traveling around the country is such a delight for any wide-eyed tourist.
And if you’re an outdoor adventurer, there is arguably no better place to be than Vietnam. It’s home to the tallest mountain in Indochina and the largest cave in the world. But the country has so much more to offer than this, such as a fascinating history, tasty cuisine, and more.
What Makes Vietnam Unique
Scrumptious Vietnamese Cuisine
While Vietnamese cuisine has Chinese and French influences, they certainly made it their own. They’ve perfected it to the point that it’s now a world-renowned cuisine! Vietnamese food, without fail, is delicious, healthy, and fresh.
The most popular dish of them all is Pho, and it’s easy to get lost in bowls of this noodle soup. With various raw or uncooked beef, herbs, and bean sprouts, it’ll get you hooked. But this isn’t the only mouth-watering dish you can get your hands on.
You can get sticky rice, seafood, veggies, and fruits in all their freshness. Banh mi is also a crowd favorite, a loaf of bread with various fillings. The main components are meat, several veggies, and sauce.
The best part is that you can get tasty local food no matter your budget. Restaurants that dot the map of big cities are always an option. But you can also go for street food for a cheaper option without sacrificing the quality.
Food is a vital part of Vietnamese culture. Blessed with abundant natural resources, they hold their meals to a high standard. And they don’t expect any less when serving you.
Dramatic Natural Sceneries
A unique feature of traveling in Vietnam is its countless diverse landscapes. Even an hour of travel can make it seem like you’re in a different decade. And for the adventurer in you, this is as thrilling as it gets.
From the chilly highlands of the north to the warm islands of the south, there’s a lot to see in Vietnam.
Do Lat, Vietnam’s “garden basket” is home to thousands of colorful flowers. It also boasts giant pumpkin gardens, beautiful homestays, and more. You’ll want to take out your camera as the place is picture-perfect.
Ha Long Bay is home to complex limestone islands, caves, and rock formations. You can explore the area by boat on vibrant turquoise waters.
These two are arguably the most popular wonders the country has to offer. But Vietnam has even more remarkable sights, such as the ones listed below.
Son Doong Cave
The largest cave in the world lies in Vietnam. You’ll get welcomed by a limestone cliff with clouds billowing out from it. Inside lies a raving river, with other gargantuan formations.
Stalagmites tower in the cave, with sizes of tall buildings. Cave pearls that are the size of baseballs are also riddled in the area.
It also supports an ecosystem consisting of birds, monkeys, snakes, and more. New, unusual species were also discovered here, being white and eyeless. This includes scorpions, shrimp, and spiders.
Vietnam is also home to the tallest highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula. At a height of 10,324 ft (3,147 m), it supports a rich and diverse ecosystem.
There are about 1,680 plant species here, and you can only find some of them here. You’ll find different types of plants depending on the altitude, from jackfruit trees, pine trees, bamboo, and more. This makes Fansipan appealing to many tourists, especially those interested in botany.
Sand Dunes of Mui Ne
For most people, the Sahara pops into their minds when they think of sand dunes. But you can also find these natural wonders four hours away from Ho Chi Minh City. Mui Ne, a south coast village in Vietnam, has both red and white sand dunes.
The White Sand Dunes (Doi Cat Trang) is the large of the two, a vast stretch of stunning, barren land. Sunrise is the best time to visit, you’ll have pastel skies in the backdrop for a dreamy view. This early, the sand is also still untouched, great for taking thousands of pictures.
The Red Sand Dunes (Doi Hong) may be smaller, but its beauty certainly isn’t lackluster. The dusty amber sands display a fiery red color when the sun’s rays shine on them. The best time to visit the red sand dunes is at dusk, but it can get crowded.
Authentic Outdoor Adventures
Blessed with a multitude of natural wonders, Vietnam is an adventurer’s paradise. You can scale to the peak of mountains, kitesurf on bumpy coastlines, or discover what lies within caves. There’s so much that awaits you in Vietnam’s great outdoors.
Vietnam is one of the top caving destinations in the world. It’s home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong Cave, found in Phong Nha. But Phong Na has over 300 caves to explore, such as Hang En Cave and Hang Pygmy Cave.
If you want a light, half-day trip, you can discover the wonders of Dark Cave or Paradise Cave. But if you want an action-packed trip that can span for days, go for Tiger Cave or Tu Lan Cave. There, you can go camping in the jungle, try subterranean swimming, and more.
There’s no better place to go off-road biking in Vietnam than in Sapa, a remote mountain town in the northwest. Whizz through dirt tracks that surround the mountain, giving you a stunning view of the rice terraces. You can also easily go on a hike nearby if biking around isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush.
For the daring adventurer in you, Da Lat is the best place for conquering nature. Canyoning tours put every nature lover to the test. It combines hiking, climbing, swimming, abseiling, and scrambling.
These tours follow international safety standards. So you can rest easy and focus on getting the job done while having fun!
The northern highlands of Vietnam are full of stunning hiking spots. But those of Pu Long, a nature reserve to the southwest of Hanoi, is arguably the best one. It has imposing mountains, misty forests, a glimpse of rice terraces, and more.
Much like its Southeast Asian neighbors, Vietnam also has pristine golden beaches. Most people go to the beach to unwind, but you can get your heart racing on the beaches of Mui Ne. It offers a variety of watersports, but the most notable one is kitesurfing.
Don’t worry if you know nothing about this too. Mui Ne has kitesurfing schools that’ll teach you how to grace the steady winds.
A popular kayaking destination in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can get up close with limestone formations and volcanic rings by lush greenery. The islands are also home to snakes, monkeys, and other rare species.
While Ha Long Bay is the crowd favorite, Lan Ha Bay nearby is just as beautiful. Explore its jungled limestone islands, hidden beaches, and concealed caves. The calm emerald waters of Lan Ha Bay are perfect for kayaking and even paddle boarding.
Historical Sites in Every Turn
Everywhere you look in Vietnam, there is a piece of history. The country was invaded by superpowers throughout history, such as China, France, and the USA. Remnants of this live on today, from ancient cities to ruins to royal tombs.
If you’re planning to go sightseeing in these spots, here are some of the top picks.
Hue Imperial Citadel
This ancient city was the capital of Vietnam in the distant past. This was the royal house of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Vietnam. An imposing square fortress, the Imperial City of Hue is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This walled city is an architectural wonder. With a variety of temples, palaces, gardens, and intricate designs, it’s one of the most famous landmarks in the country.
My Son Cham Ruins
If you want to time travel, there’s no better place in the country than My Son Sanctuary. Dating back to the 4th to 13th century, it’s also one of Vietnam’s World Heritage sites. The ruins have 70 striking and massive towers that may have been temples and tombs for Hindu gods.
The ruins are overgrown with greenery, with a lush forest in the background, as if nature is reclaiming it. This gives the structures a mystical vibe. My Son also sits between two large mountain ranges, adding to the magical scenery it offers.
Hoi An Ancient Town
A busy trading hub back in the 15th to 19th century, Hoi An is now a quaint, picturesque town with various influences. It has historical Chinese temples, French-inspired yellow houses, and Japanese bridges.
At night, this ancient town becomes even more magical and dreamy. Candle-lit lanterns give the town an amber hue, adding to its appeal. Unsurprisingly, this is also one of the country’s many world heritage sites.
Remarkable Coffee Culture
Vietnam is one of the largest coffee exporters in the world, and you can expect that they take it seriously. To them, coffee is not only a drink, but it’s also a social glue and tradition. You’ll find coffee shops everywhere in the country, from trendy to colonial ones, and each has its own twist.
Vietnam gets pretty creative with their coffee too. Two of the popular variants are ca phe sua da (coffee with condensed milk) and ca phe trung (coffee with egg yolk). But they also mix coffee with coconut milk yogurt, and more!
A reason why Vietnamese coffee tastes so distinct is that they almost entirely cultivate and drink Robusta coffee. Those of Latin America and America, the big coffee exporters, have Arabica coffee.
Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is one of Southeast Asia’s undisputed tourist hotspots. The nation offers a perfect blend of a buzzing urban life with serene natural wonders. This allows you to enjoy the vibrant city life of Bangkok while giving you the option to retreat to mother nature.
And for many people, both are enough motivation to get to the Land of Smiles. Thailand’s intoxicating nightlife is second to none in Southeast Asia. Their beaches, among all their natural attractions, are world-renowned.
But Thailand offers more than merrymaking and pristine golden beaches. No matter what urges you to travel to Thailand, it will not disappoint you.
What Makes Thailand Unique
A Vast Array of Golden Beaches
Many tourists have Thailand at the top of the list for a tropical getaway in Southeast Asia. Its pristine beaches gained much-deserved worldwide fame. Koh Phi Phi Le was even featured in the Hollywood film “The Beach”, skyrocketing the country’s tourism.
The best part is that there’s a dream beach that awaits you depending on what you want out of your beach trip. From secluded beaches to luxury resorts, Thailand has an answer to every visitor’s wishes.
For laid-back visitors who want a peaceful beach trip, you have Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, and Hua Sin beaches. Some of their beaches may be harder to get to, but this ensures that you have the beach all to your own. You may only have the bare necessities here, but you’ll get the raw natural beauty of Thai beaches.
For those who want to splurge on their vacation, Thailand has you covered. You have Six Senses Yao Noi (Phuket), Soneva Kiri (Koh Kood), Rayavadee (Krabi), and so much more. Get served tasty food by high-end restaurants with turquoise waters as your view.
But where Thailand shines is its vast variety of lively, vibrant beaches. Some of the most popular ones are Railay Beach, Pattaya Beach, and Koh Larn. Many of these beaches also offer water activities, such as parasailing, snorkeling, and more.
Lush Natural Wonders
The hustle and bustle of Thailand’s electrifying capital can get overwhelming at times. But you can always escape to the many natural attractions of the country, away from the busy crowds. Thailand has no shortage of breathtaking landscapes for those who find comfort In the serenity of nature.
If you feel want to go off the grid and get lost in nature, here are the country’s best spots to do so.
A natural spring tucked away in the lush forests of Khao Nor Juji, Sra Morakot is a popular retreat for many. It’s also called the Emerald Pool, as the sun’s rays illuminate its waters to give it a rich blue-green color. Not only does the greenery in the backdrop give an interesting contrast to the spring, but it also is home to plenty of wildlife.
With birds to sing to you, the gentle rustling of the leaves, and nothing but nature around you, this is a great place to disconnect for a while.
Sam Phan Bok
Sam Phan Bok is the country’s answer to the Grand Canyon of the United States. These sandstone formations are a result of erosion from the Mekong River. With over 3000 holes, there’s always something new to discover in every corner of Sam Phan Bok.
Because of their location, these rock formations look like they’re in the middle of the Mekong River. During the dry season, the ideal time to visit Sam Phan Bok is December to May. The river is low during these months, so you get to see more of the burrows, chambers, and more.
Doi Mon Jong
Doi Mon Jong gives you one of the best natural views that Thailand has to offer. Its lush meadows are full of rhododendrons, and being a mountainous hill, it offers the best view of the sky filled with stars. With several species around that call this their home, you can find a haven in Doi Mon Jong too.
Doi Mon Jong is where rare and endangered species live, such as the mountain goat, and some rare birds. You can also find the country’s largest Azaleas here, making the scenery more colorful.
But to marvel at the beauty of Doi Mon Jong, you have to hike. While you can do this in a day, it can be tiring.
With this, staying overnight is best. But who can complain if you’ll get one of the best views of the Milky Way here?
An Exotic Wildlife Wonderland
Thailand is brimming with life, and not only on its sandy beaches and busy capital. The nation is one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in Southeast Asia. So if you’re an animal lover or if you just want to go wildlife spotting, the Land of Smiles does not disappoint.
With plenty of natural reserves in the country, you can get a glimpse of exotic and endangered species in the country. And you can only find some of them in Thailand!
Here are the top places to go for an exciting wildlife excursion in the country.
Khao Yai National Park
Established in 1962, Khao Yai is Thailand’s first national park and is also a world heritage site. Situated just 0.05 miles (85 m) away from Bangkok, it’s an accessible park for you to see majestic animals. This haven also has several viewpoints, waterfalls, and more for you to explore.
Khao Yai is teeming with wildlife, such as elephants, several species of hornbills, and the northern pig-tailed macaques. You can also find the endangered white-handed gibbon here.
This is one of the few national parks in the country with various amenities. Khao Yai has accommodation, campgrounds, coffee shops, and sealed roads.
Khao Sok National Park
This national park is among the natural jewels of the country as it has one of the oldest rainforests in Asia. It’s also near some of the popular beach destinations in the country, such as Koh Samui and Phuket.
Khao Sok is a vast expanse of waterfalls, evergreen rainforests, and unadulterated islands. Thus, an astounding number of native plants and animals call this their home.
It’s one of the few places where you’ll find rafflesia kerrii, the world’s biggest flower. Khao Sok is abundant with birds and reptiles, such as the scarlet-backed flowerpecker. Boars, deer, monkeys, and elephants are also common sights.
But you’ll also find more exotic animals here, such as the big-eyed slow loris and the mouse deer. Though they only come out at night, and even then, they are an elusive sight.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan is Thailand’s largest national park. It shares some of its protected areas with Myanmar, forming one of the last habitats for tigers and other endangered species. This park arguably has the largest biodiversity of all in the country.
You’ll get welcomed by stump-tailed macaques when you enter the park. Other common sights are langurs, monitor lizards, and black giant squirrels.
You can also find Asiatic bears, tigers, and siamese crocodiles here. Although they are rarely seen by visitors.
World-Famous Night Scene
If you haven’t experienced Thai nightlife, then you haven’t experienced Thailand at all. The vibrant and buzzing night scene in the country is enough for tourists to flock to the country. And like their beaches, Thailand also gives you plenty of options on how you want to spend your night.
From wild, neon-lit parties with bucket loads of beer to sipping some cocktails on the rooftop, the night lover in you always has a place to go.
One of the main attractions in Thailand is the Full Moon Party, taking place at Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan. This jam-packed beach party is absolutely energizing, with loud music, fire dancers, loud music, and lots of booze. Dancing ‘til dawn under the night sky is a surreal feeling that many tourists come back for.
The islands of Phuket and Koh Phi Phi are no strangers to beach parties too. Though not as big as the Full Moon Party, parties here happen year-round. The night scene here is as wild as it gets too, so you’ll never miss out on the fun!
If you’re looking for a crazy night out in a different setting, the Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya hosts foam parties. Like the beach parties, these also have buckets of beer, a lot of dancing, and loud electro music.
Thailand also has trendy and hidden bars for a more laid-back night out. And a whole lot of them have interesting: quirky interiors with carefully-curated, unique drinks. Thailand knows how to dazzle you, and these bars are definitely picture-worthy.
One of these bars is The Key Room No. 72 a retro bar with a vintage touch. Rabbit Hole, one of Thonglor’s best-kept secrets, is a gorgeous three-story bar. Tichuca Rooftop Bar is a jungle-themed bar with an impressive interior that’ll leave you in awe.
If you want something a bit more romantic with a view of the city, head over to ABar or The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar. The former has floor-to-ceiling windows and jazz music playing in the background. The latter is an alfresco sky garden with delicious food and innovative concoctions that you’ll find nowhere else.
Is Thailand or Vietnam Better?
Both countries have beautiful beaches and sceneries, delicious cuisine, and fascinating cultures. But because they have their own strengths, one is not inherently better than the other. It will boil down to what kind of vacation you are looking for.
If you can’t seem to decide between the two, here are some considerations that may help you.
When it comes to postcard-worthy beaches, Thailand is for you. Vietnam also has pristine beaches, but Thailand offers more variety in this department. There’s always a beach there to match your budget and preference.
But if you’re going for outdoor adventures and stunning landscapes, choose Vietnam. From the north to the south, the terrain of this country is entirely different. From crystal clear beaches to caves to mountain ranges, they have you covered.
Because of this, you have more options for outdoor activities in Vietnam. Scaling Fansipan, the tallest mountain in Indochina, for example. Vietnam is also home to the world’s largest cave, Soon Doong, for those who love caving.
If you’re all about the nightlife, no other Southeast Asian country can top Thailand’s. Theirs is festive, dynamic, and vibrant, with a huge variety of places to go to. Vietnam’s nightlife, while also exciting, is more subdued.
Considering the convenience of travel, Thailand is the clear winner. There are more direct international flights in Thailand compared to Vietnam. Their domestic travel services are also better, being more developed.
All in all, Thailand is a nation geared more toward tourism. This makes your excursion easier and more comfortable. But a drawback that many have with this is that Thailand feels too touristy.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is the opposite, and they see way fewer tourists each year. While they may not be the winner for convenience in general, they offer a more authentic tourist experience. This is, without a doubt, one of their strong charms that make the nation a favorite of many.
Is Vietnam Safer Than Thailand?
For a Southeast Asian getaway, both Thailand and Vietnam are relatively safe to visit. But the latter is a bit safer of the two, even if they both face the same issues.
In these two countries, theft, fraud, and petty scams are what you should watch out for. If you’re concerned about violent attacks, you should be more worried about pickpockets and bag snatchers.
But since Thailand is busier and more geared toward tourists, these issues are more rampant there. Thailand sees around 40 million tourists a year, and it can get very crowded. Locals with ill intentions are always on the hunt for foreigners to take advantage of.
Meanwhile, while these petty crimes also happen in Vietnam, they occur to a lesser extent. It’s the less popular of the two and only sees around 8 to 10 million visitors each year. Because of this, Vietnam is less crowded and busy.
Other than that, these petty crimes are more of a concern when you roam the countryside. So stick to more cultivated areas and roads frequently used.
Road safety is also a big issue in Thailand, and it’s one of the riskiest in Southeast Asia. So practice extra caution on the streets of Thailand.
Is Vietnam or Thailand Cheaper?
As a whole, Vietnam is a cheaper country to travel to than Thailand. The former is a less developed country, so the costs are cheaper across the board. But the price difference isn’t too drastic to make a significant impact.
Accommodation prices are where there’s a bigger margin though, and this is where you’ll spend most of your money.
To give you context, the accommodation of one person in Thailand is 27 USD and 22 USD in Vietnam. For a double occupancy room, it’ll be 54 USD in Thailand and 45 USD in Vietnam.
Even larger hotels in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are cheaper than those in Bangkok.
Food is a bit cheaper in Vietnam too, at 12 USD a day compared to Thailand’s 13 USD a day. The food portions in Vietnam are bigger too, so you’ll get more bang for your buck there.
Alcohol is less expensive in Vietnam. But the cocktail mixes in Thailand are better-made, though more costly. On average, drinks for a day in Thailand will cost around 6.71 USD and 6.57 USD in Vietnam.
All in all, Vietnam is cheaper, and it can even be dirt cheap if you know where to spend your money. Although Thailand gives you the best value for your money, it’s more expensive.
Beaches in Vietnam vs. Thailand
While both countries have stunning beaches, those of Vietnam don’t hold a candle to Thailand’s. Thailand has held the crown as one of the top beach destinations in Southeast Asia for so long. And very few can still rival their world-renowned beaches.
What makes Thailand even more delightful is its wide array of beaches.
If you want a busy paradise with water activities, street vendors, and high-end hotels, go to Kata Beach. If you want a tranquil beach trip with food stalls around, Freedom Beach is your choice. If you want to relax by the shore with the beach all to yourself, look no further than Sunrise Beach.
There are so many beaches to choose from in Thailand, and they’re all gorgeous in their own way.
Vietnam also has golden beaches for days, with its long coastline, bordered by the South China Sea. But their beaches are less sophisticated than Thailand’s. There’s less beach variety in Vietnam and only a few fun stops between them.
Thailand vs. Vietnam for Honeymoon
These neighboring countries have what it takes to be a great honeymoon destination. Thrilling outdoor adventures, breathtaking sceneries, and stunning beaches, they have it all. But each of them has its strengths, and this will all boil down to what you want for your trip.
If you’re a couple who loves to conquer the great outdoors, go for Vietnam. They have lush jungles, thundering waterfalls, imposing mountains, and more. Although Thailand has these, it pales in comparison to Vietnam.
But if you want to focus on lounging on the shore and staring out in the cerulean sea, go for Thailand. Not only that, but the nation is also a more romantic getaway for newlyweds. You’ll get a more intimate experience with your spouse in the Land of Smiles.
In Thailand, you have a plethora of options for intimate activities. This includes dinner cruises, couple spas, and more.
You can also immerse in the beauty and fascinating culture of Thailand together. From floating sea lanterns to intricate temples to luxury resorts, they have it all. The best thing about this is that they are all accessible, as they have mature tourism services.
Thailand vs. Vietnam Nightlife
The vibrant, dynamic, and cultured nightlife of Thailand is hard to beat. And this is why theirs trumps Vietnam’s. But everyone’s preference is different, and you may like the charm of Vietnam’s nightlife.
If you’re looking for a more lively night scene, go for Thailand. But if you want a more authentic, laid-back night out, go for Vietnam.
The Thai night scene is always so full of life, no matter where you go. The main event is always the Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach. But even without that, the bars and nightclubs keep the fun and good vibes going.
Thailand has electrifying beach parties, foam parties, pub crawls, and more. But it also offers a calmer night scene in trendy hidden bars and amazing rooftop bars.
Meanwhile, the nightlife in Vietnam is more subdued. But it’s changing over the years and becoming bigger. Major cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are teeming with buzzing bars, pubs, and more. You’ll also get waterfront bars on the beaches of Mui Ne and Nha Trang.
Is Thailand in Vietnam?
Thailand is not in Vietnam, as they are two separate, sovereign countries. They are both on mainland Southeast Asia though, separated by Laos and Cambodia between them.
Is Thailand Close to Vietnam?
Being on mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand and Vietnam are close together. Because they are near each other, it’s easy to include both countries in your itinerary.
How Far Is Thailand From Vietnam?
The straight line distance between Thailand and Vietnam is 502.7 miles (809 km). The shortest distance between the two is 60.9 miles (98 km), from Khao Kaen in Thailand to Pleiku in Vietnam. But if you wish to drive, the distance will be around 677.2 miles (1089.8 km).
Thailand to Vietnam
You can either take a plane, train, bus, or boat to travel from Thailand to Vietnam. Traveling via airplane is the fastest, easiest way, although it may be more costly. But if you go with the last three, there are no direct connections, and the costs can stack up.
With this, there’s no big price difference between the four choices.
For most people, taking a plane ride is the only option as they don’t go through so much hassle. But for some, traveling via bus, train, or boat allows them to get a glimpse of nearby Cambodia or Laos. But keep in mind that the latter option is not for the faint-hearted.
You will have to use a combination of several transportation options that way. Not only that, the hours are long and tiring, and it’ll take you days to get to your destination. To add, you’ll have to cross several borders, and this will eat up your time too.
How Far Is Vietnam From Thailand by Plane?
The flying distance from Bangkok in Thailand to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam is 749 miles (1205.4 km). Direct flight durations can last anywhere from 1 hour and 35 minutes to 2 hours.
The flying distance and duration will vary depending on which city you’re departing from and landing on.
Thailand to Vietnam by Boat
There are no direct boats from Thailand to Vietnam. With this, you’re in for a long journey via boat if you wish to push through with this. From Thailand, you either have to go through Laos or Cambodia if you want to reach Vietnam.
If you want to go on a Mekong River boat tour, you can start either from Thailand or Cambodia.
Starting from northern Thailand, take a ship to Luang Prabang (Laos). From there, you can take a bus to take you to Hanoi.
You can also cross from Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. From there, you can cruise to Chau Doc, a port in Vietnam.
You have two other options here if you don’t want to go through the Mekong River. But you need to get to Laos or Cambodia first.
From Thailand, go to Chiang Khon, a waterway that connects the country to Laos. Take a boat from Thailand to Huay Xai in Laos on the other side. From Huay Xai, you can take a slow boat to Luang Prabang, still in Laos. From there, you can take a bus to Hanoi.
Another option is going from Thailand to Siem Reap in Cambodia. From there, take a speed boat to Phnom Penh at Chong Kneas. Once in Phnom Penh, you can take another speedboat to Ho Chi Minh City.
Train From Vietnam to Thailand
There are no railways that connect Thailand and Vietnam directly. Like traveling via boat, you’ll have to go through either Cambodia or Laos for this. Upon entering the two neighboring countries, you’ll have to take a bus to Vietnam.
If you’re going through Laos, you can take an overnight train from Bangkok to Vientiane. From the capital city of Vientiane, you can take a bus to Hanoi in Vietnam.
If you wish to go through Cambodia, you need to take a train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet first. From there, you can take a free bus to Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal. In the terminal, you can easily find a bus to Phnom Penh.
Once you’re in Phnom Penh, you can take a bus ride to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Thailand to Vietnam Distance by Train
As mentioned above, there are no direct trains that will take you from Thailand to Vietnam. So if you follow the guide in the previous section, below is a rough estimate of the distance you’ll travel.
If you’re taking the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam route, the estimated distance is 399.7 miles (643.3 km). And if you’re traveling through Laos, the distance is around 1096.6 miles (1764.9 km)
Thailand to Vietnam by Road
The easiest way to travel from Thailand to Vietnam by road is to take a bus. You can also travel with a vehicle, but there are many caveats to this.
First, you need to make sure that you are bringing your private car with you. Rental cars in Thailand do not allow you to cross borders.
Even with a private car, you cannot drive in these countries without an International Driving Permit. So unless you have one, there’s no way for you to go with this travel option.
If you have all these, you’ll also have to face two disadvantages.
One is that you have to go through several borders to reach your destination. You’ll have to go through Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, and then finally Vietnam borders. The second downside to this is the cost, you have to pay fees for every border you pass through, and much more.
Bus From Thailand to Vietnam
To travel via bus from Thailand to Vietnam, you need to pass through Cambodia or Laos. Thus, you need to take some stops and change buses throughout your journey. You have three route options for this too.
The two options are to go from Bangkok to either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap in Cambodia. And from there, you can make your way to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
There are two places where you can find buses that’ll take you from Bangkok to Cambodia. One is the Khao San Bus Stop, and the other is the Morchit Bus Station.
If you’re going to Siem Reap from Bangkok, the travel time is around 8 hours. But if you’re going to Phnom Penh from the same city, it’ll take you around 14 hours of travel.
Once you arrive in Cambodia, you can take a bus and make your way to Ho Chi Minh City. If you’re from Phnom Penh, you’re only 7 hours away. But from Siem Reap, it’ll take you at least 12 hours of travel time.
The other option is to take a bus from Bangkok to Vientiane, Laos, a 12-hour journey. You can take a bus from there to Hanoi in Vietnam, but this is a 24-hour journey, so you’ll take an overnight bus.
Thailand to Vietnam Bus Fare
If you’re following the routes mentioned in the previous section, the bus fares can vary.
The Bangkok-Siem Reap-Ho Chi Minh route bus fare is around 40 USD. While the Bangkok-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh route bus fare is between 20 to 50 USD. Lastly, the Chiang Mai-Vientiane-Hanoi route is around 60 USD.
These prices are what you can expect to pay for the entire journey. But keep in mind that the rates may change, so it’s best to bring some extra cash with you at all times.
Vietnam Visa From Thailand
To get a Vietnam visa, you have two options. One is the e-Visa, which is valid for 30 days and only a single entry. The other is getting a visa on arrival for more than 30-day stays and multiple-entry visits.
To get an e-Visa, you need to prepare several requirements:
- One 4×6 passport photo (in .jpg format with a white background)
- One photo of your passport data page (also in .jpg format)
- Your passport (must be valid for at least six months)
- Your temporary address in Vietnam
- Your points of entry and exit
- Your debit or credit card for payment
Now that you have that, you can go to the Vietnam Immigration site and apply for a visa online. Fill out the form, upload your images, and pay the e-Visa fee (25 USD). You should receive your visa approval within three working days.
You must print the approval letter in color, Take this with you and have it stamped upon arrival.
For a visa on arrival, here are your requirements:
- One 4×6 passport photo (with white background)
- Your filled-out visa application form
- Your passport that’s valid for six months
- Visa fee payment (25 to 50 USD)
- A Letter of Approval from the Vietnamese embassy or consulate