Thailand vs Philippines (Why I will not go back to the Philippines)

thailand-vs-philippines

I just came back from my 3 month stay at Davao City, Philippines and I’m want to write this post while my memory is still fresh.

This post is not about which country is better or worse. It’s about my personal experiences as an outsider living in these two very different countries.

Since I lived in Jomtien, Thailand for about two months back in February 2009 and three months in Davao City in February 2011, I’ll write some notes about my personal experiences between the two places.

Thailand and the Philippines are two big countries and I think it would be unfair to compare the two. So, I’ll just write what I think about the two cities Jomtien vs Davao City.

I have updated this article: see the new article about Thailand vs Philippines.

My personal experience in Thailand vs Philippines

Jomtien, Thailand

Here are my experinces in Thailand.

Davao City, Philippines

Here are my experinces in the Philippines

Language

Non-English speaking country, except tourist areas (Airports, hotels, resorts, some big malls in Bangkok, hospitals). But I see many people visiting Thailand without knowing any Thai and that didn’t cause them any problems. Of course, knowing Thai is a big bonus, but it’s not a major factor for not visiting Thailand.

Language

English speaking country. Most people speak and understand English very well.

Thailand vs Philippines
Davao City, Philippines wins

Cost of living in Jomtien, Rent/Food

In Thailand, I didn’t have much of a problem looking for affordable places to rent. The rooms I rented were clean, close to many amenities and cheap. Two places I rented were Prima Place and Villa Mama.

If I wanted, I could have lived in Thailand for around $320 USD (฿10,000 THB) per month. About $200 USD (฿6,200 THB) for rent, electricity, internet, and water. Another $100 USD (฿3,100 THB) for food (not Western food). You can expect to spend more money on western food, but if you can eat Thai food you will save a lot of money.

Of course living on ฿10,000 THB per month won’t allow much for going shopping, visa, medical, dental or playing tourist, but it was enough for me to live a modest life.

In reality, you can spend as much as you want. If you spend $1,000 USD per month per person, you can live in Thailand quite well. Even at $500 USD per month I had a good time, but I don’t think I can do it month after month.

Rent

The cost for renting a furnished studio with hot water, air conditioner and TV can cost as low as $200 USD (฿6,200 THB) per month and as high as you are willing to pay – there’s no limit.

You can get even cheaper apartments UNDER $200 USD (฿6,200 THB) per month, but often they do not have a hot shower or air conditioner.

Thailand vs Philippines
Jomtien, Thailand wins huge

Cost of living in Davoa City, Rent/Food

While I was in Davao City, Philippines, I stayed at El Rio Pad. The rooms’ monthly cost were ₱6,000 PHP ($143 USD), ₱7,000 PHP ($167 USD), and ₱7,500 PHP ($179 USD).

The rooms were clean with air conditioning, satellite TV, internet (when I was there the internet was horrible), and fridge. It did not have many amenities as compared to my other rentals in Jomtien, Thailand.

The food in Davao City, Philippines was not the greatest. I think it’s not even close to what Thailand had to offer. Just look around your country for any Filipino restaurants and look for Thai restaurants. You will see that Thai restaurants out number Filipino restaurants. Honestly, I’ve never seen or gone to any Filipino restaurant in Canada before and I’ve been living here over 2 and a half decades.

Overall, I pick Jomtien, Thailand over Davao City, Philippines. You will have to pay me to revisit Davao City.

Beaches in Thailand

Thailand has many great beaches such as Phi Phi Island, Phuket Beaches, Hua Hin Beach, Jomtien Beach and many more. However, if you want more beaches, the Philippines has more than 7,000 islands. If you want to scuba dive or want to visit over 7,000 beaches then the Philippines is the place to go.

Personally, one good clean beach with lots of restaurants and amenities is enough for me.

Beaches in the Philippines

The Philippines has over 7,000 islands and even more beaches. Here is a list of some of the most famous beaches in the Philippines.

  • El Nido, Palawan
  • Boracay, Aklan
  • Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
  • Panglao, Bohol
  • Bantayan Island, Cebu
  • Caramoan, Camarines Sur
  • Samal, Davao
  • Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte
  • Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga
  • Pagudpud/Bangui, Ilocos Norte
  • and many more…

View pictures here
Thailand vs Philippines
Davao City, Philippines wins

Visa

I found the cost of a Visa in Thailand less expensive than the Philippines. It cost me about $30-$40 USD per entry for a Tourist Visa and that allows you to stay in Thailand for 3 months.

For 2 Entries to Thailand it’s about $80 USD and 3 entries is about $120 USD. Each entry allows you to stay up to 3 months, so a total of 9 months you can stay in Thailand until you need to renew your Visa.

For example, if you pay $120 for 3 entries for the Visa, you can live anywhere in Thailand for up to 9 months. At the end of every 3 months you will have to go outside of Thailand and reenter. Usually people go to any country on the border to get out of Thailand then return to Thailand and get that stamp on your passport. You can go out for 5 minutes or 1 day, it’s up to you, just as long as you get the stamp on your return to Thailand to stay for another 3 months.

After you finish up all of your entries, you will have to travel outside of Thailand, usually Laos, Cambodian, or Burma, or any country that has the Thai Consulate Office to apply for more entries.

Do keep in mind, if you pass the maximum days of your entry. 1 additional stay over your allowance in Thailand will cost you about ฿500 THB ($15 USD per day). I passed about 1 week during my first visit to Thailand because I didn’t know. That cost me about $100 dollars and they made me pay at the airport on my way out.

Thai Consulate Office in Toronto, Canada

Applying for Thailand Visa in India

To search for the Thai Consulate Office in your city to get your Visa – just use Google without the quote "Thai Consulate Office in …." and type in your city.

Thailand vs Philippines
Jomtien, Thailand wins huge. The Philippine visa cost was more expensive for no good reasons.

Visa

I found the Visa cost in the Philippines much more than Thailand. If you don’t get your Visa in your country before visiting the Philippines, it’s going to cost you about ₱3,030 PHP or $120 USD on the first 21 days of visit. In Thailand that same $120 USD could get you the 3 entries at 3 months per entry, which adds up to 9 months, while in the Philippines they give you 21 days. So, the visa cost in Thailand is much cheaper.

Before leaving to the Philippines I would recommend visiting the Philippines Consulate Office in your country and getting the first entry for about $30 USD. Because the cost for the Visa in the Philippines was surprisingly more.

The Philippines will make you buy the I-Card for Tourist which is another $50 USD if you plan to stay longer than 21 days and that does not include the Visa.

In terms of cost, Thailand wins this one.

View the Visa cost for the Philippines here.

Hospital/Medical care

I went for a check up at the Thailand Bangkok Hospital, which by the way is a private run hospital and not government run. I was impressed by the building and the number of patients from other countries visiting this hospital.

The appointment was even more impressive; I called the evening before and I got an appointment the following day with one of the top doctors that specializes on what he does.

Thailand vs Philippines
Jomtien, Thailand wins. Hospitals look up to date with the latest technology and quick turnarounds for appointments.

Hospital/Medical care

During my first 2 months of stay, I contracted some bacteria in my kidney and I was very sick. The doctor in the Philippines said I got sick from the drinking water or some food I ate.

The medical building, Davao Doctors Hospital (the locals call it Davao Doc) looked old, outdated than the one I visited in Thailand and Canada. But if you are sick for minor issues, I think you shouldn’t have any problems. For more serious illness, I wouldn’t want to take my chances in the Philippines.

TV & Internet

In Thailand I used an internet provider called True and so far, no problem. True was reliable and quite fast, about 5mb download but still not as fast as back home in Canada with my cable connection. You can still get much higher than 5mb download in Thailand but it’s going to cost you more money; the 5mb download is enough for me to do my work.

I also had a bad experience with Max internet provider while in Jomtien because of disconnection. However when it was time to pay for my hotel, I was able to pack up and move to another location with a better internet provider.

In Thailand, I always had a few options if I didn’t like the place where I was staying – there are plenty of places to move to at a low cost. This was not the case in Davao City.

For TV, I didn’t have any problems for both countries. The hotel in Thailand always had English channels but I do like the TV channels in the Philippines more, because it had National Geographic, History, NBA and more. But I didn’t go there to watch TV.

Thailand vs Philippines
Overall experience I give Jomtien, Thailand.

TV & Internet

The internet connection in Davao City, Philippines was horrible. The hotel I stayed at had a high-speed internet connection, but it was shared with the rest of the people in the hotel.

Then I had no choice but to get a USB mobile internet connection that I brought from the local mall. The sales girl sold me the USB device and she inserted the sim chip the wrong way. I had to go back to the Mall and get a newer one. Horrible experience…

So, the internet connection was so terrible and since I can’t afford moving out to another hotel because the other places were too expensive, I was stuck in that situation. Whereas, in Thailand there were many accommodations to allow me to move around without any problems.

I actually had to leave Davao City because of the internet problem. My work depends on it.

Thai Airline

I had no problems with the Thai airline or terminal or flights going or leaving Thailand. You also do not need to pay the Thai authorities if you are going outside of Thailand. Whereas, in Manila, Philippines, you will have to pay about ₱500 PHP or about $15 USD to fly out of the Philippines internationally. I think that’s a rip off.

Thailand vs Philippines
Not to have to pay extra to fly international and the overall airline experience I give the win to Thailand.

Philippine Airline

I bought round trip tickets online from Philippines Airline (PAL) from Bangkok to Philippines about $800USD. I did not know Cebu Pacific and Air Asia were offering much cheaper airline tickets at about $100USD round trip from Bangkok.

Next time, I will definitely use Cebu Pacific or Air Asia as I hear some good reviews from the locals.

Also, I have a complaint against PAL. I wanted to rebook my flight because I didn’t want to stay in Davao city. I emailed PAL and was told I would have to pay $10 USD to rebook from Davao to Manila and ₱1,000 PHP from Manila to Bangkok.

When I went to the airport a day before my rescheduled flight to pay the penalty, I was told I would have to come back because I came right at 4:30pm when they were closing, so that was fine. When my girlfriend and I wanted to go inside Davao International Airport to grab something to eat, the security guard at the front would not allow her in because she did not have an ID on her at the time.

The following day at my rebooked flight, we went to the PAL office to pay the penalty and it was $18 USD from Davao to Manila and not $10USD as quoted. Also, it cost 1,000 THB and not ₱1,000 PHP as quoted. A total of about ₱1,850 PHP and not ₱1,400 PHP as they first quoted. Now that is a small mistake and I wonder what other smaller mistakes they make on a daily bases??

This is a small amount, but the problem is that I brought the exact change just enough for the penalty and the terminal fees. Now I had to head over to the ATM which they charge another ₱400 PHP each time I withdraw.

Terminal Fees

Oh, the terminal fees were ₱250 PHP from Davao to Manila and ₱750 PHP from Manila to other countries. I flew from USA, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Not once did I have to pay for any terminal fees–only in the Philippines.

After the penalty had been paid, we went to go inside the airport, but my gf could not go inside even though she brought her ID with her that day. It is unbelievable, why did the security guard tell her to bring her ID to enter yesterday, but when she got her ID, she still couldn’t go inside the airport. And these same security guards carry around pistols and guns around them.

So, I went in alone to check-in then came outside.

Random Stuff

When I talked to some of the local Thais with a decent job, they told me they are happy living in Thailand and do not want to live anywhere else. There are other Thais, mostly poorer Thais who would love to move aboard to a western country. My impression, more Thais don’t mind staying in Thailand.

Random Stuff

My impression of the Filipinos is that many would drop everything they have in the Philippines and move abroad at all cost.

Overall experience in Jomtien, Thailand

I love Thailand, I am currently saving up money for me to stay and work there permanently.

Overall experience in Davao City, Philippines

I couldn’t wait to get out of the country and I even rebooked my flight to go back to Thailand.

I will NEVER EVER go back to Davao City. Unless someone pays me for my salary, and I would still have to think about it.

Thailand vs Philippines | My Overall Scores

Jomtien, Thailand = 5
Davao City, Philippines = 2

I have updated this article: see the new article about Thailand vs Philippines.

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Author: k5


Hi, I’m currently living in Thailand. I’m a artist, designer, travel blogger, and sometimes a YouTuber...

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