The Maldives vs Thai Islands

The Maldives vs Thai Islands

So, you’ve decided you want your next holiday to be at an island paradise. In my mind, two destinations particularly stand out for this kind of break: the Maldives and Thailand. The question is, how do you decide which is for you? To help you pick, I’ve put together a list of some of the major qualities I think most people will be looking for in island holidays, and named a winning destination for each.


Winner: The Maldives

When it comes to romance, I think the Maldives is a clear winner. Don’t get me wrong, Thailand can be wonderfully romantic too, but I reckon the Maldives has the right combination of seclusion, luxury and unspoilt scenery to give it the edge.

One of the most romantic things about the Maldives is the fact that each island is limited by law to housing just one resort. So, you never have to squeeze your way through a crowd, and finding privacy is never a problem. Plus, you can stay in gorgeous villas that stand over tranquil lagoons – some even with stairs leading directly down into the water, which are perfect for relaxing dips for two.


Winner: Thai islands

If you’re looking for somewhere with a real party atmosphere, you’re best off heading to one of Thailand’s many gorgeous islands. For instance, it’s the Thai island of Koh Pha Ngan that’s so famous for its Full Moon Parties – one of the absolute highlights of the country’s nightlife.

The parties take place on Hat Rin Beach, which you can reach by boat from the beautiful Koh Samui (a great place to base yourself) in around 30 minutes. Or, Phuket is another fab holiday destination, and it’s one of the more developed Thai islands. Head to Patong, which is the main area for tourists, for the bulk of the nightlife.

Rustic Travel Experiences

Winner: Thai islands

If you’re planning to go backpacking, or you’re simply looking for a relatively budget-friendly break, you should choose Thailand over the Maldives. While a lot of Thai islands have certainly become more developed in recent years, there is still plenty of scope for finding somewhere cheap to stay and having a more rustic travel experience.

Plus, I also think there’s a little more scope for exploring independently in Thailand. It’s easy to island hop, and, as there’s a lot of quite basic accommodation, you can make your own travel plans and get involved in local life, rather than just sticking to your holiday resort.

Scuba Diving

Winner: It’s a draw!

One of the best things about visiting islands in exotic destinations is the chance to discover the incredible local marine life. I really couldn’t pick between the Maldives and Thailand on this one, just because they are both absolutely amazing places to scuba dive.

In the Maldives, top dive sites include Fish Head, which is off the Ari Atoll, and Banana Reef off the North Male Atoll. The latter is also awesome for snorkelling, so bear it in mind if there’s anyone in your party who doesn’t fancy diving.

In Thailand, Patong in Phuket is a good place to base yourself for diving trips. Shark Point is among the best dive sites and is easily reached from here.


Winner: The Maldives

Lastly, if you’re looking for luxury, I think the Maldives is the obvious choice. Now, there are lavish hotels to be found on Thai islands too, but since pretty much all the hotels in the Maldives pride themselves on luxury, this is where I recommend going.

As an example, resorts like Kanuhura are located on their own private island. This resort promises ocean views from every villa, award-winning spa treatments, gorgeous food and virtually every activity you can imagine. 

Photo Credit: Markiza