The tourism industry in South-East Asian countries is growing with passing years. A new destination stealing the limelight from the other countries in the region is Cambodia. This country is rising from its ashes and growing to a splendid kingdom, thus proving to be a tough competitor to other South East Asian countries such as Thailand.
Architecture – The architecture in Thailand is developed and one will find the cities covered with skyscrapers. However, the Cambodian architecture is still intact. The architecture in Cambodia takes its inspiration from the French colonial style which has its own charm. Therefore in spite of being less developed, Cambodia takes a lead in this.
Beaches – Thailand has a wider coastline and a larger number of beaches. However, the beaches at Cambodia maybe fewer but are still pristine and untouched. The Cambodian beaches have been kept away from the commercialization and thus maintain their purity. Due to the low popularity, not many tourists visit Cambodia beaches, thus they are less crowded and have a serene environment as opposed to Thai beaches which are crowded and commercial.
Temples – Thailand may have many temples such as the Reclining Buddha and the Golden Buddha. However, no temple matches up to the magnificence and aura of the temples at Angkor Wat and other Angkor temples. The temples at Angkor have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and rank in the largest religious spaces across the globe.
Culture – It is believed that the Thai culture is inspired by the Khmer culture of Cambodia. Thus, the Cambodian culture and beliefs are a step ahead.
Currency – The local currency at Cambodia is Reil whilst at Thailand is Baht. However, the ease of using the US Dollar in Cambodia saves the tourists from the hassle of exchanging money into the local currency which is not desirable at currency stalls. This fact serves as another plus point for Cambodia.
Price – Thailand is more commercialized and developed as compared to Cambodia. Thus, Cambodia is way cheaper and budget-friendly than Thailand. The food, beer, liquor, travel and all other aspects are cheaper in Cambodia. Moreover, even the hotels in Cambodia are more value for money as compared to the same in Thailand.
Language – English language in Cambodia in more advanced than that of Thailand. Schools in Cambodia take up English seriously and every child is made to learn it. This bridges the communication gap between the locals and the tourists. However, in Thailand, English lies at extremely low standards. This creates a hassle for tourists visiting the country.
People – Both Thailand and Cambodia have incredible hospitality. However, Cambodia has suffered a lot in the recent years. This makes the Cambodians warm and caring. They believe in being grateful for all they have, no matter how much it may be. The Cambodians believe that foreigners have good things to offer to their society. Whereas, the Thai believe in doing things “their way” in spite of the foreign ways being better. The smiling faces of Cambodians leave a lasting impression on the hearts of all tourists.
Security – Police in Thailand is forever targeting tourists and is in a constant attempt to extract as much money from them as possible. Unlike, Cambodia where police exempt tourists in a belief that tourists bring in money to the local economy thereby leading to growth in employment.
Food – The Thai food has gained recognition world over. However, the cuisine of Cambodia consisting of rice and delicious curries are less piquant than in Thailand, thus preferable for most of the taste palates. Due to the French colonial influence and the fact that foreigners can work and cook in their own eateries, even the western food at Cambodia is way better than what one would find in Thailand.
Nightlife – Thailand offers a great nightlife in the form of pubs and casinos. However, not only does Cambodia offer similar upscale clubs and casinos but also its own version of night outs. The late-night beach shacks in Cambodia are a one-of-a-kind and a unique experience. Head to the Pub Street in Siem Reap to experience a mini version of Khao San, but with more flair and charm.
In a nutshell, all that can be said is that Thailand being economically advanced, has taken its tourists for granted. This leads to tourists overlooking this country and hunting for alternate holiday destinations.
Whereas, Cambodia is now gaining attention and is a prominent destination on the Asian travel map. Cambodia is a charming country and is full of exotic locations to offer its visitors. The credit for this surely goes to the Cambodian people who have gracefully lifted themselves from the tragic past and transformed their country into a glorious kingdom.