Philippines Thailand Comparison
A little background for the Philippines Thailand comparison. I have lived in Asia since 1989 mostly in Thailand. I first came to the Philippines in 1991 but always stayed around Manila until 1994 when I made my first trip to Angeles City. I have lived in Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya during my years in Thailand. 10 Years in Bangkok, 12 years in Pattaya and another 4 years in Phuket. I’ve been living in both Angeles City and Pattaya for 6 years now. Thrown in that time I did go back to States here and there for long periods of time but always kept my roots in Asia mostly. My work and responsibilities have me bouncing back and forth from the Philippines to Thailand every 3 weeks or so. With that said I try to spend most of my time in Thailand. There are many reasons for this.
Philippines Thailand Comparison – Communication
For me being a long time Thailand expat I can understand most Thai that I need to with a good working knowledge of the Thai language. My pronunciation is above average and I can sit and watch Thai TV understanding pretty much everything that is going on. Learning Tagalog is not needed (But highly recommended) in the Philippines as most people do speak English. Whether or not they completely understand you are an entirely different story. With that said I have a horrible grasp of Tagalog as I don’t really have time to learn it although you pick some basics up along the way through osmosis. Beyond that, I’m clueless in that regard. There is no language barrier such as you experience in Thailand so all things being equal, communication is not a factor in the Philippines. I have much more fun communicating in Thailand as I go both languages and can have fun playing dumb acting like a Farang (Thai Language For Foreigner) tourist.
Philippines Thailand Comparison – Food
Hands down Thailand has a much bigger variety and quality of food than the Philippines at a much cheaper cost. I eat much better in Thailand both at home and going out eating street foods. I hardly ever eat street foods in the Philippines as the sanitation is just not very good IMHO. I’m sure my constitution could handle the Filipino street food but I prefer to err on the side of caution sticking to Bar-B-Q like have a Chicken (Lechon Manoc) or Pork (Lechon Baboy) whereas in Thailand I’ll try pretty much everything except bugs, frogs, and lizards. I’m finding Filipino food as a whole to be pretty good but I must say very basic whereas Thai food is rather complex with loads of flavors and you can eat for as little as $1 to $1.50 no problem. The same can be said for Filipino food but to be honest I have had a few dishes that I thought where OK compared to Thai food. I’m not a fussy eater as I know what it means to starve. That’s a whole other story.
Food prices in Thailand are a lot cheaper and there is a much wider selection of foreign products at prices that are not in lunar orbit so they are pretty affordable for even the most frugal of budgets. Unlike some items in the Philippines are wickedly expensive to the point it’s downright mercenary. I won’t purchase certain products out of principle in the Philippines due to price. The same can no longer be said for Thailand although years ago I’d pay 7 bucks for a box of Cheerios (Famous American breakfast cereal). Now that same box is a $1.50.
Philippines Thailand Comparison – Transportation
Again Thailand is better than the Philippines on this in every way. From roads, buses, trains, taxis and motorcycle taxis or trikes as they are known in the Philippines. Thailand gives you many more options of transportation at an affordable cost. Although buses are cheap in the Philippines, about 140 pesos now from Manila to Angeles City, the traffic just getting out of Manila is insanity. Once you get out of Manila the traffic is fine. Bangkok traffic can be pretty bad but if you know how to use the sky trains and subways then it’s pretty nonexistent. I have not explored the two LRT lines in Manila as I don’t wish to use public transit in the Philippines. From what I have heard and read I would rather take a taxi as opposed to roasting in non-air-conditioned railway cars with the windows closed. I’ll take the modern air-conditioned BTS in Bangkok any day. Taxis from Bangkok to Pattaya are only about $30USD where taxis from Manila to Angeles City are about double that. You can get air conditioned minivans to Bangkok for only 100 baht. Or a regular bus for about 120 baht. In the Philippines you’re only affordable option is the bus lines which are actually not bad IMHO.
Philippines Thailand Comparison – Brief Overall Living
Life in Pattaya, as opposed to Angeles City, is like night and day. There is a lot more do to in Pattaya on every level. From beaches to bowling to shopping to zoos and everything in between Pattaya has a lot more to offer. You can go to a plethora of places to eat on the beach or just on the street that has mind-blowing Thai food. In the Philippines, you are left with some decent Filipino cuisine but on the street, it’s very suspect and unclean compared to Thailand. Pattaya also offers you easy access to loads of surrounding islands and cities quickly either by bus, minivan or taxi. Angeles City does not nearly have what Pattaya has to offer in terms of food, infrastructure, shopping and just basic things to do and see. Angeles City is certainly getting more and more creature comforts but at a comparably slower pace than Thailand has ever been.
Personally, I’m pretty burned out with Angeles City after about 10 days and I’m ready to go see other places so I take as many side trips as possible to keep monotony out of the picture. If it wasn’t for my business, I don’t think I’d hardly be spending any time in Angeles City perhaps other parts of the Philippines as it’s a beautiful country with an economy ready to burst if the World doesn’t first. Angeles City for all intensive purposes is basically a shit hole compared to Pattaya but it does have its own charm and personality. Some people love it to death others get burned out and move to other more laid back areas of the Philippines. I don’t blame them one bit. I may be doing that in the future myself someday. More to come shortly
Philippines Thailand comparison Spending money
Pattaya compared to Angeles City can easily be up to 3 to 5 times the money all depending on how one goes about doing things. If you are staying in short period of stays of say 2 weeks to a month at a time then generally Pattaya will end at least being double the price maybe even the 300% or 3x the figure you spend in the Philippines, But that would be basically spending money at a rate of say 10,000 Philippine Pesos a night which could easily happen in Angeles City on a good night out. What’s your burn rate per day in both places? (IE 10,000-15,000 pesos day in Angeles City, 24-27,000 baht a day in Pattaya). This is just a loose and rough estimate based on the information in your post.
This is an ongoing saga of the ever growing questions of comparison to both Pattaya and Angeles City. As mentioned certainly hundreds of times on the popular forum, Philippines Addicts is Angeles City and Pattaya do not compare at all. The only thing they have in common is a bar scene with loads of chicks all packed into the same area. That’s where their similarities disappear in my mind.
Pattaya is truly becoming a more and more geared toward the modern comfortable living standards of the West edging into rural settings of a Thai beachside resort. Anybody who knows the evolution of Pattaya must be impressed with its overall success in putting it on the map as a huge domestic and International tourist destination. There are many people both Thais and foreigners who live in Bangkok and make several trips to Pattaya a year. There are many different things to do there.
Angeles City on the other hand from the broader perspective does not really have a grand or elaborate plan. Somebody, please name a cohesive effort on the business and government entities at playmaking for a collective “vision”. The only thing close is the developments on Clark as well as the Ayala family eventually are supposed to inject 50 billion pesos in the development of Porac (Angeles City Side of River) There is no forward direction towards making this anything but a town that would not be on the International map if it wasn’t for the girls and widespread prostitution as there is nothing else to offer.