Same, same but different is a phrase often used in Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of Southern Asian. It is used when either you or a local are trying to explain what something is by comparing it to something similar and familiar to you--so your point of reference is essentially same same but different.
For instance, as taken from the Urban Dictionary:
Meaning you are comparing two watches (both the same type of thing) but a real Rolex and a knockoff are obviously very different.
In my case, I took the bus/ferry both to the island and from the island of Phu Quoc. Both were the same trip, but also very different.
It all started when a van taking me, two guys from Russia, and a couple from France to the ferry terminal on the other side of the island ran into a little snag. As we started our journey across the island, this guy on a little motorcycle rides up along our van and yells at the driver to stop. Apparently, the two Russian guys had rented this guy's bike the day before an had brought it back damaged. So the van stops, the Russian fight with the guy over the damage to his bike and as time is ticking away, one of the guys manning the van says, "We have motorcycle take you to terminal," obviously while they sort this out. And, that is where I start to give them the crazy lady deal. I was like, "No. I paid for a van. I am not getting out and riding a motorcycle across the island. Take me to my ferry." This goes on for about five minutes and the guys manning the van finally concede and start the van up.
The ferry that took me back to the mainland wasn't nearly as fancy as the one that brought me there, and it smelled like fish, but I did get to catch the Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie, Forbidden Kingdom. Much of me wished that the movie had been in Chinese instead of English and that the Vietnamese release was Chinese dubbed in Vietnamese so that it looked like Chan and Li have a good case of Tourettes.