Although they’re both located in Thailand, Bangkok and Phuket are very different cities. Each city has its own culture and offers something different for people who are visiting or may be thinking about moving to Thailand.

Bangkok vs Phuket

Key takeaways

  • Both Bangkok and Phuket are located in Thailand.
  • Bangkok is much larger in both size and population than Phuket.
  • The cost of living is very affordable in both cities.
  • The average monthly income is much lower in Phuket.
  • Real estate cost is much higher in Phuket compared to Bangkok.
  • Both Bangkok and Phuket have similar weather patterns.
  • Both cities welcome many tourists throughout the year.
  • Bangkok and Phuket have excellent education systems
  • Phuket is known for its ex-pats and people move there permanently from other countries.

World Location

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. It’s located along the Chao Phraya River and the Gulf of Thailand in the southern-central region of the country. Phuket is a city in Phuket Province on Phuket Island.

The island is located in the Andaman Sea along the southernmost section of Thailand. The city of Phuket is on the southeastern shore of the island.

bangkok and phuket map locations

Size

Bangkok has a total size of 605.693 square miles, and the metropolitan area is 2,996.8 square miles. Phuket is much smaller, with a total city size of 5 square miles and a metropolitan area that’s 86 square miles.

Population

Because it’s so small, Phuket has a population of only about 79,300 people. There are about 250,500 people in the larger metropolitan area.

Bangkok, on the other hand, has a population of about 10,539,000 people, and the metropolitan area is home to about 14,626,200 people.

population chart

Real Estate

The average cost of a house in Phuket is about 38,445,420 Thai Bhat, while an average condo costs about 10,086,600 Thai Bhat. This is equal to about $1,048,130 for a home and $275,000 for a condo.

Bangkok has much lower average real estate prices, although the cost of real estate varies between different areas of the city. On average, however, a home in Bangkok costs between about 3,400,000 and 11,569,500 Thai Bhat, or between $93,000 and $315,400.

Cost of Living

Aside from the cost of real estate, which can be somewhat expensive, living in Phuket city is relatively inexpensive.

A single person can expect to spend about $475 per month on living expenses, not including the cost of rent or a mortgage. A family of four will usually spend about $1,700 per month.

Bangkok isn’t much more expensive than Phuket. Without the addition of rent or a mortgage, a single person will usually spend about $580 per month, while a family will usually spend about $2,090 per month.

real estate and cost of living charts

Income

In Bangkok, the average monthly income is about 112,000 Thai Bhat or THB. This equals about $3,053, and it amounts to an average yearly income of about $36,636.

The average monthly income in Phuket is about 65,000 THB, which equals about $1,772. This gives people in Phuket an average yearly income of about $21,264.

Languages

Thai is the only official language of both Bangkok and Thailand in general. English is also commonly spoken in Bangkok, as many people learn the language so they can interact with tourists or people who are visiting Bangkok on business.

Many people often mix English and Thai to create a specific dialect. Other common languages spoken throughout the city include Japanese, Lao, Burmese, Malay, Hindi, and Teochew, which is a regional Chinese dialect.

Like Bangkok, Thai is the most commonly spoken language in Phuket. Phuket is also a large tourist area, so English is very common in the city.

Sign in Thai language: "Your health is still strong"
Sign in Thai language: “Your health is still strong”

Weather

Phuket is very close to the equator, so there are only subtle changes in temperature throughout the year.

For most of the year, temperatures are in the high 80s or low 90s, and even at night temperatures generally stay warm, only occasionally dropping as low as the mid-70s.

Phuket has two main seasons, known as the dry and wet seasons. The dry season takes place from December to March, while the wet season occurs from April to November.

Rain is most common during the wet season, but it’s frequent throughout the year. The tropical area gets about 87 inches of rain each year.

Bangkok is slightly cooler than Phuket, with temperatures averaging in the low to mid-80s throughout the year. Bangkok has three seasons, known as the hot, cool, and rainy seasons.

There are no definitive starts to these seasons, but the rainy season usually begins in the middle of May. September is often considered the start of the rainy season, which lasts until October when the cool season begins.

The city sees an average of 65 inches of rain each year.

Phuket writing on beach sand

Food

Rice is an important staple food throughout Thailand, including Bangkok. Most of the time, rice makes up the main portion of a meal with side dishes such as soups, salads, or other small food items accompanying it.

Noodles are also very popular and are often stir-fried or used in soups. Overall, Bangkok’s cuisine tends to feature light, fresh foods, including many fruits and vegetables.

Bangkok also offers many traditional dishes that make up the city’s cuisine. For example, som tum, a papaya salad, is very popular.

Dumplings, noodle soup, Pad Thai, and chicken coconut soup are also common. Many people in the city also enjoy mango with sweet, sticky rice for dessert.

Phuket’s cuisine is made up of many different flavors and styles, brought to the city by the many people who move to the area.

Traditional, local dishes include Mee Hokkien, or Hokkien-style noodles, which are fried and tossed with greens, pork, and seafood in a thick broth.

Ah-pong, which is a light, sweet treat made with coconut milk and sugar, is a popular snack. Oh Tao is a very traditional meal of fried seafood, eggs, flour, taro root, and bean sprouts.

Many people enjoy exploring Phuket’s vibrant cuisine by purchasing food from street vendors. These vendors often sell small portions that are incredibly fresh, so visitors can sample many flavors.

Pad thai food
Pad Thai

Education

Because so many people move to Phuket from other countries, the city has many international schools.

These schools include the British International School, the Phuket Thai Cooking School, and the Headstart International School Phuket.

Phuket also has a public school system and several private school options.

Bangkok also has an excellent school system. Students study incredibly hard during their middle and high school years to compete for spots at the city’s leading universities.

These universities include King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Chulalongkorn, Mahidol, Thammasat, Silpakorn, and Ramkhamhaeng University.

Most of the universities in Thailand are located in Bangkok. Bangkok also has more elementary and high school options, so many students move from other provinces or cities in Thailand to attend school in Bangkok from a young age.

Sports

One of the most popular sports in Thailand is soccer, and Phuket is home to one professional soccer club, called the Phuket F.C.

The club has undergone many changes throughout the years since its formation in 2009. Many people in Phuket also enjoy casual or competitive water sports such as snorkeling, surfing, sea kayaking, and scuba diving.

Bangkok also has several professional soccer teams, called Bangkok United, Port F.C., Police Tero, BG Pathum United, and Muangthong United.

Other popular sports in the city include Muay Thai, a type of martial art, and sepak takraw, which is similar to volleyball but is played by kicking the ball instead of using your hands.

Golf and horse racing also have strong historical ties to the city and are still commonly played or observed today.

muay thai fighters in a ring
Muay Thai training

Transportation

Traditionally, Bangkok’s canals served as the city’s major mode of transportation, but they are only infrequently used now.

Instead, a series of highways and side streets meander through the city. The city also has an elevated express network for anyone looking to travel through the city more quickly.

A rapid transit rail system was installed in 1999, and the city is also served by other public transportation such as buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, and boats.

Because Phuket is so small, it’s very easy to travel around the city. Many people travel through the city or to the area’s nearby beaches on songthaews, which are a type of small passenger vehicle that makes designated stops along routes.

Phuket is also home to Phuket International Airport, a bus system, and a ferry system. A rapid transit tram is also currently in construction.

Bangkok "Tuk tuk"
Bangkok “Tuk tuk”

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