Similarities and Differences Between Bangkok and London

by Kirsty on September 18, 2014

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After being so busy since moving out of London in the summer I’ve hardly had a chance to reflect on my time living in the city. There is no doubt to anyone who has seen all my updates that I absolutely loved it there and enjoyed making the most of all the different events constantly taking place.

I settled into the capital easily and with very little fuss and I think part of that was due to living in Bangkok before moving back to the UK. We both grew up in Lincoln which, despite having city status, isn’t the biggest of places and owes lots of it’s stature to the impressive cathedral and castle that can be seen from most places within it.

So after living in two of the worlds major cities, Bangkok & London, what differentiates them?

Admiralty ArchThe London Bupa 10k going through Admiralty Arch


Friendliness – Despite me not buying completely into the consensus that nobody in London will look each other in the eye or ever help a stranger, there’s no denying that in general you’ll find a lot more smiling faces on the streets of Thailand’s largest city than you will in England.

Respect – Being a teacher this is a big one for me. In Thailand teachers receive a lot of respect and the children aren’t just looking to get one over on you at every opportunity, you’re there to teach and it feels like they’re grateful for that. Also, on a slightly touchier subject it’s acceptable to be friendlier with the children without the ‘everyone’s a pedophile’ worries that we’ve developed over here.

Drinking buckets – Although binge drinking is in full swing over here, a full bottle of spirit in a bucket on the street isn’t generally accepted. A cheap 2lt bottle of cider however…

No Rannees Restaurant – I miss this place so much and even in London have struggled to find a place that is both value for money and able to cook so many different types of food to a decent standard. Going to Bangkok? Go to Ranees.

View from our Bangkok ApartmentThe view from our Bangkok apartment


Traffic – A very obvious point but one that is very relevant when living in both cities. The traffic can be horrendous in both but where as in Bangkok it seems to be within the city, London is more of a problem getting in or out.

Public Transport – Both redeem themselves from the above point with excellent public transport. In Bangkok we didn’t live very close to any sky train stops which was a pain but the stupidly cheap buses (and bus lanes) as well as the option of a moped thrill ride meant we were always able to get about quickly. In London I was a few minutes away from the nearest underground stop and only a few minutes from the center of town. Easy peasy.

Great shopping – While Poi hated our regular trips to Oxford street for my shopping fix he didn’t mind the welcome relief of the ice cold air conditioned shopping malls in Bangkok. Both offer great shopping and not just indoors, both cities have exciting markets where you can pick up just about anything.

Food – While we might not have found a regular favourite restaurant in London like we did with Ranne’s in Bangkok both places offered plenty of choice when hunger came knocking. Like most people, we adore Thai food and would eat that 99% of the time but if we ever had a craving for something else it was never hard to find in Bangkok, particularly Indian. The same goes with London, so many varieties just a few minutes in each direction, not something you find in our hometown.

Have you been to these two cities? Which one would get your vote as the best place to live and why?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nita September 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

Love both of these cities! London is so hip and happening but Bangkok is special. Because I grew up in Bangkok, my vote is obvious. Being from a hot country, I don’t think I’d survive the winter in London.. Lol. Nonetheless, I love London – discovered so many great restaurants there lately 😉 hmm.. Can my answer be winter in Bangkok and summer in London? 😀
Nita´s last blog post ..London’s Sights & Delights (Part 2)


Franca October 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

That’s a very difficult question to answer because, yes I have been to both these two cities, but I haven’t lived in neither of them and I believe that spending a little time as a traveller is completely different than living in a place. Despite I like Bangkok a lot, London is always been high on my list of “places that I’d love to try and live in”.
Franca´s last blog post ..LOCATE CAVEY – Utrecht


paper boat sailor October 30, 2014 at 6:41 am

This is such an original article. I travelled to both cities recently, and although I find Bangkok endlessly interesting and complex, my vote goes to London. I’ve been a student of literature, and London’s literary history and places help me feel at home in the city. It’s also strategically located and very well connected, and as a regular traveller, I think I would find it easier to make my way to countries around the world than from an East Asian city.
Also, can’t forget the great theatre houses!
paper boat sailor´s last blog post ..Trapped in Paradise: an Island Story


ActivityFan February 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

This is a very interesting topic.

I’d say, to pick one of these cities there are many factors beyond your list.

From my point of view, as an Indonesian, I see Bangkok as a similar city with Jakarta, which I found just ok. However, when I lived in London, it was such a great experience! Loved it and would love to go back there in the future. Less pollution and more organised, I would say. On the other hand, Bangkok is always the winner for its food and weather ;p

So I’d vote for London for the place to live and Bangkok for my winter holiday destination!


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