Bangkok – City of Angels
Bangkok was founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. It is now the country’s spiritual, cultural, diplomatic, commercial and educational hub. It covers an area of more than 1,500 square kilometres, and it is home to approximatlely ten million people or more than 10% of the country’s population.
After the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, General Taksin selected the city of Dhonburi as the new capital (1767), the main reasons for this choice were strategic. His successor Rama I, the first King of the Chakri dynasty, transferred the royal residence across the river to Ban Kok (“Village of Olives“). The official date of foundation is 1782, but the place was already known as a fishing village, and its orchards were already famous in the Ayutthaya period. In fact there was probably, for a time at least, a fort on the Menam as a river defence of Ayutthaya. At the time of the town’s foundation the area around the Phra Mane Ground was occupied by a considerable Chinese population. When the palace was built they moved to the Sampeng district. Old Bangkok was a vast network of canals (klong) with no roads and few footpaths. The first road was built in 1864 on the initiative of the European community. This “New Road” or Charoen Krung Road followed a former elephant track passing behind the properties lying on the riverside. Later King Chulalongkorn had the Rajadamnoen Avenue (“Royal Avenue“) laid out on the model of the Champs Elyses in Paris in order to connect the Grand Palace with the Dusit Palace, which then was still on the edge of the city.
Over the last few decades, Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, has changed into a modern, exciting and sophisticated city. It offers to visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonised and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand’s gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.
For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty and fascination, magnificent palaces, classical dance extravaganzas, numerous shopping centres and traditional ways of life, especially along the “Venice of the East” timeless canals and the Chao Phraya River of the “River of Kings” winding through the city. It is worth taking a trip along its waters before exploring further into different canals to take a glimpse of old Bangkok.
Bangkok today (with Dhonburi) has close to nine million inhabitants. There are three different names for the capital city. The official name is Phra Nakhon (“Capital City“); Krung Thep means “City of Angels” (referring to the officials who formerly aided the King); Bangkok (“Village of Olives“) is the name most commonly used.
Located in the center of the country, straddling the banks of the Chao Phraya River and close to the Gulf of Thailand, The greater Bangkok Metropolis (including Thonburi on the other side of the Chao Phraya River) is adjacent to Pathum Thani on its north, Nonthabri on its northwest, Chachoengsao on its east, Samut Sakhon on its southwest, and Samut Prakan on its southeast.
Bangkok has an area of 1,568.737 sq.km. Certain areas has become more popular than others, largely due to their good location and the things there to do and see … be it traditional attractions, shopping highlights or a notoriously famous nightlife scene. Navigating this exciting city has also become much easier, thanks to the Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) system connecting many areas.
There are three seasons: rainy (June to October), hot (March to May), and cool (November to February). Annual average temperature is about 29 degree Celsius with monthly averages ranging from 35 degree Celsius in April to 26 degree Celsius in December.
Bangkok is located in the basin of the Chao Phraya Rier and has no mountains. The land is crisscrossed by canals and rivers.
As the capital of the country, Bangkok is the centre of administration, commerce and communications. The city is divided into 50 districts (khet)
The standard Thai language is used, while English is a mandatory subject in public schools and is widely spoken and understood in business and tourist areas.
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