What is Bangkok?
Bangkok is the capital and largest city of Thailand. This city is known in Thailand under the name “Krung Thep”. The city spans over 1,600 square kilometers in the delta of the Chao Phraya River in central Thailand. It has a population of over 8 million, or 12.6% of that of the country. More than 14 million people (22.2 percent) live in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Bangkok is a city in Thailand, or “everything” happens.
The history of Bangkok
Bangkok has its roots in a small trading post that the kingdom of Ayutthaya was established in the 15th century and over time, eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok is the center of Siam (now known as Thailand) and is modernized very quickly during the late 19th century, when the country was facing Western pressure. It was the center of political struggles of Thailand, throughout the 20th century, when the country abolished the absolute monarchy, adopted the constitutional order and has undergone numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s to the 1980s and now has a significant impact on politics, economy, education, media and the modern Thai society.
The launch of Bangkok on the international scale
Asian economic growth during the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational companies to establish their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a major regional force in finance and business. It is a hub in the international transportation and health care, and has emerged as a regional center for the arts, fashion and entertainment. The city is renowned for its vibrant street life and the number of cultural sites. Historical temples like the great Palace and other Buddhist temples, including Wat Arun and Wat Pho contrast with other tourist attractions such as the nightlife of Khaosan Road and Patpong. Bangkok is among the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. She was named “the most visited city” by MasterCard, and was named “Best City of the World” for four consecutive years by Travel and Leisure magazine.
The strong economic growth experienced in Bangkok during recent decades has caused uncontrolled urban planning and regulation. There is also inadequate infrastructure systems: traffic is dense -and dangerous- in Bangkok. Despite an extensive network of highways, the use of private cars is significant and resulted in severe air pollution in the 1990s until 2005. The city has turned to public transport to try to solve this major problem. Four lines of fast transport (including air ultramodern subway lines) are now in operation and make the daily transport easier.