Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Bangkok, (in Thai Krung Thep), population 8,538,610 (1990), is the capital and largest city of Thailand. The city is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.

Processed food, timber, and textiles are leading exports. Industrial plants include rice mills, cement factories, sawmills, oil refineries, and shipyards. The city is a famous jewelry center, buying and selling silver and bronzeware.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Administration
3 Economy
4 Transportation
5 Current issues
6 External link


Bangkok began as a small trading center and port community serving Ayutthaya, which was the capital of Siam until it fell to Burma in 1767. A temporary capital was established at Thonburi, across the river from Bangkok. In 1782, King Rama I built a palace on the river and made Bangkok his capital, renaming it Krung Thep, however in the west the old name of the city continued to used. The Grand Palace complex contains the Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the image of the Emerald Buddha. The village of Bangkok ceased to exist, but its name continued to be used by foreigners.

Wat Phra Kaew

The full ceremonial name of Krung Thep is

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit,
which means
"The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."
It holds the world record for the longest town name. Local schoolchildren are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic.


{| border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" align="right" ! colspan="2" align=center bgcolor="#DEFFAD"|Statistics |- ||Area:||valign=top|1,568.7 km²
Ranked 68th |- ||Inhabitants:||valign=top|6,355,144 (2000)
Ranked 1st |- ||Pop. density:||valign=top|4,051 inh./km²
Ranked 1st |- ||ISO 3166-2:||TH-10 |- !colspan="2" align=center bgcolor="#DEFFAD"|Map |- |colspan="2" align=center| |}

Administratively, Bangkok is one of the 76 provinces (changwat) of Thailand. The urban sprawl of Greater Bangkok extends beyond the borders of Bangkok province, spilling into the neighbouring provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathumthani. The province as of today was created in 1972, when the previous Bangkok province - changwat Phra Nakhon - was merged with the Thonburi province.

The seal shows the god Indra riding in the clouds on Erawan, the elephant-shaped god. In his hand Indra holds a lightning bolt, which is his weapon to drive away drought. The seal is based upon a painting done by Somdej Chaofa Kromphraya Narisra-nuwattiwong. The tree symbol of Bangkok is Ficus benjamini.

Bangkok is subdivided into 50 districts (khet, also sometimes called amphoe like in the other provinces):

  1. Phra Nakhon
  2. Dusit
  3. Nong Chok
  4. Bang Rak
  5. Bang Khen
  6. Bang Kapi
  7. Pathum Wan
  8. Pom Prap Sattru Phai
  9. Phra Khanong
  10. Minburi
  11. Lat Krabang
  12. Yan Nawa
  13. Samphanthawong
  14. Phaya Thai
  15. Thonburi
  16. Bangkok Yai
  17. Huai Khwang
  1. Khlong San
  2. Taling Chan
  3. Bangkok Noi
  4. Bang Khun Thian
  5. Phasi Charoen
  6. Nong Khaem
  7. Rat Burana
  8. Bang Phlat
  9. Din Daeng
  10. Bueng Kum
  11. Sathon
  12. Bang Sue
  13. Chatuchak
  14. Bang Kho Laem
  15. Prawet
  16. Khlong Toei
  17. Suan Luang
  1. Chom Thong
  2. Don Mueang
  3. Ratchathewi
  4. Lat Phrao
  5. Watthana
  6. Bang Khae
  7. Lak Si
  8. Sai Mai
  9. Khan Na Yao
  10. Saphan Sung
  11. Wang Thonglang
  12. Khlong Sam Wa
  13. Bang Na
  14. Thawi Watthana
  15. Thung Khru
  16. Bang Bon


Bangkok is the economic center of Thailand. The Chao Phraya River allows Bangkok to function as a port. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is located in Bangkok.

Tourism is a major source of revenue for Bangkok. The city contains many extravagant buddhist temples. Khaosan Road, near the Grand Palace complex, is a popular destination for young backpackers.

Although technically illegal, prostitution is rampant in Bangkok, making it a popular destination for sex tourism. Popular red light districts in Bangkok include Patpong, Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Clinton Plaza. Bangkok's educational and cultural facilities include several universities, a fine arts academy, a national theater and a national museum.


Sukhumvit road with Skytrain above

An elaborate network of canals (khlong) gave the city the nickname "Venice of the East", at which time all transportation was done by boat. Today almost all are filled in and converted into traffic-filled streets. Several elevated highways, and a partially-finished ring road around Greater Bangkok, have been built to overcome the jams.

In 1999 an elevated 'Skytrain' metro system was opened. An underground metro system (Bangkok subway) system is under construction, the first line is scheduled to be operational in August 2004. The remains of a failed elevated railroad project (the Hopewell project) can still be seen all the way from the main railroad station out towards the Don Muang airport - due to the Asian financial crisis the construction was halted and the concrete pillars were left unused.

Bangkok is also the central hub of all railroad lines of Thailand and also for many of the bus lines connecting the cities.

The Don Muang Airport, the busiest in South-East Asia, is located north of the city, now already enclosed by urban areas. Construction for the new Suvarnabhumi Airport in the south-east of the city started in 2002, it is scheduled to be opened in 2005. By then all international traffic is expected to go to the new airport and Don Muang will become domestic only.

Current issues

Air pollution is a major problem in Bangkok, blamed on the city's massive traffic jams. The recent construction of elevated second-level expressways has eased the problem a little.

The sale of pirated intellectual property (mostly software and DVD movies) is widespread in Bangkok. One of the most popular locations in Bangkok for purchasing pirated software is Pantip Plaza. Although many half-hearted attempts have been made at cracking down on piracy by raiding Pantip and other venues over the years, piracy of intellectual property is still a booming business.

External link