Destinations » Bangkok

Bangkok

temple bangkok thailand traveler hotel cheaphotel tour packagetour vacationBangkok is the capital as well as the biggest and most important agglomeration in Thailand. The precise meaning of its Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is the city of angels. The Chao Phraya River passes through Bangkok, which during the Ayutthaya Kingdom was a mere small trading village. It was not until 1768, after the Ayutthaya Kingdom was defeated by the intruders from Burma, that Bangkok became the capital. Nevertheless, another 14 years had yet to pass, until the present Rattanakosin Kingdom was established and the capital set by the east bank of the river by Rama I after King Taksin passed away. Taking the 18th century boundaries as a reference, the became officially known as Phra Nakhon. Another name, Krungthep Mahanakorn, relates to the present grown city together with its suburbs. The city is commonly referred to by visitors as Bangkok.

Being strategically positioned in Southeast Asia, the formerly called Siam and today’s Thailand functioned as a buffer zone between the British and French colonial powers.Bangkok has all the qualities of a free, vibrant and powerful metropolis. It is a fast developing Southeast Asian city, as well as the hub of Thailand in the political, social and economic sense

Being rich in cultural sites as well as boasting vibrant nightlife, the city is often identified as highly exotic. Despite Bangkok’s rapid urban and social development, the major cultural and historical sites, including Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Vimanmek Palace Complex and a multitude of Buddhist temples are left unharmed. Illegal though tolerated red-light areas attract a dozen million foreign tourists yearly.

Originally, Bangkok was a sleepy trading port town on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its history dates back to years before the appearance of the Ayutthaya Kingdom (year 1350 – 1767), which was the foundation for present-day Thailand. It is not fully known how the city’s name was coined. While the “Bang” part is evidently what Central Thais call for a settlement by the river bank, the “kok” could either mean Java plum (a tree with fruits like olives), or instead, it could be “koh” which means “island” implying the area’s topography was shaped by rivers.

royal palace temple thailand traveler vacation hotel cheaphotel tour packagetourFollowing the defeat of Ayutthaya by the invaders from Burma in the late 18th century, the subsequent King Taksin set up the new capital in the neighborhood of what was Bangkok at that time. It gained the name of Thonburi. However, after the King Taksin’s rule ended in 1782, the following King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke moved the capital to the east bank of the river. He raised a new lengthy name, abbreviated to Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, which presently is Bangkok’s official name. Foreigners, however, preferred to keep calling the entire new city Bangkok. On the other hand, for the Thais, Bangkok only refers to a historic part of the city. By going through vast urban development, rapid introduction of transportation system and all kinds of urban infrastructure during the rule of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn, Bangkok quickly became the most important megalopolis in Thailand.

Bangkok is the most important megalopolis in Thailand, standing much higher than other Thai cities. At a disadvantage to other urban centers in Thailand, most investments still end up in Bangkok. The city claims 53rd place as most wealthy metropolis in the world, next to Singapore and Manila. Bangkok’s gross economic product counted by PPP amounts to about 90 billion dollars, which stands for one sixth of the total Thai GDP. Depending on statistical method used, some think tanks claim 3/4 of Thai service industry is located in Bangkok, with the service sector accounting for almost half of Thailand’s 0.6 trillion dollar economy. Looking at the per capita numbers, an average Bangkok resident earns 14,000 dollars per year, while according to other economists, Bangkok’s per head income may be even higher, as much as 33,000 dollars/year, assuming that the city’s GDP amounts to more than 200 billion dollars (2/5 of Thailand’s GDP).

Bangkok is the most important megalopolis in Thailand, standing much higher than other Thai cities. At a disadvantage to other urban centers in Thailand, most investments still end up in Bangkok. The city claims 53rd place as most wealthy metropolis in the world, next to Singapore and Manila. Bangkok’s gross economic product counted by PPP amounts to about 90 billion dollars, which stands for one sixth of the total Thai GDP. Depending on statistical method used, some think tanks claim 3/4 of Thai service industry is located in Bangkok, with the service sector accounting for almost half of Thailand’s 0.6 trillion dollar economy. Looking at the per capita numbers, an average Bangkok resident earns 14,000 dollars per year, while according to other economists, Bangkok’s per head income may be even higher, as much as 33,000 dollars/year, assuming that the city’s GDP amounts to more than 200 billion dollars (2/5 of Thailand’s GDP).

A substantial part of Thailand’s GDP is composed of tourism, estimated 6 percent in the 2011 year. With Bangkok being the major entry point to Thailand, many foreign travelers choose to visit Bangkok’s attractions, before exploring other parts of the country. As such, many hotel chains, hostels and other types of accommodation have sprung all over Bangkok, with some Thai hotel chains, e.g. Dusit Thani Group, Erawan Group, and Siam Hotels and Resorts, becoming fully-fledged international firms.

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At present, the burning issue in Bangkok is the increasing wealth gap, to a large extent between the migrants from the countryside and from Thailand’s less wealthy neighbors and the highly educated middle- and higher -class city dwellers, such us professionals, business circles, expatriates and retired foreigners. It is estimated that highly skilled professionals constitute roughly half of Bangkok’s registered dwellers. Every 13th Bangkok’s resident lives under the poverty line, while the mean for Thailand is one in ten. This estimate does not take into account the unregistered immigrants that comprise roughly 7% of Bangkok’s residents