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Bangkok Info
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bangkok is the capital city of and largest urban area in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (กรุงเทพมหานคร, pronounced [krūŋ tʰêːp máhǎː nákʰɔ̄ːn]) or simply Krung Thep, meaning "city of angels". Bangkok is by far the most densely populated city in Thailand with about 9 million people. Bangkok was a small trading post near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century. It eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782.

Because of its strategic location in Southeast Asia, Siam (later Thailand) acted as a buffer-zone between the French and British colonial empires. Bangkok itself has gained a reputation as an independent, dynamic and influential city. Bangkok is the political, social and economic centre of Thailand, and one of the leading cities in Southeast Asia.

Due to the 1980s and 1990s Asian investment boom, many multinational corporations make their regional headquarters in Bangkok and the city is a regional force in finance and business. Its increasing influence on global politics, culture, fashion and entertainment underlines its status as an Alpha global city.[1] In 2009, it was the second most expensive city in South-East Asia behind Singapore.[2]

The city's many cultural landmarks and attractions in addition to its nightlife venues has made it synonymous with exoticism. Its rapid modernization, reflected in the cityscape and the urban society, has left untouched the historic Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Vimanmek Palace Complex, hundreds of Buddhist temples, and the city's illegal (but tolerated) red-light districts draw about 10 million international visitors each year, second only to London.[3]

Bangkok has an official population of 9,100,000 residents, while the greater Bangkok area contains some 11,971,000 (January 2008).[4] The capital is a center of the megalopolis of 20 millions people, situated in a heavily urbanized triangle of central and eastern Thailand, which stretches from Nakhon Ratchasima to the heavily Industrialized Eastern Seaboard. Bangkok borders five other provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom, and all five provinces are joined in the conurbation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. It is served by two international airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport, four rapid transit lines operated by the BTS, MRT, and the SRT, with plans to add additional lines by 2020.

 

History

The history of Bangkok dates at least to the early fifteenth century, when it was under the rule of Ayutthaya. Due to its strategic location near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River, the town gradually increased in importance, serving as a customs outpost, and even became the site of a siege in 1688 in which the French were expelled from Siam. After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese Kingdom in 1767, the newly declared King Taksin established his new capital of Thonburi there on the river's western bank. King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, who succeeded Taksin, moved the capital to the eastern bank in 1782, to which the current city dates its foundation. Bangkok has since undergone tremendous changes, growing rapidly, especially in the second half of the 20th century, to become Thailand's primary city. It was the centre of Siam's modernisation in the late 19th century, including the introduction of transportation and utility infrastructure in the reigns of Kings Mongkut and Chulalongkorn, subjected to Allied bombing during World War II, and has long been the modern nation's central political stage, with numerous uprisings and coups d'état having taken place on its streets throughout the years.


Map of 17th-century Bangkok from Simon de la Loubère's Du Royaume de Siam

Name


Full name of Bangkok, written in front of Bangkok Administrative Building

The etymology of the name Bangkok (บางกอก, pronounced in Thai as [bāːŋ kɔ̀ːk]) is unclear. Bang is the Central Thai name for a town situated on a riverbank. The name may have been derived from Bang Ko (บางเกาะ), ko meaning "island", a reference to the area's landscape which was carved by rivers and canals.[5] Another theory speculates that it is shortened from Bang Makok (บางมะกอก), makok being the name of Spondias pinnata, a plant bearing olive-like fruit. This is supported by the fact that Wat Arun, a historic temple in the area, used to be named Wat Makok.[6] Officially, however, the town was known as Thonburi Si Mahasamut (from Pali and Sanskrit, lit. city of treasures gracing the ocean), according to Ayutthaya chronicles.[7] Bangkok was likely a colloquial name, albeit one widely adopted by foreign visitors.

When Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke established his new capital on the river's eastern bank, he named it Krung Rattanakosin In Ayothaya (กรุงรัตนโกสินทร์อินท์อโยธยา), and the city and the Siamese kingdom during the period became known as Rattanakosin. Bangkok's current Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is a shortening of its full ceremonial name later given by King Mongkut:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit (Thai: กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

This ceremonial name uses two ancient Indian languages, Pāli and Sanskrit, initiated with the only original Thai word Krung which means "capital". According to the romanisation of these languages, it can actually be written as Krung-dēvamahānagara amararatanakosindra mahindrāyudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānī purīramya uttamarājanivēsana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi It translates to "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city 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 Vishnukarma".

Local school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic, and unknown to all but a few. Most Thais who do recall the full name do so as a result of its use in a popular song, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (1989) by Asanee-Wasan Chotikul and will often recount it by recalling the song at the same time, much as English speakers might sing the alphabet song while reciting the English alphabet.

Administration

Bangkok is one of two special administrative areas in Thailand, the other being Pattaya, in which citizens vote to choose their governor, unlike in Thailand's 76 provinces (changwat). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra was elected governor.

The urban sprawl of the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Area extends beyond the borders of Bangkok province, spilling into the neighbouring provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon. The province as it is today was created in 1971 when the previous Bangkok province, changwat Phra Nakhon, merged with Thonburi province.

Bangkok is subdivided into 50 districts (khet, also sometimes called amphoe in the other provinces), which are further subdivided into 169 kwaeng (แขวง, equivalent to tambon in other provinces). Each district is managed by a district chief appointed by the governor. District councils, elected to four-year terms, serve as advisory bodies to their respective district chiefs.

There is also an elected Bangkok Metropolitan Council, which has power over municipal ordinances and the city's budget. The last elections for local councils in Bangkok were held on 23 July 2006. The government of Bangkok is called the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration or the BMA.

The seal of the city shows the god Indra riding in the clouds on Erawan, a mythological elephant-shaped creature. In his hand Indra holds a lightning bolt, which is his weapon to drive away drought. The seal is based on a painting done by Prince Naris. The tree symbol of Bangkok is Ficus benjamina.

 
 
 





 

 
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