10 General facts about Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and has more than 8 million inhabitants. Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world, attracting around 15 million international visitors every year… Here are 10 general facts about Bangkok:
- Thais will never call their capital city Bangkok, instead in Thai it is known as Krung Thep (กรุงเทพ), which roughly translates to ‘City of Angels’.
- Krung Thep is actually an abbreviated version of the ceremonial full name: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. The name is listed by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest place name. If you want to learn it by heart, there is a song called “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon” (1989) by Asanee–Wasan that repeats the full name like a mantra (see link below).
- The river who splits Bangkok into two parts, is called the Chao Phraya river. The east side of the river is the more touristy part of Bangkok.
- Bangkok has a tropical monsoon climate and one of the highest average temperature of any city in the world. Bangkok’s average day time temperature is rarely much below 30°C at any time of year and the night time temperature is not much cooler. October through until February is probably the best time to travel Bangkok. During this time, temperatures are not as high as other times of the year and normally stand between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius. There occur occasional shower and gentle wind that provide a break from the heat.
- The heat, combined with the humidity and pollution, makes walking a sizable distance in Bangkok almost impossible, and breaking into a sweat after only a couple of hundred meters almost inevitable. So take a bus, taxi, Skytrain, subway or a boat for long distances.
- Bangkok is famous for his traffic jams. Journeys that should take just 20 minutes end up over an hour, even out of rush hour.
- There are over 400 wats (or temples) in Bangkok. Wat Pra Kaew, Wat Arun and Wat Pho are the most famous ones. The best time to visit most temples is in the early morning. It’s cooler and generally less crowded. Don’t forget to wear long light pants, a tee shirt that covers your shoulders and proper shoes.
- Thai people love their king, especially in Bangkok. His official residence isn’t situated in The Grand Palace. This palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Thailand since 1782 and is a must-see area. But the present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace. Take note that it’s illegal to say anything bad about the king or to even laugh at a picture of him.
- Bangkok has a reputation as a major destination in the sex industry. The most famous red-light destricts are Patpong, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. Bangkok has acquired the nickname “Sin City of Asia” for its level of sex tourism.
- Bangkok wasn’t always a city full of skyscrapers. Most projects started when Thailand’s economy was booming in the 1990s. Developers envisaged a city of gleaming office and residential skyscrapers that were testament to the nation’s rapid development. Now there are more than 100 skyscrapers over 100 metres (330 ft) tall in the city. The tallest one is the Baiyoke Tower I, a 304 m (997 ft) hotel.