Asia / Thailand

Bangkok

Cultural phenomenon, shopping heaven and tourist treasure. Welcome to Bangkok; one of the most cosmopolitan, contrasting and, above all, compelling of Asian cities. A steamy, pulsating, yet smiling metropolis of more than ten million – intense at first, but addictive as anything.

Bangkok is the capital city of and largest urban area in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon  or simply Krung Thep (About this sound listen), meaning "city of angels". Bangkok is by far the most densely populated city in Thailand with about 12 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. In 2009, it was the second most expensive city in South-East Asia behind Singapore.

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 and hundreds of Buddhist temples draw about 10 million international visitors each year, second only to London.

Bangkok has an official population of 8,249,117 residents, while the greater Bangkok area contains some 14,565,520 (Census 2010). The capital is a center of the megalopolis of 20 million 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; 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.

The Bangkok special administrative area covers 1,568.7 km2 (606 sq mi), making it the 68th largest province in Thailand. Much of the area is considered the city of Bangkok, making it the 73rd largest city in the world. The Chao Phraya River, which stretches 372 km (231 mi), is Bangkok's main geographical feature. The Chao Phraya River basin, the area surrounding Bangkok, and the nearby provinces comprise a series of plains and river deltas that lead into the Bay of Bangkok about 30 km (19 mi) south of the city center. This gave rise to Bangkok's appellation as the "Venice of the East" due to the number of canals and passages that divide the area into separate patches of land. The city once used these canals, which were plentiful within Bangkok itself, as divisions for city districts. However, as the city grew in the second half of the 20th century, the plan was abandoned and a different system of division was adopted.

Bangkok lies about two meters (6.5 ft) above sea level, which causes problems for the protection of the city against floods during the monsoon season. Occasionally after a downpour, water in canals and the river overflows the banks, resulting in floods in some areas. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has recently installed higher banks alongside some canals to keep water levels from reaching street level. There are however some downsides for Bangkok's extensive canal routes, as the city is rumored to be sinking an average of two inches a year as it lies entirely on a swamp and there are fears that Thailand's capital will be submerged by 2030

Bangkok has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification system. Average temperatures in the city are about 2 °C (3.6 °F) higher than the ones shown for the Don Mueang Airport during the 1960–1990 period. The highest recorded maximum temperature is 40.8 °C (105.4 °F) in May 1983 and the lowest recorded minimum temperature is 9.9 °C (49.8 °F) in January 1955. The coldest temperatures were recorded in January 1924, January 1955, January 1974 and December 1999. The hottest year on record was 1997 (average yearly at Don Mueang 30.0 °C) and the coldest was 1975 (average yearly at Don Mueang 26.3 °C). The coldest daytime maximum temperature was 19.9 °C (68 °F), recorded in December 1992.

Similar destinations

Los Angeles

North America / United States

The question in Los Angeles is never what to do, but where to begin. The county is home to many famous attractions in a relatively concentrated space. Your choices include amusement parks, architectural landmarks, art museums and galleries, beaches, parks, hiking and shopping, to name a few. After the sun goes down, you’ll find there’s an abundance of nightlife options.

Copenhagen

Europe / Denmark

Copenhagen, the premier capital of Northern Europe, is Scandinavia's most fantastic city and the centre of the most dynamic region in Europe, the Øresund Region. The city is one of Europe's oldest capitals with a royal touch - the monarchy in Denmark is the oldest in the world!

Moscow

Europe / Russia

Moscow is the capital of Russia, its political, scientific, historical, architectural and business centre, from which power and might of the Russian state developed. Moscow is a city of superlatives. It boasts the most billionaires, the most expensive cups of coffee and – coming soon – the most colossal building in the world.

Next Arrivals at this destination

Next Departures at this destination