Bangkok Travel Guide

Bangkok City Overview

No matter what you think of this lively, sultry, exotic city – the megacity Bangkok, the fastest growing metropolis in Asia, always leaves a strong impression.

For some, however, the hectic pace, the heat, the heavy traffic and the lack of personal space are too much and reason enough to leave Bangkok as soon as possible. For others, the sheer energy is simply exhilarating.

The city offers a strange mix of traditional Eastern and modern Western culture; therefore every street is full of surprises. Shabby huts are densely packed next to exotic temples with magnificent gardens, which in turn are overshadowed by modern hotels and office buildings. Due to the constantly growing demand for housing, the poorer sections of the population were pushed to the outskirts in slums. In this way, space was created in the city for new buildings with chic apartments for the wealthy Bangkokers. The huge Iconsiam shopping center with its two huge skyscrapers right on the river is a new icon in the city skyline. Bangkok has developed into a cosmopolitan city with correspondingly heavy traffic, which is also the case with the sky traincouldn’t loosen up. There is chaos not only on the streets, but also on the Chaophraya River, which flows right through the city. It is crisscrossed by long narrow boats, river taxis and small rowing boats, and so it is almost a miracle that they always know how to avoid them.

Traditional Thai life is never very far away: in the mornings you can already see monks in orange robes collecting alms; and on the river, just a few steps from the city center, large sections of the population live in stilt houses and earn a meager living in the same traditional way as generations of Thais before them for hundreds of years.

Thailand’s main economic sectors are tourism, the textile industry and the electrical engineering sector. Although over half of the Thai population is employed in agriculture and Thailand is still the largest travel exporter in the world, this area accounts for only about 15% of the gross domestic product. The traditionally most important branch of agriculture has now been replaced by the industrial sector. The different growth rates in industry and agriculture in recent decades have led to serious inequality between cities and the country.

Important facts

Area code: 02

Population: 8280000

Latitude: 13.749096

Longitude: 100.515941

Weather in Bangkok

Thailand is a tropical country where it is very hot all year round. The best time for a Bangkok trip is between November and March, when there is the least rainfall, because the humidity is extremely high during the rainy season. The downpours are short but very violent, and some streets of Bangkok are often flooded.

City History of Bangkok

After the destruction of the old capital Ayutthaya, Bangkok became the capital of the then Siam in 1782. The Thais don’t call it Bangkok, however, but Krung Thep, which is basically a very shortened version of the full name.

The absolutist rule of the monarchy ended in 1932 and was replaced by the constitutional monarchy. The royal family is still worshiped in an almost religious way to this day. Insulting them is considered a crime that results in prison. His Highness, King Bhumibol, ascended the throne in 1946, making him the longest reigning monarch in the world.

After the end of the absolute monarchy, democracy was adopted. However, this process was thwarted by the military, which frequently carried out coups d’état to protest government policies. There were numerous changes of government in the 1990s. However, the military has less influence on domestic politics now, and the situation has become somewhat more stable since the government has made intensive efforts to deal with the economic crisis.

Thailand  has a decidedly anti-communist policy, which was particularly evident in the Vietnam War, when it was a strategic ally of the  United States. However, this attitude has eased somewhat recently and relations with neighboring communist countries have improved. These have now also joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in which Thailand is an influential member.

Kinnari statue at Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok