GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT BANGKOK AND THAILAND
Geography of Thailand. Thailand is located in the middle of Southeast Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea the Gulf of Thailand and southeast of Burma. It also controls the only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore. The country is divided into four regions: north, northeast, central and south Thailand.
The population of Thailand is 66,720,153 (July 2011 est.). 75% of the population is composed by Thai citizens, 14% of Chinese, 8% are the Hmong, Karen and other hill tribes, 3% are Malaysians.
The history of the city of Bangkok, in Thailand, dates at least to the early 15th 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, and after the fall of Ayutthaya, 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 city dates its foundation under its current Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. Bangkok has since undergone tremendous changes, growing rapidly, especially in the second half of the 20th century, to become the primate city of Thailand. It was the center of Siam’s modernization in the late 19th century, subjected to Allied bombing during the Second World War, and has long been the modern nation’s central political stage.
Geography of Bangkok – Bangkok’s area expands 1,568.7 km approximately 606 sq. miles, making it the 68th largest province in Thailand. This also makes Bangkok one of the largest cities in the world. Bangkok’s main geographical feature is the Chao Phraya River that stretches 372km or 231miles.
There were 6, 355144 registered residents here according to a 2000 census, who increased to 8,160,522 when the 2007 census was done.
History of Bangkok and Thailand – Archaeological sites dating of around 5,000 years have been found ago in the northeastern part of Thailand, believed to contain the oldest evidence of the rice cultivation and bronze casting in the whole of Asia.
When King Mongkut Rama IV took the throne in 1851, he constituted diplomatic relations with European nations yet refraining from western colonization.
The Ayutthaya period, established in the mid-14th century and lasting until the Burmese invasion and the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, was followed by the Ratanakosin period and the ruler became Rama IX. This was when the name of the country changed from Siam to Thailand, which means “freedom”.
BANGKOK GUIDE. As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both old-world charm and modern convenience, at times served up in an apparently chaotic manner, but always with a gracious smile. Invariably, every Thailand holiday includes a visit to the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok, or Krung Thep, “the city of angels” as it is known to its inhabitants. Many tourists who travel to Bangkok are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the vast number of attractions Bangkok has to offer. Indeed, there is a wide variety of Bangkok sightseeing opportunities, spanning more than two centuries of rapid development following the city’s founding in 1782 by King Rama I, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty; since that auspicious date, Bangkok has swelled to a cosmopolitan, 21st century city of more than ten million inhabitants. While the immensity of the city and the chaos of its bustling streets can be intimidating at first, those who spend some time in Bangkok are quickly enamored by the variety of attractions Bangkok contains, from exotic temples, which epitomize Thailand’s strong Buddhist history, to modern shopping malls, which have make shopping an integral part of any Bangkok holiday. As the kingdom’s political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital, Bangkok features attractions guaranteed to please visitors either simply passing through the city or spending their entire Thailand holiday in Bangkok. Nearly every Bangkok holiday includes a visit to Thailand’s Grand Palace, arguably the premier Bangkok sightseeing attraction. Situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Rattakosin district, the gleaming spires of the Grand Palace are conveniently located nearby Bangkok’s most spectacular temples, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keaw), the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), and Wat Po, which features an enormous reclining Buddha and was home of the first Thai massage school in the kingdom. These iconic destinations are top attractions to all visitors who travel to Bangkok looking to appreciate Thailand’s unique cultural traditions. In fact, there are more than 400 functioning Buddhist temples throughout the city and it’s not uncommon, when you travel in Bangkok, to spot saffron robed monks collecting morning alms or traveling throughout out the city, including along the Chao Phraya, the “River of Kings”, which passes alongside Rattakosin and the Temple of the Dawn. The winding Chao Phraya is connected by numerous canals from which Bangkok has earned its nickname the “Venice of the East”; when you travel around Bangkok, a cruise on the Chao Phraya, a visit to a floating market, or an exploration of the cities “back alley” canals (klongs) are themselves unique Bangkok attractions. Other historical and cultural Bangkok sightseeing ‘must sees’ include the National Museum, Vimanmek Mansion, and Suan Pakkad Palace, all of which either house fine art or are national treasures in their own right. Beyond Bangkok’s historical district, there are plenty of other attractions that make a Bangkok holiday both enjoyable and memorable. While modern “downtown” districts along Silom and Sukhumvit Roads were once nightmares of oppressive heat and unbearable traffic, a modern and convenient electric rail system, including an elevated sky-train and underground subway, have made travel in Bangkok both easy and enjoyable.
Connecting hotels directly to modern shopping malls and traditional markets, such as the Night Bazaar and Chatuchak (JJ) weekend market, the MRT and BTS electric rail systems have literally elevated Bangkok shopping to world-class status. Of course, no Thailand holiday is complete without experiencing Thailand’s vibrant nightlife, during which you may even witness the occasional elephant wandering the Bangkok streets! Whether the purpose of your Thailand holiday is to immerse yourself in Thailand’s unique culture or simply to splurge in Bangkok shopping malls, when you travel to Bangkok you are guaranteed a fascinating experience of both old world charm and modern convenience and luxury. Over the last few decades, Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city has changed into a modern, exciting, and sophisticated city. Bangkok offers visitors not only the modern amenities they would expect from other cosmopolitan cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonized and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience a fascinating glimpse of Thailand’s gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. Amazingly, this great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern worlds. For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty, magnificent palaces, classical dance performances, numerous shopping centers, and a s until functioning traditional way of life, especially along the canals and the Chao Phraya River, the “River of Kings”, which winds through the city; Bangkok truly is the “Venice of the East”.
Beware of frauds involving tuk tuk, gem shops, and tailors, particularly around popular tourist attractions. Remember, there is no such thing as a free ride.
It’s better to flag down taxis that are already driving (the red light means empty); these will generally use the meter, while parked taxis typically ask for higher fixed fares or will take you for the proverbial ‘ride’.
During the monsoon season months of June through September, rains come quickly and heavily, particularly in the afternoon. Adequate footwear and an umbrella are advisable.