Bangkok. The fantasy of every tourist.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand began as a small trading and port community some 200 years ago. Today this city in all its modern glory and grandeur still retains the essence of its past. The temples, the palaces, the floating markets and Chinatown all add to the character of Bangkok.
1. History of Bangkok
Bangkok, located on the delta of the Chao Phraya River is about 25 miles from the Gulf of Thailand. It was divided into two parts – west and east, which were united in 1971 as a city-province with a single municipal government. The Thai call their capital Krung Thep, which is the first part of its mellifluous and lengthy official name meaning “the City of Gods, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha”. (It’s actually longer but you don’t really need it right?)
Bangkok became the capital of Siam (as Thailand was previously known) in 1782, when General Chao Phraya Chakkri, the founder of the ruling Chakkri dynasty, assumed the throne as Rama I and moved the court from the west to the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. By the end of his reign the city was established.
2. Night Life in Bangkok
Can’t sleep? Then you’re in just the place to experience the night of your life. There’s so much to do; have cocktails at a rooftop bar with an amazing view of the whole city or go to a nightclub where you can groove the night away or better yet, go shopping at the night market.
The Khao San Road is a place for wild parties, Soi Rambuttri is for the more laidback people. It seems like trendy bars spring up in Thonglor everyday.
Frankly, you’re spoilt for choices. You can even see the Siam Niramit Cultural Show. The city also has live Jazz music bars.
3. Safety in Bangkok
Overall the city is pretty safe and the crime rate is low. But be alert as there are a lot of scam artists in Bangkok. Be careful of the heat as it can get really hot and humid, use a lot of sunscreen and always carry a bottle of water with you; don’t underestimate the risks of dehydration. Be aware of your surroundings and you’re good to go.
4. Living Expenses in Bangkok
Bangkok has become pretty expensive over the years but the cost of living is still cheaper than some of the metropolitan cities of other countries.
A single bedroom apartment in city centre can cost as much as 20,194.44 ฿ (USD 568) whereas renting it outside the city centre costs 8,871.79 ฿ (USD 250) on an average in a month. The cost of renting a 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre for a month can be as high as 65,960.38 ฿ (USD 1858) but outside the city centre it can go up to 25,807.69 ฿ (USD 727).
Buying a square meter of an apartment in the city centre can empty your pockets by almost 137,666.67 ฿ (USD 3876).
Staying in a luxury hotel like Mandarin Oriental for one night can cost up to Thai Baht 27,500 (USD 771) whereas budget hotels cost you Thai Baht 1,500 (USD 42) per night.
5. Cuisines of Bangkok
Bangkok has been called the street food capital of the world and with good reason. The quality and variety they offer is world renowned. The people of Bangkok are particularly fond of sweet flavours and many dishes include freshwater fish, pork, coconut milk and palm sugar. The food also has been influenced by Chinese cuisine for the past few centuries.
Where there are people in Bangkok, there is food. You will find food stalls everywhere. The area around the Victory Monument is famous. You will find street food stalls and restaurants galore. The Chinatown (Yaowarat) has some serious Thai food masters. Ratchawat Market is famous for its roast duck and Kobe beef noodles.
The Night market also offers a variety of food to choose from, Rice, noodles, soups. The city has a plethora of seafood restaurants with authentic and affordable food.
However, finding vegetarian food in the city can be difficult. You can either go to Dine in the Dark or Tealicious Bangkok. Te Na Aroon serves 100% vegetarian food as well.
6. Statistics of Bangkok
It is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. With a population of more than 8 million belonging to more than 10 different countries and ethnicities, it is the world’s most prominent primate state, dwarfing Thailand’s other urban centers in terms of importance.
The city is spread out in an area of 1,568.7 sq.km., with the population density of 5,300/sq.km.
7. Public transport in Bangkok
It is one of Asia’s busiest air transport hubs. Two commercial airports serve the city, the older Don Mueang International Airport and the new Bangkok International Airport, commonly known as Suvarnabhumi.
Road based transport is the primary source of travel in the city. The roads however are very confusing as they do not follow a grid structure. Getting lost here is pretty easy. Taxis appear in the form of cars, motorcycles, and “tuk-tuk” auto rickshaws. Do not get into the tuk-tuk if the driver refuses to turn on the meter. The prices they quote are simply outrageous.
Bangkok also provides you with an extensive bus network. The city is also well connected by the railways and another popular mode of transport is the water buses. Another way to get around is to take the BTS sky train.
Pollution in Bangkok – Traffic has been the main source of air pollution in Bangkok, which reached serious levels in the 1990s. However, efforts to improve air quality by improving fuel quality and enforcing emission standards, among others, have been largely successful. The Particulate Matter – PM 2.5 levels in Bangkok is 96 as compared with Delhi’s 180.
8. Weather of Bangkok
It has a tropical savannah climate and experiences three seasons, hot, rainy and cool. Temperatures are fairly hot year-round, ranging from an average low of 22.0°C in December to an average high of 35.4°C in April.
The annual precipitation is around 1,648 mm.
Summer: March to May. Average low: 26°C. Average high: 35°C.
Monsoon: May till October. Average low: 25°C. Average high: 32°C.
Winter: October till February. Average low: 23°C. Average high: 31°C.
9. Culture of Bangkok
Majority of people in Bangkok are Buddhists, with monks, temples, spirit houses, Buddha images and statues everywhere you look. It is expected that appropriate clothing be worn in temples, and shoes removed before entering. There is also a Muslim minority scattered around the city. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is a unique art centre, opposite MBK and Siam Discovery Centre. Aside from the interesting architecture, you’ll find paintings, sculptures, music and dance performances. Bangkok is the centre of Thailand’s media industry.
10. Places to visit in Bangkok
Things to do in Bangkok: The Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Wat Arun (the temple of dawn) the Vimanmek Mansion, Jim Thompson House , the Night markets and floating markets as well as china town. Visit as many of them as you can.
Things to do for Kids in Bangkok: If this is a family trip you can go down to the Imaginia Playland, the Siam Ocean world where you can see the sea creatures up close. You could also surf at Flow Rider, an artificial surf machine or take your kids for a spin on the ice. There is also the Siam park city and the Safari World.
Places Nearby: Pattaya and Phuket are both close to Bangkok and are surrounded by beautiful blue water. These cities have a variety of watersports and numerous beaches that you can visit.
Offbeat: Want to see something unusual? Then go down to the shrine of goddess Tubtin. You can also explore the Bangkok Forensic Museum; a bit morbid, this place is not exactly a tourist hub.
Author’s conclusion: The city offers you a variety in every imaginable way and will make your trip a memorable one. The food, the parties, the rich history, everything; Bangkok has it all. And in abundance.
|Population||8 Million approx. (according to the 2010 census)|
|Languages||Thai and English|
|Currency||Thai Baht (1 Thai Baht = 0.028 US Dollar as on 9-Feb-2016)|
|Time Zone||Indochina Time (UTC + 7:00)|
|Driving||Left-Hand Traffic, Right Hand drive vehicles|
|Helpline||Tourist Police – 1155, Police (General Emergency Call) – 191, Ambulance and Rescue – 1554, Crime – 1195, Medical Emergency Call – 1669|
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