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Bangkok, (in Thai Krung Thep), population 8,538,610 (1990), is the capital and largest city of Thailand. The city is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.

Processed food, timber, and textiles are leading exports. Industrial plants include rice mills, cement factories, sawmills[?], oil refineries, and shipyards. The city is a famous jewelry center, buying and selling silver and bronzeware.

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Bangkok began as a small trading center and port community serving Ayutthaya, which was the capital of Siam until it fell to Burma in 1767. A temporary capital was established at Thonburi, across the river from Bangkok. In 1782, King Rama I built a palace on the river and made Bangkok his capital, renaming it Krung Thep. The Grand Palace complex contains the Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the image of the Emerald Buddha. The village of Bangkok ceased to exist, but its name continued to be used by foreigners.

The full ceremonial name of Krung Thep is

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit,
which means
"The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."
It holds the world record for the longest town name. Local schoolchildren are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic.

Administration Administratively, Bangkok is one of the 76 provinces (changwat) of Thailand. The urban sprawl of Greater Bangkok extends beyond the borders of Bangkok province, spilling into the neighbouring provinces of Nonthaburi[?], Samut Prakan[?] and Pathumthani[?].

Bangkok is subdivided into 49 districts (keht):

  1. Phra Nakhon
  2. Dusit
  3. Nong Chok
  4. Bang Rak
  5. Bang Khen
  6. Bang Kapi
  7. Pathum Wan
  8. Pom Prap Sattru Phai
  9. Phra Khanong
  10. Minburi
  11. Lat Krabang
  12. Yan Nawa
  13. Samphanthawong
  14. Phaya Thai
  15. Thonburi
  16. Bangkok Yai
  17. Huai Khwang
  1. Khlong San
  2. Taling Chan
  3. Bangkok Noi
  4. Bang Khun Thian
  5. Phasi Charoen
  6. Nong Khaem
  7. Rat Burana
  8. Bang Phlat
  9. Din Daeng
  10. Bueng Kum
  11. Sathon
  12. Bang Sue
  13. Chatuchak
  14. Bang Kho Laem
  15. Prawet
  16. Khlong Toei
  17. Suan Luang
  1. Don Mueang
  2. Ratchathewi
  3. Lat Phrao
  4. Watthana
  5. Bang Khae
  6. Lak Si
  7. Sai Mai
  8. Khan Na Yao
  9. Saphan Sung
  10. Wang Thonglang
  11. Khlong Sam Wa
  12. Bang Na
  13. Thawi Watthana
  14. Thung Khru
  15. Bang Bon


Bangkok is economic center of Thailand. The Chao Phraya River allows Bangkok to function as a port. Bangkok has one international airport, with a second one currently under construction. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is located in Bangkok.

Tourism is a major source of revenue for Bangkok. The city contains many extravagant buddhist temples. Khaosan Road, near the Grand Palace complex, is a popular destination for young backpackers.

Although technically illegal, prostitution is rampant in Bangkok, making it a popular destination for sex tourism. Popular red light districts in Bangkok include Patpong, Nana Plaza[?], Soi Cowboy[?] and Clinton Plaza. Bangkok's educational and cultural facilities include several universities, a fine arts academy, a national theater, and a national museum.


Sukhumvit road with skytrain above
Larger version

An elaborate network of canals (khlong) gave the city the nickname "Venice of the East", with all the transportation done by boat. Today almost all are filled and converted into streets, which have traffic jam most of the time. Several elevated highways were built in the recent years to overcome the jams, a ring-road highways around greater Bangkok is partially existing as well now.

In 1999 an elevated 'skytrain' system was opened. A subway system is currently under construction, the first line is scheduled to be operational in 2004. The remains of a failed elevated railroad project (the Hopewell project) can still be seens all the way from the main railroad station out towards the Don Muang airport - due to the asian financial crisis the construction was halted and the concrete pilars were left unused.

Bangkok is also the central hub of all railroad lines.

The Don Muang Airport[?], busiest in South-East Asia, is located north of the city, now already enclosed by urban area. Construction for the new Suvarnabhumi Airport[?] in the south-east of the city started in 2002, is scheduled to be opened in 2005. By then all international traffic will go to the new airport, and Don Muang will become domestic only.

Current issues

Air pollution is a major problem in Bangkok, blamed on the city's massive traffic jams.

The sale of pirated intellectual property (mostly software and DVD movies) is widespread in Bangkok. One of the most popular locations in Bangkok for purchasing pirated software is Pantip Plaza. Although many half-hearted attempts have been made at cracking down on piracy by raiding Pantip and other venues over the years; piracy of intellectual property is still a booming business.

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