The Thais call their capital city Krungthep, not Bangkok, as it is know internationally. It is short of what the Guinness Book of World Records dub the longest name for a city – Krungthepmahanakorn Amornrattanakosin Mahintrayuthaya Mahadilokpob Noparat Rajataniburirom Amornpimarn Awatarnsatis Sakatadtiya Wisanukamprasit.
Krungthep, or Krungthepmahanakorn, literally means the City of Angels. Bangkok came from the word Bang Kork, a small district in the city that formed the core of the current metropolis.
King Rama I created the city in 1782 as the new capital of Thailand. Back then Bangkok was only a small village, with canals instead of streets. Today it is a vibrant, thriving metropolis of over six million people. It is characterized by elevated expressways, countless overpasses, flyovers and, on the ground, by horrendous traffic.
But Bangkok remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Grand Palace, home of the kings of Thailand until a couple of centuries ago, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, countless other temples and fine museums, Dusit Zoo, the Weekend Marked, Chinatown, many excellent hotels and restaurants with truly international cuisine, reasonable prices, widely-spoken English and, most important of all, the friendly, smiling gentle people, all help to make the City of Angels a charming place to visit and stay.
Although it has become a modern city in every sense of the word, many of the fascinating ways of the original settlers are still in practice – adding to the charm of the city. For example you will still find food vendors plying virtually every street of the city serving up a quick and economical meal to office workers, laborers and millionars alike. Floating markets are still a normal way to obtain daily needs of the people living along, or even on these waterways.
Another attraction is certainly the abundance of shops selling the things for which Thailand is famous. Thai cottons and silks, nickel-bronze ware, blue and black star sapphires, fine wood carvings, handwrought silver and celadon pottery are only a few of the many “bargains” visitors rush to buy almost as soon as they arrive at the Bangkok International Airport.