Bangkok[a] is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon[b] or simply Krung Thep.[c] The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in central Thailand, and has a population of over eight million, or 12.6 percent of the country's population. Over fourteen million people (22.2 percent) lived within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region at the 2010 census, making Bangkok the nation's primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms of importance.
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of the modernization of Siam, later renamed Thailand, during the late-19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was at the centre of Thailand's political struggles throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy, adopted constitutional rule, and underwent numerous coups and several uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact on Thailand's politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a regional force in finance and business. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and has emerged as a centre for the arts, fashion, and entertainment. The city is known for its street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its red-light districts. The Grand Palace and Buddhist temples including Wat Arun and Wat Pho stand in contrast with other tourist attractions such as the nightlife scenes of Khaosan Road and Patpong. Bangkok is among the world's top tourist destinations, and has been named the world's most visited city in several rankings.
Bangkok's rapid growth coupled with little urban planning has resulted in a haphazard cityscape and inadequate infrastructure. An inadequate road network, despite an extensive expressway network, together with substantial private car usage, have led to chronic and crippling traffic congestion, which caused severe air pollution in the 1990s. The city has since turned to public transport in an attempt to solve the problem. Five rapid transit lines are now in operation, with more systems under construction or planned by the national government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Special administrative area
Location within Thailand
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Settled||c. 15th century|
|Founded as capital||21 April 1782|
|Re-incorporated||13 December 1972|
|Founded by||King Rama I|
|Governing body||Bangkok Metropolitan Administration|
|• Type||Special administrative area|
|• Governor||Aswin Kwanmuang|
|• City||1,568.737 km2 (605.693 sq mi)|
|• Metro||7,761.6 km2 (2,996.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1.5 m (4.9 ft)|
|• Density||5,300/km2 (14,000/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||1,900/km2 (4,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+07:00 (ICT)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-10|
The history of Bangkok dates at least back to the early 15th century, when it was a village on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, under the rule of Ayutthaya. Because of its strategic location near the mouth of the river, the town gradually increased in importance. Bangkok initially served as a customs outpost with forts on both sides of the river, and was the site of a siege in 1688 in which the French were expelled from Siam. After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese Empire in 1767, the newly crowned King Taksin established his capital at the town, which became the base of the Thonburi Kingdom. In 1782, King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) succeeded Taksin, moved the capital to the eastern bank's Rattanakosin Island, thus founding the Rattanakosin Kingdom. The City Pillar was erected on 21 April 1782, which is regarded as the date of foundation of the present city.
Bangkok's economy gradually expanded through international trade, first with China, then with Western merchants returning in the early to-mid 19th century. As the capital, Bangkok was the centre of Siam's modernization as it faced pressure from Western powers in the late-19th century. The reigns of Kings Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851–68) and Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868–1910) saw the introduction of the steam engine, printing press, rail transport and utilities infrastructure in the city, as well as formal education and healthcare. Bangkok became the centre stage for power struggles between the military and political elite as the country abolished absolute monarchy in 1932. Allied with Japan in World War II, it was subjected to Allied bombing, but rapidly grew in the post-war period as a result of US aid and government-sponsored investment. Bangkok's role as a US military R&R destination boosted its tourism industry as well as firmly establishing it as a sex tourism destination. Disproportionate urban development led to increasing income inequalities and migration from rural areas into Bangkok; its population surged from 1.8 million to 3 million in the 1960s. Following the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973, Japanese businesses took over as leaders in investment, and the expansion of export-oriented manufacturing led to growth of the financial market in Bangkok. Rapid growth of the city continued through the 1980s and early 1990s, until it was stalled by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. By then, many public and social issues had emerged, among them the strain on infrastructure reflected in the city's notorious traffic jams. Bangkok's role as the nation's political stage continues to be seen in strings of popular protests, from the student uprisings in 1973 and 1976, anti-military demonstrations in 1992, and successive anti-government demonstrations by opposing groups from 2008 on.
Administration of the city was first formalized by King Chulalongkorn in 1906, with the establishment of Monthon Krung Thep Phra Maha Nakhon (มณฑลกรุงเทพพระมหานคร) as a national subdivision. In 1915 the monthon was split into several provinces, the administrative boundaries of which have since further changed. The city in its current form was created in 1972 with the formation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), following the merger of Phra Nakhon Province on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya and Thonburi Province on the west during the previous year.
The origin of the name Bangkok (บางกอก, pronounced in Thai as [bāːŋ kɔ̀ːk] (listen)), is unclear. Bang is a Thai word meaning 'a village on a stream', and the name might have been derived from Bang Ko (บางเกาะ), ko meaning 'island', stemming from the city's watery landscape. Another theory suggests that it is shortened from Bang Makok (บางมะกอก), makok being the name of Elaeocarpus hygrophilus, a plant bearing olive-like fruit.[d] This is supported by the former name of Wat Arun, a historic temple in the area, that used to be called Wat Makok.
Officially, the town was known as Thonburi Si Mahasamut (ธนบุรีศรีมหาสมุทร, from Pali and Sanskrit, literally 'city of treasures gracing the ocean') or Thonburi, according to the Ayutthaya Chronicles. Bangkok was likely a colloquial name, albeit one widely adopted by foreign visitors, who continued to use it to refer to the city even after the new capital's establishment.
When King Rama I established his new capital on the river's eastern bank, the city inherited Ayutthaya's ceremonial name, of which there were many variants, including Krung Thep Thawarawadi Si Ayutthaya (กรุงเทพทวารวดีศรีอยุธยา) and Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (กรุงเทพมหานครศรีอยุธยา). Edmund Roberts, visiting the city as envoy of the United States in 1833, noted that the city, since becoming capital, was known as Sia-Yut'hia, and this is the name used in international treaties of the period.
Today, the city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (กรุงเทพมหานคร) or simply Krung Thep (กรุงเทพฯ), a shortening of the ceremonial name which came into use during the reign of King Mongkut. The full name reads as follows:[e]
Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit[f]
กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์
The name is listed in Guinness World Records as the world's longest place name, at 168 letters. Thai school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning as many of the words are archaic, and known to few. Many Thais who recall the full name do so because of its use in the 1989 song "Krung Thep Maha Nakhon" by Thai rock band Asanee–Wasan, the lyrics of which consist entirely of the city's full name, repeated throughout the song.
The city is now officially known in Thai by a shortened form of the full ceremonial name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, which is colloquially further shortened to Krung Thep. Bangkok is the city's official English name, as reflected in the name of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
The city of Bangkok is locally governed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). Although its boundaries are at the provincial (changwat) level, unlike the other 76 provinces Bangkok is a special administrative area whose governor is directly elected to serve a four-year term. The governor, together with four appointed deputies, form the executive body, who implement policies through the BMA civil service headed by the Permanent Secretary for the BMA. In separate elections, each district elects one or more city councillors, who form the Bangkok Metropolitan Council. The council is the BMA's legislative body, and has power over municipal ordinances and the city's budget. However, after the coup of 2014 all local elections have been cancelled and the council was appointed by the government on 15 September 2014. The current Bangkok Governor is Police General Aswin Kwanmuang, who was appointed by the military government on 26 October 2016 following the suspension of the last elected governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra.
Bangkok is divided into fifty districts (khet, equivalent to amphoe in the other provinces), which are further subdivided into 180 sub-districts (khwaeng, equivalent to tambon). Each district is managed by a district director appointed by the governor. District councils, elected to four-year terms, serve as advisory bodies to their respective district directors.
The BMA is divided into sixteen departments, each overseeing different aspects of the administration's responsibilities. Most of these responsibilities concern the city's infrastructure, and include city planning, building control, transportation, drainage, waste management and city beautification, as well as education, medical and rescue services. Many of these services are provided jointly with other agencies. The BMA has the authority to implement local ordinances, although civil law enforcement falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
The seal of the city shows Hindu god Indra riding in the clouds on Airavata, a divine white elephant known in Thai as Erawan. In his hand Indra holds his weapon, the vajra. The seal is based on a painting done by Prince Naris. The tree symbol of Bangkok is Ficus benjamina. The official city slogan, adopted in 2012, reads:
As built by deities, the administrative center, dazzling palaces and temples, the capital of Thailand
กรุงเทพฯ ดุจเทพสร้าง เมืองศูนย์กลางการปกครอง วัดวังงามเรืองรอง เมืองหลวงของประเทศไทย
As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is the seat of all branches of the national government. The Government House, Parliament House and Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional Courts are all in the city. Bangkok is the site of the Grand Palace and Chitralada Villa, respectively the official and de facto residence of the king. Most government ministries also have headquarters and offices in the capital.
Bangkok city proper covers an area of 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi), ranking 69th among the other 76 provinces of Thailand. Of this, about 700 square kilometres (270 sq mi) form the built-up urban area. It is ranked 73rd in the world in terms of land area. The city's urban sprawl reaches into parts of the six other provinces it borders, namely, in clockwise order from northwest: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, and Nakhon Pathom. With the exception of Chachoengsao, these provinces, together with Bangkok, form the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Region.
Bangkok is in the Chao Phraya River delta in Thailand's central plain. The river meanders through the city in a southerly direction, emptying into the Gulf of Thailand approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of city centre. The area is flat and low-lying, with an average elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level.[g] Most of the area was originally swampland, which was gradually drained and irrigated for agriculture by the construction of canals (khlong) which took place from the 16th to 19th centuries. The course of the river as it flows through Bangkok has been modified by the construction of several shortcut canals.
The city's waterway network served as the primary means of transport until the late 19th century, when modern roads began to be built. Up until then, most people lived near or on the water, leading the city to be known during the 19th century as the "Venice of the East". Many of these canals have since been filled in or paved over, but others still criss-cross the city, serving as major drainage channels and transport routes. Most canals are now badly polluted, although the BMA has committed to the treatment and cleaning up of several canals.
The geology of the Bangkok area is characterized by a top layer of soft marine clay, known as "Bangkok clay", averaging 15 metres (49 ft) in thickness, which overlies an aquifer system consisting of eight known units. This feature has contributed to the effects of subsidence caused by extensive ground water pumping. First recognized in the 1970s, subsidence soon became a critical issue, reaching a rate of 120 millimetres (4.7 in) per year in 1981. Ground water management and mitigation measures have since lessened the severity of the situation, although subsidence is still occurring at a rate of 10 to 30 millimetres (0.39 to 1.18 in) per year, and parts of the city are now 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) below sea level. There are fears that the city may be submerged by 2030.
Subsidence has resulted in increased flood risk, as Bangkok is already prone to flooding due to its low elevation and an inadequate drainage infrastructure. The city now relies on flood barriers and augmenting drainage from canals by pumping and building drain tunnels, but parts of Bangkok and its suburbs are still regularly inundated. Heavy downpours resulting in urban runoff overwhelming drainage systems, and runoff discharge from upstream areas, are major triggering factors. Severe flooding affecting much of the city occurred in 1995 and 2011. In 2011, most of Bangkok's northern, eastern and western districts were flooded, in some places for over two months. Coastal erosion is also an issue in the gulf coastal area, a small length of which lies within Bangkok's Bang Khun Thian District. Global warming poses further serious risks, and a study by the OECD has estimated that 5.138 million people in Bangkok may be exposed to coastal flooding by 2070, the seventh highest figure among the world's port cities.:8
There are no mountains in Bangkok. The closest mountain range is the Khao Khiao Massif, about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of the city. Phu Khao Thong, the only hill in the metropolitan area, originated with a very large chedi that King Rama III (1787–1851) built at Wat Saket. The chedi collapsed during construction because the soft soil could not support its weight. Over the next few decades, the abandoned mud-and-brick structure acquired the shape of a natural hill and became overgrown with weeds. The locals called it phu khao (ภูเขา), as if it were a natural feature. In the 1940s, enclosing concrete walls were added to stop the hill from eroding.
Like most of Thailand, Bangkok has a tropical savanna climate under the Köppen climate classification and is under the influence of the South Asian monsoon system. It experiences three seasons: hot, rainy, and cool, although temperatures are fairly hot year-round, ranging from an average low of 22.0 °C (71.6 °F) in December to an average high of 35.4 °C (95.7 °F) in April. The rainy season begins with the arrival of the southwest monsoon around mid-May. September is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 334.3 millimetres (13.16 in). The rainy season lasts until October, when the dry and cool northeast monsoon takes over until February. The hot season is generally dry, but also sees occasional summer storms. The surface magnitude of Bangkok's urban heat island has been measured at 2.5 °C (4.5 °F) during the day and 8.0 °C (14 °F) at night. The highest recorded temperature of Bangkok metropolis was 40.1 °C (104.2 °F) in March 2013, and the lowest recorded temperature was 9.9 °C (49.8 °F) in January 1955.
The Climate Impact Group at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyzed climate data for major cities worldwide. It found that Bangkok in 1960 had 193 days at or above 32 °C. In 2018, Bangkok can expect 276 days at or above 32 °C. The group forecasts a rise by 2100 to, on average, 297 to 344 days at or above 32 °C.
Bangkok's fifty districts serve as administrative subdivisions under the authority of the BMA. Thirty-five of these districts lie to the east of the Chao Phraya, while fifteen are on the western bank, known as the Thonburi side of the city. The fifty districts, arranged by district code, are:
Bangkok's districts often do not accurately represent the functional divisions of its neighbourhoods or land usage. Although urban planning policies date back to the commission of the "Litchfield Plan" in 1960, which set out strategies for land use, transportation and general infrastructure improvements, zoning regulations were not fully implemented until 1992. As a result, the city grew organically throughout the period of its rapid expansion, both horizontally as ribbon developments extended along newly built roads, and vertically, with increasing numbers of high rises and skyscrapers being built in commercial areas. The city has grown from its original centre along the river into a sprawling metropolis surrounded by swaths of suburban residential development extending north and south into neighbouring provinces. The highly populated and growing cities of Nonthaburi, Pak Kret, Rangsit and Samut Prakan are effectively now suburbs of Bangkok. Nevertheless, large agricultural areas remain within the city proper at its eastern and western fringes. Land use in the city consists of 23 percent residential use, 24 percent agriculture, and 30 percent used for commerce, industry, and government. The BMA's City Planning Department (CPD) is responsible for planning and shaping further development. It published master plan updates in 1999 and 2006, and a third revision is undergoing public hearings in 2012.
Bangkok's historic centre remains the Rattanakosin Island in Phra Nakhon District. It is the site of the Grand Palace and the City Pillar Shrine, primary symbols of the city's founding, as well as important Buddhist temples. Phra Nakhon, along with the neighbouring Pom Prap Sattru Phai and Samphanthawong Districts, formed what was the city proper in the late 19th century. Many traditional neighbourhoods and markets are found here, including the Chinese settlement of Sampheng. The city was expanded toward Dusit District in the early 19th century, following King Chulalongkorn's relocation of the royal household to the new Dusit Palace. The buildings of the palace, including the neoclassical Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, as well as the Royal Plaza and Ratchadamnoen Avenue which leads to it from the Grand Palace, reflect the heavy influence of European architecture at the time. Major government offices line the avenue, as does the Democracy Monument. The area is the site of the country's seat of power as well as the city's most popular tourist landmarks.
In contrast with the low-rise historic areas, the business district on Si Lom and Sathon Roads in Bang Rak and Sathon Districts teems with skyscrapers. It is the site of many of the country's major corporate headquarters, but also of some of the city's red-light districts. The Siam and Ratchaprasong areas in Pathum Wan are home to some of the largest shopping malls in Southeast Asia. Numerous retail outlets and hotels also stretch along Sukhumvit Road leading southeast through Watthana and Khlong Toei Districts. More office towers line the streets branching off Sukhumvit, especially Asok Montri, while upmarket housing is found in many of its sois.
Bangkok lacks a single distinct central business district. Instead, the areas of Siam and Ratchaprasong serve as a "central shopping district" containing many of the bigger malls and commercial areas in the city, as well as Siam Station, the only transfer point between the city's two elevated train lines. The Victory Monument in Ratchathewi District is among its most important road junctions, serving over 100 bus lines as well as an elevated train station. From the monument, Phahonyothin and Ratchawithi / Din Daeng Roads respectively run north and east linking to major residential areas. Most high-density development is within the 113-square-kilometre (44 sq mi) area encircled by the Ratchadaphisek inner ring road. Ratchadaphisek is lined with businesses and retail outlets, and office buildings also cluster around Ratchayothin Intersection in Chatuchak District to the north. Farther from the city centre, most areas are primarily mid- or low-density residential. The Thonburi side of the city is less developed, with fewer high rises. With the exception of a few secondary urban centres, Thonburi, as well as the outlying eastern districts, consist mostly of residential and rural areas.
While most of Bangkok's streets are fronted by vernacular shophouses, the largely unrestricted building frenzy of the 1980s has transformed the city into an urban jungle of skyscrapers and high rises of contrasting and clashing styles. There are 581 skyscrapers over 90 metres (300 feet) tall in the city. Bangkok was ranked as the world's eighth tallest city in 2016. A result of persistent economic disparity, many slums have emerged in the city. In 2000 there were over one million people living in about 800 slum settlements. A large number of slums are concentrated near the Bangkok Port in Khlong Toei District.
Bangkok has several parks, although these amount to a per capita total park area of only 1.82 square metres (19.6 sq ft) in the city proper. Total green space for the entire city is moderate, at 11.8 square metres (127 sq ft) per person. In the more densely built-up areas of the city these numbers are as low as 1.73 and 0.72 square metres (18.6 and 7.8 sq ft) per person. More recent numbers claim that there is 3.3 m2 of green space per person, compared to an average of 39 m2 in other cities across Asia. In Europe, London has 33.4 m2 of green space per head. Bangkokians thus have 10 times less green space than is standard in the region's urban areas. Green belt areas include about 700 square kilometres (270 sq mi) of rice paddies and orchards on the eastern and western edges of the city, although their primary purpose is to serve as flood detention basins rather than to limit urban expansion. Bang Kachao, a 20-square-kilometre (7.7 sq mi) conservation area on an oxbow of the Chao Phraya, lies just across the southern riverbank districts, in Samut Prakan Province. A master development plan has been proposed to increase total park area to 4 square metres (43 sq ft) per person.
Bangkok's largest parks include the centrally located Lumphini Park near the Si Lom – Sathon business district with an area of 57.6 hectares (142 acres), the 80-hectare (200-acre) Suanluang Rama IX in the east of the city, and the Chatuchak–Queen Sirikit–Wachirabenchathat park complex in northern Bangkok, which has a combined area of 92 hectares (230 acres).
The city of Bangkok has a population of 8,305,218 according to the 2010 census, or 12.6 percent of the national population. In 2018, the population has been estimated to be about 10 million. Roughly half are internal migrants from other Thai provinces. Only 5,692,284 residents, belonging to 2,672,423 households, registered Bangkok as their legal domicile, according to 2014 statistics. A large number of Bangkok's daytime population commutes from surrounding provinces in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, the total population of which is 14,626,225. Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city; the census showed that it is home to 567,120 expatriates from Asian countries (including 71,024 Chinese and 63,069 Japanese nationals), 88,177 from Europe, 32,241 from the Americas, 5,856 from Oceania and 5,758 from Africa. Migrants from neighbouring countries include 216,528 Burmese, 72,934 Cambodians and 52,498 Lao. In 2018, numbers show that there are 370,000 international migrants registered with the Department of Employment, more than half of them migrants from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Although it has been Thailand's largest population centre since its establishment as capital city in 1782, Bangkok grew only slightly throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. British diplomat John Crawfurd, visiting in 1822, estimated its population at no more than 50,000. As a result of Western medicine brought by missionaries as well as increased immigration from both within Siam and overseas, Bangkok's population gradually increased as the city modernized in the late 19th century. This growth became even more pronounced in the 1930s, following the discovery of antibiotics. Although family planning and birth control were introduced in the 1960s, the lowered birth rate was more than offset by increased migration from the provinces as economic expansion accelerated. Only in the 1990s have Bangkok's population growth rates decreased, following the national rate. Thailand had long since become highly centralized around the capital. In 1980, Bangkok's population was fifty-one times that of Hat Yai and Songkhla, the second-largest urban centre, making it the world's most prominent primate city.
A majority of Bangkok's population is of Thai ethnicity,[h] although details on the city's ethnic make-up are unavailable, as the national census does not document race.[i] Bangkok's cultural pluralism dates back to the early days of its founding: several ethnic communities were formed by immigrants and forced settlers included the Khmer, northern Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, Tavoyan, Mon and Malay. Most prominent were the Chinese, who played major roles in the city's trade and became the majority of Bangkok's population—estimates include up to three-fourths in 1828 and almost half in the 1950s.[j] Chinese immigration was restricted from the 1930s and effectively ceased after the Chinese Revolution in 1949. Their prominence subsequently declined as younger generations of Thai Chinese integrated and adopted a Thai identity. Bangkok is still nevertheless home to a large Chinese community, with the greatest concentration in Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown.
The majority (91 percent) of the city's population is Buddhist. Other religions include Islam (4.7 percent), Christianity (2 percent), Hinduism (0.5 percent), Sikhism (0.1 percent) and Confucianism (0.1 percent).
Apart from Yaowarat, Bangkok also has several other distinct ethnic neighbourhoods. The Indian community is centred in Phahurat, where the Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, founded in 1933, is located. Ban Khrua on Saen Saep Canal is home to descendants of the Cham who settled in the late 18th century. Although the Portuguese who settled during the Thonburi period have ceased to exist as a distinct community, their past is reflected in Santa Cruz Church, on the west bank of the river. Likewise, Assumption Cathedral on Charoen Krung Road is among many European-style buildings in the Old Farang Quarter, where European diplomats and merchants lived in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Nearby, the Haroon Mosque is the centre of a Muslim community. Newer expatriate communities exist along Sukhumvit Road, including the Japanese community near Soi Phrom Phong and Soi Thong Lo, and the Arab and North African neighbourhood along Soi Nana. Sukhumvit Plaza, a mall on Soi Sukhumvit 12, is popularly known as Korea Town.
Bangkok is the economic centre of Thailand, and the heart of the country's investment and development. In 2010, the city had an economic output of 3.142 trillion baht (US$98.34 billion), contributing 29.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This amounted to a per-capita GDP value of 456,911 baht ($14,301), almost three times the national average of 160,556 baht ($5,025). The Bangkok Metropolitan Region had a combined output of 4.773 trillion baht ($149.39 billion), or 44.2 percent of GDP. Bangkok's economy ranks as the sixth among Asian cities in terms of per-capita GDP, after Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka–Kobe and Seoul.
Wholesale and retail trade is the largest sector in the city's economy, contributing 24 percent of Bangkok's gross provincial product. It is followed by manufacturing (14.3 percent); real estate, renting and business activities (12.4 percent); transport and communications (11.6 percent); and financial intermediation (11.1 percent). Bangkok alone accounts for 48.4 percent of Thailand's service sector, which in turn constitutes 49 percent of GDP. When the Bangkok Metropolitan Region is considered, manufacturing is the most significant contributor at 28.2 percent of the gross regional product, reflecting the density of industry in the Bangkok's neighbouring provinces. The automotive industry based around Greater Bangkok is the largest production hub in Southeast Asia. Tourism is also a significant contributor to Bangkok's economy, generating 427.5 billion baht ($13.38 billion) in revenue in 2010.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is on Ratchadaphisek Road in inner Bangkok. The SET, together with the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) has 648 listed companies as of the end of 2011, with a combined market capitalization of 8.485 trillion baht ($267.64 billion). Due to the large amount of foreign representation, Thailand has for several years been a mainstay of the Southeast Asian economy and a centre of Asian business. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranks Bangkok as an "Alpha" world city, and it is ranked 59th in Z/Yen's Global Financial Centres Index 11.
Bangkok is home to the headquarters of all of Thailand's major commercial banks and financial institutions, as well as the country's largest companies. A large number of multinational corporations base their regional headquarters in Bangkok due to the lower cost of labour and operations relative to other major Asian business centres. Seventeen Thai companies are listed on the Forbes 2000, all of which are based in the capital, including PTT, the only Fortune Global 500 company in Thailand.
Income inequality is a major issue in Bangkok, especially between relatively unskilled lower-income immigrants from rural provinces and neighbouring countries, and middle-class professionals and business elites. Although absolute poverty rates are low—only 0.64 percent of Bangkok's registered residents were living under the poverty line in 2010, compared to a national average of 7.75 percent—economic disparity is still substantial. The city has a Gini coefficient of 0.48, indicating a high level of inequality.
Bangkok is one of the world's top tourist destinations. Of 162 cities worldwide, MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the top destination city by international visitor arrivals in its Global Destination Cities Index 2018, ahead of London, with just over 20 million overnight visitors in 2017. This was a repeat of its 2017 ranking (for 2016). Euromonitor International ranked Bangkok fourth in its Top City Destinations Ranking for 2016. Bangkok was also named "World's Best City" by Travel + Leisure magazine's survey of its readers for four consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013. As the main gateway through which visitors arrive in Thailand, Bangkok is visited by the majority of international tourists to the country. Domestic tourism is also prominent. The Department of Tourism recorded 26,861,095 Thai and 11,361,808 foreign visitors to Bangkok in 2010. Lodgings were made by 15,031,244 guests, who occupied 49.9 percent of the city's 86,687 hotel rooms. Bangkok also topped the list as the world's most popular tourist destinations in 2017 rankings.
Bangkok's multi-faceted sights, attractions and city life appeal to diverse groups of tourists. Royal palaces and temples as well as several museums constitute its major historical and cultural tourist attractions. Shopping and dining experiences offer a wide range of choices and prices. The city is also famous for its dynamic nightlife. Although Bangkok's sex tourism scene is well known to foreigners, it is usually not openly acknowledged by locals or the government.
Among Bangkok's well-known sights are the Grand Palace and major Buddhist temples, including Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. The Giant Swing and Erawan Shrine demonstrate Hinduism's deep-rooted influence in Thai culture. Vimanmek Mansion in Dusit Palace is famous as the world's largest teak building, while the Jim Thompson House provides an example of traditional Thai architecture. Other major museums include the Bangkok National Museum and the Royal Barge National Museum. Cruises and boat trips on the Chao Phraya and Thonburi's canals offer views of some of the city's traditional architecture and ways of life on the waterfront.
Shopping venues, many of which are popular with both tourists and locals, range from the shopping centres and department stores concentrated in Siam and Ratchaprasong to the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market. Taling Chan Floating Market is among the few such markets in Bangkok. Yaowarat is known for its shops as well as street-side food stalls and restaurants, which are also found throughout the city. Khao San Road has long been famous as a backpackers' destination, with its budget accommodation, shops and bars attracting visitors from all over the world.
Bangkok has a reputation overseas as a major destination in the sex industry. Although prostitution is technically illegal and is rarely openly discussed in Thailand, it commonly takes place among massage parlours, saunas and hourly hotels, serving foreign tourists as well as locals. Bangkok has acquired the nickname "Sin City of Asia" for its level of sex tourism.
Issues often encountered by foreign tourists include scams, overcharging and dual pricing. In a survey of 616 tourists visiting Thailand, 7.79 percent reported encountering a scam, the most common of which was the gem scam, in which tourists are tricked into buying overpriced jewellery.
The culture of Bangkok reflects its position as Thailand's centre of wealth and modernisation. The city has long been the portal of entry of Western concepts and material goods, which have been adopted and blended with Thai values to various degrees by its residents. This is most evident in the lifestyles of the expanding middle class. Conspicuous consumption serves as a display of economic and social status, and shopping centres are popular weekend hangouts. Ownership of electronics and consumer products such as mobile phones is ubiquitous. This has been accompanied by a degree of secularism, as religion's role in everyday life has rather diminished. Although such trends have spread to other urban centres, and, to a degree, the countryside, Bangkok remains at the forefront of social change.
A distinct feature of Bangkok is the ubiquity of street vendors selling goods ranging from food items to clothing and accessories. It has been estimated that the city may have over 100,000 hawkers. While the BMA has authorised the practice in 287 sites, the majority of activity in another 407 sites takes place illegally. Although they take up pavement space and block pedestrian traffic, many of the city's residents depend on these vendors for their meals, and the BMA's efforts to curb their numbers have largely been unsuccessful.
In 2015, however, the BMA, with support from the National Council for Peace and Order (Thailand's ruling military junta), began cracking down on street vendors in a bid to reclaim public space. Many famous market neighbourhoods were affected, including Khlong Thom, Saphan Lek, and the flower market at Pak Khlong Talat. Nearly 15,000 vendors were evicted from 39 public areas in 2016. While some applauded the efforts to focus on pedestrian rights, others have expressed concern that gentrification would lead to the loss of the city's character and adverse changes to people's way of life.
The residents of Bangkok celebrate many of Thailand's annual festivals. During Songkran on 13–15 April, traditional rituals as well as water fights take place throughout the city. Loi Krathong, usually in November, is accompanied by the Golden Mount Fair. New Year celebrations take place at many venues, the most prominent being the plaza in front of CentralWorld. Observances related to the royal family are held primarily in Bangkok. Wreaths are laid at King Chulalongkorn's equestrian statue in the Royal Plaza on 23 October, which is King Chulalongkorn Memorial Day. The present king's and queen's birthdays, respectively on 5 December and 12 August, are marked as Thailand's national Father's Day and national Mother's Day. These national holidays are celebrated by royal audiences on the day's eve, in which the king or queen gives a speech, and public gatherings on the day of the observance. The king's birthday is also marked by the Royal Guards' parade.
Sanam Luang is the site of the Thai Kite, Sport and Music Festival, usually held in March, and the Royal Ploughing Ceremony which takes place in May. The Red Cross Fair at the beginning of April is held at Suan Amporn and the Royal Plaza, and features numerous booths offering goods, games and exhibits. The Chinese New Year (January–February) and Vegetarian Festival (September–October) are celebrated widely by the Chinese community, especially in Yaowarat.
Bangkok is the centre of Thailand's media industry. All national newspapers, broadcast media and major publishers are based in the capital. Its 21 national newspapers had a combined daily circulation of about two million in 2002. These include the mass-oriented Thai Rath, Khao Sod and Daily News, the first of which currently prints a million copies per day, as well as the less sensational Matichon and Krungthep Thurakij. The Bangkok Post and The Nation are the two national English language dailies. Foreign publications including The Asian Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Straits Times and the Yomiuri Shimbun also have operations in Bangkok. The large majority of Thailand's more than 200 magazines are published in the capital, and include news magazines as well as lifestyle, entertainment, gossip and fashion-related publications.
Bangkok is also the hub of Thailand's broadcast television. All six national terrestrial channels, Channels 3, 5 and 7, Modernine, NBT and Thai PBS, have headquarters and main studios in the capital. With the exception of local news segments broadcast by the NBT, all programming is done in Bangkok and repeated throughout the provinces. However, this centralised model is weakening with the rise of cable television, which has many local providers. There are numerous cable and satellite channels based in Bangkok. TrueVisions is the major subscription television provider in Bangkok and Thailand, and it also carries international programming. Bangkok was home to 40 of Thailand's 311 FM radio stations and 38 of its 212 AM stations in 2002. Broadcast media reform stipulated by the 1997 Constitution has been progressing slowly, although many community radio stations have emerged in the city.
Likewise, Bangkok has dominated the Thai film industry since its inception. Although film settings normally feature locations throughout the country, the city is home to all major film studios. Bangkok has dozens of cinemas and multiplexes, and the city hosts two major film festivals annually, the Bangkok International Film Festival and the World Film Festival of Bangkok.
Traditional Thai art, long developed within religious and royal contexts, continues to be sponsored by various government agencies in Bangkok, including the Department of Fine Arts' Office of Traditional Arts. The SUPPORT Foundation in Chitralada Palace sponsors traditional and folk handicrafts. Various communities throughout the city still practice their traditional crafts, including the production of khon masks, alms bowls, and classical musical instruments. The National Gallery hosts permanent collection of traditional and modern art, with temporary contemporary exhibits. Bangkok's contemporary art scene has slowly grown from relative obscurity into the public sphere over the past two decades. Private galleries gradually emerged to provide exposure for new artists, including the Patravadi Theatre and H Gallery. The centrally located Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, opened in 2008 following a fifteen-year lobbying campaign, is now the largest public exhibition space in the city. There are also many other art galleries and museums, including the privately owned Museum of Contemporary Art.
The city's performing arts scene features traditional theatre and dance as well as Western-style plays. Khon and other traditional dances are regularly performed at the National Theatre and Salachalermkrung Royal Theatre, while the Thailand Cultural Centre is a newer multi-purpose venue which also hosts musicals, orchestras and other events. Numerous venues regularly feature a variety of performances throughout the city.
Modern Bangkok has developed a strong spectator sport culture. While muay Thai kickboxing matches at Rajadamnern and Lumpini Stadiums are regularly broadcast on television, the sport has mostly been overtaken in popularity by association football. Several foreign leagues and competitions, especially England's Premier League, have large followings in Bangkok as well as other Thai urban centres. In recent years, the Thai League has been gaining popularity. Police Tero based in Bangkok and Muangthong United based in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region are leading clubs. For more information on this topic, see Football in Bangkok.
While sepak takraw can be seen played in open spaces throughout the city, especially by the working class, football and other modern sports are now more of the norm. Western sports were introduced during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, and were originally only available to the privileged. Such status is still associated with certain sports. Golf is popular among the upwardly mobile, and while Thailand's more famous clubs are in the countryside, there are several courses in Bangkok itself. Horse riding takes place in a couple of exclusive clubs in the city. Horse racing is very popular in Bangkok and betting on horses is legal. There are two racecourses in Bangkok: "Royal Bangkok Sports Club" and "Royal Turf Club of Thailand".
There are many public sporting facilities located throughout Bangkok. The two main centres are the National Stadium complex, which dates to 1938, and the newer Hua Mak Sports Complex, which was built for the 1998 Asian Games. Bangkok had also hosted the games in 1966, 1970 and 1978; the most of any city. The city was the host of the inaugural Southeast Asian Games in 1959, the 2007 Summer Universiade and the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Although Bangkok's canals historically served as a major mode of transport, they have long since been surpassed in importance by land traffic. Charoen Krung Road, the first to be built by Western techniques, was completed in 1864. Since then, the road network has vastly expanded to accommodate the sprawling city. A complex elevated expressway network helps bring traffic into and out of the city centre, but Bangkok's rapid growth has put a large strain on infrastructure, and traffic jams have plagued the city since the 1990s. Although rail transport was introduced in 1893 and electric trams served the city from 1894 to 1968, it was only in 1999 that Bangkok's first rapid transit system began operation. Older public transport systems include an extensive bus network and boat services which still operate on the Chao Phraya and two canals. Taxis appear in the form of cars, motorcycles, and "tuk-tuk" auto rickshaws.
Bangkok is connected to the rest of the country through the national highway and rail networks, as well as by domestic flights to and from the city's two international airports. Its centuries-old maritime transport of goods is still conducted through Khlong Toei Port.
The BMA is largely responsible for overseeing the construction and maintenance of the road network and transport systems through its Public Works Department and Traffic and Transportation Department. However, many separate government agencies are also in charge of the individual systems, and much of transport-related policy planning and funding is contributed to by the national government.
Road-based transport is the primary mode of travel in Bangkok. Due to the city's organic development, its streets do not follow an organized grid structure. Forty-eight major roads link the different areas of the city, branching into smaller streets and lanes (soi) which serve local neighbourhoods. Eleven bridges over the Chao Phraya link the two sides of the city, while several expressway and motorway routes bring traffic into and out of the city centre and link with nearby provinces.
Bangkok's rapid growth in the 1980s resulted in sharp increases in vehicle ownership and traffic demand, which have since continued—in 2006 there were 3,943,211 in-use vehicles in Bangkok, of which 37.6 percent were private cars and 32.9 percent were motorcycles. These increases, in the face of limited carrying capacity, caused severe traffic congestion evident by the early 1990s. The extent of the problem is such that the Thai Traffic Police has a unit of officers trained in basic midwifery in order to assist deliveries which do not reach hospital in time. While Bangkok's limited road surface area (8 percent, compared to 20–30 percent in most Western cities) is often cited as a major cause of its traffic jams, other factors, including high vehicle ownership rate relative to income level, inadequate public transport systems, and lack of transportation demand management, also play a role. Efforts to alleviate the problem have included the construction of intersection bypasses and an extensive system of elevated highways, as well as the creation of several new rapid transit systems. The city's overall traffic conditions, however, remain poor.
Traffic has been the main source of air pollution in Bangkok, which reached serious levels in the 1990s. But efforts to improve air quality by improving fuel quality and enforcing emission standards, among others, had visibly ameliorated the problem by the 2000s. Atmospheric particulate matter levels dropped from 81 micrograms per cubic metre in 1997 to 43 in 2007. However, increasing vehicle numbers and a lack of continued pollution-control efforts threatens a reversal of the past success. In January–February 2018, weather conditions caused bouts of haze to cover the city, with particulate matter under 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) rising to unhealthy levels for several days on end.
Although the BMA has created thirty signed bicycle routes along several roads totalling 230 kilometres (140 mi), cycling is still largely impractical, especially in the city centre. Most of these bicycle lanes share the pavement with pedestrians. Poor surface maintenance, encroachment by hawkers and street vendors, and a hostile environment for cyclists and pedestrians, make cycling and walking unpopular methods of getting around in Bangkok.
Bangkok has an extensive bus network providing local transit services within the Greater Bangkok area. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) operates a monopoly on bus services, with substantial concessions granted to private operators. Buses, minibus vans, and song thaeo operate on a total of 470 routes throughout the region. A separate bus rapid transit system owned by the BMA has been in operation since 2010. Known simply as the BRT, the system currently consists of a single line running from the business district at Sathon to Ratchaphruek on the western side of the city. The Transport Co., Ltd. is the BMTA's long-distance counterpart, with services to all provinces operating out of Bangkok.
Taxis are ubiquitous in Bangkok, and are a popular form of transport. As of August 2012, there are 106,050 cars, 58,276 motorcycles and 8,996 tuk-tuk motorized tricycles cumulatively registered for use as taxis. Meters have been required for car taxis since 1992, while tuk-tuk fares are usually negotiated. Motorcycle taxis operate from regulated ranks, with either fixed or negotiable fares, and are usually employed for relatively short journeys.
Despite their popularity, taxis have gained a bad reputation for often refusing passengers when the requested route is not to the driver's convenience. Motorcycle taxis were previously unregulated, and subject to extortion by organized crime gangs. Since 2003, registration has been required for motorcycle taxi ranks, and drivers now wear distinctive numbered vests designating their district of registration and where they are allowed to accept passengers.
Bangkok is the location of Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the main terminus of the national rail network operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). In addition to long-distance services, the SRT also operates a few daily commuter trains running from and to the outskirts of the city during the rush hour.
Bangkok is currently served by three rapid transit systems: the BTS Skytrain, the underground MRT and the elevated Airport Rail Link. Although proposals for the development of rapid transit in Bangkok had been made since 1975, it was only in 1999 that the BTS finally began operation.
The BTS consists of two lines, Sukhumvit and Silom, with thirty-four stations along 30.95 kilometres (19.23 mi). The MRT opened for use in July 2004, and currently consists of two lines, the Blue Line and Purple Line. The Airport Rail Link, opened in August 2010, connects the city centre to Suvarnabhumi Airport to the east. Its eight stations span a distance of 28 kilometres (17 mi).
Although initial passenger numbers were low and their service area remains limited to the inner city, these systems have become indispensable to many commuters. The BTS reported an average of 600,000 daily trips in 2012, while the MRT had 240,000 passenger trips per day.
As of 2016, construction work is ongoing to extend BTS and MRT, as well as several additional transit lines, including the Light Red grade-separated commuter rail line. The entire Mass Rapid Transit Master Plan in Bangkok Metropolitan Region consists of eight main lines and four feeder lines totalling 508 kilometres (316 mi) to be completed by 2029. In addition to rapid transit and heavy rail lines, there have been proposals for several monorail systems.
Although much diminished from its past prominence, water-based transport still plays an important role in Bangkok and the immediate upstream and downstream provinces. Several water buses serve commuters daily. The Chao Phraya Express Boat serves thirty-four stops along the river, carrying an average of 35,586 passengers per day in 2010, while the smaller Khlong Saen Saep boat service serves twenty-seven stops on Saen Saep Canal with 57,557 daily passengers. Long-tail boats operate on fifteen regular routes on the Chao Phraya, and passenger ferries at thirty-two river crossings served an average of 136,927 daily passengers in 2010.
Bangkok Port, popularly known by its location as Khlong Toei Port, was Thailand's main international port from its opening in 1947 until it was superseded by the deep-sea Laem Chabang Port in 1991. It is primarily a cargo port, though its inland location limits access to ships of 12,000 deadweight tonnes or less. The port handled 11,936,855 tonnes (13,158,130 tons) of cargo in the first eight months of the 2010 fiscal year, about 22 percent the total of the country's international ports.
Bangkok 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. Suvarnabhumi, which replaced Don Mueang as Bangkok's main airport after its opening in 2006, served 52,808,013 passengers in 2015, making it the world's 20th busiest airport by passenger volume. This volume exceeded its designed capacity of 45 million passengers. Don Mueang reopened for domestic flights in 2007, and resumed international service focusing on low-cost carriers in October 2012. Suvarnabhumi is undergoing expansion to increase its capacity to 60 million passengers by 2019 and 90 million by 2021.
Bangkok has long been the centre of modern education in Thailand. The first schools in the country were established here in the later 19th century, and there are now 1,351 schools in the city. The city is home to the country's five oldest universities, Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, Kasetsart, Mahidol and Silpakorn, founded between 1917 and 1943. The city has since continued its dominance, especially in higher education; the majority of the country's universities, both public and private, are located in Bangkok or the Metropolitan Region. Chulalongkorn and Mahidol are the only Thai universities to appear in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings. King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, also located in Bangkok, is the only Thai university in the top 400 of the 2012–13 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Over the past few decades the general trend of pursuing a university degree has prompted the founding of new universities to meet the needs of Thai students. Bangkok became not only a place where immigrants and provincial Thais go for job opportunities, but also for a chance to receive a university degree. Ramkhamhaeng University emerged in 1971 as Thailand's first open university; it now has the highest enrolment in the country. The demand for higher education has led to the founding of many other universities and colleges, both public and private. While many universities have been established in major provinces, the Greater Bangkok region remains home to the greater majority of institutions, and the city's tertiary education scene remains over-populated with non-Bangkokians. The situation is not limited to higher education, either. In the 1960s, 60 to 70 percent of 10- to 19-year-olds who were in school had migrated to Bangkok for secondary education. This was due to both a lack of secondary schools in the provinces and perceived higher standards of education in the capital. Although this discrepancy has since largely abated, tens of thousands of students still compete for places in Bangkok's leading schools. Education has long been a prime factor in the centralization of Bangkok and will play a vital role in the government's efforts to decentralize the country.
Much of Thailand's medical resources are disproportionately concentrated in the capital. In 2000, Bangkok had 39.6 percent of the country's doctors and a physician-to-population ratio of 1:794, compared to a median of 1:5,667 among all provinces. The city is home to 42 public hospitals, five of which are university hospitals, as well as 98 private hospitals and 4,063 registered clinics.  The BMA operates nine public hospitals through its Medical Service Department, and its Health Department provides primary care through sixty-eight community health centres. Thailand's universal healthcare system is implemented through public hospitals and health centres as well as participating private providers.
Research-oriented medical school affiliates such as Siriraj, King Chulalongkorn Memorial and Ramathibodi Hospitals are among the largest in the country, and act as tertiary care centres, receiving referrals from distant parts of the country. Lately, especially in the private sector, there has been much growth in medical tourism, with hospitals such as Bumrungrad and Bangkok Hospital, among others, providing services specifically catering to foreigners. An estimated 200,000 medical tourists visited Thailand in 2011, making Bangkok the most popular global destination for medical tourism.
Bangkok has a relatively moderate crime rate when compared to urban counterparts around the world. Traffic accidents are a major hazard, while natural disasters are rare. Intermittent episodes of political unrest and occasional terrorist attacks have resulted in losses of life.
Although the crime threat in Bangkok is relatively low, non-confrontational crimes of opportunity such as pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, and credit card fraud occur with frequency. Bangkok's growth since the 1960s has been followed by increasing crime rates partly driven by urbanisation, migration, unemployment and poverty. By the late 1980s, Bangkok's crime rates were about four times that of the rest of the country. The police have long been preoccupied with street crimes ranging from housebreaking to assault and murder. The 1990s saw the emergence of vehicle theft and organized crime, particularly by foreign gangs. Drug trafficking, especially that of ya ba methamphetamine pills, is also chronic.
According to police statistics, the most common complaint received by the Metropolitan Police Bureau in 2010 was housebreaking, with 12,347 cases. This was followed by 5,504 cases of motorcycle thefts, 3,694 cases of assault and 2,836 cases of embezzlement. Serious offences included 183 murders, 81 gang robberies, 265 robberies, 1 kidnapping and 9 arson cases. Offences against the state were by far more common, and included 54,068 drug-related cases, 17,239 cases involving prostitution and 8,634 related to gambling. The Thailand Crime Victim Survey conducted by the Office of Justice Affairs of the Ministry of Justice found that 2.7 percent of surveyed households reported a member being victim of a crime in 2007. Of these, 96.1 percent were crimes against property, 2.6 percent were crimes against life and body, and 1.4 percent were information-related crimes.
Political demonstrations and protests are common in Bangkok. While most events since 1992 had been peaceful, the series of protests since 2006 have often turned violent. Demonstrations during March–May 2010 ended in a crackdown in which 92 were killed, including armed and unarmed protesters, security forces, civilians and journalists. Terrorist incidents have also occurred in Bangkok, most notably the 2015 Bangkok bombing at the Erawan shrine, and also a series of bombings on the 2006–07 New Year's Eve.
Traffic accidents are a major hazard in Bangkok. There were 37,985 accidents in the city in 2010, resulting in 16,602 injuries and 456 deaths as well as 426.42 million baht in damages. However, the rate of fatal accidents is much lower than in the rest of Thailand. While accidents in Bangkok amounted to 50.9 percent of the entire country, only 6.2 percent of fatalities occurred in the city. Another serious public health hazard comes from Bangkok's stray dogs. Up to 300,000 strays are estimated to roam the city's streets, and dog bites are among the most common injuries treated in the emergency departments of the city's hospitals. Rabies is prevalent among the dog population, and treatment for bites pose a heavy public burden.[k]
The city's formal international relations are managed by the International Affairs Division of the BMA. Its missions include partnering with other major cities through sister city agreements, participation and membership in international organizations, and pursuing cooperative activities with the many foreign diplomatic missions based in the city.
Bangkok is a member of several international organizations and regional city government networks, including the Asian Network of Major Cities 21, the Japan-led Asian-Pacific City Summit, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the ESCAP-sponsored Regional Network of Local Authorities for Management of Human Settlements in Asia and Pacific (CITYNET), Japan's Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, the World Association of the Major Metropolises and Local Governments for Sustainability, among others.
With its location at the heart of mainland Southeast Asia and as one of Asia's hubs of transportation, Bangkok is home to many international and regional organizations. Among others, Bangkok is the seat of the Secretariat of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), as well as the Asia-Pacific regional offices of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Bangkok's sister cities as of 2018 are:
The spot on which the present capital stands, and the country in its vicinity, on both banks of the river for a considerable distance, were formerly, before the removal of the court to its present situation called Bang-kok; but since that time, and for nearly sixty years past, it has been named Sia yuthia, (pronounced See-ah you-tè-ah, and by the natives, Krung, that is, the capital;) it is called by both names here, but never Bang-kok; and they always correct foreigners when the latter make this mistake. The villages which occupy the right hand of the river, opposite to the capital, pass under the general name of Bang-kok.
The 1998 Asian Games (Thai: เอเชียนเกมส์ 2541), officially known as the 13th Asian Games and the XIII Asiad, was an Asian multi-sport event celebrated in Bangkok, Thailand from December 6 to 20, 1998, with 377 events in 36 sports and disciplines participated by 6,554 athletes across the continent. The football event commenced on 30 November 1998, a week earlier than the opening ceremony.
Bangkok was awarded the right on September 26, 1990, defeating Taipei, Chinese Taipei and Jakarta, Indonesia to host the Games. It was the first city to hosted the Asian Games for four times, the last three editions it hosted were in 1966, 1970 and 1978. The event was opened by Bhumibol Adulyadej, the king of Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium.The final medal tally was led by China, followed by South Korea, Japan and the host Thailand. Thailand set a new record with 24 gold medals. In addition, Japanese Athletics Koji Ito was announced as the most valuable player (MVP) of the Games. The games were deemed generally successful with the rising standard of competition amongst the Asian nations. For Thailand, it was one of its' remarkable achievement in sports development throughout its' modern history.BG Pathum United F.C.
BG Pathum United Football Club (Thai: สโมสรฟุตบอลบีจี ปทุม ยูไนเต็ด) is a Thai professional football club based in Pathum Thani Province and is managed by BG FC Sport Co.,Ltd. which is a subsidiary of Bangkok Glass Group of Companies. Bangkok Glass FC participates in the Thai League 2.
Its nickname "The Rabbits" derives from the chinese zodiac of the first club president, Pavin Bhirombhakdi who born in The Year of the Rabbit.BTS Skytrain
The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS or the Skytrain (Thai: รถไฟฟ้า RTGS: rot fai fa), is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok, Thailand. It is operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System PCL (BTSC), a subsidiary of BTS Group Holdings, under a concession granted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). The system consists of 43 stations along two lines: the Sukhumvit Line running northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and Kheha respectively, and the Silom Line which serves Silom and Sathon Roads, the central business district of Bangkok, terminating at National Stadium and Bang Wa. The lines interchange at Siam station and have a combined route length of 48.7 kilometers (30.3 mi). The system is formally known as "the Elevated Train in Commemoration of HM the King's 6th Cycle Birthday" (รถไฟฟ้าเฉลิมพระเกียรติ 6 รอบ พระชนมพรรษา).
Besides the BTS, Bangkok's rapid transit system includes the underground and elevated Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) railway lines, the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT), and the elevated Airport Rail Link (ARL), serving several stations in the city before reaching Suvarnabhumi Airport.Bangkok Airways
Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited (SET: BA,Thai: บางกอกแอร์เวย์) is a regional airline based in Bangkok, Thailand. It operates scheduled services to destinations in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Singapore, and Vietnam. Its main base is Suvarnabhumi Airport.Bangkok Post
The Bangkok Post is a broadsheet English-language daily newspaper published in Bangkok, Thailand. The first issue was sold on 1 August 1946. It had four pages and cost 1 baht, a considerable amount at the time when a baht was a paper note. It is Thailand's second oldest newspaper. (The first newspaper published in Thailand was The Bangkok Recorder which began publishing in 1844, both in Thai and English.)
Bangkok Post's daily circulation is 110,000, 80 percent distributed in Bangkok and the remainder nationwide.From July 2016 until mid–May 2018, the editor of the Post was Umesh Pandey. On 14 May Umesh was "forced to step down" as editor after refusing to soften coverage critical of the ruling military junta. He said the board of directors had asked him to "tone down" the newspaper's reporting and editorials on the actions of the military government, especially its suppression of free speech and election postponements. In a written statement by Umesh issued on 14 May, he said, "When asked to tone down I did not budge and was blunt in letting those who make decisions know that I would rather lose my position than bow my head,..." The Post issued a statement on 16 May to assure its readers of its continued commitment to "editorial independence". A senior Post official said that, "This is not an issue of government interference or press freedom per se,...This is simply an internal organisational matter." Umesh was not fired, but transferred to another high-ranking post as assistant to a deputy COO at no loss of pay. Some sources within the company attributed Umesh's ouster as editor to his poor management style and ethical breaches. Some staffers who worked with Umesh cited his creation of a hostile workplace environment and unprofessional behavior. Five current and former staffers blamed him for driving away many newsroom employees, creating a toxic environment and breaching ethics. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha denied that the government pressured the Post to reassign Umesh, dismissing the action as "...an issue within a private company,..."Bangkok United F.C.
Bangkok United Football Club (Thai: สโมสรฟุตบอล แบงค็อก ยูไนเต็ด) is a Thai professional football club based in Pathum Thani. Formerly known as Bangkok University FC until 2009. The club was relegated from the 2010 Thai Premier League only 4 years after winning their first league title in 2006. In 2012 they got promoted to Thai League 1 again, after finishing 3rd in 2012 Thai Division 1 League.Bangkok railway station
Bangkok railway station (Thai: สถานีรถไฟกรุงเทพ), unofficially known as Hua Lamphong station (Thai: สถานีหัวลำโพง), is the main railway station in Bangkok, Thailand. It is in the center of the city in the Pathum Wan District, and is operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).Chakri dynasty
The Chakri dynasty (Thai: ราชวงศ์จักรี; RTGS: Ratchawong Chakkri, Thai pronunciation: [râ:t.tɕʰá.woŋ.tɕàk.kri:], Pronunciation) is the current ruling royal house of the Kingdom of Thailand, while the Head of the house is the monarch. The dynasty has ruled Thailand since the founding of the Rattanakosin Era and the city of Bangkok in 1782 following the end of King Taksin of Thonburi's reign, when the capital of Siam shifted to Bangkok. The royal house was founded by King Rama I, an Ayutthaya military leader of Sino-Mon descent.
Prior to the founding of the dynasty, King Rama I held for years the title Chakri, the title of the civil chancellor. In founding the dynasty, King Rama I himself chose "Chakri" as the name for the dynasty. The emblem of the dynasty is composed of the discus (Chakra) and the trident (Trisula), the celestial weapons of god Vishnu and Shiva, whom the Thai sovereign is seen as an incarnation.
The current head of the house is King Maha Vajiralongkorn who was proclaimed king on 1 December 2016, but has actually reigned with retroactive effect since 13 October 2016 after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The house's current dynastic seat is the Grand Palace in Bangkok.Channel 7 (Thailand)
The Channel 7 or Channel 7 HD, fully known as Bangkok Broadcasting & Television Company Limited Channel 7 (Thai: สถานีโทรทัศน์สีกองทัพบกช่อง 7) or BBTV Channel 7, is a Thai free-to-air television network that was launched on 27 November 1967. It is owned by the Royal Thai Army. Its main offices are located in Mo Chit, Chatuchak.Don Mueang International Airport
Don Mueang International Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานดอนเมือง, pronounced [tʰâː.ʔāː.kàːt̚.sā.jāːn.dɔ̄ːn.mɯ̄a̯ŋ], or colloquially as สนามบินดอนเมือง, pronounced [sā.nǎːm.bīn.dɔ̄ːn.mɯ̄a̯ŋ]) (IATA: DMK, ICAO: VTBD) (aka Bangkok International Airport) is one of two international airports serving Greater Bangkok, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
The airport is considered to be one of the world's oldest international airports and Asia's oldest operating airport. It was officially opened as a Royal Thai Air Force base on 27 March 1914, although it had been in use earlier. Commercial flights began in 1924, making it one of the world's oldest commercial airports. The first commercial flight was an arrival by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.In September 2006, Don Mueang Airport was closed and replaced by the newly opened Suvarnabhumi Airport, before reopening on 24 March 2007 after renovations. Since the opening of the new airport, it has become a regional commuter flight hub and the de facto low-cost airline hub. In 2015, it became the world's largest low cost carrier airport.Don Mueang previously carried the BKK IATA code (subsequently transferred to Suvarnabhumi) and was an important hub of Asia and the hub of Thai Airways International prior to its closure. At its peak, it served most air traffic for the entire country, with 80 airlines operating 160,000 flights and handling over 38 million passengers and 700,000 tons of cargo in 2004. It was then the 14th busiest airport in the world and 2nd in Asia by passenger volume. Currently, Don Mueang is the main hub for Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and New Gen Airways.Iconsiam
Iconsiam, stylized as ICONSIAM, is a mixed-use development on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. It includes a large shopping mall, which opened to the public on 10 November 2018, as well as hotels and residences. The 54 billion baht (US$1.5 billion) project is being developed as a joint venture by Siam Piwat group, a Thai high-end shopping mall developer, MQDC Magnolia Quality Development, and Charoen Pokphand Group. The complex will include two of the tallest buildings in Bangkok upon completion: the 52-storey Mandarin Oriental Residences and the 70-floor Magnolias Waterfront Residences.List of tallest buildings in Thailand
This list of tallest buildings in Thailand ranks skyscrapers in Thailand by height.MRT (Bangkok)
The Metropolitan Rapid Transit or MRT is a mass rapid transit system serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Region in Thailand. The MRT system comprises three heavy rail lines and two monorail lines. The first section of the MRT Blue Line, officially the Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line, between Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue opened in 2004 as Bangkok's second metro system, The MRT Purple Line, officially the Chalong Ratchadham Line, began full service on 6 August 2016 and connected Tao Poon with Khlong Bang Phai in Nonthaburi in the northwest of Greater Bangkok. It was the first public transit line to extend outside Bangkok province, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Both of these MRT lines are operated by the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) under a concession granted by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) which is the owner of the MRT lines. Along with the BTS Skytrain and the Airport Rail Link, the MRT is part of Bangkok's rail transportation infrastructure. The MRT system serves more than 420,000 passengers each day (Blue line 360,000 & Purple line 60,000). It has 35 operational stations along 43 kilometers (27 mi).
From mid 2011, construction began to extend the MRT Blue Line with an extension west from Hua Lamphong via Tha Phra to Lak Song, and in the north from Bang Sue to Tha Phra . When fully completed by April 2020, the Blue Line will become a fake loop line (providing interchange with itself at Tha Phra) around the centre of Bangkok. An extension of the MRT Purple Line south from Tao Poon to Rat Burana is expected to be tendered in 2019.
The MRT line is officially known in Thai as rotfaifa mahanakhon (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร) or "metropolitan electric train", but it is more commonly called rotfai taidin (รถไฟใต้ดิน), literally, "underground train".Old Chiangmai–Bangkok Sign Language family
The Old Chiangmai–Bangkok Sign Language family is a language family of two related sign languages: Old Chiangmai Sign Language and Old Bangkok Sign Language. Woodward (2003) found that they were 65% cognate, indicating that the two languages are related, possibly due to migration between Chiangmai and Bangkok. There appear to be connections to sign languages of Vietnam (especially to Hai Phong Sign Language), and possibly Laotian sign languages, but the nature of these connections (whether areal or genetic) has not been determined. Village sign languages of Thailand, such as Ban Khor Sign Language, are unrelated.Provinces of Thailand
The Provinces of Thailand are part of the government of Thailand that is divided into 76 provinces (Thai: จังหวัด, RTGS: changwat, pronounced [t͡ɕāŋ.wàt]) proper and two special administrative areas (Thai: เขตปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ), one representing the capital Bangkok and another the city of Pattaya.. They are the primary local government units and are divided into amphoes (districts) and also act as juristic persons. Each province is led by a governor (ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด phu wa ratchakan changwat), who is appointed by the central government.Samut Prakan Province
Samut Prakan (Thai: สมุทรปราการ, pronounced [sāmùt prāːkāːn] (listen)) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand, established by the Act Establishing Changwat Samut Prakan, Changwat Nonthaburi, Changwat Samut Sakhon and Changwat Nakhon Nayok, Buddhist Era 2489 (1946), which came into force 9 March 1946.
It is part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Neighbouring provinces are Bangkok, to the north and west, and Chachoengsao to the east.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is in the Bang Phli District of Samut Prakan Province.Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, RTGS: Suwannaphum, pronounced [sùʔ.wān.nā.pʰūːm] (listen)) (IATA: BKK, ICAO: VTBS), also known unofficially as Bangkok Airport, is one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand. The other older one is Don Mueang International Airport. Suvarnabhumi covers an area of 3,240 ha (32.4 km2; 8,000 acres), making it one of the biggest international airports in Southeast Asia and a regional hub for aviation.
Suvarnabhumi was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September 2006.The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Thai Smile Airways, and Bangkok Airways. It also serves as regional gateway and connecting point for various foreign carriers.
The airport is on what had formerly been known as Nong Nguhao (Cobra Swamp) in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan, about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of downtown Bangkok. The terminal building was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy / Jahn Architects. It was constructed primarily by ITO JV. The airport had the world's tallest free-standing control tower (132.2 metres or 434 feet) from 2006 to 2014, and the world's fourth largest single-building airport terminal (563,000 square metres or 6,060,000 square feet).
Suvarnabhumi is the 21st busiest airport in the world, eleventh busiest airport in Asia, and the busiest in the country, having handled 60 million passengers in 2017, and is also a major air cargo hub, with a total of 95 airlines. On social networks, Suvarnabhumi was the world's most popular site for taking Instagram photographs in 2012.The airport inherited the airport code, BKK, from Don Mueang after the previous airport ceased international commercial flights. The modern Motorway 7 connects the airport, Bangkok, and the heavily industrial eastern seaboard of Thailand, where most export manufacturing takes place.Thai Airways
Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, trading as THAI (SET: THAI, Thai: บริษัท การบินไทย จำกัด (มหาชน)) is the flag carrier airline of Thailand. Formed in 1988, the airline has its corporate headquarters in Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, and primarily operates from Suvarnabhumi Airport. THAI is a founding member of the Star Alliance. The airline is the second-largest shareholder of the low-cost carrier Nok Air with a 21.80 per cent stake, and it launched a regional carrier under the name Thai Smile in the middle of 2012 using new Airbus A320 aircraft.From its hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport and secondary hub at Phuket International Airport, Thai (including subsidiaries) flies to 84 destinations in 37 countries, using a fleet of over 90 aircraft. The airline was once the operator of two of the world's longest non-stop routes between Bangkok and Los Angeles and New York City, but due to high fuel prices, the withdrawal of aircraft, luggage weight limits and rising airfares, the airline abandoned all non-stop US services in 2012 indefinitely. As of 2013, services between Bangkok and Los Angeles were served via Incheon International Airport near Seoul, however, it ended its service to the US on 25 October 2015. Thai's route network is dominated by flights to Europe, East Asia, and South/Southwest Asia, though the airline serves five cities in Oceania. Thai was the first Asia-Pacific airline to serve London Heathrow Airport. Among Asia-Pacific carriers, the company has one of the largest passenger operations in Europe. As of the end of 2018, it employed about 1,300 pilots across all of its routes..Thailand
Thailand (Thai: ประเทศไทย) ( TY-land, -lənd), officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam (Thai: สยาม), is a country at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship.
Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century; the oldest known mention of their presence in the region by the exonym Siamese dates to the 12th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other. European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign (1656–88), gradually declining thereafter until being ultimately destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin quickly reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom. He was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century.
Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but nevertheless it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's historically influential role in politics. Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta.
Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy; manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.
|Climate data for Bangkok Metropolis (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.6
|Average high °C (°F)||32.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27.0
|Average low °C (°F)||22.6
|Record low °C (°F)||10.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||13.3
|Average rainy days||1.8||2.4||3.6||6.6||16.4||16.3||17.4||19.6||21.2||17.7||5.8||1.1||129.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||68||72||72||72||75||74||75||76||79||78||70||66||73|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||272.5||249.9||269.0||256.7||216.4||178.0||171.8||160.3||154.9||198.1||234.2||262.0||2,623.8|
|Source #1: Thai Meteorological Department, humidity (1981–2010): RID; Rainfall (1981–2010): RID|
|Source #2: Pogodaiklimat.ru(High/Low Record) NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)|
Places adjacent to Bangkok