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Home > Thailand Hotels > Bangkok Hotels > Bangkok The City


Bangkok Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations

     

Discount Hotels in Bangkok : Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam Square, Ploenchit, Riverside, Sathorn, Pratunam, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Ratchadapisek, Petchburi, Banglumpu, Don Muang Airport, Yawaraj (China Town), Nakorn Pathom, Huamark, Saphankwai, Nonthaburi, Pattanakarn

 


The City – Bangkok – with Wired Destinations


Stopover visitors will be dazzled by the traffic fumes and noise.  Those staying a little longer will discover Bangkok's allure. At first glance, Bangkok appears to be a place desperately in need of a competent city planner. It certainly seems a place where no one has sat down and thought things through to an orderly outcome. In fact, Bangkok, whose full name (Krung - dÄ“vamahānagara amararatanakosindra mahindrayudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānÄ« purÄ«ramya utamarājanivÄ“sana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi) which translates to “City of Angels, Abode of the Emerald Buddha” and has never had much order imposed on it, save for Rattanakosin, the royal core of the city where the kings built their palaces and temples. The rest of the city simply happened, and as one moves outward from the royal island, which is defined by canals (khlong) and the Chao Phraya River, the city increasingly looks like a challenge to cartographers.
   
Yet it is undeniably one of the world's most fascinating cities, and travelers inevitably leave Bangkok with a wealth of impressions, opinions and stories to tell. Yes, it is polluted and it is noisy and it is traffic-clogged. Yes, it can take hours to travel a few kilometers by car. And, yes, the situation never seems to really improve.
   
Bangkok began as a city of canals and elephant paths. When motor vehicles redefined urban transportation (see Bangkok Transport), the old thoroughfares were simply filled in or paved over for the new wheels. Little attempt was made to accommodate the different needs of a motorized society. Construction begat chaos and a large part of what assaults the eye today started in the late 1950s. The population of the city has grown nearly tenfold since World War II. Today, about one out of every eight Thais lives in Bangkok – from 8 to 11 million people, depending on the statistical source. The city is Thailand's only metropolitan area, and its only true cultural, economic and political centre.
   
Metropolitan Bangkok was once two separate urban entities: Thonburi on the west side of the Chao Phraya, and Krung Thep (Bangkok) on the eastern side. In the early 1970s, the two were united into a single metropolitan government, and the expanded city was then merged with the two surrounding provinces into one densely-populated province: Bangkok Metropolis. This metropolitan area is slightly over 1,500 km2 in size.
   
About 50 km from the Gulf of Thailand, Bangkok is atop the gulf delta of the Chao Phraya River, which flows from the north. Since it is on an alluvial plain, Bangkok is quite flat and without geographical boundaries, save for the river itself.
   
Bangkok's challenge is simple: to sort out the mess of its infrastructure. Telecommunications have noticeably improved. The transportation network is, well, continuing to pose problems. However, since installation of the BTS and MRT networks some improvement has happened if slightly (see Bangkok Insider Travel Tips). In any case, whether the city planners manage to unknot the traffic situations entirely or not and whether the city eventually stabilizes its growth, or else implodes, or explodes, Bangkok will never fail to elicit a response.

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