Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and the most populous city in the country. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep . The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres 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) live within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, making Bangkok an extreme primate city
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later nineteenth century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was the centre stage of Thailand’s political struggles throughout the twentieth century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact amongst 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 major regional force in finance and business. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and is emerging as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment. The city’s vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its notorious red light districts, have given it an exotic appeal. The historic 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. It is ranked third after London and Paris in MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index, and has been named “World’s Best City” for three consecutive years by Travel + Leisure magazine.