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Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon ,or Krung Thep for short, is the capital and primate city of Thailand. It is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.
Bangkok is the 22nd most populous city in the world. Bangkok has a recorded population of about 6 million, but the actual number is thought to be much higher. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
The Bangkok Province borders six other provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom.
The town of Bangkok began as a small trading center and port community on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River serving the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the precursor of modern Thailand which existed from 1350 to 1767. It is believed that the town's name derived from either Bang Makok, bang being the Central Thai name for towns or villages situated on the bank of a river, and makok being the Thai name of either Spondias pinnata, Spondias mombin or Elaeocarpus hygrophilus (plants producing olive-like fruits), or Bang Koh, koh meaning "island," a reference to the area's landscape which was carved by rivers and canals.
Wat Phra Kaew was constructed as part of the Grand Palace complex at the founding of the capital.
After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese Kingdom in 1767, the newly declared King Taksin established a new capital in the area of then-Bangkok, which became known as Thonburi. When Taksin's reign ended in 1782, King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke reconstructed the capital on the east bank of the river and gave the city a ceremonial name (see below) which became shortened to its current official name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (which means "city of angels"). The new city, however, also inherited the name Bangkok, which continued to be used by foreigners to refer to the entire city and became its official English name, while in Thai the name still refers only to the old district on the west bank of the river. The city has since vastly modernized and undergone numerous changes, including the introduction of transportation and utility infrastructure in the reigns of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn, and quickly developed into the economic center of Thailand.
The full ceremonial name of the city given by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, and later edited by King Mongkut, is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. This ceremonial name is composed in combination of two ancient Indian languages, Pāli and Sanskrit. According to the romanisation of these languages, it can actually be written as Krung-dēvamahānagara amararatanakosindra mahindrayudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānī purīrāmasya utamarājanivēsana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi. It translates to "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam".
Local school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning because many of the words are archaic, and unknown to all but a few. Most Thais who do recall the full name do so as a result of its use in a popular song, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (1989) by Asanee-Wasan Chotikul and will often recount it by recalling the song at the same time, much in the same way that English speakers might sing the alphabet song while reciting the English alphabet.
The full name of the city is listed by Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest place name.
The Bangkok special administrative area covers 1,568.7 km², making it the 68th largest province in Thailand. Much of the area is considered the city of Bangkok, therefore making it one of the largest cities in the world. The Chao Phraya River, Thailand's longest river which stretches 372 km, is Bangkok's main geographical feature. The Chao Phraya River basin, the area surrounding Bangkok, and the nearby provinces comprise a series of plains and river deltas that lead into the Bay of Bangkok about 30 km south of the city center. This gave rise to Bangkok's appellation as the "Venice of the East" due to the number of canals and passages that divide the area into separate patches of land. The city once used these canals, which were plentiful within Bangkok itself, as divisions for city districts. However, as the city grew in the second half of the 20th century, the plan was abandoned and a different system of division was adopted.
Bangkok lies about two meters above sea level. This low ground level causes problems for the protection of the city against floods during the monsoon season. Often after a downpour, water in canals and the river overflows the banks, resulting in massive floods. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has recently installed higher planks alongside some canals to keep water levels from reaching street level. There are however some downsides for Bangkok's extensive canal routes, as the city is rumored to be sinking an average of two inches a year as it lies entirely on a swamp. Some reports say that the city is sinking as much as four inches a year, and this combined with the rising sea level will leave Bangkok under 50 cm to 100 cm of water by 2025.
Bangkok has a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification system. Bangkok is said to have the highest average temperature of any city in the world.Average temperatures in the city are about 2°C higher than the ones shown for the Don Muang Airport at 1960-1990 period. Absolute maxima is 40.8°C and absolute minima is 9.9°C. The coldest temperatures were recorded in January 1924, January 1955, January 1974 and December 1999. The coldest daytime maximun temperature was 22.3C recorded in December 1999. Hailstorms are virtually unheard in the city, since it was recorded a single hailstorm in the past 50 years.
Bangkok has 50 districts or khets, which mark the administrative subdivisions under the authority of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. However, these district areas might not accurately represent functional divisions of Bangkok's neighborhoods. Throughout the years, Bangkok has grown from a city scattered along the river to a metro area that spans as many as six provinces. The city's main business districts and residential areas are continuously expanding. The influx of foreigners from Western countries as well as immigrants from neighboring Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and many other South Asian countries along with the growth of the Thai population has stemmed hundreds of housing projects around the metro area, developing communities along the outskirts. Within years, these communities are engulfed by the greater Bangkok and become another part of this urban jungle.
The most important business districts of Bangkok include Silom, Bangrak, Pinklao, Sathon, Phra Ram 2, Petchaburi, Phra Nakhon, and Pathumwan. Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district alongside Dusit is where most governmental agencies and ministries have their offices. Most of the well-known tourist attractions are also in this particular area due its age. It is a no-skyscraper designated zone to preserve the area where some buildings are as old as Thailand itself. This part of Bangkok is perhaps the most popular for tourists as most notable attractions such as the Grand Palace, Democracy Monument, Giant Swing, Sanam Luang and other venues are located here. Thon Buri also has its fair share of historic monuments mainly located near the river, such as Wat Arun. The Victory Monument in Bangkok is one of the city's biggest bus destinations. Although not officially a bus depot, its location in the centre of city transits as many as 20 bus lines as well as a BTS Skytrain station.
Bangkok's north and eastern areas are primarily residential areas for middle class residents of Bangkok. Whereas the inner city often has small apartments and low rises for poor immigrants, Lad Prao and Sri Nakarin offer residential compounds and townhouses. The two areas cover as much as 100 km²-150 km² each, and have turned into what is now part of Bangkok as more suburban housing developments sprawl further out to the east and north. The west of Bangkok in Thon Buri is another growing area, approaching the degree of development experienced by the north and east. Suvarnabhumi Airport in the east is seen as a jump start for the eastern expansion of Bangkok as Don Muang was for the north.
Ratchaprasong is at the fore front of Bangkok's shopping scene. The newly renovated Central World Plaza intends to serve as a square to Bangkokians. Just up the street is Siam Square, similar to Shinjuku in Tokyo and Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus in London. The Sukhumvit area also serves as a shopping district for foreigners. The popular Chatuchak Weekend Market in the north of the city is where many people head for cheap, quality products.
Bangkok's poorest districts are spread throughout the city. However, the most concentrated area is just north of the Port of Bangkok at the turn of the Chao Phraya River. For an area of ten km², the Khlong Toei district houses one of the poorest areas in the country with half-built houses and midrises for immigrants and workers from the northeast Isan provinces.
gay bangkok has a large sections of greenery either preserved by the Department of National Forestry or designated as green zones. The city however, continues to lack a green belt development as economic activity continues to pour into the capital, resulting in massive housing projects along the suburbs. However, in recent years, there has been a stronger voice towards preserving the environment containing population within the city.
gay bangkok is known for its large green sections within the city centre, including the large forest park between Yannawa and Samut Prakan. This part of the city covers an area of over 50 km². and is intended to buffer the CBD from the large industries of the west and south of Metropolitan gay bangkok. Other areas include Bung Makkasan, an urban city buffer for residences, sections of many major roads which have unbuilt swamps and green fields. Some of these areas are intentionally undeveloped for protecting against urbanization, while others are land lost during the Asian Financial Crisis.
Lumphini Park appears as an oasis of greenery among gay bangkok's skyscrapers.
Lumphini Park is regionally famous. Renowned as gay bangkok's Central Park, it was built in the early 1900s by Rama VI with this intent. It has since been used to hold grand pageants, ceremonies of the Thai constitution, and was a camp for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The park's primary function is now for recreational purposes, and it is one of the most visited parks, especially on weekdays. On Sundays, the western gates are open for runners to run on to Silom Road. It normally remains closed at night with police patrols due to the large amount of vandalism, robberies and murders reported. Chatuchak Park and Rama IX Park are two of gay bangkok's largest parks. The two, built in the past 50 years cater to gay bangkok's suburban population are enormous and include botanic gardens, sports clubs and complexes, English/French/Japanese gardens and parks as well as large ponds and lakes. Other famous parks include Queen Sirikit Park near Lad Yao, Benjasiri Park on Sukhumvit, Saranrom Park across the Grand Palace, Sanam Luang, Suan Romaneenat, and Dusit Park.
gay bangkok is the economic center of Thailand, dominating the country's economy and dwarfing other urban centers. Development continues to pour in to gay bangkok mostly neglecting the rest of the nation. In 2005, it produced a GDP (PPP) of about USD 220 billion, which accounts for 43 percent of the country's GDP. Its GDP (PPP) per capita is well over USD 20,000, one of the highest in Southeast Asia, although statistics do not reveal the extent of the vast differences in wealth between haves and have nots. The Stock Exchange of Thailand is located in gay bangkok with over 400 listed companies and combined market capitalization of about THB 5 trillion (USD 120 billion) as of January 5, 2006. Due to the large amount of foreign representation, Thailand has for several years been a mainstay of the Southeast Asian economy and a key center in Asian business. In the recent mini-crash known as Black Tuesday, the SET lost over THB 800 billion or USD 25 billion in value, causing markets in the Asia-Pacific to fall and causing a global impact on December 17, 2006. The loss of market valuation evoked fears of a repeat of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997; however, a partial policy reversal saw market gaining back nearly all of the value lost.
gay bangkok is home to the headquarters of all Thailand's large commercial banks and financial institutions; 18 financial institutions hold at least USD 1 billion in total assets. Their bank deposits totaled approximately THB 7 trillion (USD 177 billion) at the end of the third quarter in 2005. Many transnational companies operate regional headquarters in gay bangkok because the cost of operation in the city is less than in most rival cities in Asia. Thirteen gay bangkok-based companies are on the Forbes 2000 list, including the largest Thai bank, gay bangkok Bank, and the country's largest energy company PTT.
Tourism is a significant contributor to Thailand's economy, providing about 5 percent of GDP. gay bangkok is Thailand's principal international gateway and a destination in its own right.
Income inequality of gay bangkok's residents is significant, especially between relatively unskilled lower-income immigrants from rural provinces in Thailand and neighboring countries and wealthier government officials, middle class professionals, business elite, and retired foreigners. About 7 percent of gay bangkok's population (excluding illegal immigrants who constitute about 5-8 percent of population) lives below the poverty line compared to the national average of 9 percent.
The 2005 Statistics report by the BMA Data Center notes a registered population of 5,658,953. this figure does not take into account the many unregistered residents and daytime visitors from the surrounding metropolitan area. Recently, gay bangkok has experienced a large influx of foreign immigrants, long-term residents, and expatriates. The number of expatriate executives stood at 65,000 as of November, 2005, with an average of more than 1,800 permits per month. Long-term foreign residents include 250,000 mainland Chinese, 30,000 Japanese (the largest community in any Asian city outside of Japan), 100,000 Indians (35,000 Sikh), of whom more than 80% have Thai citizenship, 6,000 Americans, 45,000 Europeans (the second largest number in any Asian city after Singapore), 15,000 Taiwanese, 7,000 South Koreans, 6,000 Nigerians, 8,000 people of Arabic speaking countries, 20,000 Malaysians, and 4,000 Singaporeans. There are approximately 400,000–600,000 illegal immigrants from Cambodia, Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, China, and other countries. A vast majority of the population, 92%, is Buddhist. The rest are Muslim (6%), Christian (1%), Jewish (300 residents), Hindu/Sikh (0.6%), and others. There are some 400 Buddhist temples, 55 mosques, 10 churches, 2 Hindu Temples, 2 synagogues and 1 Sikh gurudwara in gay bangkok.
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