Bangkok (Thai: กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) is the capital of Thailand and, with a population of over eleven million inhabitants, by far its largest city. Its high-rise buildings, heavy traffic congestion, intense heat and naughty nightlife may not immediately give you the best impression, but don't let that mislead you. It is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities with magnificent temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone.
For years, it was only a small trading post at the banks of the Chao Phraya River, until King Rama I, the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, turned it into the capital of Siam in 1782.
Since then, Bangkok has turned into a national treasure house and functions as Thailand's spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic centre. Bangkok is a huge and modern city humming with nightlife and fervour.
Just about 14 degrees north of the Equator, Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveller-friendly cities in Asia. A furious blast on the senses, visitors are immediately confronted by the heat, the pollution and the irrepressible smile that accompanies many Thais.
Despite the sensationalised international news reports and first impressions, the city is surprisingly safe (except from some petty crimes) and more organised than it initially appears, full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
The high relative humidity and warm temperature favour the growth of tropical plants. You'll find exotic orchids and delicious fruit everywhere. Bougainvillea and frangipani bloom practically all over the city.
Thai cuisine is justifiably famous, varied, and affordable.
Bangkok for many represents the quintessential Asian capital.
Saffron-robed monks, garish neon signs, graceful Thai architecture, spicy dishes, colourful markets, traffic jams
and the tropical climate come together in a happy coincidence.
It is difficult to leave with lukewarm impressions of the city.