With a population of over eleven million people, Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist cities in Asia. The heat, traffic jams, crowds never makes the smile vanishes from the faces of the Thais - this csn tell anyone who has visited this city. Its high-rise skyscrapers, traffic on the roads and intense heat, sometimes make a bad impression on visitors. This is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia, with the famous temples and palaces. High humidity and temperatures promote the abundant growth of tropical plants - everywhere there are exotic orchids and fruit trees. The popular Thai cuisine is diverse and is available on virtually every street. For many, Bangkok embodies the quintessential Asian capital. Monks dressed in a dark orange, bright neon lights, Thai architecture, spicy dishes, colorful markets, traffic jams, and tropical climate are the most vivid impressions of the city. Thailand's capital leaves no one indifferent. This city is a dream and a nightmare at the same time for many tourists.
Over the years, Bangkok was a small fishing village near the Chao Phraya River. In 1782, the first monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, Rama I, moved the capital of Siam here and started the construction of te royal palace on the island of Rattanakosin . At the same time began the construction of the channels around the island. Like medieval ditches, these canals (Klong) served as a defensive barrier in the event of hostilities. Temples and palaces on the Rattanakosin Island were the only stone buildings, built on the land at that time. Ordinary people living in Bangkok, literally on the water: in boats, on rafts of bamboo dwellings. Only in early 1800 appeared the first houses built on land. Through an extensive network of canals, the main type of movement was a boat. Arriving in Bangkok, foreign diplomats and missionaries drew parallels with the Italian Venice, giving the city the name of the "Venice of the East." The official name of Bangkok is a member of the 167 letters by which he got into the Guinness Book of Records for the longest city name in the world. Thais prefer to use the name of Krung Thep (translated as the "City of Angels").
Most modern Bangkok is built on marshland. Because of the danger of epidemics of malaria and with the advent of motor transport, most built in the last century canals filled and built paved roads, skyscrapers and shopping malls. This has caused irreparable damage to the natural drainage system, which regulates the water level in the city during the annual rainy seasons. Therefore, it is difficult to call Bangkok the "Venice of the East", but the river and the remaining channels still continue to play an important role in the daily life of the city. Bangkok began to develop rapidly after the World War II. Beginning in 1980, it became the engine of the economy, the spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational center in Thailand, as well as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia.
Bangkok is the 73rd largest, and the seventeenth to the highest city in the world (registered more than 1,000 skyscrapers). Continuous downpours during the rainy season leads to frequent flooding, as the city lies at an altitude of two meters above sea level. Bangkok is slowly sinking back into the marshy floodplain, where it was founded over 200 years ago. Global warming of the planet increases the level of the oceans and the effects of seasonal flooding every year represents a growing threat. There are fears that the capital of Thailand will plunge into the water by 2030.
Tuk-tuk has become one of the most recognizable features of Bangkok, without which is difficult to imagine the appearance of the capital of Thailand. This three-wheeled scooter was the most popular way to get around the city before the construction of terrestrial systems (BTS) and underground (MRT) station. Arising out of the old times rickshaws during the Second World War, the tuk-tuk is basically a rickshaw, but equipped with a small engine. It is easily recognizable by the characteristic noise and stifling smell, a tricycle scooter incredibly pollutes the air. Travel tuk tuki serves as one of the most popular means of transportation in Bangkok, 5-10 minutes of travel is enough to get an idea about this kind of transport and to know the color of the Asian metropolis. Sometimes it is possible to travel by tuk-tuk for free, if you are willing to visit the shops of clothes and jewelry to tourists (owners of tuk-tuk give coupons for fuel and raised fees for customers).
Tour of the channels under the awning of a wooden boat-taxi is an alternative way to explore the sights of Bangkok . Most of these tours begin on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River and pass by the glittering gilded temples and built shacks on the banks of canals. During the travel channel you will witness scenes of everyday life of local residents: Thais bathe, wash their clothes and sometimes throw them in the trash. This tour demonstrates the striking contrasts of the city: the old temples of Bangkok, there are a number of new residential areas and the prestigious five-star hotels, with the crumbling hovels are modern skyscrapers.
Nightlife in Bangkok
Bangkok's nightlife has a reputation as vicious, which greatly contributed to the popular Hollywood comedy "Bachelor Party 2: From Vegas to Bangkok" (The Hangover: Part II), focused on bachelor party debauchery. Some believe the war in Vietnam caused the transformation of Bangkok to the city of delights for the American soldiers who sought recreation here, others argue that modern free Thai customs are connected with the peculiarities of the history of Thailand. Thai or otherwise, Bangkok is well known for its go-go bars and prostitution associated with it. Prostitution is illegal in Thailand, but in practice the law is rarely used and brothels in the city is a widespread phenomenon. A huge number of prostitutes are working in massage parlors, saunas and hotels. Go-go bars aimed directly at attracting foreign tourists. They close around 01:00, but there are many clubs that break the law and stay opened until dawn. They are not hard to find, taxi drivers are well aware of all the institutions and are interested in this kind of customers, since they get a commission from the club owners.
Thailand is a very tolerant state in relation to people with gays, lesbians and transsexuals. All these contributed to the popularization of gay tours to Thailand and Bangkok is often referred to as "the gay capital of Asia." In addition to the capital, gay pride parades are held annually in Pattaya and Phuket . The first gay pride parade was held in Bangkok in 1999 and since then it is usually conducted annually in late October or early November.
Street food in Bangkok
Forty years ago, Thai food was virtually unknown outside Thailand. Since then it has gradually gained many fans and has gained popularity in many countries around the world. Bangkok has as many as 50,000 points where you can eat. Cafes and restaurants offer not only Thai food, but also a wide assortment of the most popular international cuisines. Prices are high by Thai standards, but cheap by international standards.
Street food in Bangkok is considered one of the most delicious in the world. For a long period of time the city has attracted migrants from neighboring countries in Asia, so its street cuisine is a blend of Thai, Chinese and Malay cuisine, reflecting a wave of immigration of the population. Thais have a habit of dining in the street and street food is well suited to them. On almost every street in Bangkok you can see the street tray, offering a slightly sweetish pasta noodles, rice noodles, omelettes, popular in the north of Thailand's Khao Soi (noodle soup), spicy soup tom yam kung. All those wishing to offer courses are taught the fundamentals of Thai cuisine. The street Khao San Road (Khao San Road) is famous for selling food from insects. Dishes prepared from scorpions, beetles (water beetles), grasshoppers, crickets, bamboo larvae, the larvae of flour Khrushchev. Bangkok visitors are struck by a large number of stray dogs in the streets. Dogs live in packs, free to roam throughout the capital of Thailand and collected in those places where they regularly are fed by the residents and street food vendors. In a city with a population of ten million inhabitants, there are, according to various estimates, more than 300,000 stray dogs. Homeless dogs in the streets largely escaped the sad fate of the animals of other large cities in developing countries due to the Buddhist traditions that prohibit unnecessary killing of any living creature.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is one of the hottest cities in the world. Located at 14 degrees north of the equator, the temperature at any time of the year exceeds 30 ° C. The optimal time visit is from November to February. March and April are very hot, sometimes temperature exceeds 40 ° C. Then comes the rainy season, which lasts from May to October. Expect heavy showers and thunderstorms, accompanied by floods throughout the city. The heaviest rainfalls are in September and October, so that in these months is better to avoid visiting Bangkok.
By Romanelli Ana
The Best Places to Visit in Thailand .
Others from The Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Thailand has a rich and colorful culture and many exotic monuments and stunning beaches, which attract millions of visitors each year, from all people with a minimum budget to those who can afford to indulge in luxury. The country is often called the "land of smiles", because here there are more people smiling than in any other part of the world. Only in Thailand you can take a cruise on a converted rice barge, you can scream upstream in a boat or bamboo raft, you can go into a dizzying journey and you can stay in jungle tree houses or homes of villagers floating on the river. Equally memorable are the trails leading deep into the rainforest past cooling waterfalls and beautiful endless white sand caressing the translucent sea.
Do not miss the dynamic city of Bangkok, with its futuristic buildings juxtaposed against the glittering Grand Palace. Early morning, monks dressed in robes leave the sanctuary of temples to receive alms from the people or in a dusty village or on crowded city streets. Here Buddhism is a way of life and, with the respect people have for the monarchy, a dynasty that has maintained an independent country for centuries, resulting in a blend of tradition and contemporary living. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest reigning monarch in the world, having come in 1946. With the end of absolute monarchy, Thailand moved towards democracy, but this was thwarted by the military, who staged coups in protest at government policies. The latest blow came in September 2006 when a bloody revolt overthrew the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and replaced him with an interim prime. Thailand has surpassed the economic collapse of 1997, SARS, avian flu and the devastating tsunami in December 2004 to become a popular destination for tourists, with its many natural beauties and rich cultural heritage. Thailand is a tropical country, so it's warm all year round, but the best time for tourists is from November to March during the dry season.
The main attractions
• Wonder at the beautiful architecture in Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, a temple complex which houses a statue of the Emerald Buddha. Further up the river are the royal barges. They are richly decorated and are only used for special processions on the Chao Phraya River.
• Do not miss Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest temple and the place where Buddha is Down. The statue is huge - 46m long and 15m high.
• Discover Vmanmek, a lovely palace with 18 rooms, the former royal summer residence, rebuilt in Bangkok in 1900. Let yourself be excited by the former house of silk merchant, American Jim Thompson.
• Travel north to Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand and a center for excursions to temples in the region, hill tribes and the Golden Triangle. Climb its 300 steps to the temple of Doi Suthep to have wonderful views of the city.
• Visit Kanchanaburi, a place about the horrors of the Second World War and Allied forces forced to build the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai. From the town you can go on trips to explore the waterfalls and the jungle region. You could spend a night on a floating house.
• Take a trip back in time and visit Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital. Wander among the ruins of palaces on foot,by bike, or even on the back of an elephant.
• A visit to Ayutthaya is not complete without a trip to Sukhothai, an ancient capital of the Thai. Beyond the city walls there are ruins of ancient temples and a few ancient engravings.
• Visit the north-eastern Thai, less known, especially Phimai, one of the most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand, dating from the eleventh century. The complicated structure resembles that of Angkor Wat.
• Thailand is not about just beaches and temples. Venture Khao Sok National Park exploring the southern Thai. Here the rainforest covers the limestone cliffs crossed by streams and waterfalls. Experience the lifestyle of a tree house or a house on the water, made of bamboo.
• Make a day trip from Bangkok by train over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, on the bridge that was built by Allied prisoners, led by the Japanese during the Second World War.
• Admire the skills of kite fighters. Your opponents kites male Chula and female high Pakpao in a battle of the sexes. Do not miss playing takraw, which involves handling a cane ball from one player to another, which are disposed in a circle, using in acrobatic feet, knees, thighs and chest. The goal is to keep the ball in the air and place it in a suspended basket.
• Take in a Thai kick-boxing match. This traditional sport can be seen every day in stadiums across the country. Boxing matches are preceded by elaborate ceremonies and accompanied by music.
• Get rid of all worries through meditation. Thailand has dozens of temples and meditation centers specializing in vipassana . You can attend one lesson or you can follow a whole.
• Meet more closely with northern Thai, especially remote provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, hiking, riding elephants and rafting on the river.
• Join the crowd that goes to Suri, where elephants assembly occur in November. There are demonstrations of techniques and re-training scene of episodes in history.
• Enjoy thousands of kilometers from the Thai coast on the sand or under water. Try kayaking, canoeing in the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay and explore the grottoes and caves that are half under water.
• Learn traditional massage and the healing properties of herbal medicine at ancient Wat Pho.
• Try Thai cooking at one of the many cookery schools. Learn how to blend herbs and spices for the unique flavors of Thai food. In some schools students encouraged to buy food in the market themselves.
• Take a boat trip through Bangkok's Floating Market or network of channels of the river, lined with dwellings opening directly to water. Life has hardly changed over the centuries to those who live on canals. • Dive with the Sharks at Siam Ocean World aquarium in Bangkok and experience to tell the tale.
• Take tea in the afternoon at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, one of the most famous hotels in the world. The former residence of Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad, today is attended by kings, princes and celebrities.
Thai cuisine is famous for the way that balances the five fundamental flavors in all meals and dishes - spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional). Thai cuisine which includes specific four main regions of the country - North, Northeast (Isan), Central and South America. The cuisine of each region is influenced by neighboring countries of that region. Thai dishes include plenty of fresh, not dried herbs, spices and fish sauce. Nam pla is a fish sauce, flavored, which is found in almost all dishes. It is widely used and shrimp paste. Thais are accustomed to eat so much rice at every meal even. Most of them consider sandwiches not a meal but a snack. Also, locals do not really sit at table, because, especially children and teens eat when hungry. If you do meet a Thai, you may be wondering "gin khao yung" every time you meet, meaning " did you eat ?" or better said "have you eaten rice?". If you visit Thailand and stay at a local family take care not too eat too much, your body will get fat.
Thailand existed as several small states since 1000. Influenced more by India, Burma and Khmer people, the region was quickly engulfed in Buddhism. By 1350 the kingdom of Siam was created. At a distance of more than two centuries the Portuguese arrived, along with other Europeans, dealing with trade or were missionaries. Siam avoided European colonization but was forced to cede control of more distant areas (portions of Malay, Laos and Cambodia) France and Great Britain. Occupied by the Japanese in 1941, Siam declared war on the United States and Great Britain, while secretly monarchy suppressed resistance movements against the Japanese. During the Vietnam War Thailand was significant especially for the U.S. Army. Attracting investors and tourists, Thailand developed until 1996, when the military government triggered a decline in the economy.
The royal family is highly esteemed in Thailand, which must be respected by visitors. Locals are concerned with the public manifestations of anger as a fact and creates a very humiliating public image. It also discourages emotional manifestations gender and touching a person's head or your foot to straighten, it is a lack of good manners. Take care of your shoes before entering someone's house or a temple.
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Bangkok - Venice of the East - Rattanakosin Island