The City of Bangkok Thailand

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  2. March 9, 2013 10:37 pm

The City of Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok 101

Since the late 1700s, Bangkok has been Thailand’s capital as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Southeast Asia. Its position on the Chao Phraya River just inland from the Gulf of Thailand makes it a major port and connecting point between northern and southern parts of the country. The river and its many canals provide inland transportation and place the city in the midst of an extremely fertile rice and agricultural region.

People often refer to Bangkok as a city of contrasts, and that is largely true. Its pattern of rapid growth spurts have left little time for urban planning, leading to urban sprawl, an infrastructure that is 21st century in some areas and almost nonexistent in others, a sometimes jarring juxtaposition of ancient and modern, and a layout that can overwhelm visitors with its meandering complexity. The city is 606 square miles (1,569 km²) in size, with a population of 8.28 million.

Though Bangkok is an international city, 90% of its residents are native Thai, and the only significant minority are Chinese, who make up 9% of the population. Thai is the official language and the dominant religion is Buddhism.

Shipping remains a leading source of Bangkok’s income, with virtually all the country’s exports and nearly three-fourths of its imports flowing through its port. It is also the home of the country’s stock exchange and many of its banks. An initiative to make it the financial capital of Southeast Asia has been somewhat delayed by global fiscal problems. Since the late 1970s, tourism has increased exponentially. Today, Bangkok ranks just behind London and Paris as the world’s most visited city, drawing over 12 million visitors a year and causing a boom in hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, travel and other service industries.

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