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Bangkok - the capital of Thailand
Bangkok is the capital and the largest city of Thailand with the population of 8 160 000 (2007). The city stretches on the east bank of the Chao-Phraya river not far from the Gulf of Thailand.
Bangkok is one of the most fast-growing cities of South-East Asia (including in economic sphere). Local residents like to think of their city as of arising new regional centre capable of competing with such cities as Singapore and Hong Kong. Bangkok is also one of the most attractive cities in the world for tourists. The capital county and five adjoining provinces (Nontaburi, Samutphrakan, Patumthani, Samutsakon and Nakonpathom) form the agglomeration of Big Bangkok.
Originally Bangkok was a small trading centre and port called at those times Bang-Kok — the place where olives grow («bang» — village, «kok» — olive), servicing the city of Ayutthaya – the capital of Thailand at that time. In 1767, Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese and the capital was temporarily transferred to the west bank of the Chao-Phraya river to Thonburi — at present comprising a part of Bangkok. In 1782, the King Rama I built a palace on the eastern bank and declared Bangkok the capital of Thailand, renaming it to Krung Thep, which means «The City of Angels». Thus, the village of Bangkok died out, however, foreigners still call the capital of Thailand «Bangkok».
Full official name of the city Krung Thep is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit — which means «the city of angels, great city, the city— eternal treasure, impregnable city of God Indra, majestic capital of the world, endowed with nine precious stones, happy city, full of affluence grandiose King’s Palace, resembling God’s abode, where reincarnated God reigns, the city given by Indra and built by Vishvakarma».
Bangkok is one of two provinces of Thailand where the residents elect governor themselves (the other province — Rayong), in other 75 provinces governors are appointed. Apirak Kosayothin was elected governor at the last elections in 2004.
Spontaneous growth of the city territory of Great center of the empire Bangkok resulted in expanding beyond the limits of the Bangkok province to the territories of adjacent provinces Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani. The present borders of the Bangkok province were approved in 1972 when the Bangkok province was merged with the Thonburi province.
The image of God Indra riding over the clouds on the back of Airavate, the mythological creature resembling an elephant, is presented on the seal of the city (sometimes it is shown with three heads). Indra keeps a lightning in his hand — the arms that God uses to drive away the drought.
Bangkok is divided into 50 districts, which are in their turn divided into 154 «khvang».
Bangkok is the economic center of Thailand port (thanks to its situation on the river Chao-Phraya). Thailand stock exchange is also situated in Bangkok. Tourism is the main source of income.
Groceries, timber and textile are major exported goods. Industry is presented by rice processing plants, cement plants, sawmills, oil processing plants and shipbuilding yards. The city is also famous for jewelry, the opportunity to sell or buy silver or bronze article
The island situated on the river Chao-Phraya is called Rattanakosin, translated from the Thai language as «the superior jewel». From every quarter the island is surrounded by channels, towers and walls built in ancient times for the defense of the country and the capital. Today the King’s and Vice-King’s palaces, King’s monasteries and ministries are situated here. This is the most quiet area of the capital.
A number of monasteries are situated in the historical centre of Bangkok, one of them –the Vat-Pho monastery. It is also called the temple of Lying Buddha, it is actually famous due to the statue of Buddha waiting for reaching nirvana (the statue is 46 m long and 15 m high).
Near the temple there is a library decorated with Chinese mosaic, in which ancient manuscripts are kept, and another monastery Vat-Phra-Keo (the temple of Emerald Buddha), believed to be the most sacred place in Thailand and one of the most beautiful temples. Chinese ceramics, bronze and iron ornaments, multicolor stained glass windows, frescos, statues – all this attracts a great number of tourists. The King’s Pantheon where the statues of eight preceding kings of the Chakri dynasty full size is also situated here.
Demons-rakshases, 6 meters high from the Buddhist legends, armed with lances and painted in different colors, guard the entrance to the temple; statues of giant snakes and birds can also be seen there. To the right of this monastery is Dusit-Maha-Prasat - the Sky Palace built in the Thai style. Ceremonial and official events, as well as reception of important guests take place here.
The only house of Buddhist architecture in Bangkok made of iron is in the temple Vat-Ratchanadda.
The best hotels are situated in the center of the city near the Rattanakosin island.
Many tourists visit small restaurants in the hotels that are kept clean (unlike numerous snack bars) and serve quality meals. But in additions to the restaurants in hotels there many others in Bangkok offering Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines.
The presence of a large river in the city, as well as marshland and swamps surrounding Bangkok have stipulated wide use of water transport, both for long and inter-city carriages. A complicated system of channels («klongs»), created thanks to one of Thai Kings in the middle of XIX century gave one more name to the city— «Eastern Venice». At those times boats were the only means of transport around the city. Now the major part of the channels is backfilled and transformed into usual streets with motor traffic. However, many channels still remain — markets function and people live on their banks. Municipal water transport includes several routes of river buses cruising along the river of Chao Phraya, and a number of ferry docks that link the banks. Taxi-boats are also popular on the river, they are used for carriage and as a means of tourist transport and are presented by long-tail boats (motor-boats with propeller and engine located on the long console resembling a tail) that are typical for Thailand. The routes of large capacity high-speed boats are established along the channels on the eastern bank of the river Chao-Phraya. Low cost of the trip (10-15 bats), short intervals between boats (about 5 minutes) and lack of dependency upon traffic make the express-boats an attractive alternative to motor transport.
Land municipal transportation is generally presented by buses. There are several categories of buses with different prices of the tickets: ordinary, super-comfortable with air-conditioning, mini-buses and micro-buses, operating on the routes with low flow of passengers. The routes network is rather dense (more that 400 routes altogether), the interval on the main routes being approximately 10-15 minutes. The system of express buses that connect city airports with all major districts of Bangkok deserves separate mentioning. The state company Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is the general operator of the municipal bus carriages.
There is a great number of taxies in the city (as a rule, new sedans with air-conditioning). The cost of the trip is paid according to the taxi-meter, the prices being considered the lowest in the world (an average trip around the town may cost less than 100 bats). Moto-rickshas (tuk-tuks) are also popular; they are mainly oriented to carrying tourists. The traffic in the city streets is heavy; a lot of high-speed motorways and a partially finished circular road around the Big Bangkok have been built for controlling traffic. As a rule, these express ways are paid.
In 1999, two lines of trestle subway “Skytrain” were opened (official name - BTS). The carriages, equipment and depots were supplied by the Siemens AG concern «turnkey» and technically they are similar to the “Skytrain” system in Vancouver that had been created earlier. The line Sukhumvit is 16,8 km long, the time of the trip 27 minutes; the line Silom — 6,3 km, the time 12 minutes. Siam is an interchange station in two levels with the interchange across the platform. The depot of the station Mo-Chit is common for two lines. The rolling stock consists of 35 three-carriage trains with the total length of 65 m. The traffic is automated. The tariff depends on the length of the trip and makes from 10 to 40 bats. There are a day’s tickets for tourists for the price of 100 bats. The extension of the Silom line across the river Chao Phaya is planned.
In July 2004 the underground line passing through the eastern part of the city and connecting the railway station Bang Sue with the railway station Hua Lamphong situated near the center of Bangkok was put in operation (official name MRT). Just as in case of BTS, the rolling stock, equipments and depots were supplied by the Siemens concern. The rolling stock similar to BTS consists of 19 three-carriages trains. The length of the line - 21 km. The tariff depends on the distance and makes from 14 to 36 bats.
At present, the construction of high-speed over-ground railway line to the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link, (SARL) with the city air-terminal in the district of Makkasan and the interchange to intercity lines MRT and BTS.is under construction. The line has been in test operation since December 2009 года, the works are planned to be finished in August-September 2010. The development of the line to the Airport Don Myang is planned in further perspective.
This project of high-speed line connecting the center of the city with airports is the second attempt. Earlier project of Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS) by the company Hopwell became bankrupt due to the financial crisis in Asia. Construction works were suspended, while numerous concrete piers that had been mounted received among local population the name of “Hopehenge” or Stonehenge.
There are two railway stations in the city that provide services in four directions. The majority of passengers going for traveling by trains begin their way from the Большинство пассажиров, отправляющихся в путешествие на поезде, начинают свой путь Hua Lamphong station — the subway terminal. From here the trains start to Malaysia in the south, to Chiang-Mai and further to the north and to Khong-Ken and proceed to north-east. Western direction to Nam Tok (the province of Kanchanabhuri, including the famous bridge across the river Kwai) is serviced by the Thonburi station. The intensity of traffic on Thai roads is relatively low, delays happen quire often.
It is easy to get to any city or province from Bangkok by bus. Buses going to the west or south-west leave from the Southern bus station situated in the west side of the city. It is very comfortable to use a bus leaving from the Eastern bus station Ekkama BTS to get to the south-east, for example to Pattany or to the island of Samet. The buses from the Northern bus station (Mo Chit subway station) that can be reached both by BTS and MRT depart to the north and north-east. The old International airport of Bangkok, more often called “Don Myang”, had been the most busy airport in the South-east Asia before it was closed — is situated in the northern part of the city and surrounded with buildings.
The construction of the new airport Suvarnabhumi in the area of Bang Phli of the Samut Prakan province began in 2002 and the airport was opened on September 28, 2006. The whole international and, partially, home traffic was moved to the new airport. The new airport was assigned international code BKK and the new IATA code for Don Myang is — DMK. At present the airport Don Myang is open only for internal carriages by low-cost airlines (such as «thai air asia», «nokair», etc.). Due to excessive load of the new airport Suvarnabhumi it was planned to move all internal air carriages to the old airport of Don Myang. The project is in the stage of development. At Don Myang there is a railway station through which trains pass from the Hua Lam Phong to the north and north-east and back.
The new international airport of Bangkok SBIA, Suvarnabhumi, which means “golden land”, began functioning on the 28th of September, 2006 and at present it is the largest airport in the world. It is situated in the south part of Bangkok along the road to Bang Na. Suvarnabhumi is convenient because there is division into international and local terminals, as it was in Don Myang. The new airport accepts all regular and charter fights. Regular coaches take you to Bangkok and to neighboring regions: Pattani, Bang Khla, Ban Chang, Chanthaburi, Trat, Talat Rong Klya, Nong Khai, Khau Hin Son.
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Dear visitors of our site, everybody who has loved the unique
Thailand, its unforgettable sights, its nature and people, please,
send us your photos, the best ones shall be placed in this photo
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