King Rama I named the city the capital of Thailand in 1782. Over the past two centuries, Bangkok has developed into a vibrant city with gleaming skyscrapers and historical temples and palaces. It is a modern metropolis with a population of over 8 million citizens.
Even with luxurious hotels, sophisticated office buildings and flourishing shopping centres, the city has managed to uphold culture and tradition with towering golden pagodas, floating markets, fruit carvings, robed monks and taxis called tuk tuks.
Modern Thai lifestyle demands a blend of traditional and global patterns and practices. Amidst the skyscrapers and shopping arenas, there are devoted spirit houses that represent good fortunes, as well as elephant’s parades and Buddhist monks making regular trips at the break of day to collect alms.
Bangkok is a tropical region; however, the skies are grey and overcast for the most part. The humid climatic conditions make it uncomfortable walking the streets. Regular traffic jams and few well-connected roadways, have prompted locals and tourists to commute on an innovative skytrain and well organized subway services.
Even with these small inconveniences, Bangkok continues to be a popular destination and the Bangkok Tourist Board is faced with the challenging task of catering to scores of visitors each year.
In 1767, the Burmese army succeeded in burning down Ayutthaya, the Capital of Thailand. After the slaughter in 1782, the Thai Army established Thonburi (a community of Bangkok) as the new capital. It was King Chakri who instituted Bangkok as the new capital.
After asking the Chinese to vacate Sampeng, King Rama I had the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) built. He also named Bangkok, the City of Angels or Krung Thep.
A large number of foreigners began visiting Bangkok by the late 1820s. Initially, a few missionaries and merchants visited the city. By the end of the 1850s, Bangkok had succeeded in establishing trade treaties with several European countries and North America.
King Mongkut (1851-1868), and later on — his son King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) — were responsible for initiating the modernization process in Thailand. Under King Mongkut’s reign, Bangkok’s first paved streets were built. In 1863, King Chulalongkorn sustained him by building numerous city roads, a rail line and a tramline.
Bangkok flourished in trade and commerce with the turn of the 20th century. Former rural market areas slowly developed into commercial markets and residential areas. Road links and train ways were laid to connect Bangkok to other places in Thailand. The Memorial Bridge was constructed in 1932, connecting Thonburi and Bangkok. Canal systems and networks were installed to allow better water transportation and navigation.
The modernization from the 1960s has lead to a massive increase in population. Bangkok has become one of the largest cities in the world, developing at a massive rate.