Bangkok is one of the world’s most exciting cities. Visit the magnificent temples, palaces and museums. Cool out in the parks. Savour the lively nightlife. Plunge into the shops. Gorge on the wonderful Thai cuisine. Take a trip down the Chao Phraya River, the enchanting ‘River of Kings’. Founded in 1782, Bangkok is a young city that constantly changes, constantly fascinates. The Thais call it Krungthep, the city of angels. Visitors just call it one of the great experiences.
Bangkok is an intricate puzzle of a place, with layer after iridescent layer of mystery, conundrum, and paradox. Capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, it is an adrenalized metropolis of ten million people, with towering glass and concrete skyscrapers, rooftops bristling with television antennas, and probably the most spectacular traffic jams on earth. And it is a holy city, studded with splendid temples, shrines, and monasteries, haunted and blessed by thousands of gods, ghosts, and angels.
Because the city has no real geographical core, no central point a visitor can navigate from, perhaps a good way to explore it is by historical periods. Bangkok is relatively young as Asian cities go-about two centuries old-but its cultural heritage extends back to the founding of the original Thai monarchy in the 13th century, and far beyond that, into the ancient underworld of ritual and myth that lies beneath the surface of everyday life in modern Thailand.