Thailand's capital Bangkok has a population of over eleven million people and is by far the county's biggest city. Its high-rise buildings, heavy traffic congestion, intense heat and naughty nightlife may not immediately give visitors the best impression, but there is so much more to this fascinating city. It is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities with magnificent temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone.
For years, it was only a small trading post at the banks of the Chao Phraya River, until King Rama I, the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, turned it into the capital of Siam in 1782, after the burning of Ayutthaya by Burmese invaders. Since then, Bangkok has turned into a national treasure house and functions as Thailand's spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic centre.
Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveler-friendly cities in Asia. A furious assault on the senses, visitors are immediately confronted by the heat, the pollution and the irrepressible smile that accompanies many Thais. The city is surprisingly safe (except from some petty crimes) and more organised than it initially appears. It is also Thailand's major transportation hub, with almost all traffic going through Bangkok from north to south and east to west.
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