Bangkok’s formal Thai name, usually shortened to ‘Krungthep’, is the longest of any city in the world and the city itself is a huge urban sprawl.
With an estimated population of 11 million at any one time, up to three million of the city-dwellers come only for the employment and are not true Bangkokians.
Just ask a caddie if he or she comes from Bangkok and you may very well find that you’re talking to someone who has migrated from as far away as the Laos border in order to earn regular money to send home to the family; many of these temporary residents return home for a month or so when the rice harvest is in full swing to help with the crop.
The City of Angels, as Bangkok is enduringly known, is legendary for its street markets and shopping. In fact it’s quite possible that five million of the 11 million residents sell food, clothing and other items along the roadside.
Muang Kaew Golf
Imagine all your favourite dishes being available within a few minutes walk of where you live or work. And what’s more, the cost of a meal is less than a couple of dollars. Many Bangkokians never cook at home – they simply don’t need too!
A number of the city’s best restaurants and attractions are along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew or in English, the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’, are experiences to behold.
Across the water, Wat Arun or the ‘Temple of the Dawn’ is best admired at night when it’s beautifully alone illuminated. All these can be visited by joining organised tours, or by taking river ferries and going it alone.
An absolute must for any visitor, if there is the opportunity, is to see the Royal Barges in full procession on the Chao Phraya, an event which dates back hundreds of years.
Staged infrequently now, this spectacle nevertheless ranks right up there with any pageant anywhere in the world. The Royal Barge Procession sees over 50 magnificently ornate vessels plying the water in strict formation, crewed by brightly uniformed oarsmen, fficers and station markers. Haunting chants regiment the owing and the chorus of the oarsmens’ response echoes off the river’s surface.