Bangkok, Thailand



Bangkok has its origins as a small village located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. After the fall of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in the late 18th century, King Taksin the Great shifted to the village and turned it into Siam's new capital and named it Thonburi. In 1782, King Rama I moved the capital to the eastern bank of the river at Rattanakosin and named the new city Krung Thep.

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Grand Palace in Bangkok by Saad Akhtar

The original village of Bangkok has long since ceased to exist. In the 19th-century, Western powers colonised and incorporated much of Southeast Asia into their empires. King Rama IV and V believed the only way to keep Siam independent was to modernise the country along European lines. King Rama V moved the residence of the King to Dusit and laid out the district's grand boulevards based on the design found in many Western European cities during the period.

Modern day Bangkok began to develop just after World War II. The economic centre of the city shifted eastward from the orderly and planned district of Rattanakosin, leaving Bangkok without an obvious centre. The city established itself as the power driving Thailand's new role as an industrialising country from the 1980s onwards. Rapid economic growth has also attracted people living in the countryside to migrate to this city.

Modern Bangkok by Deror Avi

Rapid expansion has turned Bangkok into one of the most cosmopolitan and happening cities in Asia. However, physical and economic development has also ensured numerous problems. A wide gap has emerged between those who profit from Bangkok's economic expansion and those who migrated here from the countryside in search of work. The city's seemingly never-ending traffic jams continue as the new Skytrain and metro systems are too expensive for the lower-income working class. Getting a break from the traffic fumes in the park would seem to be a good idea but Bangkok is among the capitals of the worlds with the lowest amount of green space.

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