Bangkok, known by locals as Krung Thep, is today a major tourist destination of the Far East. Travellers from all over the globe visit to enjoy the city’s thriving urban culture, remnants of its charming ancient culture as well as gathering to explore surrounding Thailand. One of Bangkok’s most fascinating aspects is the city’s blend of old and new; with ultra-modern sky-scrapers rubbing shoulders with historic palaces, all witnessed from the Skytrains that race above.
Bangkok’s history is as rich and fascinating as the rest of Thailand. Although Bangkok isn’t as ancient as the rest of Thailand, its recent transformation and modernisation into the thriving metropolis it is today is fascinating and has been profoundly influenced by tourism.
The first evidence of any substantial settlement in the region of Bangkok dates back to the fifteenth century and the reign of the Ayutthayan king Chao Sam Phraya. Due to its strategically valuable position on the Chao Phraya River the settlement grew to relative significance in its local region, gaining a pair of forts for protection.
Bangkok was officially established as a capital by King Rama I in 1782. Despite pressure from Thailand’s numerous neighbours particularly Burma, China and later the growing influence of Western colonial powers, Bangkok survived as the capital of an independent Thailand. King Rama was responsible for grand monuments like the Lak Mueang and the Grand Palace that can still be visited today.
Throughout the nineteenth century Bangkok was heavily influenced by western trade and began to industrialise. The Charoen Krung road was Bangkok’s first paved street and still survives. Responsible for many of Bangkok’s most startling monuments from this period was King Chulalongkorn whose fascination with western culture led to him building the neoclassical Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.
In the twentieth century it was American soldiers who made Bangkok into the tourist capital it now is. After WWII Bangkok became a popular location for US soldiers on leave, this is what led to Bangkok’s famed nightlife and inspired the city’s tourist industry to flourish.
Today Bangkok’s rich history makes the city a truly magical place to visit.
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