Bangkok is capital city of Thailand which is also most populous city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as the Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or just simply Krung Thep. This city occupies around 1, 568.7 square kilometers that is 605.7 sq. mi in Chao Phraya River delta which is located in Central Thailand and has population of around over eight million or 12.6 % of country’s population. More than fourteen million people that makes around 22.2 percent people live within surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region thus making Bangkok somewhat extreme primate city thus dwarfing other urban centers of Thailand in terms of importance.
Bangkok traces its roots to small trading post during Ayutthaya Kingdom in 15th century which grew in size and became site of two capital cities named Thonburi in the year 1768 and Rattanakosin in the year 1782. Bangkok was at heart of Siam’s as Thailand used to be known back then. Modernization occurred during later nineteenth century, as country faced pressures from West.
MasterCard ranked this city as global top destination city by the international visitor arrivals in Global Destination Cities Index with around 15.98 million projected visitors in the year 2013. The city is also ranked fourth in the cross-border spending with around 14.3 billion dollars projected for the year 2013. Euromonitor International ranked Bangkok on number six in its Top City Destinations Ranking for the year 2011 after cities like New York, London and Paris. Bangkok has been named as World’s Best City by the Travel and Leisure magazine’s survey for four consecutive years since the year 2010.
As main gateway through which visitors enter Thailand Bangkok is visited by majority of international tourists. Domestic tourism is also very prominent. The Department of Tourism has recorded around 26,861,095 Thai and around 11,361,808 as foreign visitors to Bangkok in the year 2010. Lodgings were made by the 15,031,244 guests who occupied around 49.9 percent of city’s hotel rooms.
The culture of this city reflects its position as center of Thailand’s modernization and wealth. The city has long been portal of entry of some Western concepts and some material goods which have been adopted and then blended with Thai values to various different degrees by the residents. This is evident in lifestyles of expanding middle class. Conspicuous consumption helps to serves as somewhat display of social and economic status. Shopping centers are some popular weekend hangouts.
Ownership of the electronics and some consumer products like mobile phones is ubiquitous. This has been accompanied by degree of the secularism as religion’s role in life has also rather diminished.
These trends have spread to some other urban centers and also to the countryside to some extent. Bangkok remains at forefront of social change. A distinct feature of this city is ubiquity of street vendors selling different variety of goods ranging from food items to accessories and clothing. It has also been estimated that city may have more than 100000 hawkers.