Bangkok History and Today

Bangkok history : Before it became a capital

Bangkok history

Bangkok was once a small, remote fortress of Ayutthaya kingdom from the1400s to the 1800s. The abundant water supply available throughout the year made the serene terrain of the area now known as Bangkok ideal for agriculture. Bangkok was also used as a stopover for travelers to and from Ayuttaya city. Those travelers were merchants, diplomats, envoys and missionaries. Bangkok was founded as a city by foreigners. Bangkok began to thrive after the defeat of Ayuttaya city by the Burmese invaders. Shortly after King Taksin the Great drove the Burmese out from Ayuttaya, he established a new capital city in Thonburi. It wasn’t until 16 years later that he relocated the capital city across the river to Bangkok as it stands today.

Bangkok City Wall

Bangkok history : Meaning

Bangkok consists of two words: Bang and kok. Bang means city or the plain area. Kok is the abbreviation for ma kok meaning olive tree. Hence, it means city of olive trees. Bangkok earned this name for its abundance of olive trees.

Bangkok history : Founder

Thais call this city Krung Thep or City of Angels. King RAMA I changed the name of the city to Krung Thep Mahanakorn after its founding as the capital city in 1782. The city was then given the nickname Bangkok. The King was determined to build the city in remembrance of the glorious Ayuttaya Kingdom, the former capital city of the Siam Kingdom. Therefore, the outskirts of Bangkok are surrounded by water as an artificial island. On one side of the city is Chaopraya River and on the other side is the canal made by men.

Bangkok Canal


The king of Bangkok commanded many canals to be built inside and outside the city limits. This large network of canals still exists throughout Bangkok. This dense labyrinth of water granted Bangkok its recognition as Venice of the East. Thais used the waterways to travel from place to place in the same manner as a city street. The canals serviced both public and private transports as well as shops and restaurants located on various boats. The river’s abundant water also supplied many daily needs of the local population such as: cleaning dishes, food preparation, cooking, bathing and swimming. Sixty years ago, one would have found condensed neighborhoods of houses along the river. In previous times, many Thai houses were built on the riverbanks and facing the waterway.

Bangkok today: Geography

Bangkok top view1

The arrival of western culture initiated changes in both the city of Bangkok and the lives of Thai people. Roads were built in many previously unpaved areas and most of the city wall was destroyed. This led to a sharp decline in the use of canals as a daily means of transportation. Wooden houses were replaced by brick houses. The city grew rapidly, outpacing the structured planning. The city council was unable to properly control and manage the rapid growth : What you can see?  of Bangkok.
In general, Bangkok is much like any typical westernized city. Nearly all basic commodities and comforts of home are available. One can find many renowned five star hotels, major department stores, Starbucks, McDonalds, Baskin Robins, and so forth. The accessibility of all one’s daily needs and wants enables foreigners to travel or live in Bangkok with ease.

What is the difference?

Bangkok road1

Beyond the visible modernization, buildings and material commodities, Bangkok takes on many different forms for its visitors. One quickly observes the hustling and bustling of the city: street venders selling food, fruits,flowers, toys, clothes. The traffic crawls on at a snail’s pace, cars stacked up bumper-to-bumper, tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxies zooming passed at nearly reckless speeds. As fast and furious Bangkok breathes life, nothing keeps a smile from a Thai face- Bangkok never ceases to live up to Thailand’s reputation as the Land of Smiles.

Bangkok flea market 1No matter how much one reads or hears about the unique characteristics of Bangkok, the only way to really comprehend this dynaow much omic city is through first-hand experience. Making a trip to Bangkok is once in a lifetime opportunity that one will never forget.

No matter how westernized Bangkok may seem, Bangkok is Bangkok. Bangkok has a distinct look and feel that cannot be founded in other countries. Once you’re here, you will never forget it. As a Bangkok resident, I encourage you to make a trip here at least once in your life of life.