What if I could tell you there is a place where you can immerse yourself into a different culture every morning you wake up? A place where a meandering river cuts through the city, a city with a head-on clash between modernity and tradition. Where its people work tirelessly to make your experiences the best you’ve ever had.
A place where ornate temples stand stoically amongst the urban sprawl, creating sanctuaries of peace. Where you can hop on a long tail boat and go shopping in floating markets or explore china town in tuktuks bustling through the busy streets.
A place where the food culture is so vibrant, a lifetime isn’t enough to feed your soul with it’s amazing street food, and a nightlife just as colourful. Bangkok, is truly a city made by its people.
At the very dawn of the Chakra dynasty, plans were laid down to create a city fit for angels hallowed by royal palaces and monasteries. In 1785, Bangkok was given its maiden name ‘Krungthep mahanakhon amonratanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amonpiman avatansathit sakkathattiya witsanukamprasit.’
This lexical gymnastic feat translates roughly as: ‘Great City of Angels, the Repository of Divine Gems, the Great Land Unconquerable, the Grand and Prominent Realm, the Royal and Delightful Capital City full of Nine Noble Gems, the Highest Royal Dwelling and Grand Palace, the Divine Shelter and Living Place of Reincarnated Spirits.’
Moving on to how Bangkok got its name, it was referred to as Bang Makok but foreign traders which eventually truncated as ‘Bangkok,' while locals call the city Krung Thep (City of Angels). In the 18th century Bangkok was traversed by a network of canals, waterways, rivers, and footpaths. The city was dominated by waterborne traffic. Bangkok was also referred to as Venice of the East. Well into the 20th century, King Rama V was responsible for the modernization of the city’s transport system. Germans were hired to create a railway network and the Dutch to construct its main terminal, Hualamphong Station.
Image courtesy of Nimarta Narang
First arriving to this city, visitors might be taken aback by its billboard covered concrete jungle, but once losing themselves into alleys, they come across this vibrant urban utopia of colorful taste, sights, and culture that one is likely not to forget.
With the mighty Chaophraya river meandering through the middle of the city, Bangkok is divided into two hemispheres. One where the modernity will surprise, and the other where the traditional will inspire. Having the skytrain rumbling above the streets of Bangkok, one can get a sense of the city by peering out the windows.
Along with the skytrain, the underground metro system makes the city very accessible. Bangkok is also home to the worlds largest market, Jatujak Market, cover over 4 acres of land. Here you can get any and everything, you name it. Bangkok is rapidly developing, construction cranes now hover over this cosmopolitan city. Attracting people from all over the world Bangkok is a very diverse city. Complete with cultural diversity intertwining with each other. It’s also the most enigmatic city in South East Asia.
Words & Pictures by Niran Sachdev
A big warm welcome to Bangkok and City Captain Niran for joining our network of cities. If you'd like to read more about city life and culture, check out Issue 2 of our print journal here: https://store.acitymadebypeople.com/