Bangkok celebrates its 240th birthday
But 240 years ago, the King of Siam declared “Bangkok” its capital, turning a quiet riverside village into a vibrant city today. Late last month, the people of Bangkok started to celebrate the birthday anniversary of their globally popular and cosmopolitan city.
The Ministry of Culture marked the event with a five-day festival on Rattanakosin Island, which defined the original boundaries of the city in 1782. That year, King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok Maharaj, the founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom and the first monarch of the reigning Chakri dynasty of Siam, gave his new capital its official, grand and tongue-twisting name:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
The 168-letter moniker is the world’s longest name for a place, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But that is only one of dozens of reasons that Bangkok is one of the most unique and distinctive metropolises on the planet.
Its environs are studded with some of the world’s most spectacular palaces and Buddhist temples of worship. Virtually every visitor takes in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and the adjoining old Grand Palace, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) and the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun).
While temples are its traditional heart, the city has so much to offer all types of visitors. Bangkok’s food culture, for instance, is unrivalled. Gourmands can choose from exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants to some of the most delectable street food stalls found everywhere.
Food was a popular feature of the aforementioned five-day festival.
As Bangkok began to grow, it became in some ways a typical congested Asian forest of concrete and glass towers with traffic jams. In recent years, the capital has also been reinventing itself and going green with new promenades along the river and the cleanup and restoration of the canals that earned the city its nickname “the Venice of the East.”
Visitors clearly approve, as the metropolis has been named “the world’s most visited city” by MasterCard several years during the past decade.
And the future looks bright because Bangkok is still growing, with more and more Thais migrating to the city that has it all. So, you can be certain that the next birthday bash, post-pandemic, will be even bigger and better.