Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon  or Krung Thep for short, is the capital of and largest city in Thailand. Bangkok is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.

Bangkok is the 22nd most populous city in the world. Bangkok has a recorded population of 6 million, but it is thought to be higher. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

The Bangkok Province borders six other provinces: Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Nakhon Pathom.

Key Buddhist sites in Bangkok

Of the hundreds of wats located in Bangkok, only a few are notable. When King Taksin led his troops out of Ayutthaya and into Thon Buri, they took refuge in Wat Arun. This pre-Thon Buri era structure rises to 85 meters and has held the status of tallest structure in Bangkok for longer than any other modern skyscraper[citation needed].

Wat Pho, which houses the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace. It is the largest temple in Bangkok and named for its huge reclining Buddha measuring 46 metres long and covered in gold leaf. The Buddha's feet alone are 3 metres long.

Wat Suthat is one of the oldest temples and the site of the original Giant Swing. A huge teak arch, all that remains of the original swing, lies on the grounds in front of the temple. The swing was used in a ceremony to give thanks for a good rice harvest.

Within Wat Saket is the Golden Mount, or Phu Khao Thong, an unusual temple that houses Buddha relics within its 58-metre-high chedi surmounted by a golden cupola. Built by King Rama I just outside the new city walls, the late-18th century temple served as the capital's crematorium. During the next hundred years, the temple became a dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims.

Places of Interest