Living it up in Bangkok

Living it up in Bangkok

Imagine a bustling city full of nightlife, shopping, mega malls, and more while interspersed with temples, palaces, Thai massage and fish spas, restaurants, floating markets, river tours, and more while travelling around the city on a Tuk Tuk, a mini taxi on three wheels.

You will find very busy traffic with cars, tour buses, buses, subways, trains, taxis, and tuk tuks, but surprisingly what you won’t hear are honking horns. It is a stark contrast to many other large cities in other countries in the world including North American countries where the horn is used profusely.

For Thais, this is a cultural thing. It is considered rude to honk or give rude gestures. Being respectful others is part of their culture and traditions. Drivers will even stop for pedestrians when they want to cross the road anywhere. Just make sure they see you.

I remember being told to just cross the road by just weaving in and out of the traffic to reach the other side. I was terrified the first time I did it but I survived the task. Not sure if I would recommend without a guide.

One thing that I can say about Thai culture is that they are respectful of each other and their visitors. You will usually only see smiles and greetings of sawadee kah to females or sawadee kraap for males.

Their culture is rooted from long standing traditions of Buddhism that date back to the third century BC during the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka. Ever since then, Buddhism has played a large role in Thai culture and its society.

This is expressed throughout their society and especially in the temples that dot the landscape of Bangkok. These temples are works of art in themselves and no two temples are the same. From very small to very large complexes, you will find temples called Wats where everyone is welcome.

My first time to Bangkok, our guide Chai, yes like the tea. His words not mine.  He said you will see many wats as we travel the city and the country and by the end we will be saying OAT. OAT we asked. Oh Another Temple. Yes, I did say Oh Another Temple but it wasn’t in a negative way because these amazing locations are an example of the reverence of the Thais themselves.

Each temple is simple a work of art to be appreciated whether you are a Buddhist or not although there are over 400 temples in Bangkok. Still each is unique.

As you travel down the Royal Mile past the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings called Wat Phrae Kaew, the temple of the Emerald Buddha. You will probably be expecting to see a large Buddha as in many other temples but the Emerald Buddha is not what you are expecting. The complex is full of shrines and other architecturally complex buildings that will take time to wander through and enjoy.

A short distance from the Grand Palace once again, is Wat Pho or the reclining Buddha and here you will find an amazing Buddha that does not disappoint. This Buddha is nothing like the Emerald Buddha and once again the complex grounds are worth the visit.

There many other areas of worship as well in Bangkok that are not Buddhist like the Erawan Shrine which is a Hindu place of worship right in the heart of Bangkok. Here you will see the devoted giving offerings and prayer among traditional Thai dancers. 


Chinatown in Bangkok will also provide visitors with a gastronomic experience to enjoy while being among Chinese temples, shops and markets.


While in Bangkok, visit the Flower Market as I know that I have never experienced such a fragrant experience with generations of families stringing flowers together for the market.


From there a person can visit the Asiatique Riverfront for shopping and entertainment. It is a cultural nighttime experience of markets and entertainment along the Chao Phyra River alongside the scenic riverside.



Take a river boat for supper and entertainment while taking in the sites on the river too.  It is amazing.

These are so many cultural experiences that await us as we enter into the City of Angels, Bangkok that have been influenced by many cultures.  Bangkok developed naturally to be a cultural mosaic.

Bangkok’s official name in Thai today is known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep. I bet you thought that was a long name for a city but nope both of those are shortened versions to the ceremonial name.  

Krung thep (กรุงเทพฯ) is just short-hand for a much longer name that blends the Hindu- and Buddhist-influenced ceremonial language of the royal family:

Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasi

Translated is "The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."


It is listed in the Guiness World Book of Records the worlds longest place name with 168 letters.

The name of Bangkok has been well known among foreigners, and even Thais, for centuries. Translated means “place with many hog plum trees” eventually coming known as the Land of Smiles.

So for short… Bangkok and therefore The City of Angels or nickname of Land of Smiles.

As always Bangkok started from simple beginnings.

Bangkok originally started it roots as a small trading post and village in the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century. Due to its strategic position at the mouth of the river of Chao Phraya river, it would become important to its growth and its position within the country itself. It would become a customs outpost with forts on both sides of the river and therefore fortifying the outpost.

The French would occupy this area until they were expelled in a siege in 1688 after occupying the area. The Burmese would occupy the town from 1767-1782 as well all due to the strategic positioning on the river. After these occupations is when Bangkok became the capital town. The city pillar was erected on Apr 21 1782 and regarded as the date of foundation of Bangkok as the capital.

When the new capital was established on the river's eastern bank, this is when the city inherited Ayutthaya's ceremonial name. No I am not going to try say all that again. I wont even try.

First with China and then with Western merchants in the 19th century, Bangkok would become an international trading city and be influenced by many cultures which can still be seen today. The East Asiatic Company of Bangkok is traced back to 1884 and still remains one of the leading trading companies in the world.

Bangkok’s location was central to its expansion. The country of Thailand’s geographic location at the intersection of China, India, Cambodia with historical trade routes including Persia, Africa, Greece, and Rome has influenced its capital to be diverse and a cultural mosaic.

These influences can be seen in the European Quarter or Sathon area  in Bangkok with its colonial influences, Chinatown with its Chinese influences, Hindu temples, and more. As with many Asian countries these influences are have changed their cultures as well.

Bangkok would later become the heart of the modernization of Thailand known then as Siam.  This has resulted in a cultural richness and diversity still seen in Bangkok today.

Today, Bangkok is a blend of ancient and modern famous for its gilded temples and steel skyscrapers that stand right beside jungle parks, colorful street markets and massage available on every corner.

Its traditions are deep rooted and the Thai are very respectful of all aspects of their daily lives. As a tourist it is important to respect these cultural traditions and aspects. This will allow the visitor to enjoy and also be amused by all that they see.

Once again, Bangkok is a blend of multicultural influences and traditions with simply stunning temples and generations of trade.

Now for the quiz, what is the official full ceremonial name of Bangkok? Just kidding, I know that you were all paying attention.

Thanks for being a part of ME. Not me, but M. E. Memorable Experiences. Enjoy Thailand and its capital of Bangkok.

Experience new places all the time!

The Nomads

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