Before going to a place, I like to research it. I always find interesting and sometimes downright weird pieces of information that I had never before heard of or seen. Bangkok has been one of my must-see destinations for years. I spent a few days there earlier this week and I thought I should share some cool facts about the world-renowned city.
Here are 19 crazy facts about Bangkok, Thailand!
1. Bangkok is down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest name for any one place. You’re thinking “Seriously? Bangkok? It has 2 syllables and 7 letters. What’s the big idea?” Well actually, Bangkok is what many non Thai people call the city. Locals often call the city Thep Maha Nakhon or Krung Thep.
And by Krung Thep, they actually mean “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit.”
And all that really means is, “City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s behest.”
Oh. No big deal. But I’ll buy you a coffee if you can say that 10 times really really really fast, in Thai. Ha!
Yea … I’ll stick to Bangkok.
2. Apparently L.A isn’t the city of angels? Or is it? Bangkok is known to us English speaking folk as the City of Angels too! L.A was founded on September 4th 1781. Bangkok was founded by the first King Rama in 1782. Close call right?
3. Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous. Bangkok is also called the Venice of the East in some circles. Come on now people, how many names does 1 city need? You mean I’ve been to the Venice of the East and not the actual Venice, you know, of the west? Someone care to explain this to me?
But I can definitely see the parallels: canals and waterways and such. But Venice remains a water city and Bangkok’s canals have been filled up and replaced with cement.
4. What happens when you combine rising sea levels with fast and wide scale urban development? Things go down. No, I mean that literally. Bangkok is reportedly sinking at a rate of nearly 2-3 centimetres annually. What does that mean? I’m not really sure. But I’ve been to Bangkok, have you? Maybe you should, you know, before it becomes inhabited by mermaids. No offence mermaids.
5. Bhumibol Adulyadej—Thailand’s current monarch and king has been in power since 1946. He’s the world’s longest reigning current monarch and head of state (70 years). He also created Thailand’s national anthem. Images of him are seen all over the country, particularly in Bangkok. It’s illegal to laugh at his pictures, make negative commentary or even deface currency with his face on it. Yikes! It seems Thai people really love their king, and that’s awesome.
6. To date, the world’s biggest and baddest Buddha is located at Wat Traimit (temple). Measuring almost 30 feet and weighing 5500 pounds, it’s safe to say Bangkok takes Buddha very seriously.
7. Bangkok’s world famous, record holding weekend market, Chatuchak Weekend Market is spread out over 27 acres and is one of the best of its kind in the world.
8. Like water fights? Then you’ll love the Songkran Festival.It takes place every year in April and is apparently loads of fun. I mean, what’s better than a giant water fight to keep you cool?
9. Bangkok is the world’s hottest city by average year round temperatures according to the World Meteorological Organization. With an average temperature of 28 degrees centigrade, highs of 35 degrees, lows of 31 degrees and 90% humidity rates, it’s easy to see how things could heat up very quickly in Bangkok. If you’re heading there, keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
10. With the crazy levels of heat in Bangkok, you may (or may not) get the urge to strip down and go streaking to cool yourself off. Don’t. I’m all for a little nudity. But apparently the people of Bangkok are not. Going outside without underwear is against the law. It’ll probably also make for a really awkward time in jail. But hey, I’ve never done it. Send me an email if you do.
11. Bangkok’s taxis are super colourful. I’ve seen pink, green, white, yellow and green and just about everything else. It makes for a nice rainbow themed traffic jam. Ha.
12. The temples pressed into the different Thai Baht coins are all located in Bangkok. If you’re traveling with kids, you can make a neat little game out of matching the coins with the temples once you arrive at specific temples. But be warned, Bangkok is riddled with temples, so this game of yours may take a while.
13. The King’s anthem is the soundtrack to Bangkok. It’s played before all major cultural events as well as even movies.
14. You can be arrested for riding a motorcycle with your chest fully exposed. No exceptions ladies.
15. It’s a crime to use a durian fruit as a weapon. If you’re in a fit of rage and feel compelled to use the durian to attack someone anyway, your fine will be determined by the amount of spikes that hit your victim. Come on! That’s a pretty funny law!
16. Thailand as a whole, and specifically Bangkok have washrooms that accommodate lady boys (transgender men). This is very progressive, but not surprising for a country that is known for being very open-minded in terms of gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation.
17. The Red Bull energy drink, you know, the one that give you wings, was invented by Chaleo Yoovidhya in 1976. He was not highly educated in the traditional sense, but he created the caffeine/sugar jet lag remedy (among other things). To be clear, I’m told the original Red Bull drinks are nothing like the ones we know today. In fact, the originals are still sold in some cities, Bangkok is of course one of them
18. This seems a bit ironic to me, but the biggest Chinatown in the world is in Bangkok.
19. Most South East Asian countries have a rocky past with European colonizers. But Thailand is the only one that has never been taken over by Europeans. The Thai people are very proud of this fact. Due to a series of revered, beloved and strategic kings, Thailand was able to keep peace with Europeans and maintain a stronger sense of their culture.
Now that you know a little more about Bangkok and Thailand, I hope you’ll plan a visit and discover even more of it on your own!
Have you ever been to Bangkok? Do you know of any other interesting facts about this amazing city? Leave an intelligent comment below! Let’s share our knowledge of Bangkok, and Thailand in general, with each other.
Until next time,