Bangkok is the political, social and economic centre of not only Thailand, but much of South East Asia and Indochina as well.
Bangkok is generally regarded as a truly global city, and is the world’s top tourist destination. It has a unique mixture of cultures – Thai, Chinese, Indian, Buddhist, Muslim and Western – which, when combined with the driving force of the Thai economy, has made the city increasingly attractive to foreigners for both business and pleasure.
Officially, Bangkok is the world’s 22nd largest city, with a population of 6.7 million. However, unofficially, due to the large influx of illegal migrants from Thailand and other Asian countries, the real population is estimated at 15 million people.
Bangkok has a great deal of green space within the city centre, including the 50 km2 area between Yannawa and Samut Prakan. There is also Bung Makkasan, which provides an urban bunker zone from residences.
Most famous regionally is Lumphini Park, Bangkok’s version of New York’s Central Park. Built in the 1920s, it was used for grand pageants and Thai constitution ceremonies. During World war II, it was a camp for Japanese soldiers. Today, it is primarily used for recreation, and is bangkok’s most visited park. The park is closed at night because of incidences of vandalism, robberies and murders.
The city has some of Thailand’s most visited historical sites, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.
There is a torrent of art, culture, sport and tourism in Bangkok. I spent a short time there in 2003, flying in with Thai Airlines. I hope one day to return there and see more.