Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand . This city of 10 million is situated in southern Thailand , about 25 miles (40 km) from the Gulf of Siam .
Bangkok was established in 1782, when Chao Phraya Chakri (Rama I), the ruler of Thailand , moved the capital from Thonburi, where it had been located since 1760. Much of the city's modernization occurred during the reign of Mogkut (Rama IV). Known to its natives as Krung Thep , Bangkok was criss-crossed by canals called klongs. Most of these canals exists to this very day and have caused Bangkok to be called "the Venice of the Far East ".
Considered as the largest city of the country, Bangkok is the hub of Thailand 's transportation system and the seat of Thai culture and government activities. Today, the city attracts tourists from all around the world because of its beautiful temples and colorful Thai culture.
Bangkok, getting there and around
The Bangkok Don Muang International Airport (BKK) is located about 15 miles (25km) north of the city center. Taxis are conveniently accessible outside the airport terminals. The fare to the city center is approximately 250 Bt. The airport also provides airport buses, operating every 30 minutes in four different routes i
nto the city. Avis and Budget are among the car hire companies found at the airport. The airport facilities include foreign exchange counters, restaurants, bars, information desk, hotel reservation desk, post office and a duty free shop.
The State Railways of Thailand (website: www.thailandrailway.com) offers a regular and efficient rail service linking the city to major towns in Thailand , as well as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur . Fares are dependent on the type of carriage. The main station in Bangkok is situated in Hualampong, Rama. Each station provides bus services to and from the city. Taxis are readily available outside the stations.
Thais drive on the left side of the road and drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts. An International Driving Permit is required for those staying for a maximum of 3 months. For those intending to stay longer, a Thai driving license is needed.
There are four major highways leading to Bangkok . The National Highway No. 4 services those coming from Hua Hin. The approximate travel time to Bangkok is 3 hours. The National Highway No. 3 services those coming from Pattaya, while the National Highway Nos. 32 and 11 service those from Phitsanulok. The approximate travel times from Pattaya and Phitsanulok are 3 hours and 5 hours 30 minutes, respectively.
With numerous modes of transportation to choose from, getting around Bangkok is never a problem. Taxis and Tuk tuks (three wheeled taxis) can be hailed anywhere and are used by most visitors in Bangkok . The city also has an elevated monorail, which runs every 4 minutes and services Bangkok from 0600 to 2400. There are also plenty of motorcycle taxis in the city. The motorcycle taxi is an excellent and relatively cheap mode of transport, especially during rush hours.
Car hire companies in Bangkok include Avis ( www.avisthailand.com ) and Budget (website: www.budget.co.th) . You will be required to present a credit card and an International Driving Permit for car rentals. Car hire companies charges about B1, 800 to B2, 200 per day. For bicycle rentals, the Bangkok Tourist Bureau provides bicycles at a minimum fee of approximately B200 per day.