Bangkok is the biggest and most popular city in Thailand. It’s the center of the economic and cultural life of the country. Its privileged position makes Bangkok the center of the South-East Asia and the political stability of Thailand has allowed this city to develop greatly. At the end of the 1980s 1990s, due to the economic boom, many international corporations settled in Bangkok and the great flow of foreign investments contributed to the real estate development. The investment crisis of the late 1990s slow down the development which started again in the second decade of 2000.
The city of Bangkok has a population of 8,280,925 according to the 2010 census, or 12.6 percent of the national population, but many people flow into the city during the day and go back to their neighboring provinces in the evening so the Great City of Angles (กรุงเทพมหานคร this is the meaning of its name in Thai language) count a number of 14,500,000 people. The city is very cosmopolitan: Chinese, Japanese, European, American, African and many neighboring country migrant workers live and work there. Life is very chaotic during the day and the traffic is often unbearable because of the number of vehicles and the lack of organization in the transportation system. Hours are spent on the roads that often become a huge car park.
Bangkok was founded by King Taksin in 1782 after he fled from Ayutthaya, burnt down by the Burmese, he built the new city on the banks of Chao Phraya River and it became the administrative and religious center of the new Siam kingdom.
Bangkok, as all megalopolis, is a victim of an out of control urbanization. It hosts a huge amount of people, often coming from the countryside and the economic gap between the different classes of society is impressive. Areas of the city are not less developed than western cities, but at the peripheries life can be miserable. A lot of people live under the poverty line and, in these last few years Bangkok, has become also the half way destination of thousands of refugees. They enter the Kingdom of Thailand with a tourist visa and after they apply for the refugee status from UNHCR. Many of them are stuck in the city with few hope to leave soon.
The City of Angels is an exciting megalopolis, full of contradictions where life can be easy and comfortable, but also extremely difficult and even cruel.