At once bustling, tropical and chaotic but also charming and full of possibilities, Bangkok is a city of thrilling contrasts. Here are five trivia facts on the Thai capital to prove it!
Bangkok's official name is more than 20-words long
You would resort to nicknames too if your ceremonial name was made up of more than 20 words in Thai and around 50-words in some English translations. In case you’re interested, the mouthful of a name roughly translates to: “the city of angels, the great city of immortals, 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 enormous palaces that resemble the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnu.”
To keep things shorter and sweeter, the city has also come to be known as the 'City of Angels' and 'Venice of the East'. The city has earned this final nickname because of the many canals, reminiscent of those in the romantic Italian city, which connect the winding Chao Phraya River. The river, with its very own nickname, River of Kings, is an attraction in itself where you can take a cruise, visit a floating market or uncover the hidden gems of its numerous canals.
Bangkok boasts 400+ Buddhist temples
Among the hundreds of practising Buddhist temples you will find Wat Pho, a temple in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district. Wat Pho is also known as the 'Temple of the Reclining Buddha' – you can’t miss the 15-metre high by 43-metre long horizontal statue in residence. The temple also stakes its claim as being home to one of the first traditional Thai massage schools.
Nearby you’ll find more of Bangkok’s amazing temples, including the sacred 'Temple of the Emerald Buddha' (Wat Phra Kaew) and the 'Temple of Dawn' (Wat Arun). Not far from Wat Pho and its temple neighbours is Thailand’s Grand Palace – one of Bangkok’s most popular attractions that certainly lives up to its name.
Muay Thai rounds used to be timed by coconut shell
Muay Thai (aka Thai boxing) developed as a form of combat that uses the whole body as a weapon. Today, it’s a cultural martial art and Thailand’s national sport – and passion. Similar to Western boxing styles, a Muay Thai competition is divided into rounds, but the sport’s original method for timing these rounds around the 1900s was quite unique: a pierced coconut shell placed in water.
When the coconut filled with water and sunk, the round was over. These days, you can watch a few rounds yourself at Bangkok’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, which hosts Muay Thai bouts every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Chatuchak Weekend Market rakes in around $750,000/day
With shopping a must-do on every Thailand travel itinerary, join the crowd of 200,000 who visit Bangkok’s largest market every Saturday and Sunday. Chatuchak Weekend Market features more than 15,000 stalls covering some 27 acres.
Whether you’re looking for antiques, ornate wood carvings, crafts, ceramics, furniture, Buddhist amulets or the perfect souvenir from your Bangkok adventure, you’ll find it – and so much more – here.
Wat Traimit's solid-gold Buddha weighs more than 5-tonne
Wat Traimit (the Temple of the Golden Buddha) is home to – you guessed it – a rather remarkable statue of the enlightened one. To protect it from theft by invaders, the Buddha was once covered in plaster to disguise its golden goodness.
Today, you can visit the famous and shiny resident in his shrine and learn a bit more about the Golden Buddha in a dedicated exhibit.