Video #37 | May 24, 2018
In this video I’m going to give you 28 fun facts about Bangkok. Some you may know. Many I’m guessing you probably don’t!
Click on the following link to check out more on Bangkok and Thai Culture.
Welcome to the thirty-seventh video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to give you 28 fun facts about Bangkok. Some you may know. Many I’m guessing you probably don’t!
Let’s get started!
Facts about Bangkok: 28 Fun facts about Bangkok that will make you want to go!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #1. Bangkok has been listed as the longest name for a city in the Guinness Book of World records.
Bangkok is not a long city name in terms of letters. However, the complete traditional Thai name of Bangkok and has been listed as the longest name for a city in the Guinness Book of World records! So, what is it? It’s long! Let’s take a listen.
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
Note. Bangkok in Thai language is abbreviated for daily use to Krung Thep or Krung Thep Mahanakon, which means ‘City of Angels’.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #2. Bangkok is a wealthy city.
There are well over 200,000 US$ millionaires in Thailand. 95% of them live in Bangkok. As a side-note there are a good number of US$ billionaires in Thailand. Check out the latest Forbes rich list if you don’t believe me!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #3. Chinatown is the biggest in the world.
Bangkok’s Chinatown has been referenced by multiple sources as the largest in the world. In addition, Bangkok’s Chinatown also boasts the largest solid gold Buddha in the world. You can find it at Wat Traimit. The statue measures nearly five meters in height and weighs a hefty five and a half tons.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #4. Bangkok is hot.
Bangkok holds the title as the world’s hottest city, according to the World Meteorological Society. Note. It’s not because daily high-temperatures are extreme, like in Death Valley California for example, it’s because the city remains hot all year round. The average ‘winter’ temperature in the city is 26 degrees Celsius, so winter coats are pretty much unnecessary.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #5. Red Bull was born in Bangkok.
The world-famous energy drink, Red Bull, was created in Bangkok by Chaleo Yoovidhya in 1976. At the time of his death in 2012, he was the third richest man in Thailand.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #6. The world’s tallest aircraft control tower.
At 132.2 meters, Bangkok’s International Airport features the world’s tallest aircraft control tower.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #7. The world’s largest captive crocodile farm.
With over 100,000 crocodiles of 28 different species, some of them no longer in existence anywhere else, the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm, on the outskirts of Bangkok, is the world’s largest.
The park claims to hold the world’s largest crocodile in captivity, named Yai, measuring 6 m [or 19 ft 8 in] and weighing in at 1,114 kg [or 2,456 lb].
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #8. The world’s largest teak building.
The breathtaking Vimanmek Mansion in the Dusit district of Bangkok is the largest golden teak building in the world. Built by King Rama V in 1900, this elaborate three-story building today serves as a museum commemorating this popular King. His Western-influenced tastes, his collections of photographs, personal art and handicrafts are all on display.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #9. The world’s biggest weekend market.
Chatuchak Weekend Market [or JJ Market] is an open-air labyrinth of over 15,000 stalls set amidst 15 hectares of winding alleyways. It’s widely regarded as the world’s biggest weekend market. On Saturdays and Sundays between 200,000 – 300,000 visitors come each day to shop for everything from plants and antiques to pets and clothing.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #10. Bangkok is a city of sois.
The city of Bangkok is oriented around major streets and canals. Branching off the major streets are alleys called sois. This makes it relatively easy to orient yourself if you know which road you’re on! That said, some roads are ridiculously long. Sukhumvit road for example goes all the way from central Bangkok to Pattaya – a 90-minute drive away!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #11. ATMs are everywhere.
When in Bangkok you’re never more than a few hundred meters away from an ATM. This makes it easy to access cash 24/7. [Which does not always lead to good decisions late at night when drunk!] Machines are also rarely alone – they’re usually huddled in clusters with a few different banks’ ATMs.
Not so fun fact: ATMs in Thailand spit out your money first, and your card second. This results in many a forgotten card.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #12. Convenience stores are everywhere.
Like ATMs, you’re never more than a few hundred meters from a convenience store. Unlike convenience stores in the West, they aren’t ludicrously overpriced and they carry some truly useful items. From fresh coffee and wine to beauty products and phone credit.
Note. Do try the 7-Eleven grilled ham and cheese sandwich. If you need a snack, especially late at night when drunk, it’s a cheap and delicious choice.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #13. Japanese food is everywhere.
If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you’re going to love Bangkok! Bangkok has a huge Japanese population, which means lots of sushi restaurants, authentic izakaya bars, quaint cafes, ramen shops and katsu places. Sukhumvit soi 31 to 55 on the odd side of the street is where you’ll find many of the top Japanese restaurants in the city.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #14. Massage is everywhere.
If you like massage, Bangkok’s your city! There’s everything from 100-baht-per-hour reflexology through to day packages that cost hundreds of dollars. Most street massage shops do a perfectly adequate body massage for around 350 baht per hour. That said, for a more professional experience Health Land and Body Tune are both very reputable chains.
The best spas are those attached to luxury hotels; The Peninsula, The Mandarin Oriental and The Grand Hyatt Erawan have three of the very best spas in the city. The only problem is that they’re extremely pricey!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #15. Taxis are color-coded.
Bright pink, yellow and green, orange, blue and red – what does it mean? The different colors just denote different taxi companies, with the green and yellow ones signaling taxis with owner-drivers. While they all charge the same, if you ask a Bangkokian they’ll probably have their own theories about which color is the ‘best’.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #16. One of the best ways to travel around Bangkok is by ferry.
One of the best ways to explore the city, especially the famous temples, is by tourist ferry. This ferry is denoted with a blue flag. It operates between Nonthaburi in the far north of Bangkok to Sathorn Central Pier from 07:00 to 18:25. [Sathorn Central Pier is right next to Saphan Thaksin BTS station]. The fare is 50 baht per trip or 180 baht for an all-day pass with unlimited journeys allowed. English speaking staff will call out every stop clearly over a microphone, and ask if anyone wants to alight at that stop. If there’re no passengers to get on or off the boat will not stop. In between stops, staff explain the sights lining the river on either side.
Note. There are five different types of Express Boat River Taxis.
- No flag. [Local line].
- Blue Flag Line. [Tourist boat].
- Orange Flag Line [Stops at the main piers]
- Yellow Flag Line [Large express boat for commuters]
- Green Flag Line [Express boat for commuters]
I’d stick to the Blue Flag line, as unless you speak and read Thai, you’ll find the experience very confusing!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #17. Bangkok has much more than just street food.
Forget street food for a moment. Bangkok has a world-class culinary scene. The San Pellegrino ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018’ named Bangkok restaurant, Gaggan, number 1. Suhring, a German fine-dining restaurant, is number 4 and Nahm by chef Pim Techamuanvivit made number 10.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #18. Chatuchak Market is not the only market.
Most areas in Bangkok will have their own market at least once per week. There’re night markets, lunchtime markets, university markets, wet markets, flower markets, retro markets, train markets – all sorts of markets!
The night market at Phraram 9 MRT station is a good option if you want to visit somewhere smaller and more manageable than Chatuchak. JJ Green is also lovely on a Sunday afternoon if you like retro stores and live music. For a boutique market by the river, there’s also Asiatique.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #19. There’re green spaces for you to relax in.
One of the most popular green spaces is Lumphini Park in Silom. That said, for a jog head to Benjakiti Park near Sukhumvit MRT. There’s a similarly named Benjasiri Park in Phrom Pong with kids’ playgrounds, basketball courts, a swimming pool and a lake with turtles. This is an extremely popular place with families at the weekends.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #20. Bangkok has a ‘green lung’.
There’s an entire chunk of land in a bend of the Chao Phraya river covered in dense forest. With building development prohibited above the tree line, it’s a lush, green reprieve from the city. Called Bang Krachao, this area is well-known among locals for its cycle tracks and quaint guesthouses. You can do day trips there or stay overnight and cycle around the entire island.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #21. Bangkok is great for kids.Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #22. Bangkok was the world’s most popular city for international tourists in 2017.
Bangkok was the most visited destination for travelers in 2017, according to Mastercard’s annual Mastercard Destination Cities Index list. Thailand’s capital attracted 20.2 million visitors!
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #23. The King’s anthem is played before movies and cultural performances.
Not only is there the twice daily recital of the Thai National Anthem that happens at 08:00 and 18:00 in public places. Before all movies, plays or cultural performances the King’s Anthem is played and everyone must stand out of respect. To not do so could result in being prosecuted under Thailand’s lèse majesté, or ‘crimes violating majesty’, law which carries a penalty of 3-15 years’ imprisonment.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #24. Some very odd laws.
Thailand, like all countries, has some odd laws. What follows are a few notable examples.
- It’s illegal to leave the house without wearing underwear.
- You’ll be breaking the law if you drive a motorized vehicle bare-chested.
- You can be prosecuted for using a durian fruit as a weapon. [A fine will be levied determined by how many thorns strike the victim].
One other law that’s not so amusing is that it’s illegal to step on any Thai currency, either coins or notes. This is is because they carry an image of the King. Again, the law comes under lèse majesté and is punishable with up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #24. ‘Sawadee’ became the common form of greeting in the 1930s.
Sawadee Krhap, if you’re a man, or Sawadee Kaa, if you’re a woman is best translated as ‘Hello’. It’s a ubiquitous phrase used throughout Thailand, and likely the first phrase most tourists will learn. Interestingly, the phrase was only introduced into the Thai language in the 1930s by a professor at Chulalongkorn University. Prior to 1930, the most common way to say hello in Thailand was to say ‘Gin kaow leaow ruu yang?’ which roughly translates to ‘Have you eaten yet?’
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #25. Bangkok is the ‘Venice of the East’.
Bangkok is built over a dozen of canals, and its buildings used to stand on stilts just like Venice. Although most canals have now been filled and paved, Bangkok is still popular with tourists as the ‘Venice of the East’.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #26. Bangkok is sinking.
Just like Venice Bangkok is sinking at a rate of 2 to 2.5 cm per year due to heavy development and rising sea levels. According to a recent report by the Thai Government, parts of Bangkok could be underwater in the next 15 years.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #27. Bangkok’s air pollution is pretty bad.
Thailand loses $2.3 billion annually in wasted energy, lost productivity and health costs due to high levels of air pollution in Bangkok. Because of the hazardous levels of air pollution, traffic police in Bangkok wear face masks to protect themselves. More than 15% of Bangkok’s traffic police suffer from various lung diseases.
Fun facts about Bangkok – Fact #28. The world’s largest street water fight.
Every year during the Thai New Year holiday, Bangkok hosts the world’s largest street water fight known as Songkran festival.
Anyway…that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.
For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.
To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, and luxury private transport, please click on the link in this video’s description section.
Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any questions on one or more of the 28 fun facts about Bangkok. Maybe you have some fun facts that I missed! Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!
Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.