People and Society, Principal Cities
Krung Thep, Thon Buri, modern skyscrapers, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla
Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep (“City of Angels”), is Thailand’s capital and largest city, and it dominates the country politically and economically. A seaport located in the southern part of the central plain on the estuary of the Chao Phraya, it became the capital of Siam in 1782, following Thon Buri, which was the capital from 1767 to 1782, and Ayutthaya (1351-1767). Bangkok is a vibrant city, in which the old blends with the new. Within the city, traditional, multicolored temples (wat) and royal palaces are dwarfed by modern skyscrapers. Bangkok suffers from notorious traffic congestion, annual flooding, and severe air pollution. Migration to Bangkok from north and northeast Thailand has swelled the city’s population.
Other important Thai cities include Nakhon Ratchasima, an industrial city in east Thailand; Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok; Chiang Mai, the largest city in the northern mountains; and Songkhla, a coastal city in the southern peninsula. Chiang Mai and Songkhla are noted for their tourist attractions.
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