Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or Krung Thep for short, is the capital of and largest city in Thailand, with an official year 2000 census population of 6,355,144, but actually numbering at least twice that. Bangkok is located at 13°45'N 100°31'ECoordinates: 13°45'N 100°31'E, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.
Bangkok is the wealthiest and most populous city in Thailand, as well as the 22nd most populous city in the world. Although Bangkok now has roughly 7 million registered inhabitants, the actual population is much higher, and including commuters from the surrounding areas, may reach an estimated 15 million people during the day time, making the city one of the most densely populated in the world. Recently, the value of Bangkok's economic output has matched that of Singapore, making Bangkok a major economic and financial center in Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings.
The World Meteorological Organization has dubbed Bangkok the world's hottest large city. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
Thailand has a variety of shopping experiences from street markets to malls. Tourists have historically always preferred markets and bazaars to the other forms of shopping. The Chatuchak weekend market is one of the largest shopping destinations in Bangkok. Water markets are gradually disappearing but remain strong tourist attractions as many tours are offered through the canals the market is located on.
The huge new shopping complex known as Siam Paragon on Sukhumvit road in Bangkok's city center is one of the biggest and most luxurious malls in south east Asia; it truly is a Asian marvel. The Emporium, on Sukhumvit Road, is the center of fashion, style, and is a very common hang-out place for teenagers, as there is a game floor, a food floor with different types of cuisine, and a cinema. Bangkok also includes over 15 world class malls situated around Bangkok mostly centered around Sukhumvit Road.
As with many large cities in developing countries, a large proportion of wealth situated in one area causes that region to develop quickly. In the case of Thailand, this area is Bangkok. Bangkok, like nearby Pattaya, is notorious for some concentrations of massage parlours, go-go bars and karaoke places, with Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza being the main areas catering to tourists. There are, however, many places to find a relaxing spot and enjoy one of Asia's most diverse cities. Bangkok offers a widely varied nightlife. There are Westernized clubs and cafes for the rich, and lower-cost bars and pubs that are very popular with the locals. The city's renowned district of Phra Nakhon is home to one of the world's very first international streets-Khao San Rd. A walking street, it allows visitors to see the diversity of the world on one single road where East meets West. Sukhumvit Road boasts some of Asia's most exclusive clubs and restaurants along the 5 km section between Ekamai and Withayu, with a number of activities available for the city's thousands of night owls.