"Contradictory" — this epithet seems to depict the essence of Bangkok. Some people call it "a dusty sack" or "a city with nothing to look at", while others call it "Venice of the East" and the record holder in terms of the number of excursions. Full name of Thailand capital is translated as "the City of Angels, supreme city, the city of eternal stones, city chosen by God..." and so on, twenty magnifical words in all, due to which the city was recorded in the Guinness book as the city with the longest name in the world. The full name is as follows: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
Bangkok is located on both banks of the Chao Phraya River. It is divided by dozens of artificial channels with opaque water of cafe au lait color. These are a peculiar kind of water streets along which — on the banks or just in the water there are monasteries, residential houses, floating markets, and travelling by boats or motor boats here is as usual as a trip by bus. But the abundance of water produces high humidity and contributes to fog formation. As a result the visibility hardly reaches ten kilometers, and houses on the horizon are almost invisible.
One of the former kings of Thailand, Rama IV, at the end of the XIX century opened the doors for European merchants, and since that time Bangkok has begun to change rapidly: some channels have been backfilled to construct highways at that place, old wooden houses have been replaced with the latest architectural trends, the streets have begun to look more civilized, small shops appeared... One of the panoramas shows a bridge named after one of his successors, king Rama IX: it's the first cable bridge in Thailand and one of the biggest cable bridges in the world.
"Shine and poverty" — it's again about Bangkok. Numerous small houses of "each-in-his-own-way" architecture are side by side with luxurious villas and stylish skyscrapers (the latter, by the way, account for one thousand).
There are also five hundred temples of various confessions and 10-million population with representing perhaps every nation of our planet. About 17 million people are in the city every day due to tourists and labor migrants. Life here does not stop for a minute and is present in all possible diversity: from parks, museums and theatres to hot spots where adventure seekers from every corner of the world gather.
To enumerate at least the main sights of the city we'd need several pages. The locals themselves are puzzled when they are asked to recommend something to visit, and the guys from Thai helicopter company spent a good two hours while we were thinking where to fly. Unfortunately, after viewing the footage we had to exclude many of well-known Thai temples from the tour, because they look more interesting from the ground, but smallish from the bird's-eye view.
Photography by Sergey Semenov
18 July 2011
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