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Understanding the Origin of Bangkok's Nicknames

Understanding the Origin of Bangkok’s Nicknames

Are you aware that Thais do not refer to their capital as “Bangkok” the way that tourists do? Read on to learn more as we’ll walk you through the history of Bangkok’s name in this article!

What is Bangkok’s real name? 

What is Bangkok's real name
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Bangkok’s real full name is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

However, locals call it Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or Krung Thep, instead of Bangkok.

What’s the history behind Bangkok’s real name?

Rama I, the first King of the Chakri Dynasty, gave the city its original name in 1782. King Mongkut (Rama IV) later changed the name. Finally, Thailand’s capital city’s complete name became the 168-letter name.

Therefore, the longest city name in the world, according to the World Guinness Book of Records, belongs to Thailand’s capital.

Why did Bangkok change its name?

Recently, Bangkok was given fresh instructions by the Thai government regarding how it should be referred to worldwide.

The advice, however, led to some misunderstandings. Some believed it meant that English-speaking people would have to start referring to Bangkok by its longer, regional name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.

The Royal Society of Thailand recently clarified that the new advice did not imply that individuals should stop referring to the capital as Bangkok. 

The capital will henceforth be formally referred to as “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok),” the agency stated in its most current advisory. This is a shift from the previous guidance, which referred to the capital as “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon; Bangkok.”

Many took the usage of parenthesis around Bangkok as a sign that the short form may no longer be as welcomed as before as people struggled to comprehend the meaning of the new guidance.

The capital’s abbreviated name translates to “great city of angels” in Thai. Most Thais abbreviate the name to Krung Thep when speaking.

Some linguists questioned whether the new guidelines would cause problems for people who are unfamiliar with the capital’s lengthy, official name. 

The Royal Society issued a message on Facebook clarifying that its new guidance only represented a stylistic change as the issue received notice.

The official name of the capital city, Bangkok, can also be written using the Roman script as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, according to the statement.

What are Bangkok’s nicknames and what do they mean?

What are Bangkok's nicknames and what do they mean
Image source: iStock

While Bangkok has its relatively long real name, it also has nicknames given to it that has different meanings.

Below are some of the famous nicknames that Bangkok has and their meanings. 

1. Why is Bangkok called the city of angels?

Why is Bangkok called the city of angels
Image source: iStock

Bangkok is also known locally as “Krung Thep,” which means “city of angels.” This is because the city is home to more than 400 temples, as well as various royal mansions, high-rise buildings, and suspension bridges.

Rich in nine priceless gems and oozing with joy, it is abundant with enormous royal palaces and is where the resurrected celestial attendants reside. 

2. Why is Bangkok called the Venice of the East?

Why is Bangkok called the Venice of the East

Image source: GlobeTrot Cat

Up until the late 19th century, when new roads started to be constructed, the city’s network of waterways served as the main mode of transportation.

Since most residents reside in or on the river up until that point, the city earned the nickname “Venice of the East” in the 19th century.

3. Why is Bangkok called the Big Mango?

Why is Bangkok called the Big Mango
Image source: Siamvan Travel

One of Bangkok’s most well-known nicknames is The Big Mango.

The city is referred to as “the Big Mango” by the tourism board as a nod to the Big Apple. Other than its expansive layout, traffic bottlenecks, and heavy dose of American pop culture, the Thai capital has little in common with Los Angeles and New York.

Furthermore, Bangkok is both incredibly futuristic and uncompromisingly traditional. 

4. Why is Bangkok called The Land of Smiles?

Why is Bangkok called The Land of Smiles

Image source: iStock

Generally, Thailand is renowned as “The Land of Smiles” because a smile in Thailand is much more than just a grin; it is a kind of subtle interpersonal communication.

Thai people actually yim or smile a lot, even in circumstances where it is not necessarily appropriate to smile, which may be another reason why the nation earned this moniker. 

Many Thai people value maintaining their good reputation.Some locals will only put on a grin and behave as if everything is okay rather than expressing an emotion, such as rage or nervousness, for instance. 

While some visitors would find this to be a relief since they anticipated the Land of Smiles to live up to its name, others could find the smiling façade perplexing.

FAQs about Bangkok’s Real Name and Nicknames

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