Sawasdee Torn Chao (Good Morning) everyone.
Many of you may have laughed at the pun of the name Bangkok. (Yeah thanks a lot American Pie 3).
But have you ever wondered why the capital is called Bangkok?
The story behind the name Bangkok is not very clear. As Bang is the Thai word for “village”, whilst Kok (pronounce more as Koark) could be derived from either Koh, which means an island or Ma-Kok (olive-like plant). The case of Bangkok as an island village could be due to the fact that there were a large number of canals throughout the Bangkok region in the past. In fact, Bangkok used to be called the Venice of the East. On the otherhand, the speculation behind the later’s case is supported by the fact that the famous temple, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) used to be called Wat Ma-Kok.
Nonetheless, the name Bangkok was most likely a colloquial name of a certain Bang of the area, possibly full of Makok plants back in the olden days. Therefore, the name was probably used by foreigners overtime without encountering any updates or changes in the indication of its geographical location and name.
More interestingly, for the more observant eyes, you may have come across the alternative name of Krueng Thep or Krueng Thep Mahanakorn. The name in which true Thais or “Bangkokians” will use to identify the capital city of Thailand.
Although what you may not know is that “Krueng Thep” is not even the official version of the name but merely a shorten form of the real deal.
The true and official name of the capital’s superfluous name is:
Krueng-thep maha-nakhon Amorn-rattanakosin Mahinthara-yutthaya Maha-dilokphop Nhoppharat-ratchathani-burirom Udom-ratchaniwej-mahasatharn Amorn-phiman-avartarn-sathit Sakkathattiya-witsanu-karmprasit
Which can be translated to:
The city of angels, the great city of immortals, the magnificent city of the nine gems, the seat of the king, the city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnated, erected by Vishvakarman* at Indra* behest.
*(In Hinduism and Buddhism, Indra is the King of Gods, thunder, lightning, rains and river flows. Whilst Vishvakarman is believed to be the personification of creation itself.)
You may be wondering if this is the longest city name in the world? According to the Guinness Book World of Records， you are not wrong.
Try memorising that, because to be honest, most Thais cant even recite the full name or meaning back to you without checking Wikipedia.
So practice the name, recite it to yourself in the mirror, because you will surely surprise and impress any Thai person, anywhere in the world if you can say the full name of Krueng Thep without any flaws or as a matter of fact, just start by referring the capital of Thailand as “Krueng Thep” and not its “punny” alternative.
Have a great day exploring “Krueng Thep” and the beyond! From all of us at Chao Hostel, Sawasdee Krub.