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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential cultural information about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. For the next few lessons, we’re going to learn about popular Thai cities and provinces. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 1 - Bangkok Province.
Bangkok, or กรุงเทพฯ in Thai, is the capital city and the most populated urban area of Thailand.
Bangkok was originally located on the west side of the Chao Praya River, or แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา in Thai, where it was known as the city of Thonburi. It was moved across this river after King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke(พระบาทสมเด็จพระพุทธยอดฟ้าจุฬาโลกมหาราช), or "Rama I," became the first king of the Rattanakosin Era in 1782. He gave the city a ceremonial name, which became shortened to its current official name, กรุงเทพมหานคร. The full name of the city is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest place name.
The name กรุงเทพมหานคร means the "City of Angels," but Thai people call it Krung Thep for short. Foreigners, however, have referred to the city as "Bangkok" since the Ayutthaya era.
Today, the majority of people living in Bangkok are Thai-Chinese or in Thai คนไทยเชื้อสายจีน, but there is also a large population of fully native Thais in the city as well. Many of these fully Thai residents migrated from other provinces to the city to make a living. Bangkok is also home to people from all over the world, including Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Arabs, and many more.
Most of Bangkok's sights are concentrated in the Old City on the Island called Rattanakosin. The Grand Palace, or วัดพระแก้ว in Thai, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun are generally the most visited places in Bangkok. The Grand Palace was built when Rama I founded Bangkok as the nation's capital. This palace has been the site of many important religious ceremonies performed by the King of Thailand.
The temple Wat Pho was built during the reign of Rama I. It is home to a large Reclining Buddha, which was constructed during Rama III’s reign, and also houses a school that teaches traditional Thai massage.
The "Temple of Dawn" or Wat Arun was built during the Ayutthaya period. It is on the Thonburi side of the Chao Praya river, across from Wat Pho. The main tower is about sixty-seven meters high and is surrounded by four smaller towers. If you look closely, you can see that it’s beautifully decorated with many colorful Chinese porcelain pieces.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What would you want to do if you were in Bangkok?
Leave a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com! Until next time!