Bangkok, or Krung Thep, Thailand, the nation's capital and largest city. It is about 15 miles (24 km) from the Gulf of Thailand on the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok is Thailand's economic and cultural center and one of Southeast Asia's greatest ports and air terminals.
Bangkok lies in one of the most productive rice-growing regions in Asia, the Chao Phraya's valley, and rice milling is one of the city's chief industries. The city also has lumber and sugar mills and manufactures textiles. Most of Thailand's foreign trade passes through the port of Bangkok. The city's international airport is served by many foreign airlines.
Numerous klongs (canals) crisscross Bangkok and adjacent areas, forming main transportation routes. Buildings on stilts line many of the waterways. More than 400 wats (Buddhist temples) adorn the city; especially notable is Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), in the Grand Palace. Bangkok's National Museum contains diverse Thai and other Southeast Asian exhibits. Educational institutions include Chulalongkorn, Kasetsart, and Thammasat universities.
Bangkok was made the national capital in 1782 by King Rama I. Prior to that it had been only a small village.