Bangkok, which is treated by Thailand as seat of culture, is the most celebrated of the cities in the entire Southeast Asia. The city, in brief, is a manifestation of the refined and variegated Thai culture. Bangkok is a place where tradition embraces modernity to create a unique culture of its own and this is discernible in the people, in its art and culture, in its costumes, and in the time honoured architectural pieces of the city. The multifarious heritage of the city enmeshes the basic lifestyle of people here. The areas of urban delights and entertainments are carefully intertwined with ancient Thai tradition. Much of the culture of Bangkok is constituted by its architectural wonders seen in the old and modern temples, the stunning monasteries, and the alluring palaces. The iconic architecture of Bangkok can be especially found in the areas situated close to Sanam Luang, like those of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. The diversified populace of the city adds dimensions to its culture and tradition.
The city locks in its memory a rather intriguing past from which can be traced its origin. Bangkok became Thai Capital during the later part of the eighteenth century as General Chao Phraya Chakkri ascended to the throne as Rama I. The new city was modelled upon Ayutthaya, the old capital by Rama I. The Wta Pho temple and the Grand Palace were completed under his rule. The number of wats increased during the reign of Rama II and Rama III. These served as hospitals, schools, libraries, and entertainment zones. Rama IV, Rama V, and Rama VI continued with the construction of distinguished architecture and other public works. Bangkok became a planned city with well built roads and streets.
Bangkok offers a common platform to people from all over the world. A strong cosmopolitan image makes the city a station for multilingual populace, despite their national language being Thai. English is treated as an essential language, but people speaking various other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other European languages can be heard as well. A complex is created of languages, which imparts a strong multilingual flavour to the basic Thai culture. The large group of expatriates settled here, who come from different countries around the world, also makes a strong contribution to the linguistic and cultural diversity of Bangkok.
Food is the most important aspect of the city of Bangkok which is home to various delightful cuisines. While there are a number of high end restaurants, the street food culture asserts its importance in every corner of the city. The restaurants and street food shops are crowded by the locals and tourists alike. Whereas Bangkok inherits a strong culinary culture, it borrows from the varied culinary skills from around the globe to create a delectable blend of ingredients. Apart from traditional Thai, the restaurants and local eateries serve South Asian, Indian, and Western food too. The typical Thai spices and condiments retain a Thai touch in every dish.
A traditional Thai meal consists of a curry dish, soup, a fried dish, salad, and desserts. The meal showcases a blend of mild and spicy dishes to create a balance and to have a neutral effect on the taste buds. According to tradition, Thai meal does not go for courses and are served at once. The Thais are spice-loving people who can take down spicy food in the breakfast as well. Lunch consists of heavy meal while dining brings families together when they share. Snacks are common in between meals.
Ingenuity and creativity has been running down since the ancient times as common traits in Thai people. The intricate detailing on the tiniest of objects reveals their inherent artistic nature. Typical Thai art can be found on natural items as wicker, woods, bamboo, coconut, rattan and palm leaves. These handicrafts can be found mainly in the outer and fringe areas of Bangkok. Some of the local markets can be found selling local handcrafted jewelleries and accessories.
Although villages and greens are rapidly giving way to urbanization, some areas of villages still remain the centres of Thai local art. The ancient relics of art and craft can be found in the art museums of Bangkok.
Modern Bangkok embraces the typically Western culture of boy band in music. However, the strong connection with ancient and traditional music has remained. The musical instruments consist of both traditional Thai and those brought from the far flung areas. Karaoke can be found at most of the bars in the city which again marks a modern influence on its culture.
Teut teung or the drum dance is most popular among the folk dance forms prevalent in Bangkok. Farmer’s dance can also be found as a modern addition to its culture. Combat swords and sticks is a commercial dance form much prevalent in the city and entire Thailand.