Bangkok is fast becoming one of the largest cities in the world, and is already a political and economic hub in Southeast Asia.
In 2009, Bangkok took the title of Southeast Asia’s second most expensive city to live in after Singapore, and it keeps on growing, both economically and physically.
With more than 1,000 skyscrapers, Bangkok is now on average the world's 18th tallest city, placing it in league with Beijing and Tokyo.
Its westerly location and excellent international transport links make Bangkok a “gateway to the Orient” as tourists, trade and business begin their journey here.
Feeding from this influx of people, goods and money, the city is growing at a seemingly unstoppable rate; the high-rise concrete and glass now unrecognisable from Bangkok’s humble roots.
The first settlement on the banks of the Chao Phraya River was a small trading centre and port community established in the 1300s.
Four hundred years later, it was made the capital of Siam and given its ceremonial name, shortened to Krung Thep Maha Nakhon,
which means "city of angels". Today, Bangkok sprawls 1,500km² across Thailand, spanning six provinces.
Most of the city’s growth began in the mid-20th century, as the economy of Southeast Asia was boosted by investment from America and the west.
Between 1986 and 1991, Thailand had the fastest growing economy in the world, as GDP increased by 9.2% each year.
Since then, growth has slowed slightly, but Bangkok is still continuing to expand at a rapid pace.
The tourism industry has helped maintain steady growth in Bangkok, now bringing in an estimated 10 million people to the city annually.
Bangkok is also the economic centre of Thailand, with several multinational corporations basing their regional headquarters in the city, and more moving in each year.
With its explosive growth, city authorities are encouraging the building of new developments outside of the city boundaries, in a move they hope will “decentralise” and decongest the densely packed inner city.