Astoria Megler Bridge

Bangkok / Laem Chabang

Author Anne Plau

Laem Chabang is the most important overseas port in the Kingdom of Thailand. The place is 25 kilometers north of Pattaya and 120 kilometers south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. It is not very attractive to tourists. For travelers whose cruise ships dock there, Laem Chabang is the gateway to the Thai metropolis of Bangkok.

The great palace

Bangkok is the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand. More than 5,5 million residents live in the urban area on an area of ​​1.500 square kilometers (2019 estimate). The city was founded in 1782 by the first king (Rama I) of the still ruling Chakri dynasty. Bangkok not only has all the facets of a world class city, but also a unique cultural heritage. The old Thai name of Bangkok is the longest name of a capital city in the world with 169 Latin letters.

Location and importance of Bangkok

Bangkok is located on the Chao Phraya River north of the Gulf of Thailand. The Chao Phraya is about 400 meters wide and is the lifeline of the metropolis.

Chao Phraya with the Wat Arun temple

Bangkok is by far the largest city and the absolute center of Thailand: spiritually, culturally, politically and economically. Bangkok is the country's most important transport hub and the location of important universities, colleges and museums. More than 400 Wats - Buddhist temples and monasteries - are located in the area of ​​the city.

The Kingdom of Thailand

Around 68 million people live in Thailand on an area of ​​over 513.000 km² (2019 estimate). Rama X has been King of Thailand since December 2016. He is the son of the late King Bhumibol, who ruled Thailand for more than 70 years. In Thailand, the king is both head of state and supreme guardian of religion. Buddhism is the state religion. The Thai royal family enjoys special respect. Derogatory or critical comments can be punished as lese majeste with long prison sentences. A proposed reform process was rejected by the Constitutional Court in January 2024.

Guards in the great palace

Bangkok as a travel destination

Bangkok is a popular travel destination. With around 17 million visitors annually, Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world. The national language is Thai. The local currency is the baht. You can exchange money in banks, exchange offices or hotels. US dollars are widely accepted. You should have cash on hand in Bath for entrance fees or ferry rides.

The climate in Bangkok is tropical. The rainy season begins in May and ends in October, and heavy flooding is not uncommon.

Bangkok is seeing increasing crime. Tourists are often victims of theft and fraud through counterfeit products or excessive prices for services. There is a tourist police that handles disputes between tourists and Thais and speaks English.

Crowds in Bangkok

Bangkok was most recently the scene of political unrest in late 2013 and early 2014. The conflict ended in May 2014 with a military coup.

Bangkok and the road traffic

Road traffic is a big problem in Bangkok. The road network is completely overloaded. There are only a few means of mass transport, but one of the largest bus networks in the world. The numerous cars cause blatant air pollution.

A convenient and efficient means of transportation in Bangkok are the boats on the Chao Phraya. Some of them serve as river ferries, others stop at many piers on both sides of the river.

Tuk-tuk in Chinatown

Taxis and tuk-tuks are everywhere in town. The price should be negotiated with the driver beforehand. Tuk-tuks are not cheaper than taxis, but tourists in particular enjoy the trip.

Bangkok for cruise passengers

Only a few smaller cruise ships go up the Chao Phraya to Bangkok and dock at Klong Toey Port. From there it is not far to the famous sights of the city.

All other cruise ships dock in Laem Chabang, the most important industrial port in the country. Laem Chabang is located 25 kilometers north of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok is 120 kilometers away and can be reached in two hours' drive if traffic conditions are good. 

In the industrial port of Laem Chabang

There is no cruise center or handling terminal, nor is there a shuttle to the port exit about three kilometers away. A few taxis and the inevitable stalls are available. You are only allowed to walk near the ship. Passengers who want to see Bangkok or Pattaya on their own need a taxi. We report on Thailand's attractive capital at Bangkok attractions.

Update March 2024