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Story behind the "New" name of Bangkok to be called Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
SOCIO-CULTURE Thailand

Story behind the "New" name of Bangkok to be called Krung Thep Maha Nakhon

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, will now be known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, according to the Office of the Royal Society (ORST). The name Bangkok, on the other hand, is still well-known.

The cabinet accepted a Prime Minister's Office draft notification on changed names of nations, territories, administrative zones, and capitals, as proposed by the ORST, on Tuesday (February 15th, 2022).

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon will become the official name of the Kingdom of Thailand's capital, according to the ORST. However, the name Bangkok will be changed from "Krung Thep Maha Nakhon; Bangkok" to "Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok)".

However, English speakers and those who use the Roman alphabet will not have to start referring to Bangkok as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon and abandon the more familiar "Bangkok."

That's the word from Thailand's Royal Society, which is in charge of academic and linguistic standards after a seemingly minor adjustment in punctuation in official instructions fueled rumors that the city's name was being changed.

On signs, banners, and announcements at bus stations and airports, Bangkok is still used as the city's official name. "At Suvarnabhumi Airport and other airports, we still use Bangkok and the 'BKK' abbreviation onboarding permits and other signs," Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, told Nikkei.

"We will continue to promote Thai tourism activities and promotions under the name Bangkok, as usual," said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of Thailand's Tourism Authority.

Bangkok has been in use since November 2001, according to a notification from the Royal Society's Office. It originated in an older part of Bangkok, the Bangkok Noi, and Bangkok Yai districts, which are now part of the capital's broader metropolitan region. It has been in general use for a long period in history.

For generations, outsiders and even Thais have been familiar with the moniker Bangkok. It translates to "land with numerous hog plum trees," and it has become known as the "Land of Smiles" and for its renowned cuisine among tourists. Holidu.co.uk, a British lodgings website, named the city "Best City for Workation" in 2021 last year.

On the other hand, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon has been recognized by Thais for decades as an official name of the Thai capital. 

It is only the first part of the city's much longer full name: Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit, which is said to be the world's longest place name and is occasionally used in rituals at the Grand Palace.

According to Guinness World Records, that is the world's longest place name.

Many foreigners agreed, claiming that "Krung Thep Maha Nakhon" is too long and difficult to spell and pronounce, causing misunderstanding.

Even if the Royal Society had intended to change the name to that of Thais, there was another possibility that would have been even more difficult for other tongues.

Bangkok's Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, is a condensed version of the capital's full name, which is rooted in Pali and Sanskrit and is more of a phrase than a name. 

Source: Asia Nikkei, Washington Post, Bangkok Post

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