People around the world know Thailand’s capital as Bangkok, that’s right. But the fact that Thai people do not call it Bangkok anymore leaves many tourists curious and it also boasts the world’s longest capital name, making it even more interesting!
This most populated city of Thailand with an estimated population of 8.28 million people is known in Thai as ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakorn’ or in short ‘Krung Thep’ meaning in Thai ‘City of Angels’. Well, that’s just a very short version of it actually. For a long time already, the whole world has been wowed by this ceremonial full name shown below:
กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์
Written in Roman letters, this long fancy name was recorded as the longest place name in the world in the Guinness World records. So, here we go with the pronunciation:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
Yes! It is this long and it is so long that even the Thais need some help to recite it all and so a song called ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakorn’ was composed in 1989 making it much easier ever since because it is pretty much how the youth in Thailand, including me, remembers the whole thing 🙂
Click here for the music video of the song ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakorn’ by Asanee&Wasan.
I personally like it, despite of the fact that it’s obviously too long and hard to understand and interpret, but it’s very unique. It’s sort of poetry in a way which is so beautiful and elaborate. In another aspect, it does represent the Thai beautiful archaic language and wonderful culture and belief as you will see in the sentence below:
The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.
The whole name is composed of Pali and Sanskrit root words, so don’t be surprised if you ask Thai people about the meaning of it and they can’t answer. Many of the Thais will be easily able to say the entire name out loud without knowing its meaning. So, next time if you meet someone from Thailand and yearn for hearing the entire name in Thai, ask them to do so, it’s some kind of challenge!