Today, the city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (กรุงเทพมหานคร) or simply as Krung Thep (กรุงเทพฯ).
Its full ceremonial name, which came into use during the reign of King Mongkut, reads as follows: Thai school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning as many of the words are archaic, and known to few.
Five rapid transit lines are now in operation, with more systems under construction or planned by the national government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
It is an international hub for transport and health care, and has emerged as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment.
The city is well known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its notorious red-light districts.
It was subject to Japanese occupation and Allied bombing during World War II, but rapidly grew in the post-war period as a result of United States developmental aid and government-sponsored investment.
Bangkok's role as an American military R&R destination boosted its tourism industry as well as firmly establishing it as a sex tourism destination.
Rapid growth of the city continued through the 1980s and early 1990s, until it was stalled by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.