One of my favorite tidbits from the Lonely Planet:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
That’s Bangkok’s official name. The rough translation is:
The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city 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
In Thai, it’s truncated to Krung Thep (City of Angels). So, how the *(#$@ did the western world get “Bangkok”?
Turns out the royal capital was originally founded on a little village (that still exists) named Bang Makok. After the capital moved to the town across the river in 1782, foreign traders couldn’t be bothered with a name change.