Feb. 22, 2022

Would a Bangkok by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet? [S5.E49]

Would a Bangkok by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet? [S5.E49]

Greg and Ed discuss the significance of the recent decision by the Thai parliament to accept a change to the official English name of Bangkok that was proposed by the Royal Society of Thailand. Initially, it was announced as a major change from...


Greg and Ed discuss the significance of the recent decision by the Thai parliament to accept a change to the official English name of Bangkok that was proposed by the Royal Society of Thailand. Initially, it was announced as a major change from ‘Bangkok’ to ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakhon,’ (that’s กรุงเทพมหานคร for you Thai readers), but Greg clarifies that the change really was just a matter of punctuation.

Nevertheless, the announcement kicked off a huge debate on social media over what Thailand’s capital should really be called, as it’s an issue fraught with a surprising amount of subtext, as this great thread from Khun Phacha will show.

Ed notes initially that the word ‘Bangkok’ is not a word made up by Westerners, but an old word for a district of the old capital of Thonburi. Greg points out that Bangkok has been used for centuries and is extremely well known around the world so it’s a bit strange for the change to be made now.

The guys also discuss proper pronunciation of places, as most countries have the ‘international name’ (ie, Germany, Thailand and Sweden) and the ‘local name’ (as in Deutschland, Meuang Thai, and Sverige). Read more about this interesting concept with the name of Laos in this great post by Tim.

In the end, the guys prefer to keep the podcast ‘The Bangkok Podcast’ instead of going through the trouble of renaming it ‘The Krung Thep Maha Nakorn Podcast.’ Lazy as always!

Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

Become a Patron!