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The name Bangkok, used commonly by foreigners, is, according to one interpretation, derived from a name that dates to the time before the city was built—the village or district (). The climate of Bangkok is hot throughout the year, ranging from 77 °F (25 °C) in the “cold” season in December to 86 °F (30 °C) at the height of the hot season in April.

The Thai call their capital Krung Thep, which is the first part of its mellifluous and lengthy official name meaning “the City of Gods, 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 Enormous Royal Palaces Which Resemble the Heavenly Abode Wherein Dwell the Reincarnated Gods, a City Given by Indra and Built by Vishnukarm.” The abbreviated name Krung Thep is often translated as “City of Angels.” Area Bangkok Metropolis, 604 square miles (1,565 square km). The mean annual rainfall totals 60 inches (1,500 mm), four-fifths of which falls in brief torrential downpours during the late afternoons of the rainy season, which lasts from mid-May through September; the dry season lasts from December to February.

Some districts have evolved into functional units as the inner city has become more institutional and commercial and the outer city more residential and industrial.

Throughout the city, walled Buddhist temples and monasteries called wats, often sumptuously ornamented, serve as focal points for religious, cultural, and even commercial life.

Most of these are overcrowded because there are far too few of them to house the expanding population.

Business was at first carried on in one-story wood and thatch houses.

By the early 1900s a number of streets had been lined with two-story masonry shop-houses.

These developments have spread out haphazardly on the periphery of the city.

Luxury housing, mostly for the wealthy foreign community, usually takes the form of large, modern, two-story masonry structures set in private compounds and equipped with separate servants’ quarters and kitchens.

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