Cruise ships dock in Laemchabang, which is 2 hours away (by car) from Bangkok, Thailand's capital and a magical place often called The City of Angels. The city skyline is very modern, reflecting the Western influence, but its most distinctive features are the approximately 400 Buddhist temples, known as Wats. They range from very colourful, opulent structures to very basic monasteries. Sights include the Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, Damnernsaduak Floating Market, Thai Art at the Parsart Museum, Temple of Angkor Wat and Wat Po, one of the Bangkok's oldest temples which houses a 150-foot-long gold-plated reclining Buddha.
Bangkok was built four centuries ago along the Chao Phya River and was established as the capital in 1782, when Thailand's royal dynasty was created. King Rama I, the first leader of Thailand, built a canal across the Chao Phya River to surround Bangkok with water to defend against invaders. The first road was built in 1863, winding its way through the centre of the city and along the waterfront, opening up trade and commerce. In 1932 a revolt against the Absolute Monarchy of Thailand resulted in a new constitution, with a government headed by a prime minister and the rebuilding of a new monarchy. Today the royal family of Thailand remains greatly honoured by the people.
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