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Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep, is the capital and largest city of Thailand, with an official 1990 census population of 8,538,610. Bangkok is located at 13°45'N 100°31'E, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.
Bangkok is one of the fastest-growing, most economically dynamic cities in Southeast Asia. It is emerging as a regional centre to rival Singapore and Hong Kong. The World Meteorological Organization has dubbed Bangkok the world's hottest large city. It is also one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Bangkok is also known for relatively low retail prices.
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Just under 14 degrees North of the Equator, Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveller-friendly cities in Asia. A furious assault on the senses, the first things that impress many visitors are the heat, the congestion both on streets and sidewalks, the pollution inherent to rapid development, the squalor that accompanies a gaping chasm between rich and poor, and the irrepressible smiles of the Thais. Bangkok now has the fastest rate for high-rise developments in the world. (sometimes dissapoint the new comers to see the ancient architecture and a total distinct world of Asia, however, as they wander around, will find their expectations lie deeply rooted). Despite the sensationalized international news reports and first impressions, the city is surprisingly safe, more organized than it initially appears, and full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The high relative humidity and warm temperature favor the growth of tropical plants - you'll find exotic orchids and delicious fruit everywhere. Thai cuisine is singular, justifiably famous, varied, and affordable. Bangkok, for many, represents the quintessential Asian capital. Saffron-robed monks, garish neon signs, graceful Thai architecture, spicy dishes, colourful markets, traffic jams, and the tropical climate come together in a happy coincidence. It is difficult to leave with lukewarm impressions of the city.
The go-go bar is an institution of Bangkok's "naughty nightlife". In a typical go-go, several dozen dancers in bikinis (or less) crowd the stage, shuffling back and forth to loud music and trying to catch the eye of punters in the audience. Some (but not all) also put on shows where girls perform on stage, but these are generally tamer than you'd expect - nudity, for example, is technically forbidden. In a beer bar, there are no stages and the girls are wearing street clothes.
If this sounds like a thinly veiled veneer for prostitution, it is. Though some point to the large number of American GIs during the Vietnam War as the point of origin of the Thai sex trade, others have claimed that Thai lax attitudes towards sexuality have deeper roots in Thai history. Both Go-go and Beer Bars are squarely aimed at the farang and it's fairly safe to assume that all Thais in them are on the take. That said, it's perfectly OK to check out these shows without actually partaking, and there are more and more curious couples and even the occasional tour group attending. The main areas are around Patpong, Nana Entertainment Plaza and Soi Cowboy.