Metropolitan Bangkok covers 1569 square kilometres (612 square miles) of southern Thailand, sitting smack in the middle of the most fertile rice-producing delta in the world. A network of natural and artificial canals crisscross the city, feeding to and from Thailand's hydrological lifeline - the broad Chao Phraya River - which snakes through the city providing transport for passengers and cargo.
Bangkok is divided in two by the main north-south train line. Old Bangkok, where a large proportion of the city's temples and palaces and its Chinese and Indian districts are found, lies between the river and the railway. East of the railway, comprising the main business, tourist and sprawling residential districts, is 'new' Bangkok. Of course, outside of these general classifications, Bangkok sprawls in all directions with a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential areas.