Thailand 100 years ago: rivers and roads in Siam


Siam has six principal rivers, the Bangpakong, Chow Payah, Tacheen, Ma Klong, Petchaburee, and Chantaboon, besides many smaller streams, and almost innumerable canals, forming extensive water-ways, which are the chief thoroughfares throughout the kingdom.

The bulk of all travel is performed by boat, as well as the transportation of goods or produce from one province to another. There
are no railways and no established stage-coaches from one city to another.

Within the last year or two hacks have been running in the capital, over the new roads which are being constantly extended and improved under the present energetic young ruler. It was during his royal father’s reign in
1864, that the first road, worthy the name, was opened for travel in Bangkok.

As one leaves the capital, the roads become mere elephant trails, or bridle and foot-paths through the jungle. Around provincial towns, of course, there are a few roadways worn into ruts and gullies by the two-wheeled rice-carts which bear the harvests from the fields to the granaries. But for long, pleasant roads, stretching for miles and miles over hill and dale, the traveller sighs in vain.

Text: Mary Lovina Cort
Siam: or, The heart of farther India.
New York, A.D.F. Randolph & Co
Publication date 1886
Photo: old photo from internet


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