The Chao Phraya River
Major tourist attraction of the Chao Phraya River
Major cradles of world civilization are often found around river basins. Since ancient time Thai people have built their homes along the banks of rivers. The significance of these waterways is great as they have provided the livelihood of the people, have been a ready source of communication in ancient times, and have led to the birth of civilization. Two of the more important river basins in Thai history are those of the Chao Phraya and Ping Rivers.
In the central region of Thailand, the Chao Phraya River is regarded as the bloodline of the Thai people. It has its origins in four rivers flowing from the northern region of the country. The four tributaries, namely the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan, meet at Pak Nam Pho in the Muang District of Nakhon Sawan Province. The Chao Phraya River is 370 kilometers long.

The Nan River, one of four tributaries of the Chao Phraya River, at Phitsanulok

Much of Thai history can be traced along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Today. the Chao Phraya River remains the most important waterway for the people of central Thailand.
Nevertheless, the long route from the Ping watershed in Chiang Mai to the Chao Phraya River and on through Samut Prakan Province to the Gulf of Thailand remains vital to Thai life. It passes through 1,085 kilometers of Thai rural and urban countryside. It carries with it the history and culture of our country.

Small pagoda at northeast of "Koh Kred" island, Nonthaburi
where the Chao Phraya River separated in two waterways
Major tourist attraction of the Chao Phraya River
  • Ang Thong
  • Wat Chaiyo Worawihan
  • Ayutthya
  • Ayutthaya Historic City
  • Ayutthaya World Heritage Site Celebrations
  • Bang Pa-In Palace
  • Bangsai Arts and Crafts Training Centre
  • Major tourist attraction of Ayutthaya
  • Chiang Mai
  • Nonthaburi
  • Ancient Mon style Pottery Centre
  • Boat rides around the "Koh Kred" island
  • The villagers produce Mon style pottery
  • The Mon house
  • A variety of earthenware at "Koh Kred"
  • Wat Poramai Yikawat
  • Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat
  • Wat Soeng Wai
  • Wat Khema Phirataram
  • Map of Temple at Nonthaburi

  • Bangkok
  • The Grand Palace
    Major tourist attraction of Rattanakosin
  • Phra Raja Wang Derm
  • Wat Arun
  • Wat Chetuphon or Wat Pho
  • Wat Mahathat Yuwarat Rangsarit
  • Wat Phra Kaeo
  • Wat Rakhangkhositaram
  • Wat Chakrawat Rachawat
  • Wat Yanava
  • The Royal Barge Procession
  • Pathum Thani

  • Phitsanulok
  • Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Pra Samut Chedi
  • Phra Chulachomklao Fortress
  • Mon Phra Pradaeng

  • Sing Buri

  • Veiw from Tha Chang landing and Wat Arun is located on middle

    Bevy of Gulls in the Chao Phraya River between Amphoe muang Samut Prakan and Pra Samut Chedi

    Verdant and abundantly stocked with fish and birds, the incredibly fertile Chao Phraya River basin attracted several successive waves of immigrants.
    The Chao Phraya River basin covers most of modern central and northern Thailand and is bordered to the west by rugged Burmese mountains, to the north by lofty mountains separating southern China from the Southeast Asian mainland, and to the east by the high, sprawling plateau settled by the Ban Chiang people.
    Easily accessible only from the southern Gulf-of-Thailand coast and the southeast (present-day Kampuchea), the Chao Phraya river basin was well protected from excessive outside influence and sudden, massive incursions of new settlers.
    A natural, self-contained geopolitical unit, this river basin was destined to play a central role in Thailand's development, becoming historically and agriculturally as important to the Thais as the Nile is to the Egyptians. Later, it would become the Thai hertland and contain future Thai capitals and for centuries remain the major means of transport and communications. Eventually, it would be transformed into and intricately terraced, irrigated rice bowl figuring among the most fertile areas on earth.
    The influx of immigrants into the area took hundreds of year. They came in successive waves, each moving slowly along paradisical river valleys content to settle rather than move on. Those following moved past them to hew out homes and fields from virgin forest. Traveling in compact groups, under separate chieftains, escaping famine, despotism or misfortune, all sought a degree of autonomy and shared a comman desire for a better, independent life.

    Map of the Southern Chao Phraya River
    Chao Phraya Express Boat Route

    Click to view in larger map

    Story & Photos : Suchat Tongdee and SunThai Homepage Team-work

    : Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourist Service Center
    : Rivers of Thai Life and Culture, Naris Charoenpakdi,
    KINNAREE Magazine, Thai Airways International, November 1998, P.72-74.
    : Thailand in the 80s, Published by the National Identity Office, Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand, P. 11-13.
    : Hotel & Resorts in Bangkok
    : Hotels and Resorts in Thailand