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The Chao Phraya is a major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial river plain marking the mainland of the country. It runs through Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. According to many European old maps, the river is named as Menam  or Mae Nam, the Thai word for river ( Me or Mae is Mother, Nam is Water ). The name Chao Phraya is a Thai feudal title, which can be translated as Grand Duke. In the English language media in Thailand the name is often translated as River of Kings.


Current research found that the term Chao Phraya did not appear in any historical sources until later in the Rattanakosin era. This supports the argument that the river was originally known to the locals as Menam as recorded in Thai and European sources before 19th Century.


The Chao Phraya begins at the confluence  of the Ping and Nan river at Nakhon Sawan ( also called Pak Nam Pho ) in the Nakhon Sawan province. It then flows from north to south for 372 kilometres ( 231 miles ) from the central plains to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand. In Chainat, the river splits into the main river course and the Tha Chin river, which then flows parallel to the main river and exits to the Gulf of Thailand about 35 kilometres ( 22 miles ) west of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon. In the low alluvial plain which begins below the Chainat dam, many small canals ( khlong ) split off from the main river. The khlong’s are used for the irrigation of the region's rice paddies.


The rough co-ordinates of the river are 13 N, 100 E. This area has a wet monsoon climate, with over 1,400 mm rainfall per year and temperatures ranging from 33°C to 24°C in Bangkok. Cities along the Chao Phraya include Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Singburi, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Bangkok and Samut Prakan, listed from north to south. These cities are among the most historically significant and densely populated settlements of Thailand precisely because of their access to the waterway, with Bangkok alone having a population of over 9 million.

Chao Phraya River Page 2, bridges over the river
Chao Phraya River, Page 1

River Stops for the Ferry’s on the Chao Phraya River, Thailand

Chao Phraya River, Page 1

Tha Chang pier stop, Chao Phraya River