Tag Archives: The Teak Industry in Thailand

Rafts of logs in a river East Asiatic Company
Rafts of teak logs on the Chao Phraya River. Courtesy of Mrs.Suwaphon Chuto

The Teak Industry in Thailand

The teak industry was an important economic activity in Thailand roughly between the mid-1880s and the late 1950s. Foreign companies obtained concessions to extricate teak from the forests of northern Thailand. The biggest overseas companies that were involved were the  Borneo Company and the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation.

Besides these, there were the smaller Anglo-Siam and the Louis T.Leonowens companies. All these companies were British. Apart from the British companies, the Danish East Asiatic Company was a major player as well as the French Est-Asiatique.

Most of the teak logs found their way to the sawmills in Bangkok via waterways. Elephants dumped the logs in the Ping, Wang, Nan, and Yom rivers after which the logs floated down to Nakhon Sawan (formerly named Paknampo). Here staff of the above-mentioned companies oversaw the creation of giant rafts, made up of logs, that people steered on the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok.

Tours about the Teak industry in Thailand

In various locations such as Chiang Mai, Lampang, and Phrae there are historical sites related to the teak industry in Thailand. These are, for example, historical houses, small museums but also temples, funded by Burmese migrants who worked for these companies. In short, there is a legacy as well as interesting stories about the lives of these early ex-pats in Thailand.

We offer several tours about this legacy and the stories of this interesting period. Besides that, we have guided relatives of the people who worked for the teak companies to the places, related to the industry. Join us on a trip about the teak industry in Thailand.


Luang Yonakarn aka Luang Yo

Old temple Luang Yonakarn

Table of Contents The Luang Yo House on the compound of the Diamond Hotel in 2020 Luang Yonakarn Phichit, a Burmese merchant in Chiang Mai Luang Yonakarn Phichit (1845-1927) was a Burmese merchant and nobleman from Moulmein. His original name was Mong Panyo or U Panyo.In the early 20th century he was one of the […]

Wat Ket Karaam and the Wat Ket Museum

Buddhist temple Wat Ket Karaam

Wat Ket Karaam: introduction Wat Ket Karaam (วัดเกตการาม) is a temple on the east side of the Ping River in the Wat Ket neighborhood. The temple is also known as Wat Sa Ket. The name of the temple is often spelled as Wat Gate Karaam or Wat Ket Karam. According to information at the temple, […]

The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation

Wooden bridge with logs Chiang Mai Timeline

Players after a polo match at the BBTC compound in Phrae. Source: https://humazur.univ-cotedazur.fr Table of Contents Founding of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation The founding story of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd or Company (BBTC abbreviated) is quite complicated. Involved were the six Wallace Brothers, who in different combinations traded in tea, cotton, coffee, […]

The East Asiatic Company in Siam

Old office building

The East Asiatic Company in Siam Table of Contents A young Danish entrepreneur in Siam Hans Niels Andersen, the founder of East Asiatic Company (EAC), was born in the village Nakskow, Denmark, in 1852. He was into shipping at a young age. Trained as a shipbuilder, they hired him as a carpenter on a ship. […]

The Buddhist Temples of Phrae

Staircase to temple Burmese heritage lampang shan people

The Buddhist Temples of Phrae Table of Contents Introduction to the Buddhist Temples of Phrae I have divided the Buddhist Temples of Phrae in two sections: temples within the old city wall and temples outside. There is so much to enjoy for visitors. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or a religion freak to […]

Lampang: the Louis Leonowens House

Horse cart in front of old house East Asiatic Company

Lampang: the Louis Leonowens House Table of Contents The Louis Leonowens House in Lampang The Louis Leonowens House is the former residence of Louis T. Leonowens and the office of the Louis T.Leonowens company. “Baan Louis”, as it is known locally, is in the “forestry neighborhood’ of Lampang. The location is not far from the […]

Lampang: Wat Mon Puyak

Buddhist temple

Lampang: Wat Mon Puyak Table of Contents Wat Mon Puyak: introduction Wat Mon Puyak (วัดม่อนปู่ยักษ์) is another Burmese/Shan-style temple, located not far from Wat Mon Chamsin. Shan people founded this temple in 1899. Almost one hundred years later the Fine Arts Department registered this temple (1998), an acknowledgment that the temple is an “ancient monument”. […]

Wat Sri Rong Muang, the Pa’O Temple

Bicycle in front of a temple

Wat Sri Rong Muang, the Pa’O temple Table of Contents Wat Sri Rong Muang: introduction The Wat Sri Rong Muang is a Shan-style temple in Lampang. The design of the roofs is very much like that of Wat Nantaram, the Shan-style temple in Chiang Kham. Wat Nantaram is actually a Pa-O temple. Kyaung daga Inta […]

The Monk’s Trail to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Buddhist temple tower

Table of Contents The Monk’s Trail to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep An old Pilgrimage Route The Monk’s Trail is a hiking trail on Doi Suthep, the mountain overlooking Chiang Mai, that ends at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple. In recent years it has become a very popular trail for […]

Wat Phra Singh, the home of Phra Buddha Sihing

Gilded chedi and temple Wat Phra Singh

Table of Contents Wat Phra Singh, the home of Phra Buddha Sihing Wat Phra Singh is in the western part of the old city center of Chiang Mai. The full name is Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan(วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร). The temple is on of the highlights in the core zone of the Chiang Mai UNESCO World Heritage project. […]