Siam (Thailand) Communications and Trade

By | December 17, 2021

Since the end of the 19th century, the construction of modern communication routes has had a great boost, and now Siam has 3134 km. of railways (1934) and about 2100 km. of state and provincial roads, the longest of which, and one of the most important, is the one that leads from Nagor Lampang to Chiengsen, near the border with Burma and French Indochina. Other important roads are the following: Korat-Chol Bot, Korat-Sakol Nagor, Udorndhani-Chieng Kan. It should be noted that most of the main roads were built in northern and eastern Siam, where the hydrographic network is less dense and less suitable for navigation. Siam has only 8079 vehicles, of which 4815 in the capital. The inland waterways are of primary importance, and 836 motor boats circulate on them (1932-1933),

The first railway, Bangkok-Paknam, is 26 km long. and built by private individuals, it was opened to traffic in 1893; the first state railway was the Bangkok-Korat (262 km.), begun in 1897 and completed in 1900. Subsequently, the Ban Phaji-Chiengmai (661 km.), Bangkok-Aranya Pradhesa (border with Cambodia: 255) lines were built km.), Bangkok-Padang Besar (on the border with British Malacca: 966 km.), Korat-Ubol Rajadhani (314 km.), Korat-Khonkaen (186 km.) and other minor branches of the main railways. The Khonkaen-Nong Kai trunk is under construction (153 km.). There is a total of 0.57 km. of railway every sq. km. and 2.56 km. every 10,000 residents. Most of the network is single track and the gauge is one meter; the locomotives are either steam (wood) or diesel, some with electric traction. Bangkok is by far the largest railway center in the country, of which it is also the only important port, accessible to maritime vessels that fish no more than m. 3.60-4.30 (depending on the season), as a bar obstructs the mouth of the Menam, so that the major canals are forced to anchor near the island of Koh Si Chang, 40 km away. from the mouth of the river. 900-1000 ships call at the port of Bangkok annually, for a total tonnage of 1-1.3 million tons; in the five-year period 1928-29 / 1932-33 7-8% of this tonnage was given by Siamese ships, while the rest was due to British (27-33%), Norwegian (27-35%), Danish (8-14%) ships %) and Japanese (6-8%). Among the seaports are also worth mentioning Songkla, Patani and Bhuket, which have a considerable traffic with Penang, Singapore and the Malaysian states; and Chandaburi, which trades almost exclusively with French Indochina. There Siam Steam Navigation Co. maintains regular services in the Gulf of Siam; the country’s communications with foreign countries are ensured by regular lines of another flag (Danish, Japanese, Dutch, English).¬†For Thailand 2012, please check

The Air Transport Company has been running the twice-weekly postal and passenger service between Nagor Rajasima (Korat), via Roi Et, Khonkaen and Udorn since 24 August 1931, and is the only one in Siam. Only its manager is European, the rest of the staff are Siamese; the pilots and mechanics come from the Siamese Air Force. The company is paid on the basis of each kg / km. of mail transported; the Siamese government is one of the largest shareholders. The Civil Aviation Department reports to the Ministry of Economy.

Civil Airports: Nagor Rajasima, Roi Et, Khonkaen, Udorn, Nagor Panom, Hua Hin; others are under construction in Bisnulok (Pitsanulok) and Bandon. A few makeshift fields are set up along the overhead lines; in Lasli (Bangkok) and Nagor Panom short and long wave RT stations are being built. All stations are equipped with radio direction finders. 17 weather stations are also under construction; stratospheric observations are made at Bisnulok, Don Muang, Bandon and Nagor Panom. Weather reports are communicated to aircraft in flight by radio; on the ground are exhibited in airports.

The only customs airport is that of Bangkok, located in Don Muang about 20 km. north of the city; it has houses for staff and passengers, hangars for aircraft and repair shops; it is in communication with Bangkok by rail and by an additional service of the Motor Train. About 20 km. south of Bangkok there is a seaplane base.

Siam is about to become an important center of international civil aviation, because Air Orient aircraft coming from Europe to the Far East and vice versa stop in Bangkok.

Since 1885, Siam has been part of the Universal Postal Union; in 1933-34 it owned 761 post offices, 649 telegraph offices (9387 kilometers of lines) and 10 radiotelegraph stations.

TRADE abroad. – The trade balance is favorable, the value of exports largely exceeding that of imports, as shown in the following table (millions of baht):

The gradual contraction is due to the global economic crisis. The main export items in 1933-34 were (million baht): rice, 83.0; tin, 25.5; silver and coins, 14.3; wood 4.3; rubber 2,4; salted fish 1.8; pigs 1,2; lacquer 1. Imports are given by cottons and other textile products (17.7 million), oil and gasoline (11.0), metal products (7.3), sugar (4.6), bags (4.6), electrical appliances and various machines (4.4), tobacco (4.3), condensed milk (2.3), etc. Most of the Siamese exports and imports pass through the British ports of Singapore, Penang and Hongkong, re-exporting centers: it is therefore difficult to be able to say exactly the destination of the Siamese products and the origin of the imported goods. Among the major customers and suppliers of Siam are China, Japan, the Dutch Indies, British Malacca, the Indian Empire, Ceylon, Great Britain, Germany and France. Also noteworthy is the trade with Italy, which sells to Siam (cotton and wool fabrics, cars, tires, tomato paste, glassware, electrical equipment) much more than what it buys there (teak wood and leathers).

In 1929-30, for example, Italy sold for 2.7 million baht, and bought for half a million baht; in 1933-34 these figures were 380,000 and 250,000 baht respectively.

Siam (Thailand) Trade