|Source||Confluence of Ping River and Nan River|
|• location||Pak Nam Pho, Nakhon Sawan Province|
|• elevation||25 m (82 ft)|
|Gulf of Thailand, Samut Prakan Province|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||372 km (231 mi)|
|Basin size||160,400 km2 (61,900 sq mi)|
|• location||Nakhon Sawan|
|• average||718 m3/s (25,400 cu ft/s)|
|• maximum||5,960 m3/s (210,000 cu ft/s)|
|• left||Pa Sak River|
|• right||Sakae Krang River|
The Chao Phraya ( // or // ) (Thai : แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา RTGS: Maenam Chao Phraya, pronounced [mɛ̂ːnáːm tɕâːw pʰráʔjaː] ( listen ) or [tɕâːw pʰrajaː] ) is the major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the centre of the country. It flows through Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand.
On many old European maps, the river is named the Menam or Mae Nam (Thai: แม่น้ำ), which is simply the Thai word for "river". James McCarthy, F.R.G.S., who served as Director-General of the Siamese Government Surveys prior to establishment of the Royal Survey Department, wrote in his account, "Mae Nam is a generic term, mae signifying "mother" and Nam "water," and the epithet Chao P'ia signifies that it is the chief river in the kingdom of Siam."
H. Warington Smyth, who served as Director of the Department of Mines in Siam from 1891 to 1896,refers to it in his book first published in 1898 as "the Mae Nam Chao Phraya".
In the English-language media in Thailand, the name Chao Phraya River is often translated as river of kings.
The Chao Phraya begins at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers at Nakhon Sawan (also called Pak Nam Pho) in Nakhon Sawan Province. After this it flows south for 372 kilometres (231 mi) from the central plains to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand. In Chai Nat, the river then splits into the main course and the Tha Chin River, which then flows parallel to the main river and exits in the Gulf of Thailand about 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon. In the low alluvial plain which begins below the Chainat Dam, there are many small canals ( khlong ) which split off from the main river. The khlongs are used for the irrigation of the region's rice paddies.
The rough coordinates of the river are 13 N, 100 E. This area has a wet monsoon climate, with over 1,400 millimetres (55 in) of rainfall per year. Temperatures range from 24 to 33 °C (75 to 91 °F) in Bangkok.
The lower Chao Phraya underwent several man-made modifications during the Ayutthaya period. Several shortcut canals were constructed to bypass large loops in the river, shortening the trip from the capital city to the sea. The course of the river has since changed to follow many of these canals.
Cities along the Chao Phraya include, from north to south, Nakhon Sawan Province, Uthai Thani Province, Chai Nat Province, Sing Buri Province, Ang Thong Province, Ayutthaya Province, Pathum Thani Province, Nonthaburi Province, Bangkok, and Samut Prakan Province. These cities are among the most historically significant and densely populated settlements of Thailand due to their access to the waterway.
Major bridges cross the Chao Phraya in Bangkok: the Rama VI railroad bridge; Phra Pin-klao near the Grand Palace; Rama VIII, a single tower asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge; Rama IX, a semi-symmetric cable-stayed bridge; and Mega Bridge, on the Industrial Ring Road.
In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya is a major transportation artery for a network of river buses, cross-river ferries, and water taxis ("longtails"). More than 15 boat lines operate on the rivers and canals of the city, including commuter lines.
The principal tributaries of the Chao Phraya River are the Pa Sak River, the Sakae Krang River, the Nan River (along with its principal confluent the Yom River), the Ping River (with its principal confluent, the Wang River), and the Tha Chin River.Each of these tributaries (and the Chao Phraya itself) is augmented by minor tributaries referred to as khwae. All of the tributaries, including the lesser khwae, form an extensive tree-like pattern, with branches flowing through nearly every province in central and northern Thailand. None of the tributaries of the Chao Phraya extend beyond the nation's borders. The Nan and the Yom River flow nearly parallel from Phitsanulok to Chumsaeng in the north of Nakhon Sawan Province. The Wang River enters the Ping River near Sam Ngao district in Tak Province.
When measured from the most commonly accepted source which the confluence of the Ping and Nan River in Nakhon Sawan, it measures 372 km (231 mi). However, when measured from the longest source which is the origin point of the Nan River in the Luang Prabang Range, it measures 1,112 km (691 mi).
The expanse of the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries, i.e., the Chao Phraya river system, together with the land upon which falling rain drains into these bodies of water, form the Chao Phraya watershed.
The Chao Phraya watershed is the largest watershed in Thailand, covering approximately 35 percent of the nation's land, and draining an area of 157,924 square kilometres (60,975 sq mi).
The watershed is divided into the following basins:
To the west, the central plain of Thailand is drained by the Mae Klong and the east by the Bang Pakong River. They are not part of the Chao Praya system.
The landscape of the river basins is a very wide, flat, well-watered plain continuously refreshed with soil and sediment brought down by the rivers. The lower central plain from the delta north to Ang Thong Province is a flat, low area with an average of two metres above sea level. Further north and into the plains of the Ping and the Nan the elevation is over 20 m. Then the mountains that are the natural boundary of the Chao Praya watershed form a divide, which has, to some degree, historically isolated Thailand from other Southeast Asian civilisations. In northern Thailand the divide roughly corresponds to a long section of the political border of the country today. Southern portions of the divide's boundary correspond less to the nation's political border, because isolation in this area was prevented by the ease of transportation along the lowlands surrounding the Gulf of Thailand, allowing a unified Thai civilisation to extend beyond the watershed without issue. The slightly higher northern plains have been farmed for centuries and saw a major change from the 13th century during the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries and the Ayutthaya Kingdom that succeeded it when rice growing intensified with the introduction of floating rice, a much faster-growing strain of rice from Bengal. The southern swamps meanwhile changed radically from the 18th century when King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke moved the capital of Siam to Bangkok, and a process of canalisation and cultivation began, especially as Thailand began to export rice from 1855.
The Tha Chin River is the major distributary of the Chao Phraya River. The expanse of the Chao Phraya and Tha Chin Rivers and their distributaries, starting at the point at which the distributaries diverge, together with the land amid the triangle formed by the outermost and innermost distributary, form the Chao Phraya delta. The many distributaries of the Chao Phraya delta are interconnected by canals that serve both for irrigation and for transportation.
The lowland areas of the Chao Phraya watershed in central Thailand have been designated as the Chao Phraya freshwater swamp forests, a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregion, 400 km (249 mi) north to south and 180 km (112 mi) wide.an area about
The original swamp forests have almost entirely been removed as the plain has been converted to rice paddies, other agriculture, and urban areas like Bangkok. Much of the wildlife that once inhabited these plains has disappeared, including a large number of fish in the river systems, birds such as vultures, the Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), white-eyed river martin (Pseudochelidon sirintarae), the sarus crane (Grus antigone)and animals such as tigers, Asian elephants, Javan rhinoceroses, and the much-hunted Schomburgk's deer. Today we can only guess at the original habitat and wildlife by comparing it with neighbouring countries. It is believed that the area would have consisted of freshwater swamps inland and salty mangroves on the coast and the river estuaries. The swamp would have been covered in Phragmites marsh grasses. Today there is a small area of this remaining in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, a relic of the original landscape.
As so much has been cleared or altered the potential for creating large protected areas to preserve original habitat no longer exists. However much wildlife does remain in the rice fields and steps may be taken to preserve these as urban and industrial development on the plains is ongoing and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand has very little control or planning over this. Particular threats come from the conversion of rice paddies to large-scale production of prawns by pumping in seawater, and the use of pesticides to eliminate the introduced snail, Pomacea canaliculata , which damages rice plants.
There are populations of threatened birds, including colonies of breeding water birds such as the world's largest populations of the near-threatened Asian openbill (Anastomus oscitans), and other birds such as the wintering black kite (Milvus migrans). Endemic mammals that remain are the limestone rat (Niviventer hinpoon), Neill's long-tailed giant rat (Leopoldamys neilli), and the near-endemic Thailand roundleaf bat (Hipposideros halophyllus).
The Chao Phraya basin is home to about half a dozen endemic dragonflies and damselflies. The conservation status of most of these in unclear (they are rated as data deficient by the IUCN), but Cryptophaea saukra is critically endangered and Caliphaea angka is endangered.
There are few areas of wetland protected as national parks, but these are mostly very small.
The Chao Phraya basin is home to around 280 species of fish, including about 30 endemics.By far the most diverse family is Cyprinidae with 108 species. The mainstream of the Chao Phraya River has about 190 native fish species. In general, the aquatic fauna of Chao Phraya and Mae Klong show clear similarities, and they are sometimes combined in a single ecoregion with 328 fish species. Despite their similarities, there are also differences between the aquatic fauna of Chao Phraya and Mae Klong; the latter (but not the former) is home to a few taxa otherwise only known in major Burmese rivers: the Irrawaddy, Salween, and Tenasserim. The aquatic fauna in Chao Phraya–Mae Klong also show clear similarities with that of the middle Mekong (the lower Mekong fauna more closely resembles that of the eastern Malay Peninsula). It is believed that the upper Mekong was connected to Chao Phraya (rather than present-day lower Mekong) until the Quaternary, which explains the similarities in their river faunas. This included the Nan River basin, a tributary of the Chao Phraya, which is home to a number of taxa (for example, Ambastaia nigrolineata and Sectoria ) otherwise only known from Mekong. Of the fish species known from the Chao Phraya–Mae Klong, only about 50 are absent from the Mekong.
There has been extensive habitat destruction (pollution, dams, and drainage for irrigation) in the Chao Phraya basin and overfishing also presents a problem.Within mainland Southeast Asia, the only freshwater region with similar high levels of threat is the lower Mekong. It has been estimated that only around 30 native fish species still are able to reproduce in the mainstream of the Chao Phraya River.
The catfish Platytropius siamensis is endemic to Chao Phraya and Bang Pakong, but has not been recorded since the 1970s and is considered extinct. 10 km2 (4 sq mi). The endangered dwarf loach, another species bred in large numbers for the aquarium trade, has been extirpated from most of its range in Chao Phraya. The critically endangered Siamese tigerfish has been entirely exirpated from Chao Phraya and Mae Klong, but small populations remain in the Mekong basin.Recent records of the near-endemic cyprinid Balantiocheilos ambusticauda are also lacking and it is possibly extinct. Three of the largest freshwater fish in the world are native to the river, but these are all seriously threatened: the critically endangered giant barb (wild populations have been extirpated from Chao Phraya, but remain elsewhere), critically endangered giant pangasius, and endangered giant freshwater stingray. The critically endangered red-tailed black shark, a small colourful cyprinid that is endemic to Chao Phraya, is commonly seen in the aquarium trade where it is bred in large numbers, but the only remaining wild population is at a single location that covers less than
Many other species that either are prominent in the aquarium trade or important food fish are native to the Chao Phraya basin, such as the climbing perch, blue panchax, Asian bumblebee catfish, giant snakehead, striped snakehead, walking catfish, banded loach, several Yasuhikotakia loaches, tinfoil barb, Siamese algae eater, silver barb, pearl danio, rainbow shark, Hampala barb, black sharkminnow, Leptobarbus rubripinna , long pectoral-fin minnow, bonylip barb, Jullien's golden carp, blackline rasbora, scissortail rasbora, Tor tambroides , finescale tigerfish, marble goby, Chinese algae eater, giant featherback, clown featherback, giant gourami, several Trichopodus gouramis, iridescent shark, several Pangasius , Belodontichthys truncatus, several Phalacronotus sheatfish, several Wallago catfish, largescale archerfish, smallscale archerfish, and wrestling halfbeak.
The Thai Pollution Control Department (PCD) reports that the water quality of major rivers flowing into the upper Gulf of Thailand has seriously deteriorated in the past decade. The department found the lower Chao Phraya contains bacteria and nutrient pollution from phosphates, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Nutrient pollution causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle, harming water quality, food resources for aquatic animals, and marine habitats. It also decreases the oxygen that fish need to survive. PCD rated water quality at the mouth of Chao Phraya at Bangkok's Bang Khun Thian District as "very poor", worse than in 2014. 56 PCD findings indicated large amounts of wastewater were discharged into the river from households, industry, and agriculture.:
Puntigrus partipentazona, the Dwarf Tiger Barb, is a species of cyprinid fish native to Southeast Asia where it is found in the Mekong, Mae Klong, and Chao Phraya basins of Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, and coastal streams of southeast Thailand and Cambodia where it occurs in streams and impoundments with dense weed growth. It can also be found in the aquarium trade. It is frequently misidentified as the similar Puntigrus tetrazona.
The Tha Chin river is a distributary of the Chao Phraya river, Thailand. It splits near the province of Chai Nat and then flows west from the Chao Phraya through the central plains, until it empties into the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Sakhon Province.
The Nan River is a river in Thailand. It is one of the most important tributaries of the Chao Phraya River.
Pao abei is a species of freshwater pufferfish from the Mekong, Chao Phraya the Mae Klong river basins in Southeast Asia.
Balantiocheilos is a small genus of cyprinid fish from southeast Asia. It includes two species.
Hemibagrus wyckioides, the Asian redtail catfish, is a species of catfish of the family Bagridae.
Oreoglanis siamensis, the Siamese bat catfish, is a species of sisorid catfish in the Sisoridae endemic to Thailand where it is found in the Chao Phraya and Mekong River basins. This species grows to a length of 14.0 centimetres (5.5 in) SL. It lives only in streams of 1,200 meters above sea level.
Thailand has 25 river basins with 254 sub-basins. Rainwater is one of the most important sources of water. Thailand's water resource per capita is less than that of other countries in the region.
The black sharkminnow, also known as the black shark or black labeo, is a species of freshwater fish in the carp family. It is found in the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. It can reach a length of 90 cm (3 ft) and a weight of 7 kg (15 lb). It is sometimes seen in the aquarium trade, but is generally unsuitable for home aquaria due to its large adult size and territorial, aggressive behavior.
Hypsibarbus vernayi is a species of cyprinid fish in the genus Hypsibarbus. The specific name references Arthur S. Vernay, an English adventurer who collected the type specimen.
Parasikukia maculata is a species of cyprinid fish which is found in the Mekong in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia as well as the Mae Klong, Chao Phraya and south eastern river systems in Thailand and the westward drainages of the Cardamom Hills in Cambodia. It is the only member of its genus.
The burnt-tailed barb, also known as Siamese bala-shark, is a possibly extinct freshwater fish species from the family Cyprinidae. It is or was endemic to the Mae Klong and Chao Phraya River basins in Thailand.
Discherodontus schroederi is a freshwater fish native to the Chao Phraya and Mae Klong basins in Thailand and to the Mekong basin in Laos. It inhabits submontane and hill streams and has also been found in the mainstream Mekong. Young individuals might occur in shaded, nearly stagnant side pools.
Mystacoleucus obtusirostris is a species of ray-finned fish, found in freshwater habitats in Southeast Asia, notably in Thailand in the Mekong River, Chao Phraya River, and Mae Klong River. It is exploited in subsistence fishing.
Osteochilus microcephalus is a cyprinid freshwater fish from Southeast Asia.
Paralaubuca riveroi is a species of cyprinid fish from Southeast Asia.
Paralaubuca typus is a species of freshwater ray-finned fish from the carp and minnow family Cyprinidae from south-east Asia. It is found in Thailand in the basins of the Chao Phraya, Tapi, Mekong and Mae Klong and in the Mekong on Laos and Cambodia, as well as Vietnam where it is also found in the La Ngà River. It is one of the most abundant fish species in the lower Mekong.
Parambassis siamensis is a species of freshwater fish in the Asiatic glassfish family Ambassidae. It is native to the mainland Southeast Asia in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos; records from Singapore and Java (Indonesia) probably are introductions. Its range includes the Mekong, Mae Klong, and Chao Phraya basins. It grows to 7.5 cm (3.0 in) standard length, although typical length is about 4 cm (1.6 in).
Macrognathus semiocellatus is a species of ray-finned fish endemic to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam; it found in marshlands and vegetated water bodies in Mekong Chao Phraya River and Mae Klong. It spends its time during the day buried in silt, sand or fine gravel and forages at night for benthic insect larvae, crustaceans and worms.
The Mae Nam Chao P'ia is a magnificent river.[ dead link ]
At the time of writing the "Introduction" to the 1994 reprint of Five Years in Siam, she was a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Cornell University.
"The River of Kings II – City of Angels", a light and sound musical
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