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Other Western powers followed the British example. During the ‘Paknam incident’ of 1893 Siam responded with military action after the French annexed its territory on the east bank of the Mekong. France sent two gunboats into the Chao Phraya River, demanding concession. The incident resulted in a French-Siamese treaty, which created a clear boundary between Siam and French Indochina along the Mekong River. Mongkut’s son, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) was to take much greater steps in replacing the old political order with the model of the nation-state.

Thai people were required to use surnames. The Thai government feared that the Chinese in Siam would become involved with the politics of China, and was concerned about the spread of republican and revolutionary ideas, so it passed the 1913 Nationality Act allowing descendants of Chinese immigrants to become Thai citizens. The People’s Party originated from a group of Thai students (including Phibul and Pridi) in Paris in the 1920s who shared a vision of a future democratic Thailand based on Western models.

This amount covers basic food, guesthouse accommodation and local transport but excludes all-night beer binges, tours, long-distance transport or vehicle hire. Travellers with more money to spend will find that for around 1500B or more per day life can be quite comfortable. Bangkok is a good place to splurge on a hotel for recovery from a long flight or to celebrate returning to ‘civilisation’. In the provinces, guesthouses tend to be the best value even for bigger budgets. Market meals are cheaper and tastier than guesthouse fare but you’ll need a little local language and an adventurous stomach.

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A Handbook of Asia Minor: Volume IV.2 Cilicia, Antitaurus, and North Syria by Great Britain Admiralty


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