|KHLONG NAM YA 2 (คลองน้ำยา)
|Text & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - March 2014
Updated October 2019
|In the Ayuthaya era, Khlong Nam Ya split off from the Lopburi River loop, encircling the City of Ayutthaya, in front of Wat Sanam Chai and ran in
a southwestern direction through the Pak Kran Fields to join the old bed of the Chao Phraya River near present Wat Pak Nam (at present on the
bank of the Noi River).
Today, the old canal is largely silted and is known as two water stretches being Khlong Pak Kran (Lam Rang Prakan) and Khlong Ban Khlueng.
Khlong Pak Kran runs opposite of Wat Samphao Lom to Wat Pak Kran in Pak Kran Sub-district of Ayutthaya, while Khlong Ban Khlueng starts
at Wat Pak Kran and runs to Wat Pak Nam in Ban Khlueng Sub-district of Ban Sai. (1)
Over time the canal became much narrower and quite a bit filled in when a road along the canal was constructed in the 20th century (we see the
same issue occurring with the other old canals such as Khlong Maha Phram, Khu Cham, Khlong Mueang, Khlong Pho Sam Ton, etc.)
Some old maps show that Khlong Nam Ya and Khlong Takhian had separate origins, but Engelbert Kaempfer, who can be considered quite
reliable, shows on his sketches that the smaller Khlong Takhian split off from Khlong Nam Ya, south of the today defunct Wat Si Pho and the St
The canal was likely named after the thick and spicy curry based on coconut milk (Nam ya), which was poured over the rice noodles (Khanom Jin).
Khlong Nam Ya was next to Khlong Maha Phram, the second connection to the Chao Phraya River and was a shortcut to travel to the cities in the
south, especially Bangkok.
|Khlong Nam Ya on old maps
Khlong Nam Ya is shown on the map of the French missionary Jean de Maguelonne de Courtaulin (1638?-1...) titled "Siam ou Iudia, Capitalle du
Royaume de Siam Dessigné sur le lieu Par Mr Courtaulin missre Apostolique de la Chine" and published in 1686 by Franciscus Jollain, the elder
(1641-1704). de Maguelonne resided at Ayutthaya from October 1672 until June 1674 as a missionary of the Missions Etrangères de Paris and left
thereafter for Cochinchina. He likely transited through Siam on his return to Paris in 1685.
de Courtaulin drafted the beginning of the canal adjacent and to the west of Khlong Takhian; later copied in the same way by the Royal Cartographer
to King Louis XIV, Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718). This depiction is tentative to position Wat Khok Phlu, Wat Klang and Wat Nak along the
bank of Khlong Nam Ya because these monasteries are situated rather far away from the bank of Khlong Takhian. de Courtaulin draws a temple on
the east bank of Khlong Nam Ya right above a village, but I was not able to identify this location. If this monastery ever existed, it should be now
buried under the sands of time.
|Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), who resided in Ayutthaya in 1690 on his way to Japan, depicts Khlong Nam Ya on his initial sketch as a quite
wide canal, in which a smaller waterway, Khlong Takhian, splits off. The mentioning "66" on Kaempfer's sketch and its explanation - R. magnus so
auch nacher Ban kok gesehen (2) - indicates clearly that it was possible to travel south to Bangkok via Khlong Nam Ya. The latter joined the Chao
Phraya River at Ban Pak Nam of Ban Khlueng Sub-district in Bang Sai, near the present Wat Pak Nam. Because the Chao Phraya River was
deviated from Ban Kum to Ban Mai and continued to Hua Leam at Ayutthaya in the mid-19th century, her old river bed became part of the Noi
|Kaempfer indicates on his sketches a monastery and the St Joseph Church on the east bank of the canal in the location where the canal splits off
from the Lopburi River. The monastery was Wat Sri Pho of which today there are no traces remaining anymore, at least above ground level.
Kaempfer’s posthumously published map by Scheuchzer in "The History of Japan, Together with a Description of the Kingdom of Siam" (1727)
refers to the canal as “M. Arm of the river called Klang Namja”.
|François Valentyn (1666-1727) in his work "Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën" mentions Khlong Nam Ya, stating that the tributary was situated 2 or 3
Dutch miles north of Ban Sai (3): "One encounters on the left-hand side two, and on the right-hand side one village, named Ban Thraay,
where nearby lies a very beautiful building of the King. Two or three miles higher up North one has on the right-hand side a branch, which
debauches into the Me-nam, and on the left-hand side again a village; […]" (4) 
Valentyn, who never traveled to Ayutthaya, had no clue in which direction the canal was going and drew the waterway short. Interesting in this detail
of the map is the village opposite the mouth of the canal, which is today Ban Khae Tok.
|Khlong Nam Ya can clearly be seen on a map named "Sketch of The Menam & other Siamese Rivers from the Surveys & Observations of the
American Missionaries, Communicated by Mr. Consul Parkes 1855", published for the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society by J. Murray.
Albemarle Str. London 1856.
The canal split off from the Takhian Canal identical as shown by Kaempfer. Notice that on this map the Chao Phraya River was not yet deviated
towards the northwestern point (Hua Laem) of Ayutthaya's city island, but it was Khlong Maha Phram aka Khlong Hua Taphan which connected the
Chao Phraya River with the Lopburi River on the western side of Ayutthaya.
On this map, we see that the canal has its mouth at “Ban Keù”, which is probably the indication for “Ban Khae”, spread over “Ban Khae Ok” on the
left bank and “Ban Khae Tok” on the right bank of the old Chao Phraya River.
(1) On the military map Thailand 1:50,000 Edition 1 - RTSD Amphoe Bang Pa-In Map 5153 IV of ND 47-8 K509 1:250,000 “Pak Kran” is
written as “Prakan”.
(2) Translated: "Large river also goes towards Bangkok."
(3) In the 17th century, the Dutch mile corresponded to 20,000 Amsterdam feet or 5662 meters. The "Amsterdam foot" was the standard
measurement for the VOC since 1650 and measured 0, 2831 meter. Today the mouth of Khlong Nam Ya is situated 12.2 kilometers from the mouth
of the Noi River along the latter's east bank and fits as thus the distance in the description of François Valentyn.
(4) "Men ontmoet ter linkerhand z, en ter rechterhand een dorp, Ban Thraay genaamd, waar by een zeer fraei gebouw des Konings legt.
Hooger 2 a 3 mylen N. aan heeft men ter rechterhand een spruit, die in de Me-nam stort, en ter linkerhand weder een dorp; [...]" 
 Engelbert Kaempfer. Werke 4. Engelbert Kaempfer in Siam. Edited by Barend Jan Terwiel. IUDICIUM Verlag GmbH Munchen 2003.
 Valentyn, François - Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën (1626) - Deel 3 - Boek 6 - Beschryvinge van Siam en onsen Handel aldaar.