Text by Tricky Vandenberg - May 2011
Maps added - June 2012
The city state of Ayutthaya in time, grew to become an important trade player in south-east Asia. Trade was vigilantly controlled by the
Ayutthayan Court. Customs houses were established in the cardinal directions around the city along the important waterways with a double function:
control of persons and goods, and most important for the court, collect taxes. There were four main customs posts called the "
Royal Customs Posts
(The "Tabanque ou Douane"on a French map)

(1) Simon de La Loubère wrote regarding the customs house at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River: "The King’s Ambassadors arrived thus
within two Leagues of Siam, at a place which the French called the Tabanque; and they waited there eight or ten days for the time
of their entrance into the Metropolis. Tabanque in Siamese signifies the Custom House: and because the Officer’s House, which
stands at the Mouth of the River, is of Bambou like all the rest, the French gave the name of Tabanque to all the Bambou houses where
they lodged, from the name of the Officers House, which they had seen first of all."
(2) Serfs or Phrai were neither slave nor free, but commoners which served a master periodically with unpaid labour. [2]
(3) Gunnel or gunwale is a nautical term - the top of the side of a boat or the topmost plank of a wooden vessel. It was called as thus because guns
were mounted on it.
(4) Traditional Thai unit of length equal to 2 meters.


[1] อธิบายแผนที่พระนครศรีอยุธยากับคำวินิจฉัยของพระยาโบราฌราชาธานินท์ ฉบับชำระครั้งที่๒ และ ภูมิสถนกรุงศรีอยุธยา
(2007) - Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of Phraya Boran Rachathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the
Ayutthaya Kingdom - Ton Chabab print office - Nonthaburi (2007) - page 89.
[2] Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 256.
[3] Khun Chang Khun Phaen - Chapter 42 - Soi Fa and Simala undergo ordeal by fire - Chris Baker & Pasuk Phongpaichit.
[4] Ref: English Intercourse with Siam in the 17th century - John Anderson (1890) - page 54.
[5] Our Wars with the Burmese - Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (re-edited 2001) - White Lotus, Bangkok - page 246.
[6] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 35 / Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend
Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph.
[7] Ibid - page 47.
[8] Ibid - page 114.
[9] Ibid - page 117.
[10] Khun Chang Khun Phaen - Chapter 20 - Khun Chang accuses Khun Phaen of rebellion - Chris Baker & Pasuk Phongpaichit.
[11] A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam - de La Loubère - (White Lotus, 1986) - VI. The Functions of Governor and Judge in the
Metropolis - page 88.