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Life Lessons Written in Flowing Water

Steve Van Beek spent five months paddling a boat down the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries from their sources to the sea, seeking to understand how these waterways shaped the kingdom and its people. Among his half-dozen river-related books is The Chao Phya, River in Transition published by Oxford University Press.

We’ll discover how, on these journeys, he learned how rivers think but, more importantly, the role of water and rivers in nearly everything Thai, including its historic and economic development, and its culture, rites, and rituals.  He will also consider how modern riparian residents are impacting this iconic river and, ultimately, Thailand’s future.

His talk coincides with the publication of his newest book, The Latte River, chronicling his 42-day journey, paddling down the Nan River. It is the successor to his highly regarded Slithering South which documented his 58-day trip from the source of the Ping River to the sea.

About the speaker

Mr Steve Van Beek has been a resident in Thailand for five decades and spent 40 years exploring Asian rivers. Since 2004, he has also been running kayaking trips down Mekong tributaries in Laos and was a kayaker on a multi-national team making first descents of the Mekong River in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Science. With them, he paddled from the Mekong’s source on the Tibetan Plateau to Yunnan, establishing ground coordinates, wildlife, and people along the way, while expanding his knowledge of rivers in general. He was elected a Fellow of the Explorers Club for his endeavors. More information on the speaker can be found at



Thursday, 9 February 2023 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

For more information, please contact

To book your place, please contact Khun Pinthip at 02 661 6470-3 ext 203 or

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