A Trade Vessel Over 100 Years Ago

Our Pla Luang was originally a trading vessel over 100 years ago. She travelled extensively transporting goods all over South East Asia. Pla Luang translates to “the honourable fish”…. and is a noble and respected name in Thailand.

She has long since retired from her days as a trade vessel and has been living at Railay for about 20 years now. In recent years it has been lovingly restored for you to enjoy. Traditionally, the hull has a hosehoe-shaped stern supporting a high deck. The bottom is flat in a river junk with no kneel (similar to a sampan) so that the boat relies on a daggerboard, leeboard or a very large rudder to prevent the boat from slipping sideways in the weather. Ocean-going junks have a curved hull. 


The Junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel/ship design still in use today. Junks may have developed from the very early bamboo rafts, which had a high stern. Cro-magnon cave paintings on the Indo-China coast show junk-shaped double-hull vessels.

Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220AD) and were used as seagoing vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties and were used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages. They were found, and in lesser numbers are still found, throughout Southeast Asia and India, but primarily in China, perhaps most famously in Hong Kong. Found more broadly today is a growing number of modern recreational junk-rigged sailboats.

Classic junks were built of softwoods (although of teak in Guangdong) with the outside shape built first. Then multiple internal compartments/bulkheads accessed by separate hatches and ladders, reminiscent of the interior structure of bamboo were built in.

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