In 2014, tourism accounted for 19.3% of Thailand’s GDP. But in the 1890s, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, of “The King and I” fame, tourists were about as scarce as skyscrapers.
25 Blythe Road, an antiques auctioneer in London, auctioned off a collection of photographs that show what Thailand looked like before it became the popular tourist destination it is today.
The album, which likely belonged to a member of the Royal Engineers, shows landmarks like the Grand Palace with not a selfie stick or fanny pack in sight.
The Grand Palace in Bangkok didn’t have many visitors in 1892.
Nowadays, it’s a must-see.
Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam.
Today, it’s a popular spot for elephant rides…
…and a Starbucks pit stop.
Only a few locals dotted the steps of this temple in Ayutthaya.
Today, those steps are a little more crowded.
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace was a summer getaway of Ayutthaya kings.
Even with some new additions, it’s still as serene as ever.
King Chulalongkorn’s birthday festivities in 1892 drew a crowd.
With Thailand’s bustling nightlife, crowded streets are the norm.
This Naval depot in Bangkok was sparsely populated in the 1890s.
Houses and small boats lined the sides of a canal known as a ‘klong’ in the central plain of Thailand.
Today, they have been replaced by sleek skyscrapers and tourist shuttles.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok opened in 1876.
It’s still around today, but with an updated look.
The Wat Chang Temple, nestled on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, was built 300 years ago.
It holds up well.