Chao Phraya chou präyä´ [key], Mae Nam Chao Phraya, or Menam Chao Phraya both: mănäm´ [key], chief river of Thailand, c.140 mi (230 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Ping (c.300 mi/480 km long) and the Nan (c.500 mi/800 km) rivers at Nakhon Sawan, W central Thailand. It flows S past Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand and is navigable for its entire length. With its tributaries, the Chao Phraya drains most of W Thailand; its valley is the country's main rice-producing region. The many distributaries of the Chao Phraya delta are interconnected by canals that serve both for irrigation and for transportation.
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