Sunset at Chao Phraya (1996 and 2013)

Sunset at Chaopraya is based on the novel Khu Kam wrote by Thommayanti. It tells the love story between a young Thai woman and a Japanese officer during World War II.

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Angsumalin is the daughter of a high ranking Thai official who lives with her mother and granddaughter, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, in Thonburi (Her father is now married to another woman).

When Thailand signs a cease fire agreement with Japan, Japanese soldiers start arriving in Thailand. Their goal is to use Thailand’s railways and infrastructures to invade neighboring countries, including Burma. Kobori, a Japanese officer in charge of engineering matters, falls for Angsumalin at first sight. It is not the case for Angsumalin. She dislikes Kobori for being Japanese therefore an invader and also because of a promise she made to Vanut.

Vanut, Angsumalin’s closest friend, left for England to study. Having feelings for Angsumalin, he asks her to wait for him (So selfish). Angsumalin is now stuck with this stupid promise.

Kobori, who isn’t fazed by Angsumalin’s behavior toward him, pursues her – visiting her house, being nice to her family, etc. Little by little Angsumalin finds herself drawn to him. Yet, her pride (That pride SMH) causes her to push Kobori away.

An unfortunate (Fortunate for us viewers :-D) event has Kobori and Angsumalin in a comprimising situation that leads to their hasty marriage. During an attack by Western forces, Kobori protects Angsumalin by laying on top of her. They are later found in that position by several villagers. In order to protect Angsumalin’s name, the two have no choice but to get married. Angsumalin’s father had also been pushing for the union between her daughter and Kobori to create stronger ties between Japan and Thailand.

Different versions

The novel was the subject of several remakes as a lakorn and movie. I have seen three versions so far. The drama with Bie and Noona, the 1996 movie with Bird Thongchai and the 2013 one with Nadech. I have to say that the movie with Nadech is my least favorite.

It looks too modern. I love the old feel that the 1996 movie gives and how Angsumalin’s character is portrayed. I also felt like Richie Omrawadee , who plays Angsumalin in the 2013 movie looked two young for the role. Technically, Angsumalin is young since she is in college. Yet, I expected Angsumalin to act mature but also childish. The 2013 Angsumalin just felt childish most of the time.

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The Bie and Noona version was beautiful. I kept checking almost everyday for new subtitles (That’s how you know you are truly addicted!). The OST was gorgeous, which is not surprising since Bie and Noona are singers.

The portrayal of the characters was powerful: Kobori was as a sweet and patient as one can be while Angsumalin was as prideful and cold hearted as expected.

The only odd thing for me is to have Thai actors play Japanese characters. It’s the same for a lot of Thai dramas (i.e. The Rising Sun, Cubic, etc.) Sometimes it works – in this case – but in others it’s a total disaster *cough cough Cubic*…

Angsumalin and Kobori: You Never Know What You Have Until It’s Gone


Angsumalin, deep down, knew how she felt about Kobori but she had too much pride and kept hanging onto a stupid promise she made to a selfish guy she didn’t even love (Sorry for the long rant. You can tell how much I dislike Vanut -____-). What she will go through after happiness is gone is a lesson for us all. Having to live with regrets is the worst.

The ending is not an happy one. That is no secret if you have read a little bit about Khu Kam online. Yet, it’s such a beautiful drama and movie to watch. Do not get discouraged! I wish the novel was actually translated in English. For it to have been remade so many times, the novel must be far from common. A blogger ( translated some chapters of the novels.

What I learned watching Khu Kam…

I didn’t know anything about the role Thailand played during World War II. Watching Khu Kam sort of stirred my interest and I even learned that Thailand declared war on the United States and England at some point.

You can read more about Thailand during World War II HERE

Last Thought

Can Bie and Noona have another drama ASAP please?!

2 thoughts on “Sunset at Chao Phraya (1996 and 2013)

  1. I’ve seen at least 4 verison of this drama. Every time it’s a different feeling. But by far, I like the one that was made 1988 with actors Waruth Woratum and Jintara Sookkapat. I’m not quite sure is it because it was the first one I watched or it was really the actors. You know you love it when it’s been that long you still remember some parts of it and it aches a bit of your heart. You should try to look into it. I”m pretty sure there isn’t any english subbing though.

    • After reading your comment, I frantically started looking for the 1988 version! I found it but without subs. I could only look at the images T__T I hope someone subs it 🙂
      I sort of understand why you like it though. From what I have read online the author herself seems to prefer the 1988 version ~

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