The major products traded were wood, animal skins, rice, spices and forest products from Siam, while products imported into the country included technological advanced machinery, various consumables and furniture. During the 18 years of King Rama IV's reign, foreigners, both Westerners and Chinese, established trade and made contact with hundreds of civil servants.
Therefore an exchange of culture occurred with the Siamese people, particularly among the upper classes such as the titled aristocracy. Various trade businesses were founded by foreigners from Europe, and shops had been set up to sell goods to the Siamese. By the time of the reign of King Rama V, King Chulalongkorn, trade had become more prosperous. As the government of Siam now required the fruits of modern science and new technology from Europe, it became necessary to employ foreigners to serve in the country, and expert engineers, architects, officers in five different foreign affairs departments, and in military accounting systems were all especially welcomed.
This resulted in quite active European groups in Siamese society. They generally could be found grouped together at the end of Charoenkrung Road and stretching into Silom and Sathorn where they maintained a strong presence along these roadsides.
Within these groups, and to facilitate meetings with the Europeans, a new culture was created which is now widespread in Thai society. The traditions of relaxing on the beach, outdoor sports such as tennis or badminton, socializing, drinking, and eating during the evenings were taken on by the men. Most importantly, the afternoon tea culture of the western women was also adopted.
The first evidence of this appears in the long cookbook of dainties and desserts included in the lessons of Wang Lang Lady (girls’ school), now known as Wattana Wittaya Academy, which was published for the first time in the year of the Bangkok Era 119, or 1899.