Langkasuka was not Pattani but Lan Saka near Nakhon Si Tammarat

The location of Langkasuka was clearly fixed by the report of Chang-jun(常駿) in the Sui Shu(隋書), who visited Chi-tu. He saw a high mountain Langkasuka from the sea at the east coast of Malay Peninsula. The name of the mountain is without doubt Khao Luang(1,825m)behind Nakhon Si Tammarat. There are no visible high mountains southward along the east coast of the Malay Peninsula.
According to the Chu-fan-chih(1225諸蕃志 Chao Ju-kua趙汝适), the location of Langkasuka looks like Pattani, but Chao Ju-kua’s Langkasuka is different from that of Chang-jun(常駿) in the Sui Shu(隋書), because there is no mountain near Pattani. The Chu-fan-chih is, in a sense, the cause of misunderstanding of the history of Southeast Asia. The biggest problem is the location of Chi-tu (赤土) cannot be identified.
Chao Ju-kua was the Superintendent of Maritime Trade at Quanzhou (泉州提挙市舶司) and he collected information mainly from foreign merchants. He probably wrote the article of Langkasuka based on the information of Arab merchants.
On the other hand, in 1345, Wang Ta-yuan(汪大淵)published ‘Tao-I Chih-Lioh(島夷誌略)’ in which he wrote on ‘Langkasuka’ as ‘Lung-Ya-His-Chiao’ (龍牙犀角). The scenery of Wang’s Langkasuka is quite different from the landscape of modern Pattani. Wang says Langkasuka has high mountains on its both sides. Wang wrote Tao-I Chih-Lioh through his own experience as a traveler.

According to the Liang Shu (the History of the Liang Dynasty,梁書).
“ The kingdom of Lang-ya-shu is situated in the Southern Sea (南海).Its frontiers are thirty days’ journey from east to west and twenty from north to south. It is twenty-four thousand li (里) distant from Canton. Its climate and products are somewhat similar to those of Funan. Eagle-wood, Agar-wood and Barus camphor are especially abundant. It is customary for men and women to go with the upper part of the body naked, with their hair hanging disheveled down their backs, and wearing a cotton kan-man.” *

The Liang-Shu also says that Langkasuka was founded early in the second century. Langkasuka was not listed as a vassal state of Funan. However Langkasuka might have been restricted to send embassies to China by Funan. The people of Langkasuka said that they had four hundred years history. Perhaps this story might not be an exaggeration. This means probably Langkasuka had been under control of Funan since the invasion of Fan-Shi-Man (范師曼) in the early third century. According to this people’s story Langkasuka was founded early in the second century, even though Langkasuka was not listed as a vassal state of Funan. Suddenly, Langkasuka sent four embassies to the Liang Dynasty(梁、502~557), in 515, 518, 520, 531 and to the following the Chin Dynasty(陳、557~589)in 568.
P. Wheatley says that the final emergence of Langkasuka as a sovereign kingdom in the sixth century was coincident with and doubtless contingent upon the decline of Funan.
After 568, Langkasuka stopped sending envoy to China. The reason is not clear, but I suppose that Langkasuka was merged with Kan-tuo-li at the end of the sixth century and they formed ‘Chi-tu’. However as above mentioned its name reappeared in the Sui Shu(隋書). According to Chang-jun, he saw the mountains of Langkasuka at the east coast of Malay Peninsula. The name of Langkasuka existed in the Sui times and Tang times. The reason why Chao Ju-kua(趙汝适)put Langkasuka at Pattani in 1225 is not known. Nowadays most historians believe the location of Langkasuka is Pattani. But in the Pattani district, there is no mountain at all. On the east coast of the middle of Malay Peninsula, high mountains visible from the sea are only Khao Luang(1,825m)and Mt. Khao Wang Hip (1,235m)which located behind Nakhon Si Tammarat.

There are a short description on Langkasuka in the Jiu and Xin Tang-Shu that Langkasuka is the neighbor country of Pan-pan, Chaiya. The neighbor of Chaiya means ‘near Nakhon Si Tammarat’ and Pattani is too far away as ‘neighbor’. If Langkasuka disappeared since the sixth century, nobody would doubt it located at the old Nakhon Si Tammarat. But, nearly 600 years later, Langkasuka reappeared all of a sudden in the Chu-fan-chih(諸蕃志). Chao Ju-kua wrote that Langkasuka was located six days journey from Tambralinga (Nakhon Si Tammarat) by sea, so we must suppose the location was near Pattani.
“One can sail from Tan-ma-ring (単馬令、Nakhon Si Tammarat) to the kingdom of Langkasuka in six days. The land road is available, too.” Chao Ju-kua did not elaborate on the other geographical matter, so it was not sure if Langkasuka was the neighbor of Songkhla or not. In this case Chao Ju-kua used different Chinese scripts as the name of Langkasuka (凌牙斯加), which was completely different from the previous name of Lang-ya-su (狼牙須). Chao Ju-kua might have collected information about Langkasuka from Arab merchants. Chao Ju-kua added that Langkasuka was a vassal state of San-fo-chi.
However Mao Yuan-I(茅元儀) put Langkasuka at the neighboring state of Songkhla in the “Wu-pei-chih(武備志)” published 1621. As I mentioned above that Chao Ju-kua wrote the order of the vassal states from the south of the Malay Peninsula. In this context, Langkasuka is located between Terengganu and Kelantan. This means that Langkasuka is not necessarily ‘Pattani’.

Chao Ju-kua was a ‘ Superintendent of Maritime Trade (市舶司)‘in Fu-chien (福建). There he had collected various informations from traders especially from Arab merchants. The knowledge of Arab merchants was sometimes not so accurate and not corresponds with the expression of the Chinese chronicles. They had plenty of knowledge about San-fo-chi, so the description on San-fo-chi was comparatively accurate. However, their information about other ports, where they seldom stopped over was vague in nature.

Wang Ta-yuan(汪大淵)gave us the completely different picture of Langkasuka. In “Tao-I Chih-lioh(島夷誌略,1349)”, Wang Ta-yuan wrote on ‘Langkasuka’ as ‘Lung-Ya-His-Chiao’ (龍牙犀角). The scenery of Wang’s Langkasuka is quite different from that of modern Pattani. Even Dr. Toyohati Fujita could not understand the implication of Wang’s explanation, so he gave up the identification.
Wang Ta-yuan says “It is a hill plain surrounded by high mountains. The people are living in a round village like ants. The climate is not too hot. The people are soft-hearted and friendly. Men and women braid their hair into chignons. The teeth are white. They wrap around them a length of Ma-I(linen)cloth……….The native products are an agar-wood superior to that of any other country, together with hornbill casques, laka-wood, honey and garu-wood. The goods used in trading are native prints cloth, blue-and-white porcelain bowls and suchlike.” *

Above ‘blue-and-white porcelain bowls’ are without doubt, imports from China, so Langkasuka was an active trader of such kind of products. Also, the observation of Wang Ta-yuan was realistic. The Tao-I Chih-lioh was written more than 120 years later than the Chu-fan-chih. Wang Ta-yuan said he wrote the Tao-I Chih-lioh according to his own travel experience. So, we must pay more attention to the Tao-I Chih-lioh which might be more accurate than the Chu-fan-chih. Apparently, Wang’s Langkasuka is quite different from Chao Ju-kua’s one. Chao Ju-kua’s Langkasuka is supposed to locate at Pattani. As I mentioned above, there are neither hills nor mountains around Pattani. So, Langkasuka should be in the different part of the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. I suppose the most proper place is ‘Lan-saka’, just behind and is connected with Tha-Rua area of Nakhon Si Tammarat. The meaning of 'lan' is 'valley’ and the ancient expression of ‘lan’ was ‘langka.’ If so, in the ancient times, ‘Lan Saka’ was called ‘Langka Saka’. However, until now the no archaeological evidence has been found in Lan Saka area. The only fact is Lan Saka was the most important ‘mountain pass’ between Nakhon Si Tammarat and the west coast of the Peninsula, such as Krabi, Khlong Thom and Trang.

According to the recent excavation, Tha-Rua has considerable remains of ancient trade and temples. Its history might have started from the Neolithic era. Lan-Saka is located 20kilometers behind Tha-Rua to the mountain side and connected with the Tha-Rua River. Lan-Saka is a ‘pass’ to connect between the west coast and the east coast. Krabi, Kron-Tom and Trang were typical ports of the west coast, above mentioned ‘route-C’ and goods from India could have been brought to the east coast through Lan-Saka pass. I presume that the name Langkasuka came from Lan-Saka. Lan-Saka was formerly called Lang-Saka, ‘Lan’ means ‘valley’. On the top of Lan-Saka pass, there is considerable rice field, where is held between Khao Luang(1,825m)and Khao Wang Hip (1,235m)from both sides. Furthermore ‘Tha Sala’ is now under excavation and probably considerable remains will be uncovered. If so, the dimension of Langkasuka will be expanded from Tha Rua to Tha Sala.

At this moment, many historians and archeologists have been convinced that Langkasuka was located at Pattani, where produced no meaningful remains. In 1989, a team of archaeologists excavated the Yarang district some 20kilometers inside of Pattani. But the results were not so remarkable. * Pattani had been probably used as the port of the ‘Kan-tou-li’ and ‘new Kha-ling’ dominated by Śailendra and San-fo-chi. However Pattani had nothing to do with ancient Langkasuka. As Chang-Chun recorded in the Sui times, Langkasuka was located near Nakhon Si Tammarat. Yarang might have been the capital of the ancient Pattani Kingdom, and surely there are some remains, but it is a wrong place. The large excavations were carried out around Yarang, and they found a lot of shards ceramics and porcelains from the Sung, the Ming and Thailand, but most of them are comparatively new, from eleventh or twelfth centuries.

However, there is a ‘fatal’ evidence in a Chinese document, named the Wu-pei-chih(武備志)1621, compiled by Mao Yuan-I(茅元儀). This book contains many pieces of map. One of them is the route map of Cheng-Ho(鄭和), who was the great leader of the Chinese fleet in the early Ming times. The Wu-pei-chih map regarding the east coast the Malay Peninsula clearly indicates the location of Langkasuka as the neighbor of Songkhla. Mao Yuan-I might have drawn this map referring the Chu-fan-chih. I wonder that the name of Songkhla remains nowadays, but the name of Langkasuka cannot be found on any other modern map of the Malay Peninsula. The name of Langkasuka seemed to have suddenly changed to ‘Pattani’. However the name of Pattani was well known at least since the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Japanese official trade ship left record that they visited ‘Tani’(太泥) in the early the seventeenth century. ‘Tani’ means Pattani. Even in the Chu-fan-chih, there is a list of vassal states of San-fo-chi(三仏斉)、 in which the name of Pa-ta(抜沓) is seen. Many historians assume Pa-ta(抜沓) means the ‘Batak’, a native tribe of the Sumatra island. However, San-fo-chi might have nothing to do with the ‘Batak’. Pa-ta(抜沓) seems likely Pattani.

The misplacement of Langkasuka affects the location Chi-tu, and distorts the history

Perhaps Chao Ju-kua(趙汝适)misplaced the location of Langkasuka, or at least I can say that the location of Langkasuka in the Sui times was different from that of Chao Ju-kua’s Langkasuka, ‘Pattani’. As I mentioned above, Chao Ju-kua might have got the information from Arab merchants, but the knowledge of them was not always correct. Apparently, Wang Ta-yuan’s Langkasuka was believed to be identified by his own travelling experience and newer than Chao Ju-kua’s more than one hundred years. But no historians acknowledged the location of his Langkasuka. But at least, I can say Wang Ta-yuan’s Langkasuka is not Pattani. Pattani probably had its own name as ‘Pattani’ from the beginning of its history.

Chi-tu; 赤土

If Langkasuka was seated at Pattani, the location of ‘Chi-tu’ had to be Kelantan or more southern part of the Malay Peninsula. A Japanese historian, Dr. Kuwata placed the location of ‘Chi-tu at Palembang. He thought the predecessor of Shih-li-fo-shi (Śrīvijaya) was Chi-tu and its location was Palembang. Dr. Tatsuro Yamamoto had a different opinion that the location of Chi-tu was at Singapore. Unfortunately both of them are mistaken, because the Sui Shu says that on their return journey, the mission of the Sui arrived at the Southeast of Lin-yi in a little more than ten days. This suggests us the location of Chi-tu was not so far from the east coast of the Malay Peninsula.

The history of Chi-tu is not clear which abruptly appeared in the Sui-shu as the biggest tributary state to the Sui Dynasty. Yang-ti (煬帝), emperor of the Sui, sent his mission to Chi-tu. The ambassador, Chang-jun (常駿) presented his report to Yang-ti, which is quoted in the Sui-shu.

“The kingdom of Chi-tu, another kind of Funan, is situated in the South seas. By sea one reaches it more than a hundred days. The color of the soil of the capital is mostly red, whence is derived the name of the state. Eastwards is the kingdom Po-lo-la (波羅剌), to the west that of Po-lo-suo(婆羅娑), and to the south that of Ho-lo-tan (訶羅旦). Northwards it fronts on the ocean. The country is several thousand li in extent. The king’s family name is Qu-tan (瞿曇 Gautama), his personal name is Li-fu-duo-sai (利冨多塞).” *

The territory of Chi-tu is supposed to cover from both coast of the Malay Peninsula. Because after landing it took thirty days for Chang-jun to arrive at the king’s palace. Po-lo-la (波羅剌) is presumably Borneo, Po-lo-suo(婆羅娑) sounds like Barus, one of the Nicobar Islands and Ho-lo-tan (訶羅旦) might be Kelantan. The exact location of Chi-tu is not identified yet among historians and geologists. However, I suppose that the west coast was Kedah and the east coast was Songkhla which was the main port to China. From Songkhla to Kedah, by on land journey it took about thirty days. But if one went by sea route from Canton to Kedah via Malayu it took more than one hundred days.

The predecessor of Chi-tu might be Kan-tuo-li (干陀利). According to the Liang-shu, the king’s family name of Kan-tuo-li is Qu-tan (瞿曇), same as of Chi-tu’s king. The name of ‘Kan-tuo-li’ is originally comes from ‘Kalinga’ the east coast of India. Kalinga was pronounced as ‘Kadaram’ by Tamil and ‘Kalah’ or ‘Kala’ by the Sanskrit language. ‘Kadaram’ became ‘Kadara’ and ‘Kandari’ and later Chinese pronounced as ‘Kan-tuo-li’. G. Coedès insists that ‘Kan-tuo-li’ located in the Sumatra Island and he has many followers, but they can not exactly identify the real location. Kan-tuo-li should be old Kedah, from where the above mentioned ‘Route-B’ started.
As above mentioned, G. Coedès admitted the close relation between Chi-tu and old Kedah, where was called ‘Red Earth’ by Indian merchants.

Historically, Ho-lo-tan (訶羅旦) might have been taken over by Kan-tuo-li (干陀利) around the middle of the fifth century, but one hundred years later Tan-tan (丹丹) emerged as a successor to Ho-lo-tan (Kelan-tan). And then Chi-tu appeared as the champion of ‘B-route’ to send the envoy to the Sui dynasty. Even thought Tan-tan remained as an independent state, Tan-tan had disadvantage to procure the western goods, because access to Kedah from Kelantan was geologically inconvenient compared with Pattani and Songkhla.
More importantly, Lang-ya-su (狼牙須=Langkasuka) ,which sent its embassies during 515~568 disappeared. Presumably Langkasuka, the former champion of ‘C-route’ was taken over by the ‘Kedah clan’, namely Kan-tuo-li, and on their behalf Chi-tu emerged.


The reason why Kan-tuo-li was taken over by Chi-tu is not clear but perhaps Kan-tuo-li took over Langkasuka and change its name to Chi-tu. Kan-tuo-li was a big country dominating ‘B-route’, from Kedah to the east coast of the Peninsula, so it could not be cherished easily.
The exact location of Chi-tu is not identified yet. Most historians identify the location of Langkasuka as Pattani, so the location of Chi-tu cannot be found forever. But the location of Langkasuka is identified at Nakhon Si Tammarat or its vicinity that of Chi-tu should be Songkhla or Pattani in the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and in the west coast, Kedah might be the real capital.
According to the Xin Tang-Shu (新唐書) the location of Chi-tu is apparently at the north of Tan-tan and Tan-tan was without doubt former Kelantan. Chi-tu was finally merged with Śrīvijaya in the middle of the seventh century. Śrīvijaya (Shih-li-fo-shi) became the only one tributary country to the Tang from the Malay Peninsula