The first known record of Freemasonry in Thailand dates to April 1878, when it is reported that there were seventeen regularly constituted Freemasons in Bangkok, who proposed to start a Masonic Lodge. By June 1878, however, it was announced that owing to the difficulty of finding seven willing Brethren to be founding members, and who would be prepared to undertake the erection of a Lodge when the Charter arrived several months hence, the proposed Lodge could not be proceeded with.
In early 1880 a second attempt was made to establish a Lodge, but it took a further eighteen years and a new generation of Freemasons before there is any record of Brethren meeting with the specific purpose of erecting a Lodge. Many of the original old Masons in Siam were already dead, and their graves can still be seen to this day, the gravestones duly marked with Masonic symbols, in the old Protestant cemetery in downtown Bangkok, near the Chao Phraya River.
In 1898 the impetus came from Masons afloat on merchant vessels and keen Freemasons in Singapore, who wished to support the opening of a Masonic Lodge in Bangkok, but the obstacle was the lack of potential Freemasons of sufficient rank and experience.
Informal Masonic meetings continued during the next five years, usually held in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank compound, and in April 1905 a petition, signed by over 30 Masons, supported by the Freemasons of Singapore and by the English District, was sent to the UGLE for the erection of Lodge Menam. However, the Master designate fell ill of fever and subsequently died, the petition had to be withdrawn and once again, no English Lodge was consecrated.
In the intervening years, Lodge St John, the first Scottish Lodge was consecrated, and the focus of the local Freemasons moved on as the two global wars intervened.
Finally, over a century after the first attempts were made, Chula Lodge 9745 E.C. the first UGLE Masonic Lodge in Thailand was consecrated in Bangkok and is now one of three English Lodges working in Thailand, the others being in Pattaya and Phuket.