A very enjoyable and charming read about the adventures of H. Warington Smyth, who worked as a mining engineer in Siam for about 10 years, from 1891-1901. The book is a collection of episodes about his travels through Siam, Laos, Burma and the Malay Peninsula, where he is sent to survey mines. He takes his dog Rover on his journeys, and Rover features prominently, along with the elephants he rides as a mode of transport and the various sheep and other animals he encounters along the way. There are boat rides along the Mekong and other rivers, and meetings with the Shan of Luang Prabang (Laos), the Karens of Burma, and others, which are often delightful and humorous.
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Herbert Warington Smyth (4 June 1867 – 19 December 1943) CMG, LLM, FGS, FRGS, was a British traveller, writer, naval officer and mining engineer who served the government of Siam and held several important posts in the Union of South Africa.
After being an unpaid assistant to the Mineral Adviser to the Office of Woods from 1890 to 1891, he went to Siam. There he was Secretary of the Government Department of Mines from 1891 to 1895 and Director General from 1895 to 1897. He became a Commander of the Order of the White Elephant of Siam and received the Murchison Award of the R.G.S. for journeys in Siam in 1898. In 1898, he was secretary of the Siamese legation from 1898 to 1901.
Warington Smyth was called to the bar in 1899 and in 1900 was delegate for Siam to the Congres International, Paris Exhibition. In 1900, he was Hon Secretary for London of the National Committee for the organization of a Volunteer Naval reserve. In 1901 he went to South Africa where he was Secretary for Mines in the Transvaal from 1901 to 1910. He was also Member of Legislative and Executive Councils, Transvaal in 1906 and 1907 and a JP and Advocate of the Supreme Court of the Transvaal. He was also President of the Transvaal Cornish Association from 1907 to 1910, in which year he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa medal. From 1910, he was Secretary for Mines and Industries in South Africa and Commissioner of Mines for Natal as well as Chief Inspector of Factories.
He took an active part in World War I as an Acting Sub Lieutenant RNR in 1914, serving as Assistant Naval Transport Officer in the South-West Africa Campaign 1914 to 1915, when he was mentioned in dispatches. He became Lieutenant RNVR and Acting Naval Senior Officer at the Cape from 1915 to 1916, and Controller of Imports and Exports for the Union of South Africa in 1917. In 1919 he was awarded the C.M.G.. Following the war, he was South African government delegate to the International Labour Conferences at Washington in 1919 and Geneva in 1922.
He retired in 1927 and returned to England, living at Falmouth, Cornwall where he enjoyed yachting. In World War II, he was still active in the RNVR, serving in 1940 as Lieutenant Commander. He died in 1943 at Redruth.