sampan(redirected from Samphao)
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a general name for various types of flat-bottomed wooden boats used in the coastal regions and on the rivers of East and Southeast Asia mainly for transporting passengers and freight. Sampans are up to 9 m long, and 3 m wide and have a load capacity of up to 80 tons. They are propelled by one or two stern oars or by a straight sail made of mats. An awning or cabinlike structure made of mats is sometimes located astern or amidships; it may serve as a dwelling, store, or workshop.