Where Does the "Baung" Come From?

Posted by Lionhead Staff on

Origin of Baung Online Bong

You are probably aware by now that glass bongs, or water pipes, are some of the most popular smoking apparatus. Ranging in size, styles, color, class and thickness; water pipes come in more options than you could every think of.

With the ever growing popularity of different dry herbs and the legality of Cannabis for medical and recreational use across the US, the types of water pipes you are now able to choose from – well, it could get a little overwhelming to say the least.

But where did bongs even come from?

In our previous post, we shared some insight into the history of glass blowing, and some of the major historical moments for the glass industry. Now, we can explore how the famous glass bong, love so much by us, first came to be.

Let’s start by busting some myths. You might have heard that bongs derived from the well known hookah. But, by taking a closer look at history, the word 'bong' comes from the Thai word ‘baung’ which is defined as a wooden cylindrical tube/pipe made from bamboo.

asia eastern asia baung Many thought that the ‘baung’ or bong was first invented in central Asia since this is where Cannabis was natively and originally grown. That being said – this, is all a lie. Reality is, the 'bong' as we know today, was first invented in the beautiful continent of Africa.

Sufficient evidence suggests that by circa 1100 and 1400 BCE, Africans were already using “earth bongs”. They were first discovered when scientist found them in two caves and were given the name “earth bongs” because of the way they were originally built into the ground with a pipe-like apparatus. 

Yet, too many archeologists and historians ignored this truth and continued to justify and look for reasons, as to why African people had these types of pipes. For example, one famous explanation was: Arab people brought the hookah and Cannabis to eastern African lands prior to 1400 BCE, therefore leading to the invention of the earth bong by people after their encounter with the Arabs.

But as historians and archeologists continued to find, their evidence supported the idea that African people mainly chewed tobacco and only smoked cannabis. Most importantly, it was discovered that cannabis was found prior to tobacco in Africa. Clarifying any doubts that the African people were the first people to invent the smoking apparatus, the “earth bong”, most commonly known to us as bongs, to smoke cannabis.

With this information in mind, could you then say that the Thai word ‘baung’ was actually adopted in Thailand from the Africans? What do you guys think?



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