The first efforts to establish local self-government in Thailand were actually made under the absolute monarchy, long before the revolution of 1932. As early as 1905, an experiment in local self-government was launched with the creation of a sukahpibahn, or "sanitation district," in a commune of Samud Sakorn province, a short distance southwest of Bangkok. Provision was made for the creation of a board all of whose members were appointed ex officio, namely, the village headmen with the commune headman as chairman. (A number of villages or mu ban constitute a commune or tambon, whose head is chosen from among the headmen of the constituent villages.) This board was authorized to collect certain taxes, largely on houses and building construction, to be used for the maintenance of local public works, such as roads, bridges, and lights, and to enforce local sanitation rules in a congested coastal fishing area.The two acts mentioned are the 1908 sanitary district act and its 1916 amendment.
In 1908 and again in 1915, new acts were promulgated expanding the powers of the sukahpibahn, providing that similar boards could be established elsewhere on the recommendation of the provincial governor and the monthon (region) head. By the time of the recolution, it is estimated that there were some forty-five sukahpibahn.
According to the Royal Gazette announcements, the sanitary districts created after the first one were
- 1909: Nakhon Ratchasima, Chanthaburi, Songkhla
- 1910: Phichai (i.e. Uttaradit), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chonburi
- 1911: Nakhon Pathom
- 1912: Phuket
- 1914: Chiang Mai
- 1915: Phitsanulok, Ratchaburi, Photharam, Nakhon Sawan
- 1916: Krung Kao (i.e. Ayutthaya), Song Phi Nong, Ban Pong
- 1917: Samut Prakan, Saraburi, Lopburi, Prachinburi, Suphanburi, Nakhon Nayok
- 1918: Singburi, Phichit, Trat, Rayong
- 1928: Hat Yai
- 1930: Surat Thani, Phetchaburi, Uthai Thani, Chum Saeng
- 1931: Trang, Chachoengsao, Ban Mi