What’s the fate of Khao San Road’s food stalls?

Khao San Road

Khao San Road in Bangkok is a haven for travelers on a budget. Source: Shutterstock

BANGKOK’S Khao San Road has been a marvel among backpackers for decades, but the area is changing drastically and locals aren’t happy about it. 

The area is known throughout the world for its cheap booze, even cheaper clothes to stave off a visit to the laundrette, colorful tuk-tuks, and an array of Thailand’s most tempting culinary offerings.

Over time, the street has also welcomed a McDonald’s and a Starbucks. But these chains, combined with hordes of travelers, aren’t what locals and angry about.

Recently, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) banned food vendors along Khao San Road from operating outside the hours of 6pm and 12am.

The ban was slapped on the stall owners for BMA to regulate hygiene, monitor traffic, create parking space for ambulances and return the sidewalks, which the stalls currently occupy, to pedestrians.

The new regulation is set to affect around 300 workers and slash their income in half as their current business hours run from 10am to 1am.

But the vendors are refusing to accept the decision and have handed a petition to Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha asking him to suspend the district’s ban.

Khao San Road Street Vendor Association President Yada Pornpetrumpa told The Nation that all of the street’s vendors would set up their stalls after a big clean up today (Aug 1, 2018) in an act of defiance.

Pornpetrumpa added that the task might be “impossible” as local police are being sent to control the situation.

However, Chanasongkram (the local area) Police Station Superintendent Pol Colonel Chakkit Chosoongnoen told The Nation traffic would remain the same as any other day.

A member of the Street Vendors Association spoke to The Nation on the basis of anonymity and explained she didn’t think that people would want to shop in the evening, expressing they were “hours for relaxing.”

The BMA plans to relocate the stalls to designated areas on roads, but the vendors claimed this to be a health hazard if the roads were to flood.

There is also a real risk that travelers will disassociate Khao San Road as being a center for partying and meeting fellow wanderers, and choose to spend their money elsewhere entirely.

Afterall, Bangkok isn’t short of nightlife.