Connect with us

Expats

Pattaya’s Walking Street. Will it return to high rents and high heels?

Published

 on 

Now that Pattaya’s infamous Walking Street is open to traffic along with parking for the first time in many, many years, what’s next?

Thai officials and the local constabulary have long had a love-hate relationship with the red light district. It has attracted tourists but perhaps to the tourists the bosses in Bangkok were hoping for. It was a hive of lawless rents, sub-leases, sub-sub-leases and graft. Whilst police turned a blind eye to much of the illegal activities along the strip, they were happy to profit from kick-backs, “security” and tea money.

Now the Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume says the local council wants to “reboot” Walking Street. There is no secret that the Thai government have wanted to re-invent Pattaya as a world class family destination, something quite different to what Pattaya has been famous for since WW2, the Korean and Vietnam wars – as a place of recreation for young men seeking “pleasures of the flesh”.

But now that Thailand’s borders remain closed to foreign tourists, and many of the feeder markets are not allowing their citizens to travel anyway, Pattaya City officials have decided to temporarily “make over” Walking Street. But many of the shop owners, renters and bar girls are wondering if “temporary” might become “permanent” even when the flood gates are opened and tourists start flocking back?

But even if Walking Street (with less ‘walking’ and more ‘parking’) is gentrified, there are plenty of other Sois in Pattaya where the the red light life is alive and well, and away from the high-rent, high-yield Walking Street real estate.

The Pattaya News reports that the opening to traffic and allowing parking is just Phase 1 of the make over. Pattaya Police are so far putting a brave face on the early days of Walking Street 2.0 and say that the plan has been “smooth”. Baht buses and taxis have been instructed not to “loiter or wait for customers”… you know the way the girls did in the past.

Phase 2 includes encouraging street vendors and other types of market vendors to directly park and set up shop on the street, with a focus on products and services that appeal to Thai customers. As most of the potential tourists, for now, are mostly Thais, this makes sense although it sounds much like a thousand other streets already doing the same thing around Thailand.

Part of the plan will encourage tourists returning from day-trips to Koh Larn and nearby islands to be taken to browse Walking Street for dinner, snacks, nik naks and local souvenirs. And dodge the traffic whilst they’re at it (or are they going to rename the street?)

The council is also organising street festivals, again aimed at domestic tourists. No dates have been announced for these events but the City is eager to draw tourists back ASAP as many of the local businesses have been suffering since the end of March.

Meanwhile, council officials are working with local business owners to get them to re-open their shops to make the street more tourist-friendly and worth visiting. Some of the more entrepreneurial businesses have already changed up their business model to be more ‘Thai friendly’. Gogos and discos that previously did not allow Thai customers (did someone mention discrimination?), especially transgender and Thai men, have been forced to change their policies. Adapt or die.

So the two litmus tests will be, firstly, whether the new-look Walking Street (with less walking and more durian) will attract the Thais from Bangkok and nearby provinces. And, secondly, will it revert to the ‘good old days’ when the borders open to the world and the young and restless, and mostly male, tourists again flock to Sin City.

There will be a push from “those that have a say” in Bangkok to keep Walking Street a beacon of family values into the future, but the likelihood is that the baht will overrule and the high rents and high heels will be back again soon.

Pattaya's Walking Street. Will it return to high rents and high heels? | News by ThaigerPattaya's Walking Street. Will it return to high rents and high heels? | News by Thaiger

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand16 hours ago

Woman smashes up her 1.5 million baht car over feud with Ford Thailand

Bangkok17 hours ago

1.8 billion baht in donations at the Erawan shrine in 2022

Phuket18 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 4 million tourists in 8 months

Sponsored2 days ago

From regulation to cannabis delivery, here’s what you need to know about cannabis in Thailand

Tourism18 hours ago

Carnival Magic theme park opens in Phuket to fanfare

Video19 hours ago

Ask the Thais | Stereotypes, Racial Profiling, and Discrimination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Thailand watching BQ.1.1 variant as Covid rules ease

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand19 hours ago

Military conscription in Russia could benefit Thailand’s economy

Economy20 hours ago

Economists foresee 38 baht to 1 US dollar this year

Thailand22 hours ago

Nine people hospitalised by chemical leak in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Thailand23 hours ago

Scams in Thailand – Common scams in Thailand to watch out for!

Expats23 hours ago

Beauty queen seeking asylum will not be sent to Myanmar

Weather23 hours ago

Tropical Storm Noru is about to hit Thailand

Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid-19 arrival screenings to be dropped October 1

Crime2 days ago

Thai man ‘does not regret’ death of ‘crazy’ son who stabbed grandma in the genitals

Thailand2 days ago

Schoolgirl raped in a school dormitory in front of friends

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending