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

Tim Newton

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

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

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Paco

    Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Lol in the end the tourist decide not them

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    Let us see if Thais will pay B1500 bar fine.

  3. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 3:30 am

    A group of middle-class Indian tourists taking a for them) risque snap of pretending to covort with a very disinterested ladyboy? What japes. What sterile “excitement”.
    In the end, they will be lucky to get any trade of any kind, even with rock bottom prices.

  4. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 4:41 am

    I’ve always thought Walking Street was overrated. I prefer Bangla Road. Walking Street has always been dead during daylight hours anyway so I don’t see why there’s a problem. Families can have the street up to the evening.

    Too many families stroll Walking and Bangla during the late night hours as it is and I think adults w/o kids will find a replacement.

  5. Avatar

    Kim Armitage

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 6:41 am

    They will have to rename the famous WALKING street I would have thought, but then again this is Thailand?

  6. Avatar

    go

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 9:32 am

    NObody cares about Walking street and it cost way more than they should. Besides its Very rare to find a cute girl there or anywhere Thailand except a few places and I wouldn’t tell you.

    • Avatar

      Ricky

      Friday, August 14, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      Awww come on now, please tell

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Pattaya. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines | Thaiger

“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

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Expats

Airlines and hotels try to cope with cancellations for Songkran

Tim Newton

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Airlines and hotels try to cope with cancellations for Songkran | Thaiger

Airlines and hotels are reporting cancellations from many of their customers as travellers react to the news of the new clusters and infections being detected in the provinces. Bars and entertainment venues close for 2 weeks in 44 provinces from midnight tonight, according to an order from the Thai PM. Entertainment venues in the other 35 provinces will remain open at the discretion of their provincial officials.

The Thai government has also announced today a series of measures to assist with refunds for people that have cancelled, or been forced to cancel, their bookings.

Thai VietJet asked us to publish their arrangements due to the queries from their customers. We will publish any other announcements from airlines and large organisations as they come to hand…

Due to the Covid-19 escalation in Thailand, the airline announces its policy to support passengers holding Thai Vietjet tickets on all domestic routes.

For passengers who booked tickets and made payments before 10 April 2021 with travel date between 12 -30 April 2021, may choose 1 of the supports as following:

  1. One-time changing the travel date free of charge. New travel date must be by July 31, 2021 and subject to flight availability. Rerouting is not applicable.
  2. Keeping the value of the ticket as a Credit Voucher, which is valid within July 31, 2021.

Passengers who have travel dates fall into the above-mentioned period and wish to contact the airline for support regarding change of flight or credit shell by voucher (at least 72 hours before the original departure time), please choose 1 of the options below:

  1. By E-Form: https://bit.ly/2L6Yv4z (Recommended Channel)
  2. By Line: @Thaivietjet
  3. By email: vz.support@vietjetair.com
  4. By Live Chat at https://skyfun.vietjetair.com/

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Latest guidelines for all non-tourist visitors to Thailand, through Phuket

Tim Newton

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Latest guidelines for all non-tourist visitors to Thailand, through Phuket | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Phuket’s provincial government has issued a 48 page order for non-tourists entering Thailand, via Phuket. The order covers everyone from repatriating Thais, foreigners who are permanent residents or on long-term visas, students, workers passing through and consular visits. In real terms, as it says, anyone who isn’t visiting, or travelling through, Phuket as a tourist.

If you were looking for some easing of general restrictions for non-tourist arrivals on the island, you won’t find it here.

The order is NOT related to tourists arriving in Phuket or the proposal to open up Phuket for non-quarantine tourism after July.

The long-winded order goes through all the requirements of non-tourists in excruciating detail. Nearly all conditions of entry for these non-tourist groups are identical…

• Documents must be issued no more than 72 hours prior to arrival

• A Covid-19 test shows the traveller is not infected

• A Certificate of Entry

• Travellers must have a Thai tracking app (there are currently three) installed on their phones before arrival

• Travellers will have a swab tests firstly when they arrive, and secondly, before finishing their quarantine period.

Notably, all arrivals must do a mandatory quarantine period. Vaccinated travellers spend 7 days in quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers spend the full14 days in quarantine. If you are have been given one of the 2 dose vaccines, and only had 1 of the doses, you’ll be required to spend 10 days in quarantine.

The full order from the Phuket Provincial Office, in Thai, HERE.

As always, The Thaiger recommends you check with the Thai embassy in your country before booking flights or ASQ hotels.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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