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BMA backs down to allow Khaosan traders, sort of…

The Thaiger & The Nation

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BMA backs down to allow Khaosan traders, sort of… | The Thaiger

by Kornrawee Panyasuppakun

“From around 9pm to 3am, backpackers use Khaosan as “party central”, rather than a shopping fair. Electronic dance beats can be heard blaring from clubs and bars.”

There’s been a back down in the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration yesterday after vendors from Khaosan Road convinced a committee that their stalls, whilst illegal in the past, were a huge attraction and a part of what made Khaosan Road famous.

Visitors and street vendors claim that tourists will desert the area, or even Bangkok, if daytime stalls are not restored. say

The world-famous Bangkok destination attracts hordes of international youth with offers of street food, beer and a chaotic, lively nightlife. Just about everything and anything is available at all times of the day.

However, the municipal authority wants to bring order to the late-night ‘carnivalesque’ atmosphere.

Since August 1, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has strictly enforced the rarely-used Public Cleanliness and Orderliness Act 1992, which forbids daytime street vending. Under the recent sweep, the street stalls have been banned from doing business in front of guesthouses, cars, cafes and shops during the day.

City Hall’s plan only allows the previous daytime vendors to hawk their goods and services on the road from 6pm until midnight. The BMA is expected to allow vendors to hawk their wares from 4pm next month onwards.

The plan, however, isn’t popular with tourists and shoppers. The authorities are now working to solve this roblem with a public hearing to allow street vendors and store owners to air their views.

 

Along both sides of the road, carts and stalls are lined up, offering late eaters pad Thai and mango sticky rice. Several smiling hawkers offer “laughing gas” or a crispy fried scorpion. Local and foreign partygoers flock the street daily.

“It’s my first time here in Khaosan. I’d heard that it’s brilliant and fantastic,” said Matthew Bechus, as he and a friend tuck into Thai delicacies at a stall nearby. “Now that the footpaths have been cleared, it’s sad. It’s a big tourist attraction and brings income for people and jobs and everything. I hope it comes back.”

Russel Green, a tourist from South Africa said the new Khaosan was nothing special.

“If they clear out all the stalls, there will no longer be a reason to come to Khaosan,” he said. Green and his friend were “disappointed” while strolling through the area in the afternoon.

“I would say tourists under the age of 30 visiting Thailand only come to Bangkok to visit Khaosan Road. Without Khaosan, they will have no reason to visit Bangkok. They will go straight to Phuket,” he predicted.

Under the new restrictions, Khaosan Road now looks like any other place in Thailand. While most of the 30-million annual visitors are foreign, not all choose to stay in the area’s hostels, guesthouses and hotels.

Rujira Raokhekit, a Thai who came with her boyfriend, said: “I have been here many times at night for parties. I don’t usually come to Khaosan during the day, but I think today it is quieter than before.”

The peak selling hours for vendors and stall owners used to be from 2pm to 5.30pm, vendors said. After 8pm, people usually come for food, music and beer.

When daytime trading was banned, Bangkok officials allowed them to set up stalls from 6pm, which vendors say will only give them three hours to sell their goods.

“After that, the music is too loud and the crowd is not in the mood for shopping,” said Sukwasa Kurattana-sinchai, who has been selling T-shirts on Khaosan since the Tom Yum Kung crisis hit Thailand in 1997.

“Most of our customers are backpackers who came to stay in budget guesthouses. They often travel light and come here specifically to buy comfy cotton pants and sleeveless T-shirts to wear for their whole trip,” Sukwasa said, as she waved at a group of backpackers.

She said that from about 8am until late afternoon, Chinese tourists would normally drop by Khaosan after visiting the Grand Palace and enjoy an hour-long shopping spree. Most foreign tourists visit Khaosan in the morning for souvenirs before their flights home in the afternoon.

Most vendors believe that clearing out the stalls is a bad move.

“The prices in shops are usually high, which is probably why the stalls are banned in the afternoon,” said another vendor as he waited to set up his bag stall at 6pm. “Now you see most tourists walking without any shopping bags.”

If the ban continues, tourists will not bother to visit Khaosan, he said. “They won’t even stay close to Khaosan. Why should they? There is nothing to buy during the day. They could book a hotel in Pratunam or Bo Bae [two famous shopping districts a half-hour ride from Khaosan] and take a tuk-tuk to Khaosan for the nightlife,” he said.

Bangkok deputy governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul said after a meeting with related agencies on Friday that to help solve the problem, the BMA will draft a regulation allowing Khaosan vendors to trade from 4pm until midnight.

The regulation will includes pavement trading in nearby streets of Banglamphu such as Rambutri, Chakrabongse, Krai Sri, Sip Sam Hang and Tani.

Over the next 10 days, Phra Nakhon district will collect opinions from street vendors and building owners. “All vendors must register with Commerce Ministry. We will make it legal and transparent,” he said.

“We are trying to find the middle ground for everyone. The street vendors can’t have everything. They can’t expect to use the footpaths all day.”

He added that the vendors must not block the footpaths and stalls can be no bigger than 1.5 square metres.

“We will also ensure that there is one stall per vendor,” Sakoltee said in response to claims by Bangkok officials that some vendors owned as many as seven stalls.

Yada Pornoetrumpa, president of Khaosan Road Street Vendors Association, said: “The officials don’t understand the situation of Khaosan. Many vendors trade in the daytime.

“Ideally, I want Khaosan Road to open 24 hours. They think vendors are greedy. But actually, stalls could help look after the street’s hygiene.”

STORY: The Nation

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Bangkok

Royal Barge Procession on Bangkok’s Chao Phraya postponed to December 12

The Thaiger

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Royal Barge Procession on Bangkok’s Chao Phraya postponed to December 12 | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: AFP

His Majesty the King has ordered the Royal Barge Procession to be postponed to December 12, originally scheduled for October 24, as recommended by the organising committee chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngarm told Parliament yesterday about the official postponement.

After ten rehearsals and one dress rehearsal, he said the organising committee agreed that, if the procession were to proceed on October 24, the water conditions in the Chao Phraya River, currents and weather conditions would not be optimal. The committee then reported its concerns to HM the King, who subsequently agreed that the event be postponed until December 12, the beginning of the winter in Bangkok and the most settled weather of the year, according to Thai PBS World.

The committee will meet again on October 21 and a formal announcement will be made about the new schedule, said Wissanu, adding that December would be perfect timing for the event as there will be little chance of rain.

The Royal Barge Procession is the official finale of the King’s Coronation ceremony held in May this year. Their Majesties the King and Queen will ride on one of the 52 barges in the procession.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Here’s an example of what it will look like…

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Bangkok

BTS thief and credit card skimmers arrested in Bangkok

May Taylor

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BTS thief and credit card skimmers arrested in Bangkok | The Thaiger

Tourist police in Bangkok have arrested a thief accused of pick-pocketing tourists on the city’s BTS Skytrain, along with an Indonesian couple charged with credit card fraud and card skimming.

Kasem Masan Jantaro, a 44 year old food vendor in the Huay Kwang market, says he started pick-pocketing when business became too slow for him to adequately support his family. The Skytrain security team alerted the police after several reports of tourists being pick-pocketed on the trains. Victims described the thief as middle-aged, with pale skin.

Kasem was arrested while trying to flee the scene at the Asok BTS station on Wednesday and was found to have 4,600 baht in cash and four stolen credit cards in his possession. Thai Residents reports that Kasem was previously prosecuted for drugs offences in 2015 and for robbery in 2016.

In a separate arrest, Bangkok police detained 32 year old Alexander Eddilias and 33 year old Estie Rusdiana, an Indonesian couple charged with being in possession of fake credit cards, stolen credit cards, and skimming devices used to steal credit card information.

The arrest comes after several banks notified police of transactions made using fake cards and the couple were tracked to a room in the Pratunam area of Bangkok. Officers also seized a computer, a skimming device, twenty two fake credit cards, two stolen credit cards, and twenty four credit card receipts.

The suspects say they bought the information on the Dark Web. The information was then recorded in the magnetic strip of the fake cards, which were used to make purchases worth approximately 2 million baht.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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ASEAN

Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit

May Taylor

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Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | The Thaiger

November 4 and 5 have been approved as official holidays for Bangkok and Nonthaburi as a result of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits being held at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul confirmed yesterday that the measure was being taken in an effort to alleviate traffic problems in both areas during the summit, adding that other state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand could implement the holidays for their subsidiaries at their own discretion and on a case-by-case basis.

“Government agencies in Bangkok and Nonthaburi will stop working on these dates. Meanwhile, state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand will consider announcing November 4 and 5 as holidays for their subsidiaries on case-by-case basis.”

“However, government agencies which have a necessity to provide urgent or previously scheduled services to their clients that cannot be postponed may stay open on November 4 and 5, depending on the decision by the heads of these departments.”

Some other public or regional holidays coming up…

Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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