Business owners on Bangkok’s Khao San Road kiss goodbye their Songkran plans

Businesses on Bangkok’s popular Khao San Road are axing their Songkran celebration plans, following news that they would have to abide by several restrictions. This would include an alcohol ban, having to provide free face masks to partiers if their masks got wet, and being held responsible if partiers took off their masks.

The president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association told Thai PBS that some smaller business owners insist on holding celebrations, even though water splashing in public areas and roads won’t be allowed this year. The Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee decided to allow “water sprinkling” in specific areas that have sought permission, although officials did not go into detail about what exactly that means.

But for many businesses, the president said having to comply with the strict measures will be too risky. He said the Songkran holiday will be business as usual for owners. The president added that he expects 30-40% of hotel rooms to be occupied, and for more Thais to visit the area to dine and drink during the festive week.

The Khao San area is popular among western backpackers. In pre-Covid days, Songkran celebrations there drew several thousands of both local and foreign visitors. Apart from its Songkran parties, Khao San is generally known as a famous street in Thailand. In 2019, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority announced it was investing $1.6 million to transform Khao San Road into a regulated “international walking street.”

Khao San was eventually renovated in 2020, although due to Covid-19 the renovation was less climactic than expected, with much fewer foreigners. However, the streets were still packed with young Thais on weekends.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | CNN

Business owners on Bangkok's Khao San Road kiss goodbye their Songkran plans | News by Thaiger

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.