Declining conditions of Bangkok’s Klong Ong Ang raise concerns

Photo courtesy of PPTV

A United Thai Nation Party‘s (UTN) Parliament member voiced concerns yesterday about the neglected state of Klong Ong Ang, a once thriving tourist attraction in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Kriangyot Sudlapha, a UTN list-MP, raised the issue in the House of Representatives, urging the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to step in and rejuvenate the area.

Located in the Phra Nakhon district, Klong Ong Ang was once a bustling hotspot for locals and tourists alike. The BMA reclaimed the area in 2015, turning the rundown canal into a thriving public space for recreational activities by 2019. The transformation included cleaning the canal water, paving walkways, and adorning the walls with colourful street art.

Known for its lively weekend walking street activities, the revamped Klong Ong Ang quickly became a city landmark, drawing in visitors and providing a steady income stream for the local community. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the area would buzz with activity, its vibrancy and charm enticing people from all walks of life.

However, Kriangyot has now highlighted the declining conditions of the once-vibrant area. He pointed out that water pollution has returned to Klong Ong Ang, and homeless individuals have taken up residence on the previously bustling walkways. Moreover, the once popular walking street activities are now ignored, said Kriangyot.

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“I’m asking why the BMA no longer organises activities to engage people and generate income for locals.”

Despite the current state of Klong Ong Ang, it should be noted that the area’s transformation did not go unnoticed. In 2021, Klong Ong Ang was awarded the 2020 Asian Townscape Award by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), in recognition of the shared efforts of the municipal administration, business operators, planners/designers, and local citizens, reported Bangkok Post.

UN-Habitat awarded Klong Ong Ang based on criteria such as environmental friendliness, sustainability, appreciation for local culture, artistic quality, and regional impact. With such accolades to its name, it is evident that Klong Ong Ang holds the potential to once again be a thriving public space, should appropriate action be taken to preserve and revitalise it.

Bangkok NewsEconomy NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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