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Pattaya’s homeless population on the rise after a year without foreign tourists

Tanutam Thawan



Stock photo by Flickr user mikecogh

More people are sleeping on the streets in Pattaya. Even some women who work in bars in the city’s red light district are setting up tents in the empty bars to sleep at night. The lack of foreign tourists in Pattaya, a city that was named one of the top 20 most visited cities in the world back in 2019 with 10 million foreign tourists, has led to the closure of tourism-dependent businesses. Many have lost their jobs, and some have lost their homes.

According to Pattaya Mail, some women who worked in bars returned to their homes in rural provinces, but some stayed in Pattaya. The owner of a local bar says she allows many of the now-unemployed women to set tents up at the bar to sleep, but she may need to close down the bar and evict the women. She’s calling on the government to offer more aid to unemployed workers during the pandemic.

While entertainment venues, massage shops, cinemas, and other venues are shut down for 14 days due to the recent wave of Covid-19 infections, Pattaya officials say the lack of foreign tourists has hit the city the hardest as the tourism industry makes up an estimated 80% of the local GDP, according to Pattaya News.

Many businesses that rely on foreign tourists have closed. There’s little to no one visiting to keep hotels operating as normal, leading to staff layoffs and temporary closures. Some restaurants have temporarily closed following alcohol bans and restrictions limiting operating hours.

Pattaya News says the homeless population in the area has risen. Even the number of stray dogs in the area has increased. Most of the homeless people in Pattaya are foreigners from the neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, according to the Chon Buri Provincial Authority. Many of the homeless migrants lost their jobs and are unable to return to their home country due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation. A number of them worked in the service and hospitality industry which was hit hard by the lack of visitors and the disease control restrictions.

SOURCES: Pattaya News | Pattaya Mail


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  1. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    So sorry. I hope that the Thai economy will successfully develop other areas of business, not only in tourism, because Thailand is a rich country. If lazy prostitutes can no move to a normal life, then at least their children will have access to normal jobs?

  2. Avatar

    Ralphie Boy

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    To be clear, my heart goes out to the unfortunate.

    Now imagine opening your borders to foreigners, and giving them social largesse.

    That, is my home country, the U.S.A.

  3. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    @Olga – Whatever your view on prostitution, one thing is for sure – most of these girls work very hard. You should try being a little more compassionate.

  4. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    yea so what, at least a few old people aren’t dying from covid

  5. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Perhaps you were reading with your red-light tint horse blinkers Olga? Burmese, Cambodian and Laos migrants that typically work in maintenance, construction and if lucky then in hotels doing housekeeping, gardening and food preparation aren’t sex workers, and tragically make up the overwhelming majority of the homeless.

    Maybe you could find a place in that iron heart of yours to emphasize with their sad and desperate situation instead of suggesting they deserved it because they’re all lazy prostitutes.

  6. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Cant help but think that this is only the beginning of a lot more misery to come……..

  7. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    I feel sorry for them and have helped them out occasionally
    However the weather is warm, and there are plenty of places to sleep.
    Some of the homeless I saw were westerners . . .

  8. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Why would “their children” not “have access to normal jobs”, @Olga?

    Or is that just the “lazy” ones’ children?

    Very, very few will have their children with them as most have them looked after up-country by a relative.

  9. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Dear Tim, your last weeks vlogs have elevated your content platform to how you want to be able to communicate. Theres an energy in the current team, and its been your best journalism in the several years youve been present.

    Olga has made a comment which the three existing replies and then mine where deleted. if constructive replies are deleted then enjoy the silence.

  10. Avatar


    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    @Саймон Смолл – I know that most prostitutes in Thailand go to this job to provide for their parents and children who live in the villages. I hope that the economic situation in Thailand will change, and not only the tourism business, but also other industries will develop. This means that if other industries develop, the children of prostitutes will get normal jobs when they grow up.

  11. Avatar

    Sarah w

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    I find Olgas comments extremely rude on the Thai ladies.

  12. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    They are not all prostitute’s by a long way.many are unemployed ex cleaners,laundry workers,maids etc.
    ie people on very low salary’s and unable to save money for a rainy day.
    Even if they were all unemployed prostitute’s I don’t see any reason why their profession is relevant to being in a very difficult situation through no making of their own.

  13. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 4:07 am

    @Sarah w – I am not a Buddhist, I believe in economics, not in karma. But if suddenly for the fact that I have offended someone here, in my next life I will be born in Thailand, I hope by that time Thailand will be in a better state than it is now. Lol.

  14. Avatar

    J West

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Thailand fell arse- backwards into tourist billions . Tourism money is lottery money. Let’s face facts, no Thai created Lonely Planet to draw in the backpackers dollars. “Certain HiSo persons” shouldn’t be so arrogant and act all-knowing. Beer Barons, Tourist Moguls and Hotel Billionaires are no Thai version of JP Morgan. Free money fell from the sky…not by the product of smart work.The idea that they should have to give a goodly percentage of the filthy lucre back should be catching on by now. Thailand’s people brought the tourists, not a bunch a pompous gluttons. Thai HiSo, pay the Thai people what they’re owed in this time of great need. Sell a townhouse in London or Zurich, create charity, not more starvation.

  15. Avatar

    Boris B

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    I agree with Sarah W but what olga is saying is basically stuff you Sarah!!! I would hazard a guess that olga has worked the doors of Amsterdam for many years and has been to Thailand once or twice and doesn’t like it.. well I’m afraid it’s been like this for many years and will continue to be.

  16. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Prostitutes are not lazy!!! As you well know my darling… maybe Olgas had a few years at the business and now has met someone I totally understand!! It’s like the hypocrites who’ve smoke cigarettes all their life then stop and say smoking is disgusting… we all totally understand now where you’re comments are coming from. Don’t worry about the Thai ladies their all beautiful and hardworking and not lazy. Maybe the best thing is if you don’t like it don’t go to Thailand. Prostitution has been around in every country for hundreds of years. This is how I met my 19 year old fiancé even though I’m now 72 we are extremely happy. Life goes on!!

  17. Avatar

    Barry Betts

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    The situation in Thailand is getting worse day by day it’s so so sad,and I’m afraid it’s only go to get worse. I don’t think that prostitution can be called lazy seriously?? Prostitution is around the world and makes infinity money it’s an old profession and I for one am very happy with the Thai girls. Thai smiles or Russian miserable sour Face ID take Thai everyday.

  18. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    It’s good that there is such a lively discussion here, it’s interesting. Thank you Bigsleazypappa for sharing your happiness story. I am sure that your young fiancé will not get tired of such a cheerful man like you. No, Boris, I have no experience of such work, thank God, I have a good education, I have a job in my country. I fell in love with Thailand and I hope that this beautiful country can also give its citizens a good education and good jobs.

  19. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    This is nothing as compared to the richest and most powerful country in the world,America. More than estimated 45 millions people are homeless and unemployed and they rely on charitable organisations to feed them or house them The government splurge hundreds of billons in defense spending with so many military bases in other countries,but not a dime for these people in dire straits,as it will be construe as socialism and communism by their politicians.

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