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Thread: Khao San Road forced to clean up its act

  1. #1

    Khao San Road forced to clean up its act

    For generations of young adventurers Khao San Road has been their first experience of travel abroad; a playground of grubby hostels, cheap booze, recreational drugs and banana pancakes. Now Bangkok’s backpacker enclave is to be redeveloped and gentrified. The city authorities have announced a plan to spend 48 million baht ($2.23m) on “re-landscaping” the 350m strip that attracts backpackers from all over the world. It is the latest skirmish in a battle to impose order on the chaotic street, which was made *famous in Alex Garland’s 1996 novel The Beach and the subsequent film.

    Footpaths will be made level with the road, eliminating one of the traditional quirks of the backpacker experience: drunkenly tripping over Khao San’s looming kerbs. The cracked concrete, embedded with chewing gum and cigarette ends, is to be replaced with “flamed-finish tiles”, which are said to be less slippery. The work also will help in the city’s struggle against the street vendors, who dominate Khao San and give it much of its grubby character. Open-air stalls selling beach clothes, sarongs, fake DVDs and designer labels, and snacks such as fried scorpions used to operate around the clock.

    Police arrested nine people this month for selling another popular novelty item: balloons filled with laughing gas. Last year the Bangkok authorities began to enforce a previously ignored law called the Public Cleanliness and Orderliness Act, which bans street selling by day. When the government also tried to stamp out selling in the evenings, it faced vehement protests from long-established vendors.

    Under new rules, the footpath and road will be divided by railings, and each vendor will be permitted a single space, 1.5m by 2m, which can be operated from 9am to 9pm. Sellers of street food, or hawkers, are part of the fabric of life in many Southeast Asian cities. One of the more successful hawkers, Jay Fai, won a Michelin star two years ago and her dishes are now served to passengers on Thai Airways. According to researchers at Thammasat University in Bangkok, 88 per cent of Thais buy street food every day, even though the authorities insist much of it is unsanitary and unsafe. About 500 of the city’s 700 food vending zones have been removed or demolished. Some have been relocated to sites on the outskirts. If plans are fully implemented, only 10,000 hawkers will remain from a peak of 240,000.

  2. #2
    Believe I'll wear my TRUMP 2020 shirt and my MAGA cap on a stroll down Khao San Road and troll for unhinged lefties!

    Clean the place up a bit...
    You want to hear a good joke?

    Bernie Sanders.

  3. #3
    Would be good if they cleaned up it up, but it is always a hoot walking down that street seeing all the crazy action and selling of everything you can think of under the sun.

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