BANGKOK — To keep some of Bangkok’s traditional appeal, City Hall announced Thursday it would allow street vendors to remain in the Khaosan Road and Chinatown areas.
In a rare acknowledgment that bustling street markets contribute to Bangkok’s charm and identity, City Hall announced it would exempt the two popular tourist areas from its ongoing campaign to clear vendors from sidewalks and make streets more walkable.
Vendors in Chinatown, one of the city’s most-sought sources of street food, will be permitted to set up their stalls from 6pm to midnight.
Nearly 200 shops in the backpacker nest of Khaosan Road were also permitted to operate, from 6pm to 1am.
City Hall said it would still keep the area clean and organized by dispatching its officers to manage them.
The move comes after the policy, pursued vigorously since the junta seized power in 2014, has been increasingly criticized for scouring away the capital city’s spirit.
Conversely, the cleanup campaign has enjoyed the support of many frustrated by the shops which have long encroached on public spaces.
Specifically, many hailed City Hall for removing street sellers from Siam Square last year, as the market was seen as opportunistic and lacking any historical or cultural roots in the neighborhood.
However, city officials insist other markets whose losses have been lamented, such as the Pak Khlong Talad flower market, will not be reconsidered.