Khaosan Road gets a makeover, eyes August reopening

Khaosan Road’s new look. Photo: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
Khaosan Road’s new look. Photo: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration

Months of respite recovering from henna stains and nitrous oxide vapors may come to an end after July for Khaosan Road. 

The popular shopping and drinking spot that draws backpackers from around the world is expected to reopen again in August – sans tourists – with improvements including a new road surface and more trees.

Deputy Bangkok Gov. Sakoltee Phattiyakul, who has unsuccessfully battled to clear out the street’s roadside vendors for years, said the renovation project was nearly complete, so there was a good chance it would be ready by August.

He added that they won’t be any vendors there yet as a selection process was still underway.

His plucky nemesis, Yada Pornpetrumpa of the Khaosan Road Vendors Association, told Coconuts Bangkok today that her group will meet with City Hall reps to discuss the vendor situation by the end of this month, but she doesn’t expect a list of approved vendors to be final by then.

So far the city’s work has included repaving the road and adding traffic barriers. It plans to do the same on nearby Kraisi, Ram Buttri and Tani roads to make them uniform with the new Khaosan look. Sakoltee said some roads won’t have space for street vendors but rather more trees and “recreational spaces.”

His crusade to transform the street has been welcomed by some as bringing long overdue order to its chaos. Others complain it will erase the soul and character that put it on the map for travelers the world over.

He said the city was still looking for contractors to do the work, which comes with a price tag of THB44.5 million (US$1.4 million).

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