Central Lad Phrao, Bang Kapi—and now Khaosan. Is Yaowarat next?
Of all the back-pedaling and mixed messages that went around during the April 2017 "ban on street food," chief Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) spokesperson Vallop Suwandee's claims about Khaosan Road were among the biggest.
"The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is not banning street food in Khaosan and Yaowarat roads, it's the opposite," he told the news agency.
So you would be forgiven for being more than a bit confused by this morning's news that all vendors must clear themselves from Khaosan Road by Aug 1.
According to the Bangkok Post, deputy governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul says vendors will be moved after a City Hall inspection found Khaosan overrun with food vendors. Instead, they will be relocated to a temporarily designated space complete with ambulance parking and security checkpoints.
The move is only the latest in an ongoing war against Bangkok's street-food vendors that began in April 2017 with the clearance of food vendors around the Thonglor area.
Despite initial reports of a city-wide crackdown, it was quickly announced that tourist areas such as Yaowarat and Khaosan Road would be preserved as street-food friendly zones. On April 20, 2017, to the backdrop of worldwide headlines, the Tourism Authority of Thailand released a statement titled "Bangkok remains top destination for street food."
On Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018, however, Sakoltee had this to say to the Post: "The reclamation will not ruin the image of the tourist spot as vending stalls will be regulated in an orderly fashion to create a more scenic area."
And doesn't that sound like what every tourist wants.