After spending months trying to clean up the streets of Bangkok through clamping down on illegal street vendors, Bangkok officials have gone a step further to outrightly ban street vendors from operating on the sides of main roads. Other than the beloved food stalls, other vendors peddling clothes, handicrafts and other goods will also be banned.
This comes as a shocking move to visitors and locals alike, who agree that these street stalls make up a huge part of Bangkok’s charm. These food stalls also serve as a mingling point for locals from various social groups; it is where you’ll find businessmen in suits, uniformed students and tuk-tuk drivers gather for a simple, cheap yet delicious meal.
For a city famous for its street markets and food, part of the city’s culture and draw will definitely be lost with the removal and outlawing these street vendors. Besides, what’s Bangkok without the roadside fishcake-on-stick going for 10 baht each? Imagine Pratunam devoid of street stalls. Gone are the 20 baht chicken rice paired with some 10 baht grilled pork skewers.
The city government has argued that the street vendors are clogging the footpaths, causing pedestrian congestion. On top of that, some do not adhere to basic hygiene standards and therefore have to be removed to improve the order and cleanliness on the streets. However, not all is lost as the city has clarified that vendors at Khao San and Yaowarat (Chinatown) will not be asked to leave. They will still, however, be subject to zoning and scheduling regulations.
Now that food vendors are not allowed on the streets, where will we go to get our cheap and delicious street food? Perhaps one of Bangkok’s many markets will have to suffice while the city sorts itself out. Check out our list here for nine great markets to visit while in Bangkok!