September 19, 2019
Latest News

Bangkok backpackers' mecca to be revamped by Thai authorities

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela.

Bangkok, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- The hustle and bustle of Khao San Road, Bangkok’s backpacker hub popularized by Leonardo DiCaprio's film "The Beach," is a pocket of wild and bohemian charm in the Thai capital, but the authorities now want to revamp it to attract more families.

At nightfall under its famous neon lights, the road becomes a trail of tourists in search of cheap restaurants and bars, or bargains at the stalls of street vendors selling clothes, souvenirs, alcohol, seafood, fruit and even grilled insects.

But in addition to offering a wide variety of items for sale, some street stalls are unlicensed and occupy the sidewalks, making walking difficult and creating conflict with some businesses that own premises and pay taxes.

The local authorities want to solve this issue with an investment plan valued at 48.8 million baht ($1.59 million) to organize the stalls and improve the sidewalks and spaces.

It’s estimated that the renovation work will begin in October and end in February next year.

"I think it's good that the government plans to improve the sidewalks. The renovation will help attract families," Khao San Business Association president Sanga Ruangwattanakul told EFE.

Sanga said the authorities' plans will improve the accessibility of the street and reduce conflict between vendors and shops that are blocked by carts selling their wares.

The businessman added that at the end of the night, rubbish is piled up — especially plastic cups and bags — due to the shortage of rubbish bins.

Spanning about 400 meters, Khao San Road has about 400 permanent stalls and at least 100 street vendors, although the backpackers’ area of hostels and restaurants has expanded to other adjacent streets.

According to Sanga, the area attracts about 50,000 tourists a day in high season (between November and March) and about 20,000 in low season (between April and October).

Situated in the capital’s Old Town near the Chao Phraya River, Khao San ("milled rice" in Thai) Road was founded in 1892 and, as its name would imply, the area served as a silo and rice market.

In the 1980s, it became crowded with low-priced hostels for young backpackers attracted by the exoticism and revelry of the capital before leaving for the white sandy beaches of the south.

Despite strict anti-drug laws, marijuana was easily found in the area, said Sanga, who opened his first street bar 25 years ago and is now one of the partners of the Buddy Group, which owns bars, restaurants and other businesses in the area.

In 2000, the street gained popularity with the film “The Beach,” in which DiCaprio played a backpacker who heard in a Khao San Road hostel the story of a community living on a secret beach.

More recently, the area has gained a bad reputation for the noise of bars with loudspeakers in the streets and cheap low-quality hostels, although there are also more higher-end hotels.

"For me it's the best. We arrived on the first day as we had no place to eat dinner and we were served the typical food — pad thai — which is very good," said Marco, a tourist from Madrid who believes that the chaos is part of the street's charm.

"Then we partied some of the group, and the truth is that we had a great time. We have not seen it very dirty," he added next to several of his relatives on a rooftop on Khao San Road with a local beer in hand. EFE-EPA

grc-ht/igx/tw

News history
US immigration courts' backlog exceeds 1 million cases

By Michelle Hackman.

Pompeo, Bin Salman condemn 'unprecedented' Saudi oil refinery attacks

Washington, Sept. 18 (efe-epa).- United States’ secretary of state and the Saudi crown prince met on Wednesday in Jeddah to coordinate a response to the...

Argentine lawmakers renew emergency food law

Buenos Aires, Sep 18 (EFE).- The Argentine Senate approved on Wednesday a measure to renew a 17-year-old emergency food law amid the worsening economic...

Fed cuts interest rates by a quarter point

Washington, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The United States Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to lower its benchmark interest rate to a target range of between 1.75...

Trump, Rouhani, Bolsonaro to be UN's main protagonists, many missing

By Mario Villar

28 children die in Liberia school fire

Monrovia, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- At least 28 children have died in Liberia in a fire in a boarding school in a suburb on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia.

Trump steps up sanctions on Iran after oil attacks

Washington, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States said Wednesday he has ordered a significant increase in sanctions against Iran, a move...

Indian students and activists take part in an anti-tobacco campaign rally

New Delhi, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The government of India on Wednesday announced a blanket ban on electronic-cigarettes, citing health risks to users,...

At least 10 injured as militants attack government office in Afghanistan

Kabul, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- At least 10 people were injured on Wednesday in a suicide bomb and gun attack targeting a government office complex in the city of...

Trump, Rouhani, Bolsonaro to be UN's main protagonists, many missing

By Mario Villar

Spain's politicians unofficially enter campaign mode as repeat vote looms

Madrid, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Spanish lawmakers on Wednesday unofficially began campaigning for looming repeat elections in a lively prime minister's questions...

Hong Kong protests creating chasm between residents and police

By Shirley Lau.

Juncker: Possible no-deal Brexit remains 'palpable'

Strasbourg, France, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The risk of a no-deal Brexit remains "palpable," the EU commission's president Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs Wednesday.

Alleged Chinese cyber-attacks cast shadow over Australian politics

By Rocio Otoya

Freed Venezuelan lawmaker calls for release of all political prisoners

Caracas, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- The deputy speaker of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, who was released on Tuesday after spending more than 130...

Netanyahu vows to form new government

Tel Aviv, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Israel's acting prime minister gave a speech to supporters early on Wednesday following general elections in the Middle Eastern...

Sánchez makes last call to avoid new Spanish elections

Spain will hold snap elections on 10 November, after acting PM Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday (17 September) failed to get either the support of the leftist...

Oil price falls as fears of supply shortage ebb

By Guillermo Ximenis

Pain, resignation hang over central Mexico 2 years after devastating quake

By Gabriela Garcia Guzman

Spain's king names no premier candidate, opening way to new elections

Madrid, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Spain's King Felipe VI on Tuesday did not name a candidate to form a new government after his round of contacts with political...

Greta Thunberg, activists urge Congress to act on climate change

Washington, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, along with a group of indigenous leaders, on Tuesday demanded...

Saïed, Karoui will face off in 2nd round of presidential elections in Tunisia

Tunis, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Conservative jurist Kaïes Saïed and media magnate Nabil Karoui will face off in a runoff election in Tunisia, according to the...

Amazon deforestation driven by mafia networks, NGO warns

Sao Paolo, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is driven by violent mafia networks which the Jair Bolsonaro government has fueled by...

Snowden's memoirs: A call to protect privacy in a digital age

By Lucia Leal

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.