Bangkok Street Stalls: Good Riddance

Published on 7th October 2016 by Stickboy BKK

There is much debate on social media this week after City Hall followed through and cleared busy footpaths of street stalls around Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam and countless other areas across the city.

The focus of those commenting seems to be on areas popular with tourists and expats that crammed the walkways of Sukhumvit and Silom but tables, tents and tessakit officers have been deployed at many other major thoroughfares such as Phahonyothin Road at Aree, where the busy footpath below the BTS was lined with food, fruit and countless other vendors flogging their trinkets and pirated DVDs.

They too are now gone.

Bangkok Street Stalls: Good Riddance

Some like myself say good riddance while others cry it’s is killing the character of Bangkok and the BMA should have regulated the setup in a better way. That’s easier said than done when pockets were being lined to turn a blind eye to what was being sold and where stalls were set up.

Do you think that 10 table streetside restaurant down Sukhumvit Soi 11 was operating legally across the entire footpath forcing pedestrians on to the road? Of course it wasn’t but the owner was paying the right people while coining it in tax-free.

Yeah, tax-free. One of the other main points the moaners have forgot to mention when telling the world how many people will lose their livelihoods. Sure, there were people doing it by the book with an officially allocated spot and they paid their dues but many more weren’t and never did.

When the vendors at Silom were offered an area to continue trading during negotiations with officials a few months back they actually complained they’d need to pay for power etc in the new place and that would eat into their profits.

viagra street stall bangkok

Get rid of the sex toys, Viagra and porn because they are bad for the image of Thailand and tourists with children shouldn’t be exposed to this sort of stuff is another comment that keeps cropping up too – so tasers, swords, knives and knuckledusters are family friendly?

Those who want the industry cleaned up and regulated can’t pick and choose which illegal items need to go and which ones can stay. Vendors selling the dodgy DVDs, knock-off t-shirts, fake handbags and purses are just as bad as those flogging pills and porn.

Bangkok Street Stalls: Good Riddance

And it’s not just expats debating the events of this past week. Thais have taken to Facebook and forums with their thoughts on the clean-up of the footpaths too, and they seems split on the decisions with some in the Good Riddance camp and others shouting Bring ‘Em Back.

I wonder how many of those wanting their return are the same people who complain day in, day out about how inaccessible Bangkok can be for pedestrians, young families with toddlers and prams, the elderly and the disabled?

I’d bet they all have at one time or another.

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