The closure of Silom Night market is giving back pavements to pedestrians. But also turn off tourists to visit the area.
The eviction of night market stalls along Silom might turn into an economic catastrophe for one of Bangkok’s most famous night life areas. They were until recently some 600 vendors coming every evening from 7pm-except Monday- on Silom Road pavement to set up their stalls and sell items, the best and the worst. it has been one of Bangkok’s most attractive places to come in the evening.
While some tourists are better touring bars and entertainment venues from nearby Patpong, most of the other visitors had fun bargaining for tee-shirts, handicrafts, DVDs, fashion accessories and popular souvenirs. Some others lined up to sample some of Bangkok street food specialties. “This is a catastrophe and it is hard to understand. Silom was really a way to make a living. I tried already to work in other areas such as Khao San Road but it was not that successful”, says Armmy, a vendor of handmade notebooks, a bit disillusioned.
First rumours of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) of a closure of night stalls in Silom area emerged last May and again in early July. The main motivation for the removal of all the vendors is BMA’s plan to return the streets’ pavements to pedestrians and citizens. Silom vendors tried to negotiate with Thailand PM, proposing to delay the opening of their stalls until 9 pm. In vain. End of september, the curtain felt on all stalls except for some 30 of them located in Patpong itself, the “real” night market in that area.
But such an evolution could meanwhile threaten the viability of many businesses in the area. Because the night market -and also entertainment venues- brought many locals and tourists and consequently income to many. And not only to the vendors but also to neighbouring restaurants, massage places, clubs as well as tuk tuk and taxi drivers.
The streets are now unusually quiet following the closure although some vendors start to be back, selling a few items on the stairs of the mall. For foreign visitors, Silom might turn into a big disappointment as the Night Market was one of Bangkok’s highlights as a tourist attraction. Its sudden vanishing might in fact kill Silom famous nightlife as tourists might now hang around other areas. And finally force authorities to look back at the issue and maybe find a compromise. Which would be a very Thai way of resolving problems!