Pratunam Market is next to be cleared – a tragedy for Bangkok?

Pratunam Market is next to be cleared – a tragedy for Bangkok?

Pratunam’s Flashy, Trashy Fashion to be Swept Away

A pedestrian walks through stalls specializing in apparel and fashion items in Bangkok’s Pratunam area.
Photo: Jef1947 / Flickr

By Sasiwan Mokkhasen
Staff Reporter at Khaosod English – Click here to see the original Khaosod English report

BANGKOK — The sidewalks of Pratunam, the nation’s biggest clothing bazaar, are the next target for the cleanup broom powered by a government tidiness campaign.

Nearly 700 street stalls will soon be gone from the area famous for affordable fashion as City Hall tightens up code enforcement and moves forward with its cleanliness and order campaign.

More than 100 street stalls located on the sidewalk outside an area where they’ve been allowed were ordered to leave by March 8, according to District Chief Chatree Wattanakhejon in Matichon Online. Another 576 stalls lawfully operating on the sidewalk will soon be forced out when the city revokes their permits to clear the sidewalks.

As has become a routine, authorities have prepared alternate sites for the vendors that many are likely to find objectionable. Three hundred vendors will be asked to move to a private market on Soi Phetchaburi 29, while a market in the Bang Kapi district can accommodate 1,000 vendors. A third at the Kuuk Kuk Tha Din Daeng Market can hold 600 vendors.

The biggest destination for clothes and fashion-related everything, Pratunam Market is known for selling at wholesale prices. It is situated in the heart of Bangkok at the intersection of Ratchaprarop and Phetchaburi roads in the Ratchathewi district.

District Chief Chatree said the reorganization plan was recently submitted to City Hall and vendors would have a later opportunity to discuss the matter.

Since the military government announced its policy to reclaim public space after it seized power in 2014, Bangkok has cleared a number of its informal markets well-known to both locals and tourists. The latest recently cleared spot was the famous Pak Khlong flower market.

The campaign has been met with cheers by those who want a tidier capital city and criticized by those who see a loss of its unique culture and attractions.

Added by blog author Barbara Simmons:

At present Pratunam Market sidewalk is closed every Monday and it truly looks like a sad, deserted, lonely and dirty ghost town. Is that what they have in mind for all of our precious City? I hope not, as will many thousands of tourists who come to the Big Mango to soak up their days wandering through these iconic markets picking up bargains along their way.

Pratunam Market closed on Mondays

Pratunam Market closed on Mondays

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8 Responses to “Pratunam Market is next to be cleared – a tragedy for Bangkok?”

  1. Mace Says:

    This is sad, we come to Thailand to see the unique and vibrant markets found only in Bangkok. If we want to look at bare streets we can stay home.

  2. Matt Owens Rees Says:

    The article is a tad mischievous. Only illegal traders are being removed and they have been offered alternative pitches. Th main market and its atmosphere is not affected. But that would not make a story that sells newsprint, would it?

    • Richard Says:

      If that is the case then it’s very good news.

    • Barbara Simmons Says:

      Thanks for your comment Matt. I utterly understand and appreciate how the street vendors can exasperate the locals and that sympathy for them is low. Could I explain that although I currently live in Spain, I have lived in Bangkok on & off since the late 1980″s and almost always in the Pratunam or Makkasan areas. So I understand the area quite well and my comments and feelings are hopefully deeper than those who see the area only from a tourist point of view. Yes, I fully agree that the sidewalks can be impossible to navigate at any speed and the chances of getting your legs gouged, head bashed or eyes poked out are always high. That said, regulars and locals know that one side of the road (opposite Indra) is always less busy and usually passable as it is mainly fruit and flower stalls. I appreciate that the traders currently being moved are only the ones who are operating illegally in the streets but they and their families have been trading there ‘illegally’ for at least 25 years to my certain knowledge. The other consideration I have with regard to Pratunam market is that Rajaprarob Road is not really a pedestrian thoroughfare to anywhere other than the hotels, local businesses and markets which cater mainly to the tourists. You only have to look at Rajaprarob on a Monday when the market is closed and you will see that there is virtually no foot traffic on the sidewalks. So, my main concern is not for the trauma or inconvenience that the farangs will suffer but for the traders who are being forcibly moved to premises they cannot afford, the small hotels in the area which will suffer loss of business, the girls and boys in the massage shops who will have no trade, Mama & Papa trying to eek out a living from their noodle cart, the lottery sellers, the lovely young girl who squeezes lime juice at the bottom of the bridge, the old lady who collects and sells the cardboard & plastic waste each day etc etc. All these people will suffer a hit to their already meager living and just so that a few can walk the streets with a little more ease. I truly do believe that street markets are indigenous to the Big Mango and that she will be a different and less appealing place without them

  3. Barbara Simmons Says:

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time and trouble to express your feelings on this emotive subject. I utterly understand and appreciate how the street vendors can exasperate the locals and that sympathy for them is low. Could I explain that although I currently live in Spain, I have lived in Bangkok on & off since the late 1980″s and almost always in the Pratunam or Makkasan areas. So I understand the area and my comments and feelings are hopefully deeper than those who see the area only from a tourist point of view. Yes, I fully agree that the sidewalks can be impossible to navigate at any speed and the chances of getting your legs gouged, head bashed or eyes poked out are always high. That said, regulars and locals know that one side of the road (opposite Indra) is always less busy and usually passable as it is mainly fruit and flower stalls. I appreciate that the traders currently being moved are only the ones who are operating illegally in the streets but they and their families have been trading there ‘illegally’ for at least 25 years to my certain knowledge. The other consideration I have with regard to Pratunam market is that Rajaprarob Road is not really a pedestrian thoroughfare to anywhere other than the hotels, local businesses and markets which cater mainly to the tourists. You only have to look at Rajaprarob on a Monday when the market is closed and you will see that there is virtually no foot traffic on the sidewalks. So, my main concern is not for the trauma or inconvenience that the farangs will suffer but for the traders who are being forcibly moved to premises they cannot afford, the small hotels in the area which will suffer loss of business, the girls and boys in the massage shops who will have no trade, Mama & Papa trying to eek out a living from their noodle cart, the lottery sellers, the lovely young girl who squeezes lime juice at the bottom of the bridge, the old lady who collects and sells the cardboard & plastic waste each day etc etc. All these people will suffer a hit to their already meager living and just so that a few can walk the streets with a little more ease. I truly do believe that street markets are indigenous to the Big Mango and that she will be a different and less appealing place without them.

  4. Ddd Says:

    Omg when. 😦

  5. Barbara Simmons Says:

    They say 100 by this weekend and another 500 or more by the end of the month. Basically it is all the outside street stalls


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