Khao San Road, Thailand’s most famous backpacker street is about to get a huge makeover. Located in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok, this street is perhaps the most famous party street of the country. Its unkempt exterior has been instrumental in its mass appeal, however that may soon change with a redesign, reports Lonely Planet.
Khao San Road to change into upmarket tourist attraction
A chaotic, hyper-kinetic street, Khao San Road will soon become a more sanitised version of itself. Bangkok authorities have revealed that they will be investing 48 million baht (£1.28m / $1.56m) on “relandscaping” it and turning it into a more upmarket tourist attraction.
The dazzling street has a cluster of rough and tumble bars and was immortalised in Andrew Garland’s 1996 novel The Beach and subsequent film starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Any backpacker travelling through South East Asia is sure to find themselves strolling through this area. Deputy Bangkok governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul announced that the money will be used to resurface the strip’s notoriously crooked footpaths and even them out.
Many changes will be put in place
Other plans include registering and limiting the number of vendors to 240. They will be allowed to trade from 9am to 9pm in designated zones. Presently, vendors are allowed to work from 6pm until midnight and generally set up shop wherever there’s space. Additionally, pushcarts selling drinks, fruit and food, a roadside staple in the city, will no longer be allowed to trundle down Khao San. The redesigning will begin from October to February. Some believe that the face-lift of this popular street will lead to gentrification and take away from the soul of the place.
The street has always been an enchanting mix of cheap hostels, street sellers peddling everything from buckets of alcohol to made-to-measure suits, open-air massages, fake designer handbags, Thai bug delicacies and, more covertly, recreational drugs. There are also trendy bars and wellness cafes. It is left to be seen if the redesigning will still retain the charm of Khao San Road.