Think of Bangkok, Thailand and you'll likely think of streets bustling with backpackers, tuk tuks, stalls, and street food vendors. Venture there next year, though, and the latter may no longer be around.
Yes, what was once a huge contributor to the city's culture is now being banned from the streets, meaning stacked plates of pad thai and steaming bowls of tom yum will need to be sought out elsewhere. So far, vendors in some areas have been rounded up and sent to specific markets where they are able to sell legally, but by the end of this year the city hopes to have all 50 districts of Bangkok returned to pedestrians.
It seems that the concern is related to space, with officials suggesting that the stalls litter the streets and clog the pathways. And apparently it isn't just street food vendors being swept off the streets, either. According to an article by The Telegraph, “All types of stalls including clothes, counterfeit goods and food stalls will be banned from main city roads,” Wanlop Suwandee, a chief adviser to Bangkok’s governor, told AFP. “They will not be allowed for order and hygiene reasons.”
Naturally, such big changes have been met with big reactions, as a lot of people feel that cleaning out the vendors is equal to cleaning out the culture itself. Not to mention the locals who depend on their sales to make a living. After all, both locals and travelers for years have been noshing on street corners, and what good is all that walking space if we no longer have a target to get to?
Heading north? Check out Hug Elephant Sanctuary on the way.