11 July 2024

Business owners in the Khaosan area of Bangkok have decided to cancel plans for Songkran celebrations this year, citing the multiple restrictions with which they would have to comply.

President of the Khaosan Road Business Operators Association, Sanga Ruangwattanakul, said association members have met to discuss the required safety measures, such being held accountable if revellers remove their face masks, the ban on alcohol in the celebration ground and having to provide free face masks to the revellers if their masks become wet.

He said having to comply with such measures will present too much risk.

The businesses in the Khaosan area, which is popular among western backpackers, had sought permission to hold water splashing events on the road, which has been the hallmark of its Songkran celebrations, attracting several thousands of both local and foreign participants each year prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

Sanga said the association has already notified the district office about its decision to cancel the planned celebrations. He added, however, that there is a smaller group of business owners who insist on holding celebrations, albeit without water splashing.

For the Khaosan area as a whole, he said it will be normal business for the operators during the Songkran holidays, as he anticipates 30-40% hotel room occupancy rate.

He also expects more Thais to visit the area to dine and drink during the festive week.