6 June 2024

Most vendors at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market are hoping that the Thai government will reopen the country as soon as possible and allow foreign tourists in again, to help revive their businesses, saying it is their “only hope.”

According to the vendors, half of the famed market’s customers are usually foreigners, especially tourists.

One shoe vendor at the market told Thai PBS that they will close their shop for the next three weeks, because there are no customers.

A leather bag vendor explained that they have been selling at the market for more than 20 years and that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their business the most, leading to their stock of bags piling up.

While some shops remain open, even with very few customers, others demand the closure of market, to cut their rent. The director of Chatuchak market has no plans to close the market, however, but has imposed strict preventive measures and reduced the rents until August this year instead.

Chatuchak market contains 10,334 shops. Among them are 9,495 regular shops and 839 plant shops. Only 2,000 shops, however, were open during the past week.

Under a government scheme, called “Phuket Sandbox”, Thailand will partially open to foreign tourists, who have been fully vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19, without a quarantine requirement, from July 1st. Visitors to Phuket are required to stay on the island for at least seven days before traveling to other Thai provinces with airports.

Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Buriram, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan, are expected to adopt the Phuket model in October.