Pattaya becomes refuge from ‘Bangkok Shutdown’

Friday, 24 January 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 4 By  Veechan Souksi

With Bangkok under siege from anti-government protestors, Pattaya is seeing a tourist resurgence, as Thais and foreigners flee the capital for the Eastern Seaboard.

Dongtan Beach vendor Saleewan Boonchuay, 53, said the weeks leading up to the Jan. 13 “shutdown” of major intersections in Bangkok were desperately quiet.

Area beaches are once again full, in part due to many people escaping the “shutdown” in Bangkok. With Bangkok under siege from anti-government protestors, Pattaya is seeing a tourist resurgence, as Thais and foreigners flee the capital for the Eastern Seaboard.Area beaches are once again full, in part due to many people escaping the “shutdown” in Bangkok. With Bangkok under siege from anti-government protestors, Pattaya is seeing a tourist resurgence, as Thais and foreigners flee the capital for the Eastern Seaboard.

“I thought this year’s high season would be the worst,” she said.

But after tens of thousands of people shut down eight major intersections in the capital, “Pattaya came back to life,” Saleewan said. “I believe the tourists are mainly foreigners residing in Bangkok. I feel sorry for them, but it’s good for the economy here.”

Beach Road is also looking busier, with traffic still clogged despite a city hall “crackdown” on parking scofflaws.

Huge tour buses are seen double parking along Beach Road.Huge tour buses are seen double parking along Beach Road.

“The campaign this time seemed to work for the first few days, but people are still double parking,” said Beach Road motorcycle taxi driver Wuttichai Pongsri. “The huge tour buses and the baht buses are still parked everywhere, honking their horns and waiting for customers, which holds up the traffic.”

Area beaches are once again full, in part due to many people escaping the “shutdown” in Bangkok.Area beaches are once again full, in part due to many people escaping the “shutdown” in Bangkok.

In typical fashion, area politicians made a huge, camera-lit ballyhoo about new bus stops and efforts to ticket double parking and illegal stopping. As many predicted, any benefit was short-lived.

“Due to the shutdown in Bangkok, we are getting more tourists than ever and the city is becoming really busy,” Wuttichai added. “However, the officials are attempting to do something about it and hopefully one day the traffic problems will ease.”

An ice truck double parks and holds up the traffic while the provided parking area was vacant and only a short distance away.An ice truck double parks and holds up the traffic while the provided parking area was vacant and only a short distance away.

Last modified on Friday, 24 January 2014 09:22
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