Despite rising economy, Pattaya still queuing for free food

Hundreds of low-income people line up to get free food from the generous owners of Sampan Korean barbecue restaurant in North Pattaya.

Tourists are returning, bars are open and immigration controls are relaxing, but Pattaya residents are still lining up for free food handouts.

The Sampan Korean barbecue restaurant in North Pattaya on April 23 saw hundreds of people line up for bags of rice and dried foods.

A daily occurrence in Pattaya during the darkest days of the pandemic, the need for the charity handouts has eased as the city’s economy recovers, but the weekend event showed that it hasn’t disappeared entirely.

Those lining up for free food included the homeless, poor and unemployed.

A motorcycle-taxi driver named Sompong said that while the city’s economy is doing better, he really only earns money on weekends and holidays. Other days he can take home less than 100 baht.

Pairin, another woman waiting for food, said things truly won’t improve until the government lifts its farcical ban on the full, legal opening of the entire nightlife sector.

Pattaya residents are complaining that the economic situation will not improve until and unless the government removes the ridiculous ban on opening the nightlife sector.