Pattaya beach parking ban takes toll on street vendors’ businesses

Pattaya beach vendors say that business was much better when cars were allowed to park on the west side of Beach Road. The parking ban has cut into their income.

Traffic is better on Beach Road, but business worse for vendors who want Pattaya to reverse its ban on seaside parking.

For decades, parking was banned on the western side of Beach Road. But, for a short couple of years during the coronavirus pandemic, the ban was lifted to provide relief for beach vendors losing the small amount of tourism business Pattaya had to Jomtien Beach.

With the reopening of the city, its tourism rebounded and the return of Chinese tourists in huge buses, Pattaya City Hall reimposed the right-side parking ban on March 1, citing serious traffic congestion.

About 200 parking spaces were being built at the northern end of the road, but that’s not enough for umbrella and food vendors, masseuses and boat-rental agents who all complain their business has fallen in March.

Small business operators said that before the ban local tourists with cars could park on both sides of Beach Road making it easy for them to but food and drinks from street side vendors.

The problem, they said, is that city hall reimposed the parking ban without following through on its promise to regulate parking on the eastern side of the street, which remains clogged with rental cars and bikes and motorcycle-taxi drivers.

City hall said last month that it would clear out those services to offer more parking, but didn’t.

Now, vendors complain, there are few west-side parking spots, private lots on side streets are expensive and tourists with cars are giving Pattaya Beach a miss again in favor of Jomtien Beach with its ample parking.

Umbrella vendor Sittichai said he wants Pattaya to create more parking than already planned on the ocean side of Beach Road.

A German tourist and motorists identified only by his last name, Kohler, said he appreciated seaside parking and saw no problem with it. He thinks city hall officials should do as they promised and fix west-side parking. And more people should use motorbikes, not cars, to get around, he suggested.