Pattaya motorbike taxi driver turns chicken griller to survive nightlife shutdown

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Somprasong Kamolrat, who worked at a taxi stand on Soi Khopai, lowers his mask for the photo.
Somprasong Kamolrat, who worked at a taxi stand on Soi Khopai, lowers his mask for the photo.

Bars are turning into restaurants, bargirls into waitresses and now, motorcycle taxi drivers into grilled-chicken vendors in Pattaya.



The coronavirus pandemic has forced people across the spectrum to adopt new vocations in order to survive Pattaya’s tourism and nightlife shutdown.

Somprasong set up behind Aksorn Pattaya School
Somprasong set up behind Aksorn Pattaya School

Taxi drivers, who used to live off shuttling bar workers back and forth to work, are now waiting hours for a fare. Some are just hanging up their vests until the bars reopen and tourists return.

Somprasong Kamolrat, who worked at a taxi stand on Soi Khopai, a popular neighborhood for entertainment workers, is now selling barbecued chicken for 10 baht a skewer.

Somprasong set up behind Aksorn Pattaya School and hopes the reopening of schools next month will give him a boost. But it couldn’t be worse that what he was enduring, he said.

During normal times, he’d earn up to 1,000 baht a day as a taxi driver. During the lockdown that had fallen to as little as 100 baht a day. After gas and expenses, he had nothing left, so he changed jobs.

He spent 25,000 baht of his savings to buy the cart and equipment he’d need, 10 kilograms of meat and 5 kilograms of sticky rice and hit the road.

Ex-motorcycle taxi rider Somprasong now grills chicken to make ends meet.
Ex-motorcycle taxi rider Somprasong now grills chicken to make ends meet.