Business operators on Khao San Road are bracing for a subdued Songkran this year after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration requested for entertainment and festivities to be toned down during Thailand's annual Water Festival from April 13 to 15, in observance of the passing of the Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The director of Phra Nakhon district, which oversees Khao San Road, reaffirms that traditional water sprinkling and merit-making will be permitted but disallows beauty pageants, water-gun and powder fights, sexy attire and alcohol. The backpacker street is traditionally a popular spot for Songkran celebrations in Bangkok.
Songkran on Khao San Road
Thammarat Rattanaphibal, general manager of the 76-room Buddy Lodge Hotel on Khao San Road, believes that guests, a majority of which hail from Europe, will make cancellations upon knowing the latest policy and move elsewhere in the city for celebrations.
On the other hand, Benchawan Pholpituke, manager of Mama Travel & Tour, thinks that tourists will understand the situation in Thailand and still buy tours from her company.
The Khao San-based agency has started informing customers about the toned-down Songkran celebrations this year so that they will come without expectations and have time to adapt their travel itineraries.
Meanwhile, a Bang Rak district officer that TTG Asia spoke with at press time could not confirm if Silom Road will continue its Songkran festival celebration this year.
Prasartpon Aksharamat, general manager of Silom Village, reckons that Silom Village will not be affected and is expecting to welcome more customers as usual.