Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road was dangerously congested with Songkran festival revelers on Thursday night, prompting Police to warn that access to Khao San Road must be restricted.
Bangkok Metropolitan Police said visitors can now only approach Khao San Road from Chakrapong Road, and all other routes to Khao San will be used as exits to effectively regulate the number of revelers participating in water activities.
If there are large crowds, authorities will temporarily close Khao San Road to allow some people to leave to prevent overcrowding. Crowd control units would be stationed there to ensure public safety, Police said.
At around 7 p.m. on Friday, local Police temporarily barred entrance to the Khao San route and advised new visitors to wait for people to gradually vacate the 400-meter street in Phra Nakhon district first. The Songkran celebrations were scheduled to take place from Thursday to Saturday.
Visitors in the area were requested to wait about 15 minutes so those inside could depart Khao San Road more easily.
Strict Control of Songkran Revelers
Due to the overcrowding on the Khao San route, authorities stopped entrance to the route at 8.50 p.m. and urged newcomers to visit neighboring Ratchadamnoen Avenue instead.
For public safety, Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukwimol stated that Police must severely enforce prohibitions on visits to Khao San Road. “Strict enforcement of regulations is for the public, not the police.” Accidents might sometimes cause harm to the entire population,” he explained.
“In response to concerns about overcrowding, measures were devised based on New Year’s celebrations here.” In an emergency, emergency exits have been constructed for Khao San Road, according to the deputy national police chief.
According to Pol Gen Torsak, official Songkran celebrations on Khao San Road will stop at 10 p.m. each night, although visitors may stay later.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Khao San Road on Friday and participated in a water battle. On Friday afternoon, Gen Prayut, the United Thai Nation Party’s prime ministerial candidate, came with key party figures.
He first spoke with officials about safety precautions when he arrived at the popular Songkran celebration site. That’s when revelers began throwing water at him. The prime minister then ordered a large water gun from a follower.
Songkran Revelers Attack Prime Minister with Water Guns
His supporters tried unsuccessfully to persuade people not to shoot water in Gen Prayut’s face. Some international tourists stopped him on Khao San Road to enquire if he was the genuine prime minister and snapped his picture.
Gen Prayut said this was his first visit to Khao San Road in 15 years. He claimed to be content and to be free of weariness. He stated that the influx of visitors resulted from his attempts to expedite the country’s reopening to revive tourism following Covid-19 outbreaks.
He also stated that he had issued numerous directives to officials to ensure public safety on Khao San Road, which was clogged with visitors during the Songkran event.
Gen Prayut visited many Buddhist temples in Bangkok, including Wat Pichaiyat, Wat Rakhangkhositaram, and Wat Hong Rattanaram, to campaign for votes with local inhabitants.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) believes that up to 18.53 billion baht would be exchanged between Thai and foreign tourists over the three-day event, while the Kasikorn Research Centre estimates that Thai tourists alone will spend up to 23 billion baht.
Despite the blazing heat and pollution, prominent locations such as Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai, one of the country’s top Songkran celebration destinations, were packed with tourists. The traditional Songkran parade kicked off the celebrations in this northern region at 2 p.m.
The event began on Wednesday night for a party of roughly 1,000 Chinese visitors who arrived in Chiang Mai and attended a ceremonial welcome hosted by the provincial TAT office.
Tourists Arriving by Car in Northern Thailand
The tourists arrived in Thailand by automobile through Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, and Nan provinces, and at least 130,000 more are expected to follow throughout the Songkran vacation, contributing more than 1.1 billion baht in tourism-related income, according to Chiang Mai’s TAT office.
Mr. Sanga Ruengwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Businesses Association said, approximately 50,000 people visited Khao San Road, the capital’s designated Songkran celebration spot closed to traffic.
Hundreds of municipal officials and police personnel were sent to the area to maintain security.
According to a source, being scantly clad, powder-smearing, and possessing high-pressure water cannons, firearms, or alcoholic beverages are all prohibited at this celebration location, as they are at all others.
Silom Road was not intended as a Songkran celebration venue in Bangkok, but because water play is not restricted on the road, it was packed with Thais and tourists yesterday.
Phuket Piers Crowded with Tourists
On Wednesday night, an unauthorized Songkran celebration began on Soi Bang La in the Patong neighborhood of Kathu district, one of the province’s most well-known tourist districts. Tourists, predominantly Westerners, were spotted having a good time and spraying each other with water pistols.
The Ratsada and Ao Chalong piers in Phuket were packed with Thai and foreign tourists beginning early yesterday morning.
Mr. Thiwat Sidokbuap, deputy mayor of Phuket’s municipality, many of the visitors were there for boat services that would take them in and around Phuket, including neighboring Phi Phi island in Krabi.
At 5 a.m. Tuesday, two ferry docks in Surat Thani were overcrowded crowded with tourists eager to board a ferry to the southern province’s most well-known islands, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. According to a source, most cars spotted at these piers had Bangkok license plates.
During the Songkran period, all flights and train services from Bangkok to Surat Thani have been fully booked, and hotels on the province’s three main islands are about 80% full, according to Wichawut Jinto, provincial governor. He also said that more than Bt1.2 billion in tourism-related revenue is expected in the province.
Songkran celebrations occur day and night in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, a vital business hub in the Lower South, particularly along Rat Uthit and Sai Sanehanuson roads.
Many of the stores were filled with visitors yesterday who had traveled from Malaysia and Singapore.
Thai, Malaysian, and Singaporean tourists were in Yala’s Betong border district’s landmark clock tower for water play and traditional Songkran events.