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  • Top comic Note Udom teases first show in 2 years

    Update Jan. 15: All 12 of Note’s previous comedy specials debuted today on Netflix, complete with English subtitles. Also, due to the pandemic, his Deaw 13 show has been postponed to August. 13-22 at Royal Paragon Hall. Tickets have already sold out. Thailand’s best-known stand-up comedian today teased his 13th show today – the first ...

    This article, Top comic Note Udom teases first show in 2 years, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Update Jan. 15: All 12 of Note’s previous comedy specials debuted today on Netflix, complete with English subtitles. Also, due to the pandemic, his Deaw 13 show has been postponed to August. 13-22 at Royal Paragon Hall. Tickets have already sold out.

    Thailand’s best-known stand-up comedian today teased his 13th show today – the first since 2018.

    Two years after he last took the stage, Udom “Note” Taepanich at about 1pm announced that “Deaw 13 is coming” with a promotional poster for the show. No further details were mentioned.

    Udom has been in the business since 1995 and is credited with popularizing stand-up comedy in Thailand. His shows are known to quickly sell out, with royal family members and other high-profile figures regularly in attendance. He is famous for his observational humor, stage presentation and creative ways of criticizing politics.

    Read more stories from Coconuts Bangkok here

    This article, Top comic Note Udom teases first show in 2 years, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    13 November 2020
    Coconuts Bangkok
    Music & Showbiz, Lifestyle, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1024150
  • Koh Samui cop accused of raping Burmese woman freed on bail

    A senior Koh Samui police officer was freed on bail this morning, a day after he was accused of raping a Burmese woman being held at the police station where he is assigned.  Watcharin Sinsamosorn was briefly held after the woman told the Bo Phut Police Station chief yesterday that he had attacked her in ...

    This article, Koh Samui cop accused of raping Burmese woman freed on bail, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    A senior Koh Samui police officer was freed on bail this morning, a day after he was accused of raping a Burmese woman being held at the police station where he is assigned. 

    Watcharin Sinsamosorn was briefly held after the woman told the Bo Phut Police Station chief yesterday that he had attacked her in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He appeared in court this morning where he was freed on a bond.

    The 21-year-old woman told police that an officer on duty brought her out of the cell at around 1:40am and led her to an office and assaulted her there. CCTV footage corroborated her story, showing him leading her by the hand just before 2am.

    Sen. Sgt. Maj. Watcharin was charged with rape and immediately suspended from his duties. This morning, at the Koh Samui Court, he was freed on a THB400,000 (US$13,333) bond.

    Maj. Gen. Sathit Polpinit, Surat Thani provincial police commander, said he ordered a full investigation into what happened which could lead to Watcharin’s dismissal from the force. 

    The woman had recently been arrested on drug-related charges. She was being held at the station while awaiting deportation, but will remain on the island for the time being. 

    Read more Coconuts Bangkok stories here.

    This article, Koh Samui cop accused of raping Burmese woman freed on bail, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    15 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    News, Crime, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026796
  • Bangkok warns it may nearly triple max fares on BTS Sukhumvit Line

    Long rides on the BTS Green Line will get more expensive next month, with the new maximum fare possibly climbing to THB158 (US$5) because City Hall can’t pay its bills. The capital city’s longest rail line, which stretches from northern to southeastern metro Bangkok, is due for a fare hike, but today Bangkok Gov. Aswin ...

    This article, Bangkok warns it may nearly triple max fares on BTS Sukhumvit Line, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Long rides on the BTS Green Line will get more expensive next month, with the new maximum fare possibly climbing to THB158 (US$5) because City Hall can’t pay its bills.

    The capital city’s longest rail line, which stretches from northern to southeastern metro Bangkok, is due for a fare hike, but today Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang said the city hasn’t reached an agreement with its operator on what the maximum fare, now THB59, should be.

    The line, aka the Sukhumvit Line, continues to grow longer, adding 16 new stations to the north since August 2019. 

    Aswin noted that the new cap could reach as high as THB158 because of the city’s debt to the Bangkok Mass Transit System, which operates the city-owned lines under a concession. He complained that City Hall will still lose money even at that rate.

    For now, they will continue to not count travel beyond BTS Mo Chit against commuters’ fares, meaning a trip from BTS Siam to Khu Khot costs the same as going to Mo Chit. 

    That will remain in place until Feb. 16, as Aswin said a final fare structure for all stations would be announced tomorrow. The city is required to give 30-day notification of any changes before they can go into effect.

    Bangkok Mass Transit CEO Suraphong Laohaanya announced today that currently the city owes his firm THB9 billion (US$300 million).

    Related

    Today: BTS gets 7 new stations to north and people mover along the river

    This article, Bangkok warns it may nearly triple max fares on BTS Sukhumvit Line, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    15 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    Transportation, News, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026786
  • Wild elephant kills camper in Khao Yai National Park

    Khao Yai National Park closed two campsites this morning after a tourist was killed by a wild elephant. The measures came after Prayot Jitboon, a tourist staying at the Pha Kluaymai camping site, died early Friday morning at about 2am when an elephant trampled the site, destroying tents and attacking Prayot, according to Adisak Phusitwongsanuyut, ...

    This article, Wild elephant kills camper in Khao Yai National Park, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Khao Yai National Park closed two campsites this morning after a tourist was killed by a wild elephant.

    The measures came after Prayot Jitboon, a tourist staying at the Pha Kluaymai camping site, died early Friday morning at about 2am when an elephant trampled the site, destroying tents and attacking Prayot, according to Adisak Phusitwongsanuyut, park chief. 

    The elephant was believed to be in musth, a seasonal period of heightened aggression when randy bull males experience high levels of testosterone and energy. 

    Witnesses said the elephant was aggro when it arrived at the camping site.

    The incident prompted officials to close the Pha Kluaymai and Lam Takong indefinitely, as they have seen previous conflict with the wild elephants who call the park home.

    Adisak said he ordered the incident investigated and wants the elephant identified so its behavior can be monitored. The Khao Yai chief also said he would field more rangers to ensure tourist safety during the peak season.

    Roughly 300 wild elephants are believed to call Khao Yai home. From time to time, human incursion into the popular park brings them into conflict, and several fatalities have occurred involving bulls amped up on musth.

    Although a number of national parks have closed due to the pandemic, Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest, remains operational.

    Related

    Thailand’s peak park season cut short as COVID closes key sites

    This article, Wild elephant kills camper in Khao Yai National Park, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    15 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    News, Environment, Bangkok, Animals
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026773
  • Three things Bangkok can do right now to improve air quality

    It’s difficult to enjoy the cool that’s descended over Bangkok this week when smog levels have hit lung-burning highs. While the nation’s top environmental official recently passed the buck, saying they were all out of ideas, experts say Thailand could do much better than telling people to suck it up and breathe toxic air by ...

    This article, Three things Bangkok can do right now to improve air quality, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    It’s difficult to enjoy the cool that’s descended over Bangkok this week when smog levels have hit lung-burning highs.

    While the nation’s top environmental official recently passed the buck, saying they were all out of ideas, experts say Thailand could do much better than telling people to suck it up and breathe toxic air by taking practical measures – instead of blaming the weather and public itself.

    Reducing air pollution, namely dangerous PM2.5 particulates, isn’t impossible but takes a comprehensive and practical approach focused on its primary sources – automobiles, factories and agriculture, they said. 

    Greenpeace Thailand Director Tara Buakamsri said that officials need to move past “stop blaming the weather every year” and wasting money on pointless gestures such as the risible sight of trucks spraying water into the sky, which he said is just “pouring money down the drain.”

    That’s a departure from what Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa’s take on things last month after pollution roared back to unhealthy levels. Warning that people would just have to take unhealthy breaths, he said that rather than complain, people should suggest their own solutions – ones they’d be willing to follow – because officials like him were all out of ideas.

    “I would like to ask opinions from the public on which measures or policies they would accept and allow the government to implement?” said Varawut, who heads the Charthaipattana Party. “Because some measures have been opposed because they affect daily life, such as the truck ban for inner Bangkok.”

    He went on to blame the weather for the heavy build-up of microparticulate pollutants, as well as automobiles. He said pollution was lower during the pandemic lockdown earlier last year. That was true, but it falls cyclically during the same months every year, and no measurable decline resulted from less traffic.

    Instead of playing the blame game, Greenpeace’s Tara along with environmental health professor Nares Chuersuwan of Suranaree University of Technology and environmental Kasetsart University economics professor Witsanu Attavanich recommended three practical actions the government can take immediately to rein in the polluters.

    Limiting road traffic

    Photo: Chris Parker / Flickr
    Photo: Chris Parker / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Bangkok traffic is a prime cause of PM2.5. Introducing measures like congestion pricing, proven to work from London to Singapore, would limit cars on the road and reduce pollution. 

    “If they want to enter downtown during the smog surge, let them pay a fee. Then it’s their decision,” Witsanu said. “Then take that money to fund research into PM2.5 that will help us tackle the problem more precisely later.”

    Witsanu suggested that the cost should depend on area and time of day as well as the type and age of the vehicle, as implemented in Singapore, Hong Kong and London.

    Other suggested solutions include:

    When air quality is set to hit a hazardous level, workplaces and schools should be given notice to compel a percentage of employees and students to work or study from home. 

    Introduce a progressive tax on older vehicles and diesel-polluters rather than the current system under which owners pay less the older their auto is. Doing so would encourage people to buy newer and eco-friendlier vehicles, which should be incentivized through tax breaks as well.

    Extend – and enforce – the temporary daytime ban on large trucks entering downtown to modified vehicles, as their emissions are nearly as high.

    Industry cap-and-trade systems

    Mae Moh power plant. Photo: Greenpeace
    Mae Moh power plant. Photo: Greenpeace

    Industry is another large contributor to our foul skies. The academics said policies need to be clear, fair and transparent. After determining the maximum emissions allowed by each factory and industrial area, that information should be made public as part of an emissions-trading system. 

    Under so-called cap-and-trade systems, those that remain below their cap win incentives and can trade their unused capacity with those who exceed their quotient.

    If the laws are actually enforced – always an iffy proposition – with painful fines culminating in risk of shut down, businesses will be pressured to adopt more efficient technologies. 

    Crop burning: manage and mitigate

    Open-air burning of paddy stubble in Surin province
    Open-air burning of paddy stubble in Surin province

    More than 9.3 million people – over one-in-seven working-age Thais – work in agriculture, and seasonal burning is the third major source of airborne filth. Corn grown for the major ag conglomerates is one of the largest sources, as burning all the unused husks and stalks left behind is more cost effective than hauling them off for disposal. 

    And while such burning is illegal, heavy-handed blanket bans are ineffective as they go ignored or unenforced.

    One stopgap measure the experts suggested was creating a channel for farmers to schedule their burns so they don’t all take place simultaneously or at the worst times. 

    “Nature has ways to absorb and eliminate dust,” Witsanu said. “We can observe that smog doesn’t build up well in a windy region. That’s the day officials can allow a certain number of farmers to burn their crops.”

    Other longer-term solutions include creating economic incentives to processing the unused materials into biofuels that can be used to power everything from certain industries to food stall cookpots.

    Though the burning is a crime and the authorities are reluctant to fine low-income farmers, Greenpeace director Tara said that if they don’t take other steps and continue to burn with no regard, whoever is actually responsible – megacorp or freelance farmer – should pay the penalty. Instead of a one-fine-fits-all approach, those fines should depend on the type of crop burned, as their value and contribution to pollution differ.

    Related

    Can’t breathe today, Bangkok? Don’t look up, it’s ugly.

    Clear Bangkok’s air by working from home: health minister

    Thailand launches crackdown on emissions to cut smog

    Thai gov’t blames weather, vehicles for hazardous smog

    This article, Three things Bangkok can do right now to improve air quality, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    14 January 2021
    Thitima Sukontaros
    News, Health, Environment, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026749
  • Extinction Event: Dinosaur seeking new home in Khon Kaen dies in flame (Photos)

    Khon Kaen, Thailand — In this land before time, dinosaurs ruled the earth. Not only did they go extinct, but today saw the added indignity of one consumed by flames during a forced relocation. A torrent of fire burst from the long neck of the Brachiosaurus-alike on Khon Kaen’s Srichan Road while it was being ...

    This article, Extinction Event: Dinosaur seeking new home in Khon Kaen dies in flame (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Khon Kaen, Thailand — In this land before time, dinosaurs ruled the earth. Not only did they go extinct, but today saw the added indignity of one consumed by flames during a forced relocation.

    A torrent of fire burst from the long neck of the Brachiosaurus-alike on Khon Kaen’s Srichan Road while it was being relocated to a new city landmark called Bueng Nong Kot.

    Local rescue workers and firefighters tried in vain to spare it from the flames, but alas they were unsuccessful. They blamed it on sparks caused by the saw used to cut its neck to fit under a bridge, which were fanned by a heavy wind. 

    Rest in pieces.

    Image may contain: outdoor

    Image may contain: outdoor

    Image may contain: outdoor

    Read more Coconuts Bangkok stories here.

    This article, Extinction Event: Dinosaur seeking new home in Khon Kaen dies in flame (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    14 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    Viral, News, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026741
  • Nao Maak! Zoo dwellers ‘get warm’ thanks to concerned Thai keepers (Photos)

    The same cool weather that forced Thais to bundle up like it was a new Ice Age prompted concerned zoo workers to do the same for their animals. Several animals held in captivity at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo were brought out to sunbathe yesterday, including a hippopotamus, giraffe, white lion and black kingsnake, according ...

    This article, Nao Maak! Zoo dwellers ‘get warm’ thanks to concerned Thai keepers (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    The same cool weather that forced Thais to bundle up like it was a new Ice Age prompted concerned zoo workers to do the same for their animals.

    Several animals held in captivity at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo were brought out to sunbathe yesterday, including a hippopotamus, giraffe, white lion and black kingsnake, according to zoo director Anuphong Anon. Facing windy, chilly weather in Chonburi’s Sri Racha district, zoo staffers also laid out hay for the capybaras (big rodents) and even swaddled some primates in sacks.

    Although the animals were likely fine without the additional measures, it certainly made the humans feel warm inside. And, just in case, the director said its vet team would keep an eye on them during the cold spell.

    The zoo is currently closed due to the pandemic as Chonburi is one of the five worst-hit provinces.

    A couple of spooning hippos as they enjoy a sunny snooze on the cold day. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
    A couple of spooning hippos as they enjoy a sunny snooze on the cold day. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
    Capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, get cozy in their newly laid haystacks. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
    Capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, get cozy in their newly laid haystacks. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
    A ball python gets checked up by a veterinarian how it’s doing in cooler weather. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
    A ball python gets checked up by a veterinarian to see how it’s doing in cooler weather. Photo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo

    Related

    Thai zoo implements measure to ‘de-stress,’ cool down animals amid summer heat

    This article, Nao Maak! Zoo dwellers ‘get warm’ thanks to concerned Thai keepers (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    14 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    News, Bangkok, Animals
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026723
  • Weed is on the menu at Thailand’s first cannabis-cookin’ cafe

    “These five weed leaves …  should contain around 0.7% THC. Just enough to get you in a good mood,” the restaurant manager said of the lightly battered and fried greenery spilling across the plate. Good moods are on the menu just a couple hours outside Bangkok at what looks to be yet another charming and ...

    This article, Weed is on the menu at Thailand’s first cannabis-cookin’ cafe, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    “These five weed leaves …  should contain around 0.7% THC. Just enough to get you in a good mood,” the restaurant manager said of the lightly battered and fried greenery spilling across the plate.

    Good moods are on the menu just a couple hours outside Bangkok at what looks to be yet another charming and folksy riverside cafe, albeit one transformed by embrace of cannabis-based wellness. It’s there that Amara Akamanon preaches the benefits of a menu infused with ingredients that were criminal just last month.

    Two weeks after the law was amended to declassify most of the marijuana plant as illicit, Ban Lao Rueng (Storytelling House) in Prachinburi city has updated its menu with cannabis dishes such as the plate of “tempura weed,” as well as cannabis juice-infused drinks and pot pizza.

    The restaurant is housed in a 71-year-old residence two hours by car northeast of Bangkok in an area long known for its perennial fruit varieties that is now on the forefront of Thailand’s new green deal. Its next door to the Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, a bastion of traditional Thai medicine which 16 months ago opened Asia’s first medical marijuana clinic.

    Patients follow pain, hope to Thailand’s – and Asia’s – 1st marijuana clinic

    Photo: Ban Lao Rueng / Facebook
    Photo: Ban Lao Rueng / Facebook

    Using leaves from marijuana plants grown at the hospital – only government-approved facilities can sell such products for now – and another near Khao Yai National Park, the restaurant now serves crowd-pleasing dishes with the kind of wink-wink names you’d expect at a backpacker hostel.

    There’s Smiley Tempura (THB120), which comes with five deep-fried cannabis leaves and a spicy mango salad. And what better oregano substitute than strands of cannabis on pizza? Diners can order the Good-mood Pizza (THB60), a Thai-style version that comes in four slices sprinkled with bits of cannabis and garnished with a marijuana leaf.

    Good-mood Pizza
    “Good-mood Pizza.” Photo: Visarut Ngamkum / Courtesy

    Should diners have a designated driver or travel all the way by taxi? That is to say, will the food send you flying? The answer is no. Unless consumed in great quantities, the level of THC is enough for a gentle buzz but not going to leave you paranoid or impaired. (For best results, go with the tempura.)

    Amara’s kitchen is literally juicing the benefits of cannabis as well. Among the herbal drinks are the Good-mood Soda (catching onto the theme?) which, at THB80, arrives on a tray bearing soda water and three liquid shots – passionfruit juice, sweet syrup and raw marijuana juice. Mix ‘em up and pour it down. Order another for maximum wellness.

    The restaurant sits in a large home that once housed a dental practice which was donated to the hospital’s foundation four years ago for public benefit. That’s how it became Ban Lao Rueng, which first opened in 2017 as a restaurant-slash-museum promoting local herbs and medicinal plants. 

    Making all this possible was a formal announcement one month ago that most of the cannabis plant and its extracts would be delisted as Class-5 controlled substances. With that, the formerly forbidden bark, stem, fibers, branches, roots and leaves became legal, while flowers and buds remain off-limits.

    Sparkling passion fruit mixed with weed juice.
    Sparkling passion fruit mixed with weed juice.

    The law also specifies that the goods can be used only for medical, academic or health product use, and only by people or organizations licensed by the health ministry. Chaophraya Hospital is among them, and that means Ban Lao Rueng is the only restaurant serving cannabis food that we know about.

    The restaurant plans to launch more items in the near future. Amara – you’d better just call her “Auntie Pom” – said they’re coming up with homey comfort food such as pad krapao with, of course, more than just holy basil in the mix.

    Production is still ramping up and the last harvest won’t last forever.

    “Gotta come quick before the materials run out,” she said. 

    Ban Lao Rueng is located on Namuang Road in Prachinburi city. It’s open 10am to 7:30pm every day. 

    Deep-fried weed leaves come with spicy mango salad, at left, and pizza infused with pot leaves, at right. Photo: Moei Ratrimchong / Courtesy
    Deep-fried weed leaves come with spicy mango salad, at left, and pizza infused with pot leaves, at right. Photo: Moei Ratrimchong / Courtesy

    Related

    Patients follow pain, hope to Thailand’s – and Asia’s – 1st marijuana clinic

    This article, Weed is on the menu at Thailand’s first cannabis-cookin’ cafe, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    13 January 2021
    Chayanit Itthipongmaetee
    Lifestyle News, Lifestyle, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026667
  • Stop what you’re doing and enjoy winter-mode Bangkok – it won’t last

    Thais were shivering beneath two sweaters this morning as excitement over the wintry weather gripped the kingdom from the capital city to the northern wilds. But, like all good things, it will soon come to an end. The delightful chill currently felt is forecast to continue tomorrow before the needle rises significantly on Friday, according ...

    This article, Stop what you’re doing and enjoy winter-mode Bangkok – it won’t last, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Thais were shivering beneath two sweaters this morning as excitement over the wintry weather gripped the kingdom from the capital city to the northern wilds. But, like all good things, it will soon come to an end.

    The delightful chill currently felt is forecast to continue tomorrow before the needle rises significantly on Friday, according to meteorologists. Until then, forecasts call for metro Bangkok to be blessed with lows of 15C and highs of 27C due to a cold front and high pressure bearing down from the north that, while weakening, will still keep things frosty and windy, especially those in mountain areas to the north and northeast.

    Yes, Khaosan now has pine trees. Because that makes sense. (Photos)

    The winter wonders will defrost by the weekend, when temperatures creep up a few degrees with lows rising to 18C and highs to 34C in Bangkok. Wake up early enough and find a little fog and morning chill, according to meteorologists, so hold off on burying that winter jacket at the back of the closet just yet.

    Not sure what to do with this wonderful weather in a time of social-distancing? Now would be a good time to check out that “garden bridge” over the Chao Phraya River. Or, better yet, go marvel over those new pine trees by Khaosan Road.

    This article, Stop what you’re doing and enjoy winter-mode Bangkok – it won’t last, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    13 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    Weather, News, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026632
  • Yes, Khaosan now has pine trees. Because that makes sense. (Photos)

    Yet another City Hall makeover of a famed Bangkok locale has failed to wow those who preferred things the way they were. The same people who drained the color and life from Saphan Lek, Khlong Thom, Pak Khlong Talad and even the Sanam Luang are back with “improvements” to the backpacker mecca around Khaosan Road ...

    This article, Yes, Khaosan now has pine trees. Because that makes sense. (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    Yet another City Hall makeover of a famed Bangkok locale has failed to wow those who preferred things the way they were.

    The same people who drained the color and life from Saphan Lek, Khlong Thom, Pak Khlong Talad and even the Sanam Luang are back with “improvements” to the backpacker mecca around Khaosan Road that are best summarized by stunningly out-of-place pine trees surrounded by low fences.

    “Beautiful but utterly useless. I wanna know who picked this kind of tree,” @Justin_th_th tweeted, noting their absolute lack of utility beyond justifying the construction of a low metal fence.

    Months after Khaosan’s 3.0 treatment was unveiled, City Hall doubled down on its “be more like Singapore” campaign yesterday with the addition of the fenced-off conifers at eight locations on nearby Soi Kraisri.

    Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang yesterday posted a dozen photos promoting the new landscaping. To be fair, it’s a bid to attract more people to the neighborhood which has been devastated by the disappearance of foreign tourists during the pandemic.

    While fake tattoos, forged diplomas, big bottles of Chang and general disorder put Khaosan on the map globally, there are many residents who prefer the tidier and quieter streetscapes you get by evicting vendors and strictly regulating commerce. So the far-from-native species may find a few fans yet.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find them on social media, though.

    “Why did you select this species of trees? [Pine trees] are only decorative, but they do not make any shade for pedestrians,” Somboonsak Choomsanong wrote in a comment to one of Aswin’s pictures. 

    A prolific Twitter expat personality was less circumspect.

    “Absolutely stupid, pointless and obstructive ‘beautification’ of Khao San Road. It just looks weird, ugly and awkward. Who came up with this nonsense?” James Buchanan tweeted.

    Over on Khaosan proper, the city’s THB50-million revamp was officially unveiled on Halloween. It included leveled footpaths, collapsible steel traffic posts, improved drainage and limited vendor areas. 

    The campaign was led by Sakoltee Phattiyakul, a leading anti-government campaigner once charged with treason before his elevation to deputy governor by the post-coup regime. Sakoltee spent months battling local street vendors opposed to the changes. (City Hall won.)

    What’s up next for the next uninspired makeover? Aswin said City Hall’s sights are set on two nearby roads: Soi Ram Buttri and Tani Road.

    Of course, one person’s dispiritingly bureaucratic “beautification project” is another’s welcome change of scenery. Go check them out and let us know what you think.

    Related

    Trick or treat: Bangkok readies Khaosan Road for Halloween debut

    Khaosan Road gets a makeover, eyes August reopening

    This article, Yes, Khaosan now has pine trees. Because that makes sense. (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

    13 January 2021
    Coconuts Bangkok
    Urban development, News, Bangkok
    https://coconuts.co/?p=1026642