Enhanced Safety Measures for Songkran Festival at Khao San Road
Pol Maj-General Attaporn Wongsiripreeda, commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 1, announced enhanced safety measures at Khao San Road in response to concerns about potential mishaps during the Songkran festival. Critics expressed worries about the possibility of a stampede in the face of such large crowds gathering in a small area.
Due to safety concerns, on Thursday night, police barred further entry to Khao San Road after it became overcrowded. Some estimates placed the number of visitors at over 50,000 during that time.
New Traffic Measures to Improve Pedestrian Flow
Attaporn stated that pedestrian traffic would be limited to one-way from the beginning of the strip close to Chana Songkhram Temple on Chakrabongse Road. Songkran celebrants must walk along Khao San to its end at Tanao Road, as they are not allowed to move “against the traffic,” as they did on Thursday.
Individuals wishing to re-enter Khao San Road must use Soi Ram Buttri, located next to the famous strip, and return to the starting point. Attaporn expects pedestrian traffic to flow more smoothly, thanks to this new measure.
Visitor Limit and Additional Precautions Implemented
On Friday, police established a screening barrier and informed visitors of the updated rules. The number of people permitted on Khao San Road at any time has been limited to approximately 15,000. Additional visitors will only be allowed entry once others have left, ensuring the maximum capacity is not exceeded.
The officer admitted these measures may inconvenience some revelers, but their purpose is to guarantee safety. Meanwhile, Khao San Road—an essential hub for backpacker tourists in Southeast Asia and a popular Songkran celebration spot—has experienced a decline in tourist activity during the Covid-19 crisis of the past three years.
Improved Infrastructure and Increased Security Presence
Pol General Adit Ngamjitsuksri, an adviser to the Bangkok governor, inspected Khao San Road on Friday. He reported that carts and mobile fences causing bottlenecks were removed, and objects blocking emergency exits in alleys branching off Khao San Road were cleared.
Additionally, the number of officials deployed to Khao San has doubled to maintain law and order. Adit stated that there have been no reported issues involving alcohol-related disputes, but authorities will remain vigilant. “Anyone found to exceed the limit will be asked to leave the area immediately,” he said.