It is with a heavy heart that we report the incident that shook Pattaya’s iconic ‘4 Regions Floating Market’, situated in the quaint Banglamung district of Chonburi. A substantial 30% of the market’s commercial area was severely affected by an unexpected fire, causing damages pegged at about 70 million baht, or roughly 2 million US dollars, and counting.
Sumaporn Srimuang, the venerable general manager of the bustling attraction, broke the news to the press last Saturday. She detailed the magnitude of the unfortunate event, revealing that among the destruction were diligently managed stalls, genuine local shops, and quaint riverside restaurants. These structures spanned about a single rai, equivalent to nearly 0.16 hectares or just under half an acre, in the market’s 19-rai landscape.
She further explained that the 70 million baht damage estimate serves as the base value, only accounting for the structural turnaround and not including the separate losses incurred by the vendors and entrepreneurs. On a more hopeful note, she said that the insurance payout received would go directly towards providing necessary compensation to our beloved vendors.
The incident, claimed Sumaporn, traced back to a Thai pavilion where staff members first indicated smoke billowing. What followed was a fiercely rapid blaze, abetted by strong winds, quickly engulfing the nearby structures. The makeup of the spectacular pavilions did no favour in dousing the flames. Mostly wooden with thatched roofs, they acted as fuel, causing the fire to spread vehemently.
Thanks to the quick response of the firefighters, the fire was summarily contained around 10 pm that fateful Thursday. Their exhaustive efforts were aided by the market’s geographical advantage – a bountiful water source at its epicentre. Sumaporn acknowledged that this was indeed a fortunate circumstance that helped prevent further calamity.
Ensuring transparency and understanding of the actual cause, the market authorities will work closely with the investigators. Incredibly, amidst the terrifying scene, there were no casualties or severe injuries reported, a silver lining that provided much-needed respite to concerned locals and tourists.
Sumaporn reassured everyone about the market’s recovery plan, announcing that the market is ready to regain its vibrancy with a new zone opening when it re-engages operations next Tuesday. She expressed confidence that the move would help restore the trust of tourists and vendors alike. With bated breath, the fire-damaged zone will be kept closed until completion of the detailed investigation.
Branded as the ‘4 Regions Floating Market,’ Pattaya Floating Market stands as an intimate testament to Thailand’s rich cultural tapestry. Its charm stems from the enchanting Thai pavilions afloat on the water, showcasing the distinctive architectural styles from the four corners of Thailand making it a beloved tourist hotspot. Though the recent incident is a setback, the will to recover and rebuild is strong, ensuring that Pattaya Floating Market continues to be Thailand’s cultural beacon for years to come.