NY festivities on Khao San ‘toned down’ out of respect

The New Year countdown on Khao San Road has been cancelled out of respect for Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati, who is still in hospital after collapsing due to a heart condition on Wednesday.

Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Business Association, yesterday said authorities have asked for New Year celebrations this year to be toned down to show respect to His Majesty The King’s eldest daughter.

So the association decided to cancel countdown parties along Khao San Road, a popular destination among revellers in Phra Nakhon district.

However, on New Year’s Eve, visitors can still celebrate by taking selfies with giant balloons and watching live broadcasts of countdown events from around the world as venues along Khao San Road will remain open, he said.

In fact, the number of visitors that day is expected to remain high despite the cancellation of the countdown event, he said.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) says New Year celebrations will still be carried out in 50 districts across the capital.

Deputy Bangkok governor Tavida Kamolvej said the BMA has stepped up measures to ensure safety in and around event zones.

“District offices have coordinated with business operators to ensure safety measures,” she said.

“Police from the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) and volunteers will be sent to each spot to limit [crowds] at each venue.”

“Entertainment venues, including pubs and bars, will also have to comply with BMA’s safety measures,” she added. Inspections have been held regularly since August as per governor Chadchart Sittipunt’s instructions.

The BMA also worked with various agencies to prepare for any mass crowding and to provide emergency exits at each event zone, she said.

MPB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Thiti Saengsawang said event organisers should avoid igniting fireworks.