Walking Street, the most famous street and nightlife venue in Pattaya, is rumored to be facing a dark and uncertain future. It is said that more than 100 buildings, which include some of the most famous nightclubs, discos, agogo clubs, and restaurants in Pattaya, have been built illegally, and could possibly receive their marching orders.
The illegal properties are all on the beach side (see photo above) of Walking Street and have overstepped the mark by encroaching on to and over the beach, which is the property of the Thai Royal Navy.
If you venture through some of the restaurants and bars on the beach side of Walking Street (see photo above), you can clearly see the ramshackle arrangement of the buildings supported on stilts and piles protruding from the beach.
As seen in the photo (above), the buildings cover the beach along the entire length of Walking Street, following the curve of the bay and Pattaya Beach. That’s a lot of prime real estate and a lot of beach, which would usually be considered a major asset to a seaside resort like Pattaya.
What will happen to Walking Street in Pattaya?
If it is decided that action will be taken against the illegal buildings, it is a matter of which course of action to take.
When you consider previous actions taken by the government to clean up Pattaya, such as the demolition of the bars and restaurants on Na Jomtien beach, the removal of boats from Bali Hai, and the postponement of the Waterfront condo project—you have to believe it is possible that the beach side of Walking Street could be demolished.
Life after Walking Street
There are, of course, two halves to Walking Street; only one half is under threat. The question is, in what capacity will Walking Street remain?
Will Walking Street continue to prosper as Pattaya’s most famous and popular nightlife street? Will the agogo clubs, beer bars, discos, nightclubs, and restaurants that occupied the beach side of Walking Street be relocated to new premises?
Asa nightlife venue, Walking Street attracts a lot of visitors to Pattaya, and a lot of revenue. A new look, re-vamped Walking Street offering bars, restaurants, and hotels with sea views could still be very popular as a nightlife venue, and keep the tourist revenue flowing into Pattaya.
Removing Walking Street nightlife establishments to somewhere like Soi Buakhao would open up the area, and the current buildings for development as a hotel, shopping, and recreation area. But there would be no sense in building and trying to fill hotels on top of what used to attract masses of tourists to Pattaya.
The Thai Government Purge
Since the military government took power, they have taken their promises to clean up Thailand seriously. Much of what the government wants to clean up indirectly involves and affects the tourist industry, be it sex tourism, beach management, scams, or corruption.
In a sense, Pattaya’s Walking Street epitomizes everything the government wishes to change about Thailand. Demolishing the illegal buildings on Walking Street would be a signal of intent, and for better or for worse, may herald the start of a new, uncertain era for Pattaya.
Poll closed: results
What Should Happen to Walking Street?
It should remain as it is, with appropriate deeds and titles issued. (48%, 13 Votes)
It should remain a nightlife zone, but the illegal buildings should be demolished. (41%, 11 Votes)
The buildings should be demolished, and all nightlife removed to a new zone. (11%, 3 Votes)
What Will Happen to Walking Street?
Nothing will be done. (69%, 18 Votes)
The buildings will be demolished. (31%, 8 Votes)
Walking Street Pattaya 2023
Since this article was published in 2016, rumors and debate about the future of Walking Street have continued, culminating in rumors that predicted the certain death of Walking Street due to the crippling effect on Pattaya nightlife during the coronavirus.
Alas, despite the threats, and coronavirus, Walking Street remains intact and is still the most famous nightlife and red light area in Pattaya.