Bangkok Before & After COVID-19 – How The City Has Changed During The Pandemic

3 minutes reading time

Bangkok during COVID-19

silom during songkran
Images adapted from: Reuters

All of us were anticipating April to be an exciting month all across the country with Songkran season in tow. Alas, festivities have been cancelled, and what should have been a vibrant time of celebration has us all cooped up indoors instead, no thanks to COVID-19.

The difference is stark. Bangkok‘s once lively streets are now eerily empty and quiet – here’s how much has changed during the pandemic.

Empty streets and attractions

Bangkok’s key hotspots such as Khaosan and Yaowarat Road almost seem like ghosts of their past selves. Though the latter is bouncing back with vendors returning to the streets, Khao San foresees only going back to normal in 2021.

Yaowarat Road

yaowarat road bangkok chinatownBefore: Bangkok Chinatown is jam packed with vehicles, vendors, and people
Image credit: Kit Dale/Culture Trip

A man played badminton to prove how quiet Yaowarat road was during COVID-19
After: A vendor demonstrated how empty the streets have become by playing a game of badminton

Vendors and visitors slowly trickle back to Yaowarat, though strict measures are still put into place
Image credit: The Nation Thailand

Khaosan Road

Bangkok’s nightlife paradise has seen a huge hit, with its iconic Khaosan Songkran Party being scrapped due to the outbreak.

khaosan road
Images adapted from: Shutterstock, Khaosod English

Khaosan Road will probably only return to normalcy in 2021
Image credit: Khaosod English


Silom is where BKK’s parties come to life, attracting locals and tourists to its vibrant restaurants and pubs that line its alleyways.

silom road during songkran
Before: Songkran Festival celebrations in 2015
Image credit: Reuters

silom road during covid-19
After: The same street taken in April 2020
Image credit: Reuters

Image credit: Reuters


Central Bangkok Looks Eerily Empty Over The Weekend After ‘Soft’ Lockdown Takes Place
Images adapted from: Khao Sod English and The Standard

Siam is probably the heart of Bangkok and is known for its shopping streets and the like – but not anymore.

CentralWorld Bangkok - Shop at One of Bangkok's Largest Shopping MallsBefore: Shoppers at CentralWorld in late 2019
Image credit: OppaPoo

Central Bangkok Looks Eerily Empty Over The Weekend After ‘Soft’ Lockdown Takes Place
After: CentralWorld after the shut down order was implemented for business – only the supermarket and pharmacy remained open
Image credit: FM91 Trafficpro

Central Bangkok Looks Eerily Empty Over The Weekend After ‘Soft’ Lockdown Takes Place
Empty pathways – an unusual sight for Siam
Image credit: The Standard

Bangkok rests as the city heals

Youtuber Manit Monsur filmed the empty streets of Bangkok earlier in April, showing everyone how drastically the pandemic changed the city.

“Despite of the impact on the economy and lifestyle, COVID-19 is really the only thing that is helping reduce the pollution caused by big cities like Bangkok,” he wrote in his description.

Here are some of the places he visited:

Ratchada Train Market

One of the biggest changes was at Ratchada Train Market – its colourful tents are nowhere to be seen as vendors have vacated the premises.

Train Night Market Ratchada: Bangkok's new Rod Fai Market ...
Before: Colourful tents make the market come to life at night
Image credit: Places of Juma

ratchada market after covid-19After: The market space is now completely empty
Image credit: Manit Monsur

Erawan Shrine

erawan shrine
Before: People come to pay their respects and make merit
Image credit: Latin American Studies

erawan shrine emptyAfter: Zero crowds
Image credit: Manit Monsur

Adapting to life after COVID-19

The colour might seem to have faded from Bangkok for now, and we can’t wait for life to return to its streets.

In the meantime, let’s continue practicing the necessary safety measures in order to keep ourselves and the city safe.

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