Backpacker tourism in Southeast Asia is booming. With a key motivation of experiencing `authentic and unspoiled environment`, backpacker tourists continually search and travel further into less touristically developed destinations and inevitably pose the impact on those areas. The research studies the transformation of physical environment and the impact on the host communities due to the backpacker tourism. From the study, the recommendations to protect the physical environment and avoid the local character lost are proposed. The study is based on the case of Khaosan Road (Thailand), the main backpacker enclave in Southeast Asia. Mapping analysis, participant observations, interviews and documentation are chosen as the methods of investigation. The study indicated that the changing character of backpacker tourism greatly influence the transformation of physical environment in Khaosan Road, which is divided into 3 overlapping stages: (1) Authentic Khaosan Road; (2) Semi-tourist theme park and (3) Tourist theme park. Two principal factors are (1) the rapid growth number of backpacker tourists and (2) the high and spontaneous increasing number of small-scale locally owned enterprises. The impacts of backpacker tourism are found in (1) the degradation of physical environment and (2) the degradation of local character. Two levels of recommendations for future development are proposed. They are: (1) the formulation of local agreements which consisting of physical planning agreement, environmental agreement, economic agreement and (2) the introduction of legal and incentive control over small-scale locally owned tourist enterprises. Both recommendations should be simultaneously imposed in order to protect the environment of the remaining authentic and unspoiled destinations in Thailand and Southeast Asian countries.
Key Words: Physical environment, Local character,
Above: The some similarities among Southeast Asians` backpacker centers.
Paper title “ an Investigation of Backpacker Tourism and Urban Transformation: A Case of Khaosan Road, Thailand”, presented in the 7th International Congress of Asian Planning Schools Association (APSA), Hanoi, Vietnam, September 12-14, 2003.
Paper title “Ecotourism: A New Alternative for Thai Tourism?”, presented in the Meeting of the Asian Area Studies of City Planning, Fall 2003.
Assistant, an international workshop held by Ateliers d`Ete de Cergy-Pontoise, title “Densities, Urban Design and Quality of Life, Tokyo”.
First Prize, an international workshop held by Ateliers d`Ete de Cergy-Pontoise, title “Sustainable Development of the Doi Tung Mountains, Thailand” (team of five).
Research assistant in Research Division at the Faculty of Architecture, ChulalongkornUniversity, Thailand.
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The objective of this study is to analyze and compare the suitability of alternative sites for the construction of the new national parliament in order to select the best site for master plan development and develop terms of reference.
- A Study and Public Hearing: Tram System of Inner Rattanakosin Area, Bangkok
This study aim to propose a type, amount and route of tram system, including site and principles of its station and depot of Inner Rattanakosin Area. The main criteria used in this study are the physical and aesthetic elements in the historic city, along with current transportation system, feasibility studies and environmental impact.
- An international competition titled Bangkok New International Business District. (the third prize)
This design competition, the team has to propose a concept for physical development of Rama III area to become an International Business District. The proposed plan puts more emphasis on economic and project feasibility, as well as implementation and legistation procedures.
- A Specific Development Planning of National Conservation District: Praeng Nara-Poothorn-Sapprasath, Bangkok
The objective of this study is to survey and analyze existing landuse patterns and architecture of national historic Area in Bangkok: Praeng Nara-Poothorn-Sapprasath for new physical development planning and design guidelines.
Honorable Prize, an international competition held by the Association of Siamese Architect Under Royal Patronage (ASA), title “Tomorrow where shall we live” juror: Toyo Ito (team of five).
B.Arch. (Hons.), Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Urban Design Laboratory
Department of Urban Engineering
the University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyu-ku,Tokyo