Vientiane Authorities Clarify Reason Behind Sihom Night Market Shut Down

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Sihom night market (Photo: Kanh Phengpaseuth).

The famous night market in Vientiane, also known as Hengboun Food and Culture Street, has been closed by order of the Department of Industry and Commerce of Vientiane Capital. The closure is in preparation for the upcoming 2024 ASEAN Summit where Laos will serve as the ASEAN Chair.

Mr. Nantha Sanuvong, Deputy Director of Department of Industry and Commerce Vientiane Capital, confirmed the closure and stated that it was done to develop the traffic and public spaces in the city before Laos assumes ASEAN Chairmanship next year.

“Before the 2024 ASEAN Summit, there will be various important conferences starting in April. We must tidy up the city to help facilitate the same,” said Mr. Nantha during the press conference.

He also announced the plan to develop a public passenger bus system on Hengboun Road and designated areas in the districts of Sisattanak and Sikhottabong for the new night market. According to him, the vendors and shop owners on the street had acknowledged the orders prior to the closure.

“The department will designate areas in the districts of Sisattanak and Sikhottabong for the new night market while setting up night market stalls on the streets and roads of Vientiane Capital will be prohibited,” Mr. Nantha stated.

In the last few months, Vientiane Capital has taken several steps to clean up the city, with telecom companies being asked to bury unsightly cables and the Mayor of Vientiane cracking down on noise pollution to prepare for the major upcoming conferences.