The Central World shopping complex in the heart of Bangkok has re-opened today following the riots and arson attacks of four months ago that forced its closure. The opening will be a boost to all the businesses that operate in the Ratchaprasong and Siam area of Bangkok which became the focus of the prolonged anti-government protests from April to May this year.
A religious ceremony took place this morning before the opening which was attended by media and celebrities. Work still continues on parts of the Central World complex with some stores still off-limits to the public as they undergo construction work, but an estimated 80% of the retail outlets are now ready for business. The remainder of the complex will be open before the end of the year. Security has been improved with an increase in the number of surveillance cameras and security officers. Following the arson attacks in May, Central World suffered mainly from smoke damage with the neighbouring Zen department store enduring the main brunt of the fire. The Zen store subsequently collapsed, but is scheduled to re-open in August 2011. A new ice-skating rink at the shopping mall is also near completion and is set to open before the end of this year. Central World in Bangkok is the largest shopping complex in Thailand and one of the biggest in south-east Asia.