Flooding in Thailand

10 November 2011

The flooding situation in Thailand is mainly affecting the central provinces along the Chao Phraya River including Bangkok. Flood waters are subsiding in Ayutthaya. Other popular tourist destinations in the central region including Pattaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi and Ko Chang have not been affected by the floods. Tourist destinations in the south of Thailand including Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, Ko Samui, Hat Yai and Phang-Nga; and in the north including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Sukhothai, also have not been affected by the floods.

Flood waters in Ayutthaya and some other central provinces have begun to subside, although many areas are not yet fully accessible. Tourist attractions in Ayutthaya will reopen once they have been restored.

In some areas, tourists may find that there are occasional shortages of consumer products that are in high demand such as local brands of water and locally-bottled beer. These products are replenished periodically. Imported products including beer and bottled water are widely available.

The Transport Ministry is preparing alternate routes between Bangkok and the southern provinces in case some parts of Highway 35, a major road to the south also known as Rama II Road, is affected by the flood waters draining to the west of the city.

Situation in Bangkok
Areas flooded in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area include suburbs in the east and west, the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, and districts in the northern part of the city.

In central Bangkok, businesses, hotels, shops and tourist attractions remain open as per normal in areas including:

Khao San Road Ratchaprasong (Central World area)
Phetchaburi Road Sathorn
Ploenchit/ Chidlom Siam Square/ MBK/ Siam Paragon
Pratunam Silom/ Surawongse
Rama 1 Road Sukhumvit Road/ The Emporium
Rama 4 Road Yaowarat (Chinatown)

Given the rapidly changing nature of the flooding situation in Bangkok, visitors should check multiple sources of information to make an informed decision about whether they should visit central Bangkok at the present time.

The BTS Skytrain and MRT subway are operating normally at this time. Some MRT stations have closed certain entrances as a precaution. Visitors are advised to check with the BTS and MRT regarding the current status of their operations. Taxis and tuk tuks are available although the number in service is reduced. Many BMTA bus routes have been rerouted or suspended due to the flooding. Express boat services on the Chao Phraya River have also been suspended, as have most water-related tourist activities.

Transportation

Airports:
Bangkok is served by two airports. Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main international gateway to Thailand, remains open. It has considerable flood protection measures in place. Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main connector for international arrivals to domestic flights serving tourist destinations throughout Thailand such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Surat Thani. Domestic flights are operating as per normal between Suvarnabhumi Airport and other airports in Thailand.

Transportation to and from the airport into central Bangkok including taxis, buses and the Airport Rail Link have not been affected by the floods and are operating normally. Highways from the airport to tourist destinations southeast of Bangkok such as Pattaya, Rayong and Ko Chang are open.

Don Mueang Airport, the old international airport, is closed due to flooding. The two domestic airlines operating from Don Mueang have temporarily switched their operations to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

A “Tourist Assistance Center” is set up on the 3rd floor of Airport Rail Link’s Makkasan Station to facilitate tourists’ transport from hotels in central Bangkok to the airport. The TAT and the Thai Hotels Association (THA) are providing free transportation from hotels to Makkasan Station. The Tourist Police will assist tourists at Makkasan Station and at the airport. Tourists who would like to use this service can contact the Tourist Assistance Center via the TAT Call Center at 1672, or the Tourist Police at 1155.

State Railway of Thailand and inter-provincial bus services:
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and inter-provincial bus services are operating as per usual in areas that are not affected by the floods. In Bangkok and other areas affected by the floods, the SRT and inter-provincial bus service operators are adjusting their routes to best serve passengers given the disruptions caused by the flooding. Inter-provincial buses from Bangkok to southern provinces are leaving from a temporary station with shuttle services to and from the Southern Bus Terminal, also known as Sai Tai Mai.

Train services to northeastern Thailand are operating as per normal. Train services to the northern provinces are operating between Hua Lamphong station in central Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Trains to the north are being rerouted around flooded areas, adding approximately two hours of travel time. Train services to the southern provinces are operating mainly from Nakhon Pathom due to flooding in Bangkok’s western suburbs. The SRT is providing shuttle bus services between Hua Lamphong station and Nakhon Pathom. Travelers are advised to check in advance with these operators and may want to consider flying to their destinations within Thailand.

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