Flooding in Thailand : Issued at Bangkok on 30 October 2011

Monday, 31 October 2011

The flooding in Thailand is mainly affecting the central provinces along the Chao Phraya River including Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Other popular tourist destinations in the central region including Pattaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi and Koh Chang have not been affected by the floods. Provinces in the south of Thailand 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.

Situation in Bangkok

Most areas of central Bangkok where to tourists normally go are not flooded at this time. The Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok, is at a higher-than-normal level. This is causing some flooding at tourist attractions that are close to the river, as well as some parts of Chinatown, especially during high tide periods.

Within the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, several suburbs and areas adjacent to the Chao Phraya River are experiencing flooding. As these areas are largely residential and industrial zones, they are not normally visited by tourists. The government has asked residents to leave these areas due to the flooding.

The BTS Skytrain and MRT subway are operating normally. Taxis and tuk tuks are operating on a limited basis. 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.

According to government officials, October 27 until November 1, 2011 will be a peak period for flooding due to a combination of high seasonal tides and the large volume of water flowing from the northern provinces through the Bangkok area. The government has announced holidays during this period to facilitate the management of flood control measures. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is closed the weekend of October 29.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the flooding situation in Bangkok, the TAT advises travelers to carefully consider visiting tourist attractions close to the Chao Phraya River as they may be in areas affected by flooding, which could limit access. Visitors should also check multiple sources of information to make an informed decision about whether they should visit Bangkok at the present time.

Transportation

Airports

Bangkok is served by two airports. Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main gateway to Thailand with 120 international and domestic airlines, remains open. It has considerable flood protection measures in place and is operating normally, handling around 800 flights per day. Suvarnabhumi Airport is also 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 all 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 Koh Chang are open. Travelers should allow additional time to travel to the airport due to traffic congestion.

Don Mueang Airport, the old international airport, has been closed until November 1 due to flooding. The two domestic airlines operating from Don Mueang have temporarily switched their operations to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

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.

Train services to northeastern Thailand are operating as per normal. Train services to the northern provinces have resumed and 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 intermittently as the flooding situation permits. 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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