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Heavy Seasonal Rains Causing Widespread Flooding

Tourism Authority of Thailand issues flooding update

Tourism Authority of Thailand issues flooding update
Image via bangkokpost.com

Oct 27, 2011

1. Overview

Over the past several weeks, seasonal rains that are heavier than usual have resulted in widespread flooding in Thailand. While the flooding is having some impact on tourism, most key tourist destinations and attractions throughout Thailand have not been affected by the floods and almost all remain open.

The floods are mainly affecting the provinces in central Thailand including parts of Bangkok and a few provinces in the north and northeast. Flood waters in several provinces in northern Thailand have begun to subside. Provinces in the south of Thailand have not been affected by the floods. Ayutthaya has been the only tourist destination widely affected by the floods, while other provinces where tourists generally go have been slightly impacted.

Major tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, and Ko Samui, and all provinces in southern Thailand, are not affected by the floods. They remain fully accessible and are experiencing normal weather conditions for this time of year.

Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok has not been affected by the floods and is operating as per usual. The airport has considerable flood protection measures in place and officials are monitoring the situation closely. Don Mueang Airport, which is located in a northern suburb of Bangkok and handles domestic airlines serving a small number of provinces, has been closed until November 1st due to flooding. All other airports in Thailand are open and operating normally.

Flood waters are being drained through Bangkok's system of canals in a controlled manner. Key areas of central Bangkok where tourists normally go are not flooded. Some of the city's suburbs and areas along the Chao Phraya River are experiencing localized flooding.

Tourist destinations in the north, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai, are best accessed by air as some roads and railways in the central provinces are closed due to the floods. Provinces in southern and eastern Thailand remain fully accessible by road and train.

Train services from Bangkok to northern destinations are suspended due to the tracks being flooded. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is offering full refunds on tickets for travelers who want to cancel their trips to destinations where train service is suspended. Train services to other parts of Thailand are available as per normal.

Tourists planning to travel to areas affected by the floods are advised to check the latest weather forecasts for their destination and confirm arrangements with the transportation providers with which they will be travelling. Tourists can call the TAT Information Line at 1672 to check local conditions, or visit the Thailand Meteorological Department web site at http://www.tmd.go.th/en for updated weather forecasts.

Major events going ahead as planned include:

• Phimai Festival, from November 9th to 13th, at Phimai Historical Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
• The 5th Thailand International Balloon Festival in Chiang Mai from November 25th to 27th.
• Loi Krathong Festival and Candle Festival in Sukhothai, from November 8th and November 10th at the Sukhothai Historical Park.
• The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Fair 2011 in Chiang Mai, although the opening date has been moved back from November 9th to December 16th.

Useful Contact Numbers:

TAT Call Center: 1672
Thai Airways: 02-356-1111
Bangkok Airways: 02-265-8777
Air Asia: 02-515-9999
Nok Air: 1318 or 02-900-9955
Orient Thai Airlines: 1126
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Call Center: 1690
Transport Co.,Ltd. Hotline: 1490
(Inter-provincial bus service)

2. Update for Bangkok

Key areas of central Bangkok where tourists normally go are not flooded. In the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Area, several suburbs are experiencing localized flooding. As these areas are largely residential and industrial zones, this flooding does not affect tourists in central Bangkok.

The Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok, is at a higher-than-normal level. This is causing flooding in some communities and certain areas along the river's banks. While most of these areas are residential and industrial zones, there may also be some localized flooding at tourist attractions that are close to the river.

The Bangkok government has also advised residents in six northern districts of Bangkok that flooding may occur in some areas. This includes Chatuchak district, where the weekend market is located.

The TAT advises visitors to contact the TAT Information Line at 1672; check the latest reports in the local media; or get an update from the staff of the accommodations where they are staying if they are planning to visit tourist attractions that are located close to the Chao Phraya River or the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Flood waters are being drained through Bangkok's system of canals in a controlled manner. Almost all of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area is protected by a large network of flood walls, levees, canals and drainage tunnels. The city government is using this network to expedite the water flow to help prevent flooding in most of Bangkok.

Transportation from Suvarnabhumi Airport into central Bangkok including taxis, buses and the Airport Link have not been affected by the floods and are operating normally. Transportation within the city including taxis, tuk-tuks, the BTS and the MRT are also operating normally. Public buses in Bangkok are running as usual with some rerouting in areas affected by the flood.

Tourist destinations close to Bangkok, such as Pattaya, Hua-Hin, and Ratchaburi, remain unaffected by the floods and are open to visitors.

3. Update for Ayutthaya

The province of Ayutthaya has been widely affected by the floods. This includes Ayutthaya's inner-city island and the World Heritage Site. Tourist attractions on and outside the island of Ayutthaya have been temporarily closed because of the floods. Due to the disruptions caused by the floods, the TAT recommends that tourists avoid visiting Ayutthaya until the flood water subsides and tourist attractions have reopened.

4. Update for other popular tourist destinations

Information on the impact of the floods is provided for other popular tourist destinations by the following regions within Thailand.

4.1 North

Water levels in several of the flood-affected areas in northern Thailand are subsiding and flood control measures are being relaxed. Most tourist attractions in northern Thailand have not been affected by the floods and are open for visitors. Tourist destinations in the north, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Sukhothai, are best accessed by air as some roads and railways in the central provinces are still closed due to the floods.

Major tourist destinations in the north not affected by the floods include:

• Chiang Mai
• Chiang Rai
• Lampang
• Sukhothai (NOTE: Although some parts of this province have experienced flooding, the main tourist attractions have not been affected and remain fully accessible).

4.2 Northeast

Several provinces in northeastern Thailand including Buri Ram, Khon Kaen, and Surin have been affected by flooding in low-lying agricultural areas and areas adjacent to major waterways.

The current flooding is having little impact on tourism as key tourist destinations and attractions in northeast Thailand are not damaged by the floods and remain open.

Major tourist destinations in the northeast not affected by the floods include:

• Loei
• Nakhon Ratchasima
• Ubon Ratchathani (NOTE: Although some parts of this province have experienced flooding, the main tourist attractions have not been affected and remain fully accessible).
• Udon Thani
Activities affected by flooding:
• The following national park remains open; however, water-related activities are not allowed:

- Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Ratchasima

4.3 Central

Major tourist destinations in the central region not affected by the floods include:

• Hua-Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
• Kanchanaburi
• Ko Chang, Trat
• Pattaya, Chonburi
• Ratchaburi
• Rayong

4.4 South

No provinces in the south have been affected by the floods.

This includes:

• Chumphon
• Krabi
• Nakhon Si Thammarat
• Narathiwat
• Pattani
• Phang Nga
• Phatthalung
• Phuket
• Ranong
• Songkhla
• Satun
• Surat Thani
• Trang
• Yala

Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand
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