Oct 22 2011

Bangkok not underwater, everyone stop it with the panic

Published by at 9:25 pm under Floods

Following on from our post yesterday, our man on the ground Brock Kuhlman gives this update on floods in and around Bangkok.

As of this morning, the flooding in Bangkok and surrounding provinces is following the script to the letter. Flooding that was expected in Lak Si, Don Muang and Sai Mai districts to the north and northeast of the city centre has proceeded to creep up. The government has decided to use Bangkok’s canal system to help drain flood water from the northwest to Samut Prakan to the southeast, which eases pressure on the flood protections in the north, but leaves central Bangkok much more vulnerable to flash flooding due to heavy rainfall.

"There's a lot of water between here and there." -- railway employee. So. very. true.

"There's a lot of water between here and there." -- railway employee. So. very. true.

Let’s hope for continued sunny skies. It’s worth remembering, in spite of all of the flooded images in the media, that central Bangkok is dry, and life continues normally (well, as normally as it can with millions peering anxiously north at the water).

The rail link to the north is still severed (although it’s severed much further south than it used to be… only three trains a day go all the way to Ayutthaya according to a State Railways of Thailand agent), however trains to the northeast continue to run, using an alternative escape route from Bangkok. Bus services north are using alternative routes, but are operating as normal.

Flooded coffee stand near Thawet Market, still open for business.

Flooded coffee stand near Thawet Market, still open for business.

Only the central plains can be considered affected at this point: Ayutthaya, Bangpa-in, and Lopburi. All other destinations, including the mountains in the north and the beaches in the south are unaffected, and ready to welcome travellers. Suvarnabhumi airport is well protected, although it lies squarely in a flood plain, it is not expected to be affected — at least according to the government.

Some advice for travellers:

1. Keep calm and continue to enjoy this fantastic country: the food, the hospitality of the people, and the sights and sounds of Bangkok are very much dry and intact.
2. Maybe don’t drink the tap water in Bangkok. It’s still safe according to the government, but if it’s going to be unsafe at any time, it’s during a flood. [Ed: We lived there for seven years and have never drunk the tap water in Bangkok — we wouldn’t start now either.]

It's not *all* imminent disaster in the Kingdom.

It's not *all* imminent disaster in the kingdom.

3. Make sure your travel insurance is valid.
4. If the going gets tough in Bangkok, decamp. To the south, to the east, or to the west, it’s your choice — all are unaffected by the floods in central Thailand.

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2 Responses to “Bangkok not underwater, everyone stop it with the panic” ...

  1. Shanna Maroneyon 23 Oct 2011 at 2:24 am

    Which Island is that? Stay dry!

  2. Rosanne Turneron 23 Oct 2011 at 7:10 pm

    In what is supposedly the quiet season now, Samui is surprisingly busy. It seems as though those tourists that were already in Thailand when the flooding started, instead of heading home, headed to Thailand’s dry regions. Yes, it is Samui’s rainy season now, but we only seem to be getting the occasional shower in the evening.
    Perhaps the flood we had in March in our ‘dry season’ leaves us spared from the rain now.
    I suspect a few expats from Bangkok and the north have also decided to flee to dry ground for a while.
    Anyway, Samui’s hotels are smiling, and the beaches are full!