Oct 25 2011

Bangkok flooding update: October 25, 2011

Published by at 7:28 pm under Floods


It’s hard to stand in the middle of a sunny day at the end of rainy season in central Bangkok and imagine that it could soon be very wet. The situation has come to a point where it is time to consider available information and a make a decision about whether to travel here and stay, travel here and transit quickly, or cancel your trip here altogether.

Woman checks barriers near her home in Phra Athit.

Woman checks barriers near her home in Phra Athit.

Don Muang airport began to flood in the early afternoon (video here), forcing commercial carriers operating out of Bangkok’s secondary airport to either suspend flights altogether or relocate to Suvarnabhumi International Airport — see details available earlier here. (Note: Don Muang [DMG] is a domestic-only airport. Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport [BKK], is operating normally.)

Rail services to the south, east and northeast are operating normally, however commuter service between Bangkok and Ayutthaya has slowed, with only two departures a day in each direction (with a change at Don Muang). Due to water on the tracks, trains to Don Muang airport are running on a modified schedule — this is in Thai, but the first chart shows trains to Don Muang on left side, and trains from on the right, and Ayutthaya in the second chart, to Ayuttaya on the left, from on the right. All trains exiting Bangkok continue along a section of track where the rails are submerged by 20-30cm of water — the train leaves a wake in the flood waters as it progresses.

Chao Phraya Express boat service has been cancelled until at least November 7.

Man walks through flooded soi in Sam Sen.

Man walks through flooded soi in Sam Sen.

Riverside communities (including Sam Sen, just north of Khao San Road and the Banglamphu area) are already experiencing periodic flooding as the river level fluctuates due to tides in the Gulf of Thailand. High tides for the rest of this week and early next week are predicted to be very high, causing a situation of great concern with the Chao Phraya already full. With the far northern regions of Bangkok and provincial border areas already experiencing serious flooding, the inner northern suburbs are starting to be inundated. No one knows how far the water will reach into inner Bangkok, but it is fairly clear that things are changing for both travellers and residents.

Bangkokians stock up on instant noodles at a warehouse store.

Bangkokians stock up on instant noodles at a warehouse store.

At this point, Travelfish.org recommends that travellers to Bangkok consider carefully if they want to be here right now. Central Bangkok isn’t underwater now, and it might not be, ever. If you are keen to see and experience Bangkok, it is currently open and ready for exploring. Take precautions and monitor the situation, and be flexible and ready to move on (quickly, and without burdening already overstretched local emergency services), if the situation dictates. As always, make sure you have travel insurance, and keep on top of what your government is recommending. (Singaporeans were warned to avoid non-essential travel to Bangkok some days ago.)

UPDATE: We have now seen photos of waters around the Grand Palace reportedly taken late Tuesday afternoon (via Twitter) — so even central Bangkok is struggling to stay dry.

If you want a relaxing holiday that’s free from considering how to secure drinkable water and avoid flash flooding (or sustained flooding), we recommend booking onward travel from Suvarnabhumi. Nothing outside of the central plains is currently affected, so you can safely head to hotels in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ko Chang, Kanchanaburi, and the entire south are available as options.

If you already have tickets booked, check with your carrier as many have begun offering waivers on change fees for travel to Bangkok for the rest of this month, allowing you to rebook your trip for after the waters recede.

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11 Responses to “Bangkok flooding update: October 25, 2011” ...

  1. Mazikon 25 Oct 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi, it’d be really appreciative if I get some advice from you.
    I have planned a business trip for 6 days to Bangkok and the flight is on 28th Oct.
    I have made appointments with all agents, some of them are in Huai Kwang, others are in Silom & Sukhumvit. my hotel is Ambassador Hotel near Nana Station.
    Should I cancel the trip?

  2. RONon 25 Oct 2011 at 10:58 pm

    DEAR SIR:

    THE GOVERNMENT HAS CALLED FOR A NATIONAL HOLIDAY IN BANGKOK. IT WILL BE IN EXISTANCE FROM YOUR ARRIVAL TO THE 31ST.

    THIS DOES NOT EQUATE TO YOUR “HOLIDAY”. IT IS THE ALLOWANCE OF WORKERS TO GO AND PROTECT THEIR HOMES IN A PERIOD OF HIGH TIDE AND LIKELY FLOODING IN BANGKOK.

    FIGURE OUT HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU.

  3. kenon 26 Oct 2011 at 7:45 am

    I would advise anyone not currently in Bangkok to change their plans about coming. We don’t know if central Bangkok will flood. I suspect that it will. There is a growing sense of anxiety and people already here are wondering if and how to leave. The concerns are not merely the flood waters but the fact that it is next to impossible to buy drinking water and the grocery stores are filled with people trying to buy food to sustain themselves if the worst comes to past. It will be difficult for the stores to restock. Electricity and water contamination will become an issue. The government which is overstretched as it is simply does not have the resources to see to the needs of the population of a city the size of Bangkok.
    The main airport is open and will likely remain so but at this point it is foolish to come to Bangkok if you don’t have to.

  4. Brenon 26 Oct 2011 at 9:57 am

    Do you think it will be all OK to visit by the 11th November as we have everything booked but staying in the central parto fBangkok

  5. janon 26 Oct 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Bren, no it won’t be OK then. It will be like this for at least 2 month.

  6. Michaelon 26 Oct 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Please stop scaring people. No one will know when this situation will end. I understand you are trying to give out accurate information but best to tell travelers to avoid Bangkok and just move to another destination.

  7. janon 26 Oct 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Nothing wrong to scare people. This is a crisis situation. There is a real life danger so you should be scared. 300+ people have died so far and Bangkok won’t be spared from the flood that is sure now.

  8. […] I would suggest checking out this post at the travel site TravelFish.org. It lists the current status of transportation systems in […]

  9. jackon 27 Oct 2011 at 8:47 am

    so, 29th dec should be ok to travel?

  10. Bangkok101 » Bangkok Floods 101on 27 Oct 2011 at 4:53 pm

    […] in the international press. His latest has lots of good pointers, including one to Travelfish’s posting on the transportation situation in and around the […]

  11. Dr M G Bhaton 28 Oct 2011 at 10:33 am

    I am attending a conference in Hua Hin during 7-11 November. Also plan to visit pattaya. Please suggest on weather conditions. To keep the trip on or off.
    mgb

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