Oct 30 2011

Bangkok flooding update, October 30, 2011: Yes, it’s still going on

Published by at 8:58 pm under Floods

So far, Bangkok’s central business district has fared well compared to the outskirts of the capital and many other provinces suffering the floods that have swept through the kingdom over the past few months. Limited tidal flooding has occurred along the Chao Phraya river and a few of the canals that crisscross the city, while downtown — Silom, Sathorn, and lower Sukhumvit — is dry. Thonburi (the western half of the metro area split by the river) has seen water levels rise, and northern sections of Bangkok have been inundated (with some areas evacuated), including the Don Muang area around the domestic airport. Suvarnabhumi, the international airport, is operating normally (well, unless you’re flying Qantas).

Man bikes through flood water in Lak Si, Northern Bangkok.

Man bikes through flood water in Lak Si, northern Bangkok.

The current cycle of high tides is expected to end as of November 1, so with any luck tidal flooding will be minimised. A lot of water that needs to make its way to the sea (some have estimated it will take more than a month for water levels to drop significantly), so the danger of flood barriers breaking and flash flooding from heavy rain will be with us for weeks ahead.

Flooded railway building near Don Muang Airport, Northern Bangkok.

Flooded railway building near Don Muang airport, northern Bangkok.

For travellers, the recent exodus of Bangkokians from the city has left streets with delightfully little traffic and plenty of empty guesthouses and hotel rooms. Bottled water supply is erratic (as are beer stocks at 7-eleven!), but safe drinking water IS available and not scarce — the supply is just erratic. Major tourist attractions are open. The Grand Place has seen some tidal flooding, but has remained open and popular with visitors — and those touts are still telling people it’s closed. Outside of the central plains, the rest of Thailand is unaffected, including Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, and the South. Hua Hin and Pattaya are both currently chockablock with decamped Bangkokians, but with the flood holiday ending Tuesday everyone should be streaming back into the city.

Man fishes in front of Don Muang Airport, Northern Bangkok.

Man fishes in front of Don Muang airport, northern Bangkok.

Train service has been restored to the north of Thailand by rerouting the trains through the northeast. The line to the south is submerged; southbound passengers are bussed about an hour from Hualamphong Station to Nakhon Pathom to board the train. Train service to Ayutthaya is currently halted, with a few trains a day making it to Bangpa-in. State Railways of Thailand can be reached on 1690 to check up-to-the-minute service details.

Water pump in Muang Ang District, Northern Bangkok.

Water pump in Muang Ang district, northern Bangkok.

Bus service to flooded communities has been halted or modified, but service to other locales is back to normal (although using alternate routes to avoid the water). Domestic flights that were operating from Don Muang airport have been relocated to Suvarnabhumi Airport, which as mentioned is operating normally. Many countries have issued travel warnings that advise against non-essential travel to Bangkok. While the actual danger on the ground is a call that everyone must make for themselves, travelling against the advice of your government as we have warned (and even ranted about) repeatedly may affect the terms of your travel insurance (which you, of course, would not be travelling without.)

So what’s our recommendation? Well, Bangkok is stressed out, but most places that travellers tread are dry and open for business, as is the rest of the country. If you’re feeling it, Bangkok can be great, even in a flood. If you’d prefer not to be among it, transit through to unaffected areas.

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18 Responses to “Bangkok flooding update, October 30, 2011: Yes, it’s still going on” ...

  1. Reetyon 30 Oct 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Just wondering if anyone knows if you are able to get from Cambodian border (poipet) to Bangkok currently?

  2. adminon 31 Oct 2011 at 6:30 am

    Yup no problems (other than the usual dodgy characters at the border). Roads are fine all the way through.

  3. iraon 31 Oct 2011 at 12:02 pm

    hi…im planning to go to bangkok on November 16 – 20, 2011, is the weather already better that time??? how about tourism place ?

  4. Issyon 31 Oct 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I wanted to thank you for all the updates you’re giving us.
    Your website has been my daily read for the past weeks, and it’s all excellent tips and infos !!!

    Cheers for such brilliant work ;)

    Issy from France

  5. adminon 31 Oct 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Ira,

    At this time, looks like t should be ok.

    Hi Issy,


  6. Sam2011on 01 Nov 2011 at 1:59 am


    Thank you so much for these ‘on the ground’ updates!

    We are due to spend a really short time (sadly) in Bangkok – arriving Saturday 19th Nov afternoon and flying back out the following afternoon. Where is best to stay considering the flooding?


  7. iraon 01 Nov 2011 at 8:38 am

    thank you for your information….. hoping it will better in the future *cross my finger

  8. adminon 01 Nov 2011 at 9:01 am

    Hi Sam2011,
    You’re welcome :)
    The main tourist areas have remained dry so I’d be inclined to just stay wherever you would have stayed had there been no flooding.

    @Ira: You’re welcome — it does appear that the worst is past.

  9. Hanaon 01 Nov 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for all the useful information you’ve posted over the last few days – it’s been really helpful as I prepare to fly out to Bangkok on Thursday!
    Do you know if southbound trains are running all the way into Hualamphong yet or are they still terminating outside the capital (I’ve got fairly short turnaround time between arriving in Bangkok by plane and leaving again by train – not sure whether to go with the safe option of booking an onward train ticket or to save the money and hassle…)

  10. Danielon 02 Nov 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi All,

    We’re due to head in to Bangkok from Battambang (Cambodia) over the Poipet boarder on November 5th.

    I would be hugely grateful if anyone could provide advice on:

    A suggested bus company still running Cambodia – Bangkok?
    The best area to sleep in central Bangkok for one night (to avoid waters)
    The best mode of transport to Chang Mai from Bangkok during these times?

    Many thanks in advance.


  11. Nickon 02 Nov 2011 at 9:55 pm


    I’m set to arrive in Bangkok on November 12th and I’m staying near Nana, but I’m considering cancelling my trip. Do you feel the situation will worsen or get better over the next two weeks? Thanks – Nick

  12. Manuelon 04 Nov 2011 at 11:37 am

    We will be going to Bangkok end of November as we had planned to do our Christmas shopping there. We are just worried that there might have been problems in transporting goods to the shopping centers and that shopping will not be as exciting.

  13. Amaron 05 Nov 2011 at 1:16 am

    I traveled from Poipet to Bangkok today. All fine without problems. The road is in good condition as is the bus service.

    Although, I want to warn people about Bangkok for mid November when the next high tides are expected. This might cause more floods and an extra stress test for the dykes and flood barriers.

  14. adminon 06 Nov 2011 at 6:25 am

    @Hana Last I heard southbound trains are terminating at Nakhon Pathom, with buses connecting NP to Hualamphong,

    @Daniel Probably too late now (have been travelling myself!) For the bus head to Morchit northern bus station and get bus from there to Aranyprathet. This is all outlined in this story: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/71 Accommodation in central Bangkok is all still ok.

    @Nick If you’re just staying in Bangkok, you’re not going to be seeing it at its best, but at least at the moment downtown is still little affected. Personally I wouldn’t be spending too much time there if I could avoid it.

    @Manuel Your shopping should be fine!

    @Amar Thanks for the report back — appreciated :)

  15. Georgeon 06 Nov 2011 at 7:37 am

    Coming to Pattya 9th November. Flights booked. Wanted to rent a condo from 12 November to 16 December (having few nights in hotel when first arrive in Pattaya). Have not been able to sort renting a condo. Most seem to have minimum stay of 3 months. Guess will have to start looking for a hotel as time is running out. Any advice who/where to contact would be much appreciated.

  16. Sergon 07 Nov 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hi everybody! We have a flight ticket on 15 of November to Bangkok. We will stay one noght in No.6, Soi Petchburi 15, Petchburi Rd., Rajtaevee, Bangkok 10400 Thailand, between Bayoke sky hotel and Computer World. Can we use skytrain from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Center? Is skytrain work now? or may be taxi? We have a connection flight to Phuket. What is situation about flooding in Phuket?

    Lot of thanks for information!

  17. dianeon 08 Nov 2011 at 2:37 pm


    We booked a flight to Bangkok this coming Nov. 16 to 22, and i think the hotel we booked is in part of Sukhumvit Soi, we just want to know if can we still enjoy the trip to bangkok, or should we just cancel the flight? Just want to know if at that time is everything would be fine.. Thanx


  18. adminon 09 Nov 2011 at 3:00 am

    @Serg, sorry missed your comment. One night on Petchaburi should be ok and the airport train and skytrain are both working fine. Taxis obviously depend on where you are going! Flights to Phuket no problem and no flooding there.

    @diane You may want to take a look at this more recent post from yesterday http://www.travelfish.org/blogs/bangkok/2011/11/08/bangkok-floods-update-november-11-2011/ — personally I’d say Bangkok is ok for an overnight transit, but I wouldn’t be planning a long stay there.