Nov 07 2011

Bangkok floods update, November 7, 2011: Should you cancel your trip?

Published by at 11:49 am under Floods


Though the threat of tidal flooding has receded, Thailand’s worst floods in five decades are still sweeping closer to central Bangkok, causing more and more residents to evacuate their homes and flee to drier land. Bangkok’s governor has declared 16 of the city’s 50 districts as evacuation zones, but the water continues to flow southward, attempting to drain into the Gulf of Thailand.

Preparing for the worst.

On Sunday, the waters reached the northernmost point of the city’s rail system. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) ordered residents to evacuate in all zones of Chatuchak, home to tourist landmark Chatuchak Market. The market was flooded as of late Sunday (see photos) and essentially closed for business, though you could still find a few brave vendors trying to earn their living.

Should you cancel your trip? The situation is certainly fluid (no pun intended) but as of late Sunday, central Bangkok remained open for business. Tourists are still here. Central Bangkok is not in prime shape for visitors, but it is livable for residents. If you are worried, you can still transit through the capital by plane, bus or train to get elsewhere. If you still want to come and see the sights — most of them, anyway — the city is happy to have you.

There is plenty of food and water available. Bottled water may be harder to come by because of disruptions in distribution, but it’s not impossible to find. For example, on Sunday my local supermarket was empty of all water except for Fiji. I walked to a small convenience store and bought six litres of filtered water at a standard price. End of story.

Perfect time for some exercise.

In terms of local transport, the BTS (Skytrain) is operating normally. The MRT (Metro) is operating normally, though some entrances are blocked off and stations are under “flood watch”. The Chao Phraya Express has been suspended until November 14 due to the river’s high water levels. Cross-river ferry and longtail boats are operating normally, but expect to get a little wet. Taxis and motorcycles are available, some even in flooded areas. Note, however; if you are in a dry area and still need to go to an area under flood watch or partly flooded, it may be difficult to find someone willing to drive you. Numerous roads or sections of roads are closed off, though buses heading north have managed to find creative ways to drive out of the city.

It's a slow day for customers at Chatuchak

You can still catching buses or trains from Bangkok to other parts of the country. 

Mo Chit bus terminal, a gateway to northern Thailand, remains open and buses are  still running, though you should expect long delays as water is fast approaching. Ekkamai or the Eastern bus terminal, your link to destinations like Ko Samet, is operating normally. The Southern bus terminal (Sai Tai Mai) has been relocated to Holland Beer Brewery on Rama II Road.

Bangkok’s main Hua Lamphong railway station is open, with re-routed trains to Chiang Mai and other northern destinations, though no trains are available to Ayutthaya as of yet.

Looks like the MRT exit at Chatuchak may be closed.

Suvarnabhumi airport, the capital’s main airport, was built on a flood plain but is operating normally. Don Muang airport, after flooding late last month, remains closed. The several airlines operating out of Don Muang have shifted to Suvarnabhumi.

Blue truck to the rescue for flood victims.

The Ministry of Education, after prolonging the start of the new semester, reopens schools this week, though some will remain closed until November 18.

Phahonyotin Road = flooded

Some sites are reportedly closed, such as  Safari World, the Museum of Siam, the National Memorial Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Royal Barge Museum, along with Chatuchak Market.

To find out more about volunteer efforts and how you can help, click here, though the situation is ever-changing, so do try to confirm the latest situation before you trudge across town to help.

And please be warned that if you do plan on passing through flooded or at-risk areas by foot, you should try to wear protective footwear, especially if you have open cuts. The water is not pretty. The risks of disease and other dangers from the floods is being debated at the moment, with critics charging the government of downplaying the danger. Bangkok Pundit has a good wrap here.

16 responses so far

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16 Responses to “Bangkok floods update, November 7, 2011: Should you cancel your trip?” ...

  1. mr. nobodyon 08 Nov 2011 at 12:23 am

    Hey Man, Have you gone crazy? You are asking people to come to visit bangkok now? You want them to die there? Don’t you know that things are going to get worst after these! Water borne disese and so many things can happen. How if there is another monsoon or heavey rainfall takes place. Please don’t ask anyone to come there now. You can’t predict anything now! Back off!
    You are going to make people suffer. May be you a lone ranger but thing of the people who come with family and wish to enjoy a good holiday. Are you going to take them for a ride. Are you asking them to be in trouble? have a good heart and let them be safe. Don’t make them into difficulties just because to fulfil your advantages and for your benefits. You are giving wrong information and thats not wright. Don’t be bad hearted!

  2. Samanthaon 08 Nov 2011 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mr Nobody.

    We are not asking people to come visit Bangkok. Many people already have trips planned and will arrive over the next few days and they may not have the money or the inclination to change their itineraries — this is aimed at them. We are giving them an up-to-date situation of what is happening on the ground, now, so they can make an informed choice. And we are telling people that if they are concerned about the situation worsening, as it may very well do — who can say? — they can still, for now, transit through as the airport is operating. That’s a fact, not our opinion.

    We always advise people pay close attention to their government’s advisories and travel with insurance. Nobody knows what will happen in the weeks ahead, and if the situation worsens to the extent water borne diseases start affecting tourists staying in hotels in the city centre, then we would certainly have different advice.

  3. Michelleon 08 Nov 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hi, I booked my tickets for bangkok from 16th nov to 21st nov. I’m desperately trying to change them (sucky airlines) and there are a few problems. To be honest I really love bangkok and have been looking forward to this trip the whole year :(

    Is the food safe to eat? Apparently I’ve heard the hygiene standards have all gone down and since the crops were destroyed in the flood, I heard that the food there is not safe to eat, especially for tourists. How true is this?

    Also are the night markets all still open? eg. silom, patpong? Are people selling stuff as usual? It would be sad if we went down and a lot of those people selling stuff has already left that area to higher ground/another part of bangkok.

    Please advise if you can. Thanks so much

  4. Ms. Janeon 08 Nov 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Hi,

    I totally agree with Samantha, as i already planned and already booked the air ticket including the hotel this 23 November. I try to change my itineraries but it cost me a lot, so luckily your update help me a lot.

    I just want to know whether Pratunam, MBK or ratchnadewi area are affected to the flood?

  5. Sergeon 08 Nov 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Hi,
    my girlfriend and me want to take subv. airport on friday as a transit airport on our flight to bali. we’ll back after a week landing in phuket and then back to subv. airport on 26.11.

    What really bothers us is the possibility of a flooding of the airport during this time. I hardly believe the statement “it’s safe” form the authorities. Are there any sources or websites that have a qualified but critical opinion to this topic?

    I mean, the water passes this area for sure on it’s way to the south…

    Thanks for posting some links…

    By the way: Great Site thank u so much for this information!

    Best
    Serge

  6. Brockon 08 Nov 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Michelle-

    I haven’t seen any drop in food quality, to be honest, but I have seen less street food than normal as vendors affected by the floods take time off to relocate their families or take care of their properties. The food is still safe — many people are avoiding drinking tap water (never a bad idea here) as well as ice (the second thing to be contaminated after the water supply in a flood). I would say that the food is safe to eat for tourists and residents alike. If you have a sensitive stomach, I definitely recommend that you stay away from uncooked food — meaning no salads, som tam, or precut fruits from street vendors. Buying whole fruit and cutting it yourself after washing it is considered safe.

    Silom and Pat Pong night markets are all still open and operating vigorously! Chatuchak may be open this weekend, or it may not depending on the depth of flood waters.

    Best of luck!

    Brock

  7. Polon 09 Nov 2011 at 10:39 am

    I live in Bangkok and the situation it’s not that bad. Hundreds of people still are arriving everyday to the capital and then they continue their trips. Personally I don’t think they need to worry that much.

    Last week I was guiding 4 tourist in Bangkok and everything was opened, we enjoyed the city more than ever because it was not traffic and less tourist than normally. So in that sense it may even be an advantage.

    What I say here it’s the same I tell people on my Spanish blog. Come here and no worries! In the improbably case that Bangkok gets really flood you can still fly to south or north Thailand.

  8. Nesfieldon 09 Nov 2011 at 10:41 am

    Hi, Ive booked my flights and hotel as well from 29th December thru 4th January, 2012. I do hope the flood waters would have receded by then and dearly hope Chatuchak weekend markets will open fully by then. Im booked at Bayoke Sky Hotel. Is this area flooded too ? and what about the surrounding markets , the IT malls etc etc. I know nothing can be predicted but what does the MET department for the months of December and January or what are the usual weather forecasts for these two months ?

  9. Sergon 09 Nov 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Hi dear Bangkok. We really like to visit your town and very disappointing that water is coming on your country and in Bangkok. What is the weather prognoses for November? is some control point for flooding? Is it will drop or rise?

  10. mike macarellion 09 Nov 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I was in bangkok last week, on my way to koh samui. it was actually quite pleasant. very little traffic. most malls were open, all the sky trains were functioning as normal, and in the central areas (central works, siam paragon, sukhumvit, victory monument, etc) there were no issues. A lot of businesses were closed, and there were sandbags everywhere. But, it is quite safe. There was still plenty of fresh food, and no hygiene issues yet. Bottled water was getting scarce, but siam paragon was packed, and had everything you could ever need, in the grocery store. So, I would not avoid thailand right now. there are some bargains to be had on hotels, and the thai people need your support, more than ever. all areas south of bangkok are normal. Hope that helps.

  11. dollyon 09 Nov 2011 at 9:06 pm

    i will be going to bangkok nov.19 (a definite). with luggage. read the comment re less traffic. i need advice on whether to take taxi from bkk to bts nana station area or take the arl up to makasan and use the shuttle to get to my hotel. thanks

  12. mike macarellion 10 Nov 2011 at 2:49 pm

    So far, that area is not affected by the flooding. But, I would check closer to your departure date. 10 days is a long way off, at this point. There is an enormous amount of water up north, and it has to make it’s way to the sea.

  13. Michelleon 10 Nov 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks so much for posting all the useful info here and answering my questions :) I’ve changed my flight to phuket instead of bangkok but I’ll definitely be back to visit bangkok next year! It’s one of my favourite cities in the world :)

  14. christineon 11 Nov 2011 at 2:51 am

    hello

    we have booked our ticked for bangkok on 19th instant and returning 27th instant. travelling with children and relatives to attend a wedding ceremony in the city of bangkok. Would like to know if it is safe to travel at this point of time.food,water and other necessary requirements will be available. i am very worried.please advice

  15. mike macarellion 11 Nov 2011 at 1:35 pm

    No way to know at this point. When I was there about 10 days ago, no problems. My sense of it, is that it will be fine. But, we are getting a lot of mixed reports from the government authorities, who do not seem to know either. I would check closer to the date. You can also get more “on the ground” info by calling your hotel, which is what I did. Good luck on your journey.

  16. Vishalon 15 Nov 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Hi, Thanks for the much needed info. i am planning a visit on 20th dec to 23 dec. I will be staying at Amari boulevard sukhmit road. I have few doubts over the current situation. Will the situation be better by that time ? I am planningto see Grand palace, wat pho, floating market, safari world ( i know its closed now ), chao fraya river cruise, are these places affected now ? Help appreciated ?

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