Nov 08 2011
It seems unlikely that many parts of Central Bangkok are going to escape some sort of flooding in the next 10 days.
Chatuchak market was open last weekend, but more than half of the vendors didn’t open their stalls and shoppers were not at their normal levels. While inside was dry thanks to a sandbag barrier, outside the market 10-30 cm of flood water swirled around. The water has only gotten deeper in the early part of the week — one can assume that next weekend will be no better, if the market is open at all.
Outside of Chatuchak, most popular tourist destinations, including Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and shopping centres in Central Bangkok are open and dry (or dry-ish). As we wrote yesterday: transport is running all over the city (including the subway — even in flooded areas all stations are currently open) and most bus routes are running normally. The domestic airport (Don Muang) and Chao Phraya Express ferries are both closed due to flooded facilites, but the international airport (Suvarnabhumi) is operating normally. Trains to the North and Northeast are running, but rail service to the south starts with a bus transfer to Nakhon Pathom station before continuing by rail. The southern bus terminal has moved to Holland Beer Brewery on Rama 2 Rd. Mo Chit Station, close to Chatuchak and serving Northern and Northeastern Thailand, is still open as of today.
So is there any reason travellers shouldn’t come to Bangkok? Well, technically, everything is fairly normal, but the city is at a point where many of the reasons travellers come to Bangkok could be inundated within a week. It is not out of the realm of possibility that more than half of the subway system could be shut, and that much of the northern half of the city could be affected, including the Chatuchak, Ari, Victory Monument, and Sam Sen areas. The TAT-sponsored Loy Krathong activities at Santichaiprakarn Park November 8-10 have been cancelled and residents have been asked to not float offerings in fold water so as to not burn down houses. Loy Krathong will be held as normal in Chiang Mai and Sukhothai.
At this point, most travellers will be doing themselves a favour to use Suvarnabhumi as a transfer point and move on. If you want to be here, you can, but it looks like it is not going to be much fun. If you’re keen to get to Isaan (northeastern Thailand), Laos, or Eastern Thailand, you can easily change to a bus at Suvarnabhumi for further overland travel; flying to all other destinations will be the easiest.
As always during a fluid disaster situation, make sure you keep well informed as to what is going on.
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