Nov 17 2011
It’s not been the end that most would hope for — a clean whooshing sound as all of the flood water washed out to sea and left Bangkok licking its wounds and restocking its 7-Elevens. The floods are *not* over — not for millions in the northern suburbs, not for millions who live across the river in the Thonburi half of Bangkok, not for hundreds of thousands north of Bangkok who are just starting to shovel the deposited mud from their drying homes. That said, the flood waters that were creeping south towards Victory Monument and Siam Square have stopped creeping, and in some places, started to recede.
The most central part of Bangkok, including Sathorn and Silom, Khao San Rd, Sam Sen, Victory Monument, Democracy Monument, Ari, Sukhumvit and Siam Square, are dry now and will not be flooded, barring some phenomenal change in situation. So what are we left with at this point?
The international airport, Suvarnabhumi, is operating as normal, as it has been throughout this crisis. The domestic airport, Don Muang, is closed and still submerged. Estimates to when it will reopen fluctuate wildly, but it won’t open until the New Year at the earliest. Nok Air and Orient Thai are both operating from Suvarnabhumi.
Inner-city rail service is operating as normal, with the Airport Rail Link, BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway systems all operating a good service. Some entrances at MRT stations have been barricaded, but all stations are operating. Bus service in Bangkok is operating as normal in most areas, with a few detours around deeply flooded areas in the north and west of the city. Taxis and tuk tuks are running like always.
Intra-city rail services to the East and Northeast are operating relatively normally, with minor re-routing through eastern parts of Bangkok to avoid flooded tracks. Similarly, services to the North, including Chiang Mai, have been restored using an alternate route. The journey takes an extra five hours. Southern destinations depart from Nakhon Pathom station about an hour west of Bangkok — ticket holders are bussed from Hualamphong station. More information available by phone on 1690 from the State Railways of Thailand.
Bus services to affected parts of the North are running for the most part, using alternate routes where necessary. Mo Chit Bus Terminal and Ekkamai Terminal are both operating, however the Southern Bus Terminal has been relocated to Holland Beer House because of high water, but bus service to the south continues uninterrupted.
Chao Phraya Express Boat services are cancelled at least until the end of November as their refuelling terminal is still submerged, but most cross-river services are operational. Saen Saeb Canal Ferry services are running normally now.
So what’s to stop you from coming to Bangkok? Well, it’s still an unstable situation with a lot of water needing to move through and around the city before the crisis is over. Outside of that, however, not much at all. Drinking water is available (although the supply is a bit spotty — you might have to check a few shops), and the Kingdom hasn’t run out of food or beer or booze. The lights are on and almost all of the tourist attractions are open (and don’t believe a single tuk tuk driver who tells you otherwise). Keep your eye on the news to make sure nothing has changed, but Thailand needs your tourist dollars now more than ever. Come and spend them.
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