Living with water: Bangkok residents share their stories

Living with water: Bangkok residents share their stories

As the city's flood crisis continues, locals talk about how they've been affected

If you're in Bangkok right now, chances are you're affected by the current flood crisis.

That doesn't necessarily mean you've even seen a drop of floodwater, given so much of the city is still dry. Maybe you can't find your favorite beer at the supermarket, or had to cancel an important event because nobody is in the mood to celebrate. 

Others are far less fortunate. Some have had to leave their homes and rent an apartment in the city center, others have closed their business due to a lack of clients. 

We asked nine city residents what impact the floods have had on their lives. The stories are vast, with one common theme. Everyone is fighting to carry on with their lives as uncertainty becomes the new normal. 

Name: Won

Age: 30 

Occupation: Roadside vendor selling deep-fried snacks like bananas and sweet potatoes near the National Library. 

Flood impact: "I can’t sell in my usual spot anymore because universities are closed for the floods, so I don't have any customers," says Won. "So I moved near the Sanghee Bridge but there's not much business here either. I thought it would be busy but everyone is gone. Ingredients are more expensive now too. The price of bananas has gone up."  

More on CNNGo: Updated flood info for tourists


Name: Sudarat

Age: 70

Occupation: Shop owner in Phra Nakorn neighborhood.

Flood impact: "Things are not good for my shop right now," says Sudarat. "Bottled water has been out of stock for two weeks. It's hard for the trucks to deliver stuff these days so now we don’t have much to sell. It's been like this for a few weeks already. The main things we're short of that are in high demand are cigarettes, alcohol, beer, soda and rice.

"I was scared when I first heard about the floods. I had help moving everything, and we made a wall at the entrance to try to block the water. Now I just want the floods to come so we can get it over with. I can’t go anywhere, I'm waiting for water so I can deal with it, but the flood hasn’t come. So I’m stuck here."  


Names: Sith, aged 19, and Mehn, 24

Occupation: Workers at a shoe factory on Soi Charoensanitwong.

Flood impact: "The factory is closed for a while as it's flooded," says Sith, who moved to Bangkok from the northeastern province of Mukdahan to find work. "Our boss isn’t paying our salary but is letting us stay at the factory for free. We have to pay for our own food though. Chicken and pork prices are normal but vegetables are so expensive." 

"We've been out of work for three weeks already, and we only make 6,000 baht a month," says Mehn, who came to Bangkok from Roi Et. "We’re fishing for ourselves to eat. Usually it only takes 10 minutes to get to this bridge but now we have to walk through floodwaters so it takes an hour and a half." 


Name: Chuan

Age: 52

Occupation: Noodle vendor for more than 20 years near the Riverside Hotel in Thonburi.

Flood impact: "I closed for a week when the waters first moved in, but today is the first day I reopened," she says. "Not many clients, everyone has left the neighborhood. But I had to open today as I have no money, even if I am working in floodwater. Also, vegetables and eggs are more expensive and harder to find these days. 

"Water in my house is over 150 centimeters, so I had to rent a room above a 7-Eleven," she says. 

"It's hard on us. When the floods first hit, people come in with boats charging 50 baht for really short distances to get around. Nobody in the neighborhood knows them. They are moving along with the floods to take advantage of the situation, when everyone is frantic and in a hurry to get out."


Name: Jim

Age: 51

Occupation: Sells women’s clothing at a roadside shop on Khao San Road, open for 20 years.

Flood impact: "I live in Pinklao, my house is flooded but I still have to come here to work as I need the money," says Jim. "Usually I can sell 20 dresses a day. These days it’s only one or two dresses a day. Mostly tourists are my buyers but now there are more Thais in the neighborhood. Even the guesthouses on Khao San Road have Thais who have moved in to escape the floods in their homes.

"I was looking forward to this high season but with the bad flood news the tourists were scared off. But some understand, they’ve had floods in their country, so they still come. Others have cancelled their trips, or moved to other places in Thailand." 


Name: Tew

Age: 47

Occupation: Business consultant for a firm on Sukhumvit Road. 

Flood impact: "I live on Sukhumvit Road so I haven't had to move but our office has a lot of trouble," says Tew. "We're missing some staff because their houses are flooded so we’re letting them work from home if they can. Business is slow right now.

"My Job is to survey locations for clients in places outside of the city but it’s slowed down. Hard to get to the work sites, even though they aren't flooded. 

"Personally, I worry about my family as my parents’ house is flooded. So I have to go back and help them on the weekend."  


Name: Nick

Age: 28

Occupation: Employed by a car rental company

Flood impact: "Our office is on Sathorn Road so everything is OK, no floods. But we're still having a lot of trouble. 

"Some people who rented cars left them in the water. We're covered by insurance but now the company is having trouble finding people to fix them. Also, it's hard to find parts because automobile factories are flooded.

"I get to work by Skytrain so everything is normal but on the weekend it's hard to get out of my place, so I'm stuck in the house. I live in Khlong San and water is coming in from all directions so I’m stressed out, just sitting around waiting for the water to come every day.  Food is more expensive and it's harder to find vendors these days too." 


Name: Sai, 18 (on the left)

Occupation: Student at Ratchamongkol University

Flood impact: "Today is the first day the university is open," says Sai. "It was supposed to open a few weeks ago, but if floods come they’ll close.

"It's starting to flood near my home so as it’s hard to come to school. There are no motorbike taxis or regular taxis, so I have to walk further than usual. Some taxis won’t take me to my home either because of the floods. If things get worse I’ll move in with my cousin in Thonburi. 

"But my parents still don’t want to go. This is a problem for young people living in the city. It's hard to convince their parents to leave their belongings."  


Name: Punyaporn

Age: Would not disclose

Occupation: Teacher at Bangkok's Dusit Technical College

Flood impact: "I live in Bang Kae and it's hard to get to work because of the floods but I don’t mind. I live in a condo but the water is up to 50 centimeters on the ground floor and in the street it’s over a meter.

"So I have to wear shorts to work and then change when I get there. I wear my boots too. The school says we can stay there if we have to but I live with my daughter so that's not an option for me." 

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