Thai floods crisis: Updated info for tourists
With the worst of Thailand's flood crisis over, travelers are begining to return now that many governments have lifted their advisories against visiting.
Though some of Bangkok's outskirts are still flooded -- the government promises the entire city will be dry by the end of the month -- from a tourist's perspective Bangkok is for the most part back to normal.
All major tourist areas and attractions in central Bangkok, such as Sukhumvit Road, Siam and Silom, escaped the crisis without seeing any floods, as did Khao San Road, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Chinatown. The popular Chatuchak Weekend Market did experience some flooding in the streets outside its perimeter in Novemeber, but the water has long since receded.
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For a detailed look at which Bangkok attractions are still affected, check out this Google tourist flood map.
All local Bangkok transportation is running as normal, including the BTS Skytrain , MRT subway and Chao Phraya Express river ferry. Expressways are all open and unaffected by floods, including the road to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which remained dry throughoug the crisis.
Bangkok's food and drink supply situation is no longer a concern for travellers. In October/November the floods disrupted the city's supply chains, leaving many convenience stores and supermarket shelves short of items like bottled water, beer and non-perishable food, though all of these items are now widely available.
Elsewhere in Thailand
All airports in Thailand, with the exception of Don Muang, are operating as usual.
Though Don Muang, Bangkok's secondary domestic airport, is now reportedly dry, officials say it won't reopen for at least a couple months. Operations have been moved to Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok's main international airport.
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Thailand's major tourist destinations, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Ko Samui, are all flood free.
In the ancient capital Ayutthaya, flood waters have subsided in most areas and some attractions have reopened. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT says all World Heritage attractions there will reopen once they have been inspected and restored.
According to the TAT's tourism update website, train services to all parts of the country are operating as per normal and train services to the southern provinces are again operating from Hualamphong station.
Long-distance inter-provincial bus services from Bangkok are operating as per normal as well, from their usual stations. Call 1490 for the latest bus schedule and route information.
Thai flood resources
Bangkok blogger and writer Newley Purnell posts a regular roundup of flood-related news, maps and information on his blog, Newley.com.
The TAT's news site offers semi-regular updates on the floods. Tourists can also call the TAT Information Line at 1672 to check local conditions, or visit the Thailand Meteorological Department website for updated weather forecasts.
For those in Thailand looking to assist with the country's flood relief efforts, the Bangkok Post has compiled a list of organizations accepting money and/or supplies.
- Child-rights organization Plan has been assisting with the crisis by delivering supplies to flood-hit communities. For more on their work and other flood-related news, follow them on Twitter.
- CNN's Impact Your World page has links to international organizations assisting with Thailand's flood relief efforts.
- A Facebook page and Twitter account called "Thai Flood" has been set up to offer English updates on how volunteers can help and what supplies are needed.
- Thailandtourismupdate.com provides regular flood-related updates for tourists, including a list of hotels offering discounts to those affected by the crisis.