Tourists warned as floods continue to wreak havoc in Thailand
Bangkok is bracing for the worst flooding it’s seen in decades as waters from the flooded central plains continue to rush in.
Rising water levels on the Chao Phraya river and city canals have left some riverside restaurants, shops and homes submerged, while public piers are covered in makeshift platforms and sandbags to keep ferry passengers dry.
For now, major city tourist areas such as Sukhumvit Road, Khao San Road and Silom are unaffected by the floods.
Thailand's Flood Relief Operations Command (FROC) says the critical dates are October 14-16, as a high spring tide will prevent the Chao Phraya River from draining into the sea, leaving Bangkok and its surrounds fighting to keep waters from flooding the city.
CNNGo iReport assignment: Share your Thailand flood stories
Elsewhere in Thailand
More than 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July, according to Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
The worst-hit provinces are in Thailand’s Central Plains -- low-lying agricultural areas adjacent to major waterways such as the Chao Phraya river.
This includes the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where frantic efforts to save its historic inner town and parts of its key industrial estate have reportedly failed. A hospital there has already been evacuated, with patients moved to alternative medical facilities.
On Friday, UNESCO offered emergency funds to help restore Thailand’s heritage sites affected by the flooding.
Other provinces in north and central Thailand affected by floods and monsoon rains include: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Kampheang Phet, Khon Kaen, Lamphun, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Mahasarakham, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Prachin Buri, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Ubon Ratchathani, and Uthai Thani.
Though most of the key tourist destinations and attractions in the far north –- Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Loei -- remain open, train services from Bangkok to the north have been suspended.
Thailand's Transport Company says public buses are still running to the north from Bangkok's Mo Chit terminal, although passengers should expect delays. Travel to the northeastern Isaan region is largely unaffected, with buses and trains still operating normally.
All airports throughout Thailand are operating as per normal according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) latest update on the situation, which includes a full list of closed attractions.
The TAT says the State Railway of Thailand is offering full refunds to travelers with tickets to destinations where train service is suspended. Contact the SRT Call Center at 1690 for updates regarding train services.
Thailand’s southern tourism destinations, such as Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi, are unaffected by the flooding, says the TAT.
“Tourists planning to travel to the provinces affected by the floods are advised to check the latest weather forecasts for their destination and confirm arrangements with the transportation providers with which they will be traveling,” advises the TAT.
They can also call the TAT Information Line at 1672 to check local conditions, or visit the Thailand Meteorological Department website for updated weather forecasts.