Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thailand floods: Updated info for tourists

Thailand floodsFlood waters lap at the UNESCO World Heritage site Chaiwattanaram Temple in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok.
As authorities in Bangkok scurry to safeguard the city in a race against time after warnings it could be hit by the worst flooding in decades in the coming two weeks, the situation on the ground remains uncertain.
For now, major tourist areas such as Sukhumvit Road, Khao San Road and Silom are still unaffected by the floods -- which cannot be said for some areas in the outlying Bangkok suburbs. Many riverside piers, restaurants and homes on low-lying sections of the Chao Phraya River are also flooded.
Also on CNNGo: Bracing for Bangkok floods
In a report in Wednesday's Bangkok Post, government officials were quoted as saying that inner-city areas of Bangkok would be safe, though some suburbs, particularly in the east, west and north of Bangkok would be hit by run-off from the north.
Regardless, with the floods expected to worsen between October 13-17 and October 26-31 due to high tides, many city residents are taking precautions by building flood walls out of sandbags or cement outside their properties. Others are stocking up on supplies like water, flashlights and non-perishable food items.
As of Wednesday morning, most public transportation -- including the Chao Phraya River ferries, BTS Skytrain and MRT -- was running as normal.

Elsewhere in Thailand

In its latest update on the situation, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was quick to stress that 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 experiencing normal weather conditions.
"All airports throughout Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, have not been affected by the floods and are operating as per usual," stated TAT.
The exception is the ancient city Ayutthaya, which has been badly hit by the floods. All tourist attractions there have been temporarily closed.
Train services from Bangkok to northern destinations beyond Ayutthaya are also suspended, with only limited services in the areas affected by the flooding.
The State Railway of Thailand is offering full refunds on tickets for travelers who want to cancel their trips to destinations where train service is suspended. Contact the SRT Call Center at 1690 for updates and info.
Long-distance bus services from Bangkok are still operating, but due to highway closures in flooded regions they are taking alternative routes, resulting in increased travel times.
CNNGo iReport assignment: Share your Thailand flood stories

Thai flood resources

Thailand blogger Richard Barrow's offers continuous updates on the flood situation, including maps of Bangkok areas that are affected. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
English-language news websites the Bangkok Post, The Nation and state-run MCOT all have in-depth coverage of the Thailand floods.
The TAT's news site also 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.
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