For tourists visiting Bangkok in the near future, the situation remains virtually unchanged from my most recent updates. Bangkok airport is still unaffected by floods and roads into central Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi are dry. Most major tourists attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Pho and Wat Arun remain open and safe to visit.
Flooding in Thailand’s Central Provinces is Receding
There is good news for the central provinces located north of Bangkok with flood waters continuing to recede. With no more run-off from further north entering these provinces, work has commenced in a number of areas to re-open roads and begin the clean-up operation. Nakhon Sawan organised a ‘Big Cleaning Day’ over the weekend with residents joining together with municipal authorities. A similar Big Cleaning Day for Ayutthaya is scheduled for November 10. It could still be a number of weeks before the historic central area of Ayutthaya is fully opened to the public with officials and experts needing to assess and repair any damage to the ancient temples.
Flooding in Bangkok
For tourists, the advice is largely unchanged from my previous updates i.e. Bangkok is still open for business and there is no major impact on tourists. The Royal Irrigation Department have announced that the situation in Bangkok has stabilized and will not worsen with no more run-off from further north. However, they still have to drain away the existing floods in the Bangkok area and over the weekend some water flowed south into more locations on the northern outskirts of the city close to Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Mo Chit northern bus terminal. The bus terminal remains open and Chatuchak Market (or ‘JJ’ as locals call it) was also open at the weekend although many traders and shoppers stayed away. There are still differing views from flood experts with at least one school of thought suggesting that water could flow down to the Victory Monument area (at some stage within the next 10 days) before being channelled into Sansem Canal and drained away. Sansem Canal is located just to the north of Victory Monument. This is all conjecture, but if it does happen the predictions are that the water will be shallow (ankle-deep) and should not cause any major problems to transport in that area. Even for the experts it is difficult to predict because there is a complicated system of drainage channels, canals and sluice gates which are used to drain flood water away from the city. Added to that, the Thai government have clashed with the Bangkok Municipal Authority (BMA) about how this should be best achieved. In some communities, which have been flooded for weeks already, residents have taken matters into their own hands and forced open some sluice gates in a desperate attempt to relieve the flooding in their locality.
Whilst the situation remains desperate for many residents in outer districts of Bangkok, the same is not true for tourists with life in central Bangkok continuing more or less as normal. All hotels along the river are open although occupancy rates in the most popular riverside hotels are reported to be low. Hotels and guest-houses located in Sukhumvit, Silom, Khao San Road, Sathorn etc. continue to be unaffected by the floods and, as previously mentioned, major tourist attractions remain open.
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