There was some good news for central Bangkok this morning when the arrival of the first of the weekend’s high tides failed to result in the widespread flooding that some had feared. There has been some localized flooding in some streets near the Chao Phraya River and in the Thonburi district, but the flood defences have held up well so far and the majority of inner and central Bangkok remains dry. However, there is still no room for complacency with another high tide due this evening and another two tomorrow (Sunday) which will put more strain on the flood barriers as the level of the Chao Phraya River rises. It is being forecast by local authorities in Bangkok that the western side of the Chao Phraya River (Thonburi) will see the worst of any flooding over the next 48 hours with overspill from the Bangkok Noi canal adding to the problems on that side of the river. Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) is on the Thonburi side of the river, but at the time of writing, Bangkok resident Richard Barrow is there and says it is completely dry with no problems.
This update has been written at 11.45 local Thai time. Please note that the situation is still liable to change at any time, particularly around the period of high tides.
Bangkok Tourist Attractions still Open
Major Bangkok tourist attractions remain open with plenty of tourists still visiting. There has been some ankle-deep water on the Sanam Luang side of the Grand Palace, but other roads in the area remain dry. The Grand Palace remains open to visitors as does nearby Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). The southern sections of Charoen Krung (New Road) in Chinatown saw some localized flooding earlier this morning around high tide, but other parts of Chinatown have remained completely dry.
Bangkok Airport Operating Normally
Thai authorities have again reiterated that Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport remains fully operational for international and domestic flights and is unaffected by floods. The airport is located in the eastern suburbs of Greater Bangkok. Flood water from the northern districts have been diverted via the east into the Gulf of Thailand. Although other eastern districts have seen some flooding, the airport has extensive flood defences in place and Thai officials say these have been strengthened in recent weeks. Roads to and from the airport into central Bangkok are mainly dry and free from any major problems. Travellers are still advised to allow for extra time to and from the airport. You should also factor in the possibility of queues at check-in desks (especially domestic) with a surge in passengers over this weekend as Bangkok residents take advantage of the special holiday weekend announced earlier in the week.
Floods Receding in Central Thailand
Floods are receding from Thailand’s central provinces including Nakhon Sawan and Ayutthaya. Work has begun on repairing the damaged sections of the main road north, the Asia Highway. Although there is still lots of water around in the flood-hit central regions, the situation is improving all the time. Part of the reason why so much water is approaching the Greater Bangkok area is that it is run-off from the north of the capital that has entered the Chao Phraya River and adjoining waterways. This mass of water is flowing towards the Gulf of Thailand located to the south of Bangkok.