This website is primarily aimed at tourists visiting Thailand so the information below is with that in mind. Most of Thailand’s key tourist destinations (including Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Krabi, Phi Phi, Pattaya and Phuket) are not affected by flooding and thousands of visitors continue to enjoy Thailand. If you’re flying into Bangkok and then flying straight to Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ko Samui etc. then you should have no problems with Bangkok’s international airport believed to be free from flood risk. There are differing points of view about what will or will not happen in Bangkok in the coming days with experts disagreeing about the level of flooding that the Thai capital can expect to see.
Will Bangkok flood?
The risk of flooding to inner parts of Bangkok was raised yesterday. It still isn’t know what areas will or won’t flood and to what extent. Water levels in the Chao Phraya River are already very high and more water still needs to be drained from the northern, eastern and western parts of Greater Bangkok. With the Gulf of Thailand sitting to the south of Bangkok, the flood water will eventually find its way to the ocean. What is complicating matters now are the high tides predicted for October 27-30. Thai authorities say the existing flood defences in parts of Bangkok will not be able to cope with the predicted rise in water level of the Chao Phraya River and flooding in parts of inner Bangkok are a distinct possibility.
Should I cancel my visit to Bangkok?
In previous weeks, I have advised people not to cancel visits to Bangkok. The positive feedback I have received from readers shows that tourists in Bangkok have, so far, not been affected by the flood crisis. However, things have definitely changed following the Thai prime minister’s address to the nation on television yesterday evening. Although visitors shouldn’t panic, if you are due in Bangkok between now and the weekend you should be aware that there is now the possibility of flooding in a number of tourist areas of Bangkok. Areas at highest risk are believed to be those close to the river such as Chinatown, Banglamphu and Thonburi. Localized flooding is possible in any area of central Bangkok depending on how water is drained and how well flood defences and canals hold up under the expected extra pressure of water. Even if your hotel is in an area which remains free from flooding there is the chance that travel in the city will be affected and some tourist sites temporarily closed or inaccessible.
If you are worried, you should make plans to stay elsewhere in Thailand. Bangkok airport is fully operational and many other popular tourist areas of Thailand are not affected by floods. A number of tourists have already made plans to skip stays in Bangkok in favour of nearby resorts such as Pattaya and Hua Hin with road connections to the coast currently unhindered by the floods.
Transport in Thailand
Please also read the latest transport updates from Monday, October 31 »
All airports in Thailand are open (with the exception of Don Muang in Bangkok) and operating normally including the main international airport at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. With ongoing cancellations to train services and disruption on some highways, internal flights within Thailand are likely to be busier than usual for this time of year. I would suggest booking internal flights as far in advance as you can.
Links to internal flights in Thailand »
There is currently no *northern line service (e.g. to Chiang Mai) out of Bangkok. Even after the floods clear in the central provinces there will need to be repairs carried out to the tracks. At this stage nobody really knows when services can or will resume, but if planning train travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai any time between now and mid-November I would personally advise looking at alternatives (i.e. flying).
*Update October 31:
State Railway of Thailand report there are now some limited services running out of Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It is not a full timetable (e.g. no overnight sleeper services) and services involve re-routing to avoid flooded sections of track and extended journey times. The situation is still far from clear and subject to change so if you intend to travel north you are advised to call the SRT hotline Tel. 1690.
Services from Bangkok to the north-east of Thailand (e.g. Ubon, Udon Thani, Nong Khai) are running, but are currently departing from Bangkok’s Makkasan station. However, as per the southern line service I would advise calling the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) hotline in advance because the situation is subject to change on a a daily basis.
*Southern line train services (e.g. Hua Hin, Surat Thani)
are operating normal service out of Bangkok Hualamphong. See update below.
Update: October 27
Local reports say Bangkok trains to/from south are starting/terminating at Nakhon Pathom (approx 60km west of Bangkok).
Still trying to confirm situation.I’ve just spoken to SRT (at 21.15 local time) on their 24-hour hotline. The lady I spoke to said they are monitoring the situation on a day-to-day basis. Apparently, some trains have been going via Nakhon Pathom with an onward bus service to Bangkok but not all trains. Not surprisingly, it’s all a bit confusing at the moment and I don’t think the lady in the call-centre was sure herself! If you intend to travel by train within the next few weeks, I would recommend calling the SRT hotline the day before and again on day of travel.
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) 24-hour hotline Tel. 1690 (English speaking operators are available)
Tel. 1690 – State Railway of Thailand hotline (call within Thailand)
How to buy Thailand train tickets online »
With a number of roads flooded in the central provinces of Thailand and parts of Greater Bangkok, buses between Bangkok and the north and north-east of Thailand are subject to detours and extended journey times. Buses to the eastern seaboard (e.g. Pattaya, Ko Chang) and the south (e.g. Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani) are all operating near normal services. Routes to Kanchanaburi out of Bangkok are mainly clear, but to Sukhothai expect delays and diversions en route. With the possibility of more flooding in Bangkok, this is subject to change at any time.
Update: October 27
Mo Chit (Bangkok northern bus station) reported to be open, but in a flood-risk area so services could be affected or moved to new location at any stage.
For most parts of Thailand, the end of October brings about the end of the rainy season. There are still no guarantees with the weather with periods of strong sunshine interspersed with heavy showers possible just about anywhere in the country at this time of year. Brief flash floods are possible anywhere in Thailand if heavy rains temporarily overload storm drains.
Thailand weather office »
Tourists are advised to avoid Ayutthaya at the moment because of the flooding in the city and surrounding areas. Other key tourist areas in central Thailand including Kanchanaburi and Sukhothai are perfectly safe to visit although (as stated above) there are transport problems out of Bangkok.
No flooding in Pattaya, Ko Chang, Ko Samet.
No flooding in the cities of Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. Conditions in northern Thailand in general are normal for the time of year.
Parts of the Isaan region are experiencing isolated flooding, particularly in low-lying rural areas.
No flooding in Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket and southern Thailand in general.
Useful Telephone Numbers and Links
The following numbers are for use within Thailand. Although English speaking operators are usually available, these services are likely to be very busy at the moment so please try and be patient and polite.
1672 – Tourism of Thailand (TAT) hotline
1690 – State Railway of Thailand (SRT) train enquiries
1586 – Highways Department for road enquiries
1490 – Transport Co. (bus services)
You should also make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for Thailand.
Thailand travel insurance »
With flooding affecting strategic road links and industrial areas, this has impacted on transport companies who supply the supermarkets and chain stores throughout Thailand. Some supermarkets from as far afield as Krabi and Chiang Mai have reported low stocks of certain goods. Suppliers have reassured shoppers that they are working around the clock to get stock through to all areas. From a tourist point of view there is no need to panic because you are not going to go hungry or thirsty.
Update: October 27
Please also read this latest update on the Bangkok flood situation »