Thai floods affect gap year backpackers

28th Oct 2011
Written by: James Roberts

Thai floods affect gap year backpackers

Those travelling to Thailand have been advised by the FCO to avoid all but essential travel to the Thai capital Bangkok as flood waters continue to rise.

Across the country, more than 110,000 people have been evacuated and more than 370 people have been killed. The floods are the worst to hit Thailand in 50 years.

The Thai Government recently announced a five-day public holiday in Bangkok and 20 provinces to give locals the chance to escape the floods.

Don Muang Airport, Bangkok's second biggest, was forced to close yesterday until November 1 due to water in the surrounding area making it difficult for passengers and staff to access.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok’s main airport, is still open to travellers. Thai Airways, which operates out of Suvarnabhumi, said it may reduce flights because of staffing concerns. However, transit flights are still operational and encouraged, with operators Air Asia flying to areas in and around Thailand.

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Thailand at this difficult time and in the face of unprecedented flooding.

“However, as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has now said that waters will reach the capital, we have updated our travel advice to reflect the worsening situation.”

The FCO website states: “We now advise against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok and the 26 provinces in Thailand affected by flooding.  Our advice against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi international airport. Flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (e.g – the resorts of Chiang Mai, Koh Samui , Pattaya and Phuket) continue to operate normally.”

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra told reporters: “Now we're at a critical moment, we need to monitor the situation closely from 28-31 October, when many areas might be critical. Massive water is coming.”

Those travelling to Thailand on a gap year are encouraged to monitor the situation closely. If you’re flying in the next week or so it’s suggested to reroute around Bangkok to another city in Thailand or South East Asia.

One gapper, Roxyangel91, said: “I should be flying to Bangkok on Wednesday 2nd November, but this looks unlikely now! I’m starting a Gap tour in Vietnam on Sunday 6th, so hoping I can re-route there somehow without spending a few, very wet, days in Bangkok first.”

There's been a lot of talk on the gapyear.com message boards that relate to the Thai floods which are packed full of information. Most travellers are considering Bangkok a no-go destination for the time being, but those planning to arrive in Thailand during the floods have obvious concerns.

Have you been affected by the floods in Thailand or have you been affected by floods in the past? Have you had to change your gap year plans? Let us know…

Oh, and here's a video of a crocodile found in the flood waters. As if they weren't scary enough!

Photo of Thai Floods taken by Amber Phalen (via Creative Commons)

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