UPDATE: for the latest information about the May 2014 military coup in Thailand, please see Is Thailand Safe After The Military Coup?
With several provinces of Thailand flooded and Bangkok under threat from the monsoon waters in October 2011, is it still safe for tourists to visit Thailand? The answer is yes, provided you keep a close eye on the news to stay updated on the changing situation
Thailand has been suffering from flooding since the end of July as a series of tropical storms during monsoon season dropped more and more rainwater across the country. The culmative effect of all the rain is now putting pressure on Bangkok. Already the ancient city of Ayutthaya is flooded, some tourist attractions in the centre of the country are closed and some suburbs of Bangkok and those near the Chao Phraya river may be affected as the tides rise next week. If you’ve seen the photos on various news websites, it looks quite scary.
However, while the situation is very serious for many Thai families and businesses, much of the country is unaffected and the areas which tourists frequent are largely untouched. All the islands – Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta etc – are unaffected by the monsoon so far, and all airports in the country are functioning normally. Central Bangkok is also largely unaffected too. I live in Ratchada, a couple of MRT stops away from central Sukhumvit, and apart from the usual gridlock of traffic that happens when it rains, the flooding that has occurred has drained away again within a few hours.
Therefore cancelling a holiday to Thailand at this point would be an over-reaction I think. It just requires some forethought and flexibility to avoid the fallout of the floods and plan around them.
The best source for information about the flooding which is continually updated is Richard Barrow’s Thai Flood News – if you have concerns you can post a comment and Richard will respond with advice (although please read previous comments to avoid asking the same question twice). There are separate articles on roads closed in Thailand by flooding and also the different districts in Bangkok that are best avoided.
You can also check Travelhappy’s Breaking Thailand News which has a feed of different English-language Thailand news sources which is constantly updated.