The worst of the rain in the south seems to be over with the meteorological office of Thailand forecasting only light showers in the south over the next few days, though heavier rains my fall further north.
So life for locals in the many parts of the south is slowly getting to normal as the floodwaters recede.
This also means that many tourist activities are now going ahead as planned and tours, temple visits and excursions scheduled.
Officials have asked that tourists wait a few days before taking boat tours or island hopping as waves, both in the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand are still quite high.
Most road and air transportation is currently operating as normal though some train routes are still affected.
TAT Newsroom will be providing update on attractions and destinations on an ongoing basis. To find out more, visit our photo gallery of destinations via this link: Southern Thailand’s Tourist Destination Photos in January 2017.
However, if you are planning to travel in the south, it’s worth checking the weather and status of destinations as well as airports and airlines before you travel.
Airports in the southern region remain operating as normal. However, Nakon Si Thammarat Airport has been temporarily closed and will remain closed until Friday 13 January while repairs and checks to flood damage systems are carried out. Meanwhile, TAT’s Ko Samui Office has confirmed that Samui Airport is currently operating normally but flights maybe cancelled/delayed due to weather conditions.
The State Railway of Thailand has announced that all train services going further south than Hua Hin will be suspended until flood waters recede.
There are no replacement bus services due to flooding on the roads. Any passengers who have bought advance tickets can get a full refund. Passengers are advised to keep abreast of announcements.
Before scheduled departure, please call the State Railway of Thailand hotline on 1690, which is open 24 hours a day.
The majority of medium- to large-size tourist vessels are running as normal. Smaller boat services continue to operate but restricted to the islands nearer to the mainland, such as, Ko Kradan and Ko Mook in Trang; Ko Hong, Thale Waek (Separated Sea beach), and Ko Lanta in Krabi and Ko Phayam in Ranong.
However, park officials at the Noppharat Thara Beach in Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park have told tourists that they should hold off on boat excursions for one more day as a precaution in case of high waves.
Ferry services: The catamaran and ferries for Ko Samui, Ko Phanhan and Ko Tao, operated by private companies – Songserm Rungraung Boat, Lomprayah, and Seatran Discovery – are running as normal. Meanwhile, the new Pattaya-Hua Hin Ferry has rescheduled its inaugural date to 12 January, and will offer a free ride until the end of the month.
Road Travel: Most of the main routes to the south are now passable, though travellers should expect occasional jam and delays. The temporary bridges placed over parts of the Phetkasem highway are now in place.
The first of these Bailey Bridges was placed over the opening of the Nong Ya Plong Bridge at km365 and the second at Wang Yao Bridge at km386 in the district of Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
These bridges mean that traffic can now go north and south and that the roads are passable. However, as the bridges are narrow, there may be delays so drivers should make sure they set out in good time.
Weather Forecasts: According to the Thai Meteorological Department, a strong northeastern monsoon is forecast for 16-18 of January that will cause temperatures in the north and northeast to drop while bringing more rain to the south, especially the eastern coast of Surat Thani and areas further south. However, it is not expected that these rains will be as heavy as those experienced earlier in the month. In the meantime, high waves are still being reported in both the Thai Gulf and the Andaman Sea and all vessels are advised to proceed with caution, especially smaller craft.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is offering information and assistance to tourists through TAT Contact Center 1672 and all its offices in Thailand.