Some of the worst flooding in Southeast Asia in a decade has the travel industry working to keep concerned travelers informed as the region braces for high tides over the weekend.
The severe flooding caused by an abnormally heavy rainy season has left more than 500 dead and displaced more than a million people in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, according to news reports.
“It's been a tough last month here in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia,” Andrea Ross of Journeys Within wrote in an email.
Journeys Within is a Siem Reap, Cambodia-based tour operator that specializes in travel throughout Southeast Asia.
“We have been lucky that we haven't seen huge impact on bookings or tours. Here in Cambodia the temples have stayed above the flooding and we have been able to keep touring as planned for most of our tours,” Ross wrote.
“In Thailand we have had to make some adjustments, especially with the flooding of Ayutthaya. With that said, we have only adjusted tours and have not cancelled any tours or received any cancellations.”
The historic city of Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage site about 62 miles north of Bangkok, has now been submerged for 10 days, CNN reported. (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/14/world/asia/thailand-floods/?hpt=ias_c2).
Ross noted that guests are calling in concerned about flooding throughout Southeast Asia and that Journeys Within has been updating them daily and has contingency plans in place in case they can't travel to certain areas.
“The critical time for Thailand is in the next three days as there are high tides that could contribute to the flooding,” Ross wrote.
On Friday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand put out a statement that most key tourist destinations and attractions throughout Thailand (including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Ko Samui and southern provinces) have not been affected by the floods and almost all remain open.
The floods are mainly affecting the provinces in central Thailand and a few provinces in the north and northeast, the tourism authority stated.
Additionally, all airports in Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, are still operating as usual.
Tourist destinations in the north, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, are best accessed by air as some roads and railways in the central provinces are closed due to the floods, the tourism authority advised.
Train service from Bangkok to northern destinations beyond Ayutthaya are suspended.
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