Thousands of sun-seekers have found anything but in Thailand this week, instead being caught up in cyclone-like weather that has caused severe floods throughout the country’s popular southern islands.
So far, at least 11 people have been reported dead, while thousands of tourists and locals remain stranded.
Ko Samui’s airport is one of three in the region which has been shut down, while main roads and railway links are also blocked.
The ferry service between Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan and the mainland has also been cancelled due to particularly heavy seas.
The floods, which have caused disruption since the weekend, have affected several provinces along Thailand’s southern peninsula, including Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Phattalung, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Satun and Trang. Worse still, the bad weather shows no signs of abating yet, with heavy rains forecast until the weekend at least.
Tourists have been told to follow advice from local news reports and authorities until the flooding abates. Local weather officials reported that “There is an ongoing risk of flash flooding and mudslides in the affected areas”, while “Electricity supplies and communications are severely disrupted”.
Many tourists who were supposed to have left are now trapped, awaiting better weather conditions before they can return home. “I’ve been stuck here for the last three days, and my savings are running out fast”, complained Graeme Farmer, a British traveler on Ko Samui.
Anyone in need of urgent assistance is advised to call the Thai Tourist Police on 1155.