Tropical Storm Pabuk is set to hit southern Thailand later today, with the islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the path of the storm. Koh Samui will likely be affected too. We have pulled together information and travel advice to help keep you safe.
Large numbers of tourists left the islands on Wednesday, packing on to ferries. No official evacuation order has been given yet. One local official estimated that ‘between 30,000 to 50,000 have left since the New Year’s Eve countdown parties.‘
Some bulletpoints from the news coverage (travel advice can be found further below) –
- Some ferry services have since been cancelled. If you are trying to get off the islands, make sure you only travel with official ferry companies, make sure there are enough life jackets/life boats before you set off, and try to confirm that the services are allowed to run before you board. If in doubt, get off the boat.
- Swimming has been banned on Koh Samui.
- There are reports on Twitter of petrol shortages on Koh Tao.
- Bangkok Airways has cancelled flights to/from Samui Airport for Friday.
Seven metre waves forecast
A Russian man died when swimming off Koh Samui on Wednesday. The Evening Standard reports that he was trying to ‘rescue his daughter, who was struggling in strong surf. Thai PBS television reported that the daughter survived but her father lost consciousness after being tossed against some rocks and could not be revived by rescuers.’
If you are in the region –
- Monitor the local weather forecast. Use a couple of different apps and/or websites to get information from multiple sources.
- Follow the official advice Twitter accounts that are listed below. Enable push notifications, so that you will know as soon as new information is shared.
- Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline after your phone battery has died.
- Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too.
- Monitor local media.
- Keep mobile devices charged.
- Put aside a storm kit to help you wait out the worst of the weather. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, candles and matches, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
- Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water.
- Comply with advice from the local authorities.
- Be prepared for delays and disruption.
- Check in with friends and family.
- If something bad happens, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so.
If you are heading to the region soon –
- Check in with your airline and travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted.
- Monitor media reports.
- Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly.
Official travel advice
#Thailand Tropical Storm Pabuk is forecast to affect the southern coast of Thailand from 3 to 5 January. If you’re in the area, monitor weather warnings from the Thai Meteorological Department and follow advice of local authorities. More info: https://t.co/nEjzbaxYio pic.twitter.com/uhFJeBfTDN
— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) January 3, 2019
#Thailand: Tropical Storm #Pabuk should make landfall in #SuratThani province around January 4, affecting areas such as #KoSamui, #KoPhaNgan and #KoTao. It may also affect #Chumphon, #Ranong, #PhangNga, #Phuket, #Krabi, and #NakhonSiThammarat provinces. https://t.co/z6r0YL07ng
— travel.gc.ca (@TravelGoC) January 2, 2019
Storm Pabuk is expected to hit Southern #Thailand between 3-5 January. Irish citizens in this region should monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities. More Info is available at the link below #TravelWise #KnowBeforeYouGo https://t.co/rHKPTZ3vEs pic.twitter.com/kQVofnMNxl
— DFATravelWise (@dfatravelwise) January 3, 2019
The Embassy is aware that Storm Pabuk is due to hit Southern Thailand from 3-5 Jan. Irish citizens in the South should monitor local media + follow the advice of local authorities https://t.co/EtSMDgXRyn
— Irish Emb Bangkok (@IrlEmbBangkok) January 3, 2019
Headlines and coverage
Tens of thousands of tourists flee some of Thailand’s most popular islands and resort areas as Tropical Storm Pabuk closes in and threatens to batter the southern part of the kingdom with heavy rains, winds and seven-metre (22-foot) waves https://t.co/OAubhW8jo2
— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 3, 2019
The south of #Thailand is bracing for the strong tropical storm #Pabuk that is forecast to hit tonight. The Thai Meteorological Department warns strong rainfall and high tides. pic.twitter.com/xZqR2CZNBb
— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) January 2, 2019
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) January 1, 2019
Tropical Storm Pabuk path LIVE: Thailand braces for heavy rain and 22-feet-high waves https://t.co/Z1FfqVN5Bl
— Evening Standard (@standardnews) January 3, 2019
— Thanyarat Doksone (@8td) January 3, 2019
Tropical Storm #Pabuk hit Thailand’s upper southern provinces & will intensify on 4 Jan with expected strong gales &intense downpours. @ThaiRedCross is monitoring situation & readying its 4 Health Stations for assistance. Read: https://t.co/WuPsF8Oolk pic.twitter.com/frZCWUYWgK
— IFRC Asia Pacific (@IFRCAsiaPacific) January 3, 2019
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