Monsoon Mayhem!

Monsoon Season Hits Asia

The monsoon season is underway in Asia and it is wise to watch the weather reports. Tropical storms can and do happen quickly, with Thailand being no exception. 

The rain arrives suddenly and it is incredible how quickly the flood water can rise. Even in this modern city flooding remains a problem that we all have to learn to live with. The monsoon season is the only time of year I do not like in Thailand. 

During the worst floods from September through to November, you sometimes see people wading waist-deep in dirty flood water. For those that are very unlucky, they might encounter a water snake. Yikes! 

Down in Pattaya, the flooding holds up the traffic and you are ages trying to escape. Sometimes, just getting out of Pattaya can take as long as the journey to Bangkok. you really need to time your car journeys well during the rainy season in Pattaya. 

Better drainage and infrastructure was talked about for Pattaya, but alas nothing beneficial ever happened. Surely, a team of top engineers could come up with a solution. Perhaps, they just want people to suffer.  

Thailand jumped into the millennium like a giant tiger, with huge numbers of visitors and a booming economy. But, it is an idiosyncratic trait that in some ways Thailand is stuck in ancient times.  

So far the rain in Bangkok is sporadic. We have had a few heavy showers, the odd dry day, then followed an almighty downpour. Some areas of Thailand such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai were hit pretty hard, but no serious flooding reported in Bangkok (yet). 

The Thais don’t like the rain, when they get soaked they are susceptible to getting bad colds.  For us farangs, it’s just bloody annoying. A number of taxi drivers either refuse to take you or quote expensive prices. 

The BTS Skytrain opens at 6:00 am and closes at midnight. I always find this a great transportation mode for escaping the rain and avoiding traffic jams. Bangkok is chaotic during heavy rainfall, as tons of people are trying to get into a taxi or tuk-tuk.   

On a rainy night after the bars close in Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy, you can see rows of bar girls by the roadside waiting for taxis.  Some nights near the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 3 the row is almost as far as the eye can see. 

Fortunately, if you are caught in an unexpected heavy downpour, there are plenty of available shops nearby to buy an umbrella or a raincoat. 

I like how quickly and effectively, the Thai street food vendors cover their roadside stalls, with large umbrellas and ‘plastic fantastic’ housing units. Sometimes, the most simple solutions are the most practical. 

Daves Raves – Back in the days when I visited Thailand during the 1980’s and 1990’s, I often took my holidays during the rainy season. This was due to it being offseason in my martial arts clubs. After the rainfall, you can smell the cooler, fresher air, as the rain replenishes the atmosphere. The bars and the city, in general, are much less crowded in the low season. In my book, that means less competition and more availability.