Rare flooding in Phuket on Sunday continued to disrupt air travellers as passengers missed their flights out of the resort city, while those arriving struggled to reach their hotels or homes.
Several tourists missed their flights because of traffic congestion on roads to the airport due to flooding, although all airports extended service at check-in counters by 20 minutes to one hour, the provincial public relations office said, citing Ratchadaporn O-in, chief of the tourism and sports office in Phuket.
The situation was no better for those flying in, because public transport was hampered by vehicles stranded on roads, she added.
Phuket airport has requested travellers to leave for the airport three to four hours before their scheduled departures after torrential rain throughout the night submerged parts of the island. The famous old neighbourhood in downtown Phuket was one of the worst affected.
Tourism police and a representative of the Tourist Assistance Centre help travellers check in at Phuket airport. (Photo: Phuket public relations office)
The chaos came as many holidaymakers were leaving the island at the end of the four-day weekend for government and state enterprise officials that started on Thursday.
Flooded roads forced Phuket Smart Bus Co to temporarily suspend its airport bus services in Kamala, Cherng Talay, Surin beach and Ban Kian to avoid flooding.
Airport Bus Phuket No. 8411, a service from another company leaving Bus Terminal 1 in the city, has had to change its regular route.
"Passengers should prepare at least four hours for the trip," it said on its Facebook page, and advised customers to watch for updates to their schedules.
A bus from Phuket to Phatthalung leaves the island on a flooded road. (Photo: Phuket public relations office)
Adcha Buachan, the provincial land transport office chief, said all buses leaving Phuket for other provinces continued regular service from two city bus terminals. No passengers were stranded at the bus stations, he said, adding that services could yet be adjusted depending on the flood situation.
Only service by vans and small vehicles was suspended due to the high level of water on some roads, the official added.
More worrying days ahead
As officials tried to help people on the island affected by floods, weather forecasters warned of yet more rain or even downpours to lash Phuket and other provinces along the Andaman coast on Monday.
"Ranong, Phannga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun should beware of possible flash floods and runoff," said Charan Yiemvej, the forecaster on duty at the Meteorological Department in Bangkok.
The chance of rain on the island was 70% from Monday to Wednesday, according to the department.