Connect with us


Bangkok – that sinking feeling



The mighty Chao Phraya runs through the central plains and down into the flooding delta before heading out into the Gulf of Thailand. Great place for a city.

Not surprisingly Bangkok suffers floods whenever the big rains come with most of the low-lying land around the delta only averaging around 1.5 metres above sea level.

Whilst the city used to have a complex system of canals to help carry the floodwaters out of the city, most of them have now been filled in whilst the urban mass has spread, now housing around 10 million people. The city has also tried to counter the sever floods by installing larger drains, bigger pumps and trying to manage the Chao Phraya’s floods habits better.

But the metropolis is now being threatened by two major threats.

Firstly, the land is sinking. The city of Bangkok was developed on soft clay land where the Chao Phraya meets the Gulf of Thailand. After the fall of Ayutthaya (north of Bangkok) to the Burmese Empire in 1767, the newly crowned King Thaksin established his new capital at the port town, which became the base of the Thonburi Kingdom and then later the Chakri dynasty (on the east side of the Chao Phraya).

As Bangkok grows, the accumulated weight of the city is literally pushing Bangkok into the soggy clay it’s built on.

The National Water Resource Commission approved a US$412 million plan to combat drought and floods as well as improve drainage in May this year but fending off rising waters from the city when the rains come will become an increasingly impossible task, no matter how much money is thrown at the problem.

The other threat is the rising oceans and the effects of climate change, already being detected and noted in the city’s predictions and disaster plans.

Under a major case study the city is expected to experience around 40% inundation by an extreme rainfall event and 15 centimetre sea-level rise by 2030.

A World Bank report entitled ‘Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities’ identified Bangkok – as well as Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City – as having experienced nearly a two-fold increase in damage costs between 2008 and 2050 due to land subsidence. It is predicted that almost 70% of the increase in flooding costs in 2050 for Bangkok will be due to land subsidence.

Short of physically relocating much of Bangkok to higher ground, the city’s planners and engineers have limited time to work out the best way to protect the ‘Venice of the East’ from ending up like its Venetian counterpart.

Bangkok - that sinking feeling | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Floods in Bangkok – Khaosod English


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Destination Guide3 hours ago

Best areas to live in Phuket (2022)

Video3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Fears of shenanigans in Mountain B Pub fire investigation

Travel3 hours ago

5 vineyards and wineries in Thailand all wine lovers should know

Sponsored13 hours ago

Super luxury villas in Phuket with breathtaking ocean views

Thailand3 hours ago

Thai neitzens angry at SUV driver using a siren just to use toilet

Thailand4 hours ago

New poll says people from Thailand more relaxed about Covid-19

Thailand5 hours ago

Rama 2 Road guilty of being a repeat accident offender

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand5 hours ago

Body of one teacher found in double suicide pact in SE Thailand

Thailand7 hours ago

Son who tried to starve mother to death dies of TB in NE Thailand

Crime7 hours ago

Mystery 911 emergency service call turns out to be a monkey

Thailand8 hours ago

Hot gran bowled over by Shane Warne before he died in Thailand

Thailand8 hours ago

Soi Dog Foundation pledges to neuter 1 million animals in 2 years

Thailand9 hours ago

EPL praises Thailand for crackdown on illegal footie sites

Pattaya10 hours ago

Sick German man fails in suicide attempt in Pattaya

Video10 hours ago

Thailand approves all time high electricity price | GMT

Economy10 hours ago

Instant noodles, a staple budget food, fighting to increase prices

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11