It has continued to rain every afternoon this week and I have encountered few more nasty side effects of rain in Bangkok. Even after a quick rainfall, you might find yourself in a very wet situation if you are in an area which floods easily. Many streets in Bangkok have poor drainage systems and when the water cannot flow off the road swiftly, you’ll find the streets flooded up to several inches. This is especially true in areas like Sukhumvit where the streets are small and occassionally the water will be too deep for a car to safely drive through.
If you are a pedestrian walking next to a street which is flooded or has a few large puddles, beware of getting drenched. Cars and trucks take little notice of people walking on the sidewalk and might create a wave of water going by that is hazardous to pedestrians who are trying to keep dry. Also, in cases where there is no sidewalk and the road is flooded, there will be no avoiding the waters unless you catch a taxi or motorbike.
People in Thailand have developed interesting ways of beating the problems caused by rain. Motorbike riders are the most skilled at devising ways of beating the rain. As soon as the rain gets harder than a light drizzle, many of them will try to wait out the rain under a bridge or fly over. You’ll see dozens of motorbikes and their drivers clustered in these dry spots as you drive by. A few of the drivers will be prepared and will don a full body rain suit before continuing on despite the rain.
Even once it stops raining, motorbike drivers have funny ways of dealing with the wetness that is left behind. I’ve seen many picking up their feet and placing them on the neck of the motorbike in order to avoid the water splashing below them. They’ll even modify their motorbikes by placing plastic bags or even leaf branches to lessen the splashing caused by the motorbike’s tires.
The flooding of the road during and after rain is an unavoidable part of living in Thailand. If you observe the Thais around you, it’ll help you figure out ways to make the best out of the situation. At the very least, try to carry an umbrella with you or else you might have to go about like some of the locals with a small plastic bag covering your head.