Tourists flee Thai resort islands to avoid storm hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: AP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Tens of thousands of tourists have fled the Thai resort islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao ahead of tropical storm Pabuk which is set to bring heavy rains, wind, and large waves of up to 7 metres.

Pabuk, the first tropical storm in the region outside of the monsoon season for around 30 years, is poised to batter Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, as well as Koh Samui on the evening of January 4, before cutting into the mainland.

Although there has been no official evacuation order, tourists have been fleeing in droves, leaving the famous tourist destination almost empty from January 2. According to local authorities of Koh Phangnan, about 30,000 to 50,000 have left the island since the New Year's Eve countdown party.

Pabuk was packing winds of 104 km per hour but was unlikely to intensify into a full blown typhoon, said forecasters who warned of waves as high as 5-7 metres near the eye of the storm.

The typhoon is also forecasted to dump heavy rain across the south, including tourist hotspots in the Andaman Sea such as Krabi and the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala which border Malaysia.–VNA