The Marine Department recently requested that investigation should take place into reviving the plan to create a ferry service between Pattaya and Cha am, therefore connecting both sides of Gulf of Thailand. It is believed that this would provide a much need stimulus for growth within the tourist industry in both regions. The proposal has been looked at on numerous occasions but has never really managed to get off the ground.
Should the project take place it will reduce the travelling time between to two areas from the current 6 or 7 hours to around 3 hours therefore making it far more feasible and practical for people to visit both resorts. The service would be predicted to carry around 3 million passengers each year along with around 220,000 vehicles. All this sounds extremely positive but the cynical will say that they have heard it all before and the figures are based on very little research.
The project would cost an estimated THB4 billion and an investment plan is being drawn up over a 4 year period. Initially there would be a need for the ports to be built and this is predicted to start in 2016. Once these have been completed, the service can commence and this is predicted for 2017 meaning that things will have to progress quickly in order for these time scales to be met. Previous attempts have always been met with opposition and allegations of corruption so only time will tell if things will be different on this occasion.
Further services are planned if this project is a success and these include a service between Pattaya, Hua Hin and Pranburi, Bang Pu to Hua Hin and Pranburi and Bang Pu to Pattaya. Other ambitious plans are also mooted for a service between Bang Pu and Koh Chang and another service between Bang Pu and Songkla.
It is fair to say that Thailand is making huge efforts to try and improve the transport networks. If these projects take place along with the proposed high speed rail links travel within Thailand will be far easier and a thoroughly pleasant experience.