Pattaya’s Proposed Infrastructure Changes
he proposed infrastructure changes in and around the Pattaya area are certainly going to shake up the city in many ways. Some are government driven from Bangkok and others are directed by Pattaya City Hall. These critical developments will help and assist many aspects of the economy of Pattaya to grow including; tourism, real estate, local commerce, travel, hotels, and local businesses.
Hua Hin- Pattaya Ferry Link
The long expected announcement of a ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin has recently been declared. Starting on Jan 1st 2017, a privately-run ferry service will connect the two resort seaside towns together. At first a limited service of a daily round trip will operate just for foot passengers but if successful this will be augmented by a larger ferry that will operate the route. Leaving from Pattaya Bali Hai pier, the 150 passenger ferry will take about ninety minutes to cover the 115 km journey to Hua Hin, cutting the current road journey down by at least two or three hours.
U-Tapao Airport Expansion
A major plan, agreed by the transport ministry and the navy, envisages a six-fold increase in civilian traffic by 2020 at U-Tapao airport. The current traffic of 120,000 per year will increase dramatically to 1 million with a target of three million passengers. The terminal is currently undergoing a 700 Million baht refurbishment and is due to be completed by March 2017. Already Air Asia have started to schedule international flight departures from the airport, and Bangkok Airways fly to Phuket and Koh Samui, as well as the current charter flights from China and Russia that use the facility. There are also 2nd and 3rd expansion plans on the cards for U-Tapao to take capacity up to 5 million arrivals by 2025. If these future developments take place it is possible that U-Tapao could become Bangkok’s third airport.
Bangkok – Pattaya High Speed Rail Link
Recently SRT the State Railway of Thailand, has approved the construction of a high speed train link between Bangkok and Rayong. The 200KM route would have stops at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Pattaya, and the estimated journey time would be an impressive one hour. The official government approval to go ahead with the link has been put back to early 2017, although the government is stipulating that the time frame for construction will remain the same. The plan is to have a four train system, thus allowing the Bangkok-Pattaya link to be running by 2019. The current plan calls for the link to terminate at Pattaya with phase two extending the service to Rayong.
Highway 7 Improvements
The continuing improvements to Highway 7 which is the main artery between Bangkok and Pattaya are making things a lot easier for commuters between the two great cities. Since the first inception of the motorway connecting the capital with the popular resort town, travelling by road increased dramatically. Previously the 140KM journey could have taken well over three hours, but now it is easy to traverse it in under two, and with the completion of the renovations then this time will be cut also. Although new toll booths accompany the development, they will stop unroadworthy vehicles accessing the highway, making it safer and quicker to travel. This motorway has seen increased traffic of Thai Bangkok residents using Pattaya as a weekend destination.