PATTAYA, 30 January 2017: Rough seas and unseasonal storms put a damper on the new ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Him prompting the company to cut fares effective 1 February to THB999 one-way.
Launched in early January it serves two popular resorts that face each other directly across the Gulf of Thailand. So far, very few passengers have booked the service, partly due trips being suspended due to bad weather and a fare of THB1,250 per person.
Even now there are no guarantees a low-fare will work for the ferry as passengers must visit the pier office at either Pattaya, or Hua Hin, to buy a ticket.
The major downside is the lack of booking channels such as travel companies using global distribution systems, or general sales agency networks, which virtually cuts travel trade bookings to zero.
The absence of online bookings through the ferry’s website with a secure credit card facility discourages sales. If the company offered bookings on the company’s own website with secure payments through convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, or other similar payment services it might draw more traffic.
According to ferry owner, Royal Passenger Liner, passengers must visit the office at the Pattaya Automatic Parking, 2nd floor, Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya or Khao Takiab Pier, the main pier in the centre of Hua Hin. They need to show their ID card, or passport (foreigners), to book a ticket.
The passenger catamaran Royal 1 will leave Bali Hai pier in Pattaya at 1030 and arrive the pier at Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan at 1230. For the return leg, the ferry will depart Hua Hin at 1330 and arrive in Pattaya at 1530.
The ferry has no capacity to carry vehicles, which eliminates travellers, resident on the eastern seaboard, who might wish to drive their car, or motor cycle, to the ferry in Pattaya to shortcut the long journey (six hours) by road with a two-hour ferry transfer across the gulf, before continuing their journey south to Phuket or Samui.
Royal Passenger Liner was the only firm to apply for a licence to operate the Pattaya-Sattahip-Cha-am-Hua Hin ferry route when applications opened, 9 August. It passed the selection process, 30 September.
The Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry service is part of the Thai government’s East-West Ferry Project that attempts to link resorts and towns on facing coastlines of the Gulf Thailand.