Company ready to start Gulf ferry

PATTAYA, 15 November 2016: Thailand’s Ministry of Transport’s Marine Department says a ferry service linking Pattaya and Hua Hin, two resorts facing each other across the Gulf of Thailand, should make its maiden sailing, 1 January.

The department general director, Sorasak Sansombat, said Royal Passenger Liner Co will operate a daily roundtrip service on the route for passengers only.

Earlier reports this year suggested the ferry would carry both passengers and cars.

inside no 5The firm’s ferry is capable of cruising at 27 knots (50 kph) on the 113-km sail across the Gulf of Thailand, using catamaran  with a maximum passenger capacity of 150.

A bigger ferry carrying up to 260 people could be added later.

The ferry is expected to shorten travel time between the two destinations to around one hour and 30 minutes instead of four hours by car.

In practice, the drive from Pattaya to Hua Hin is more likely to take six hours, while based on a speed of 50 kph the ferry would take more than two hours.

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.

Fares will be announced 15 December.

A feasibility study on adding a ferry capable of carrying cars should be completed by the end of the year.

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.

Whether it will be of value to international tourists will depend on the fares, booking channels and how travel agents can fit the ferry into their Thailand tour routes.

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