CHON BURI – Royal Passenger Liner Co. has announced that it will commence trips between Pattaya and Hua Hin, slicing across the northern tip of the Gulf of Thailand as of Jan 1, initially starting with a daily round-trip for passengers.
The Royal Passenger Liner, will cut travel time by about two-thirds to between 90 minutes and two hours. It currently takes about four to five hours to drive along the 330 km coastal route between the two towns.
It is the first phase of the governmentâ€™s East-West Ferry Project to boost tourism and logistics between Pattaya in Chon Buri province and Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Thailand’s Marine Department director-general, Mr Sorasak Sansombat, said Royal Passenger Liner was the only firm to apply for a licence to operate the Pattaya-Sattahip-Cha-am-Hua Hin ferry route.
A ferry committee is inspecting the firmâ€™s readiness for the service, upgrading arrival and departure ports for safety, and setting fares. The panel is expected to reach its conclusions on Dec 15, Mr Sorasak said, with the service to start on New Yearâ€™s Day.
The ferry will cruise at 27Â knots on the 113km journey across the Gulf of Thailand, with a maximum passenger capacity of 150 for each trip.
A bigger ferry carrying up to 260 people will be added to the service later, Mr Sorasak said.
A feasibility study on ferrying cars is expected to be completed this month, and an environmental impact assessment will be conducted later, he added.
The East-West Ferry Project also includes the construction of a deep-sea port in Prachuap Khiri Khan for cargo. Full services for both passenger and vehicular ferries, along with the new port, are expected to be up and running in 2020