A ferry service between Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Pattaya will start Jan 1, free until Jan 15, according to the Marine Department’s regional office in Pattaya.
Aekarach Khantharo, head of the regional marine office, said the ferry service will ply between a fishing pier in Hua Hin and Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier, which has been improved to accommodate the service.
At the launch of the test run on Jan 1, ferries will leave the fishing pier in Hua Hin at 8.30am and travel to Pattaya. For the return trip to Hua Hin, ferries will leave Pattaya at 3.30pm.
The new ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin will begin service on Jan 1, with free rides as a New Year's gift until Jan 15, after which the normal fare of 1,250 baht will kick in.
A Marine Department committee is considering imposing ferry fares according to maintenance and fuel costs. No decision has been made.
The National Council for Peace and Order recently took measures to relocate seafood vendors along footpaths around Bali Hai pier and a large number of tourist speedboats that crowded the pier, under its plan to improve the image of the resort town.
Mr Aekarach said the ferry service concessionaire bought three large 38-metre long ferries from China, each with the capacity to carry up to 339 passengers.
The ferries can travel at speeds of up to 27 knots, and ferry rides are expected to last no more than two hours between Pattaya and Hua Hin.
Pattaya is about 345km from Hua Hin by road, but only 105km across the Gulf of Thailand.
The service is tipped to boost the economy, enhance the country’s competitiveness and reduce heavy road traffic during long holidays, he said.
Marine Department officials have conducted regular inspections of the ferries and equipment to ensure safety for the public and tourists.
The first deck has 286 seats, with 44 business class seats on the upper deck and two VIP rooms
A privately-run ferry service from Pattaya to Hua Hin and Phetchaburi’s Cha-am was offered in the past, but was not financially viable, causing the operator to stop the service in 2011.
Source: BKK Post