Hua Hin and Pattaya are two very popular resorts for Bangkok residents and travellers. Both are easily accessible from Thailand’s capital lined by toll-and highways. Both are famous for their beaches. While Pattaya has its own reputation with its big resorts, its maritime sport activities, its entertainment venues and its seedy nightlife, Hua Hin is a quieter destination. A favourite of the Royal Family with Thailand King Bumibhol being a regular guest of his Hua Hin Palace, the city has kept a lower profile and avoid – partially- the massive urban development experienced in Pattaya.
In the surrounding of Hua Hin are many historical attractions, Cha Am Mrigadayavan Palace is a 20 minutes drive from Hua Hin with its delightful pavilions linked by Victorian style galleries. Moving north, Phra Nakhon Kiri is one of the first Western-style palace, blended into Thai and Chinese structures.
However, going from Pattaya and Hua Hin remains a real hassle. With no ferry service since 2011, it takes by road between four and a half and five hours to cover the distance of 330 km. Cars have to go around Bangkok to connect, adding to traffic jam in the congested capital. By boat, Pattaya and Hua Hin would be only 100 km away from each other.
The Government is now stepping in and wants to revive the East-West Ferry link. A consultancy firm has been hired to conduct a feasibility study and should deliver its conclusion by the end of the year. It would then take up to four years to see the first ferries plying the Gulf of Thailand to link both resort towns.
The project will be examined by the Transport Ministry, which will then seek cabinet approval for a budget to construct two ferry ports. The link is seen as a priority as it will also help to create a link between Thailand Western Central Provinces to the Eastern Central Provinces along the Gulf of Thailand.The ferry boat could handle between 200 and 500 passengers as well as 30 to 60 vehicles per trip. The new Ferry Port would be built some 35 km from Hua Hin in Pran Buri district.