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Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall to see multi-billion baht expansion

Hua Hin Asset Company, a joint venture between the Umpujh and Liptapanlop families, will allocate an additional 2-3 billion baht to build new attractions and develop a residential project for the second phase of its Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall, which is due to open next month.

The new expansions will push the overall budget for the project to 8 billion baht.

Supaluck Umpujh, Hua Hin Asset’s vice chairman, said the second phase will be built on a 25-rai plot located behind the Bluport shopping project over the next two years. The new development will respond to increased tourism in Hua Hin.

“We believe in the potential of Hua Hin, which TripAdvisor has ranked fifth among the top 10 tourist destinations on the rise in Asia,” she said.

The government’s plans to expand Hua Hin airport near the subdistrict of Ban Bo Fai in Prachuap Khiri Khan, along with the high-speed train project to the resort town, reflect Hua Hin’s growth potential.

Ms Supaluck, also vice-chairman of The Mall Group, has suggested that the government build a port in Hua Hin to attract more tourists, particularly foreigners. The port would become a new transport alternative for Hua Hin.

“If tourists can conveniently travel to Hua Hin, they will stay longer and spend more money. This will benefit the Thai tourism industry in the long run,” she said.

The Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall, located opposite Intercontinental Hotel Hua Hin, is due to open on Oct 1. The company will spend about 200 million baht on its official launch, which is expected to bolster Thailand’s tourism industry and overall economy, as well as solidify the country’s retail status in Asean.

The shopping project has 200,000 square metres of space, of which 50,000 sq m has been allocated for a department store. Another 25,000 sq m has been set aside for a shopping plaza, 10,000 sq m for a supermarket, 15,000 sq m for a theme park and pedestrian footpaths, while the remaining 100,000 sq m is for parking.

Daily visitors are expected to number 20,000 during weekdays and 40,000 at the weekend. Hua Hin Asset forecasts its annual retail sales at 7 billion baht and expects to break even within seven years.

Ms Supaluck said the Bluport Hua Hin project represented a new milestone for The Mall Group, which has a lot of retail experience in Bangkok, having developed The Mall, Siam Paragon, and the Emporium and Emquartier shopping malls.

Due to increased tourist arrivals, the group has focused its expansion efforts in Hua Hin, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Koh Samui.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1090985/bluport-hua-hin-resort-mall-to-see-multi-billion-baht-expansion

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East-West ferry to run by 2020

The Hua Hin to Pattaya service is tipped to cut journey time by two-thirds.

The government’s proposed East-West Ferry Project to link the resort towns of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Pattaya in Chon Buri province is expected to be up and running in four years.

It currently takes about five hours to drive between the resort towns. But when the ferry begins operation, estimated to be in 2020, travellers can expect to have their journey time shortened by about two-thirds, said Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Marine Office 3 chief Suriya Kopatta.

Mr Suriya said the Marine Department (MD) has hired a consultancy firm to conduct a feasibility study of the project. The study is due to be wrapped up by December this year.

The project will then be proposed to the Transport Ministry, which will then seek cabinet approval for a budget to construct ports for the project, Mr Suriya said.

The project, he said, would help shorten travel time between the lower Central Plains, covering Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi, and the eastern provinces of Chon Buri, Chanthaburi, Rayong and Trat.

Pattaya is about 345km from Hua Hin by road, but only 105km across the Gulf of Thailand.

Mr Suriya said a modern ferry would be able to handle between 300-500 passengers and 30-60 vehicles on the trip, and would take only one-and-a-half hours to complete the journey.

The project is tipped to boost the economy, enhance the country’s competitiveness and reduce heavy road traffic during long holidays, he said.

The stretch of water in Pran Buri district is suitable for a ferry port, Mr Suriya said.

The port would be constructed on a 30-rai land plot just 37km from Hua Hin.

The department is developing plans for ferry ports on both sides of the Gulf of Thailand. Private firms will be hired to run the ferry service.

A privately-run ferry service from Pattaya to Hua Hin and Phetchaburi’s Cha-am has been offered in the past, but was not financially viable, causing the operator to stop service in 2011.

The service focused on serving tourists, not on cargo.

The government has plans to build a deep-sea port in Prachuap Khiri Khan to cater for cargo shipments, especially from Myanmar once the Thai-Myanmar Singkhon border pass becomes a permanent crossing.

A feasibility study on the port project is under way.

The ferry service and port project chime with the government’s 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2012-2016), which promotes the connectivity of various modes of transport to reduce freight and logistic costs, according to deputy Phetchaburi governor Kittibordee Pravit.

The cost of transporting goods by sea is lower than for rail or road freight services, the deputy governor said.

With one litre of fuel, just under 218 tonnes of goods can be transported by sea, 85.5 tonnes by rail and 26.5 tonnes by road.

Sea transport also ensures the effective use of fuel, reduces greenhouse gases and lowers road maintenance costs, Pol Lt Col Kittibordee said.

The projects would also be a boon to industry in Phetchaburi, which focuses on processed seafood for export, he added. Meanwhile, work is under way to study development strategies in the southern areas.

OTP chief Chaiwat Thongkhamkoon said the study will wrap up next month.

Nakarin Satthamnuwong, engineering lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), said the study has initially found the development of the South’s coastal areas should involve new economic activities that thrive on tourism and farm product processing.

The development plan is to be divided into two phases.

In the first 10 years, starting next year, tourism revenue is expected to soar and account for 80% of the region’s income, with the rest stemming from other economic activities, such as food processing and fishing.

But following the first 10 years, tourism is expected to only account for only for half of the region’s revenue as new economic activity is promoted.

Based on the 2015-2022 transport infrastructure development plan in the South, two highways will be constructed.

One will stretch 83km from Songkhla to the Sadao border crossing, at a cost of 23.9 billion baht, and the other 5km from Kathu to Patong in Phuket, costing 10 billion baht.

As for water transport, cruise wharfs in Krabi and Surat Thani’s Koh Samui will be built at a total cost of 2.9 billion baht.

The second Songkhla deep-sea port, worth 13.9 billion baht, will be built, and Pak Bara port in Satun will be constructed at a cost of 17.7 billion baht.

For air transport, a 12.9-billion-baht upgrade of Phuket airport will be completed this year.

Nakhon Si Thammarat and Hat Yai airports will be next in line for expansion.

Based on current railway developments, a double track will connect Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon, Chumphon to Surat Thani, Surat Thani-Hat Yai to Songkhla and Thung Pho (Surat Thani) to Thanun (Phangnga).

Korakot Tetiranon, secretary-general of Nakhon Si Thammarat Chamber of Commerce, said Nakhon Si Thammarat is the centre of the transport link between Surat Thani and Songkhla.

Activities concerning goods distribution and transport connections should be promoted in this area, he said.

“As Nakhon Si Thammarat is surrounded by provinces where the central authority would set aside a great deal of budget for investment, the OTP must ensure this group of provinces moves ahead in the same direction as the development plan in the South,” Mr Korakot said.

The private sector in the province is in the process of developing cargo distribution centres at a cost of 800 million baht, said Anucha Thanawut, chief of the Thung Song municipality’s public works department.

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Why Thailand Is The Ultimate Digital Nomad Destination

It begins a with a daydream, usually on a Monday morning, sitting at the office. The light at the end of the tunnel is the blinding glare of a computer screen, a digital clock ticking down the hours until you can go home, sleep and begin the cycle again on Tuesday.

The daydream begins the same way as it always does: the weekend is over and the gritty instant coffee is seasoned with the tears of realization that Friday is far, far away. Unopened emails continue to load, each bold subject line a sharp jab. You close your eyes, take a deep breath and dream of a world without cubicles, no more clocking in for work and no micro managing. This is a dream that may seem out of reach, but it’s not as uncommon as one would think.

Meet the digital nomad. This Individual quit their day job in search of freedom and adventure. They stuck it to the man and traded job security to pursue freelance opportunities or start an online business. They work when they want, from wherever they want, fueled by the desire to experience the world not as a short vacay, but as a way of life. I’m not gonna lie, life as a digital nomad is hard work that takes patience and perseverance. Long hours, unpredictable earnings and business risks that don’t always pan out are all part of the game. There are also location factors to consider, such as cost of living, personal preferences and most importantly: internet reliability.

Thailand tops the charts as a favorite destination for digital nomads, and it’s a no-brainer as to why. Not only is it a country of incredible beauty with a fascinating culture and friendly people, but Thailand offers digital nomads affordable living and plentiful work resources that can help beginners find roots in a foreign country while making the transition to working independently.

Thailand has something for everyone

Would you like to post up on a picturesque tropical beach with a cold Leo in hand or work in a quaint cafe with strong, local coffee and a mountain view that isn’t a screensaver? Nomad List ranks Bangkok as a top city for digital nomads, focusing on factors such as climate, affordability, internet speed and city size. The capital city is famous for its extravagant temples and bustling markets, but as a major international hub, offers all the modern comforts of home. With Suvarnabhumi Airport at the heart of the city, cheap domestic flights through airlines such as, Lion Air, Nok Air and AirAsia make quick weekend getaways a breeze. If you’re craving salt and sand, head to Phuket in the Andaman Sea or Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. For mountain trekking and delicious Isan cooking, head to Chiang Mai; another travel favorite with a blossoming digital nomad community.

Fast internet and coworking space in Thailand

Finding a place to settle with fast, reliable internet can be one of the biggest challenges for a digital nomad, especially in developing countries. Southeast Asia is coveted by travelers and expats alike, but Thailand is one of the few countries in the region that boasts satisfactory internet above 10 MBps and caters to digital nomads with quality coworking spaces. All you need is a monthly membership and your laptop to access a coworking space in Bangkok. The Work Loft, a full-serviced office in Bangkok, not only ensures stable internet, but offers amenities such as private meeting rooms and a cafe. Other popular options include Punspace in Chiang Mai and Stash in Phuket. Look for coworking spaces that offer free trials for newbies. I took advantage of the free 14-day trial from The Work Loft and didn’t pay a thing for working space while in Bangkok.

Affordable living and comfort

Coming from a western country, the cost of living in Thailand is quite affordable, especially if you’re just starting out and on a strict budget. As the second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a subtle mix of hip, urban style and creative innovation while retaining that slow-paced living that a hectic metropolis, such as Bangkok, may lack. Nimmanhaemin is a prominent area, with stylish boutiques, lush gardens and artsy cafes dotting the streets. It’s possible to find a modern, fully furnished studio apartment starting around $300 a month. Gorge yourself on fresh, authentic Thai curries and noodle dishes for less than $5 a pop and feed your caffeine kick with strong local beans brewed straight from the mountain farms of the North for under a $1. Renting a scooter for no more than $8 a day is the way to explore all Chiang Mai has to offer. You don’t need an international driver’s license to rent, but it’s something to consider since police will pull drivers over to check, and will fine those without a license.

Thailand is perfect for meeting other digital nomads

Perhaps you’re making the leap to living the digital nomad lifestyle all by your lonesome. It can be daunting to bunker down in a new country where you don’t know anyone and english is not widely spoken. Don’t fret- Thailand is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, also favored by expats. Every month, events and workshops are held in Bangkok and Chiang Mai for digital nomads to meet and network. Western restaurants and bars are plentiful, making it easy to connect with other foreigners and english speakers. Chiang Mai has a meet upevery Saturday morning for anyone to join in a challenging hike up Doi Suthep mountain. Don’t forget those coworking spaces I mentioned, where you can befriend other folks that can relate to the travel/work lifestyle.

Thailand visa requirements

And, we come to everyone’s favorite topic of travel: visas. Though the visa requirements are constantly changing and it’s important to stay abreast of new developments and procedures, Thailand is still a fairly lenient country when it comes to staying long or short term, with various visa options to choose from. Apply for an education visa to study the Thai language and become bilingual while pursuing your online business. A self-defense visa allows you to work with a professional and learn vital techniques for protection or if you aren’t sure how long you’ll stay and prefer a month-to-month visa, there’s always the good ol’ border run for a tourist visa. But, beware: border runs are getting increasingly strict, especially with foreigners who have overstayed or have done multiple back-to-back border runs over a long period of time.

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FERRY SERVICE BETWEEN PRANBURI/HUA HIN AND PATTAYA SCHEDULED TO BEGIN SOON

Pranburi is growing by leaps and bounds.  Recently we’ve gotten some new boutique restaurants (check out Payu Restaurant – no website yet) and also a hip little café that serves imported craft beers!  Many other business are opening up to serve the hi-so bangkok crowd and meet the needs of the many westerners moving to this beautiful area, just 25 minutes south of Hua Hin.

Now it looks like we are getting our own Ferry terminal in Pranburi.  The trip is estimated to take 90 minutes from Pranburi to Pattaya (instead of the 4-4.5 hours it normally takes by car).   Tickets prices are 1000 THB per person.  Transporting your car will cost 3,000 THB.

For more information, please visit ThaiVisa.com to read the article: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/921782-its-all-aboard-for-the-pattaya-to-pranburi-sea-ferry/

Safe travels everyone!