Thai government will develop West Coast for high-end tourism
The Bank of Thailand announced last week that new banknotes that bear the portraits of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun will be put into circulation on April 6. The new banknotes will come in three dominations, 20, 50, and 100 baht with the second launch of 500 and 1,000 baht notes on July 28, the birthday of HM the King. The new banknote will feature a portrait of His Majesty the King in the uniforms of the Royal Thai Air Force and will be the same size and dimension as older banknotes featuring the late King Rama IX.
A new air-conditioned train will run from Bangkok to Pattaya starting on March 17 and will run until September 30 in a trial to promote the tourist destinations such as Si Chang Island, Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Japanese Park, Sri Racha and Koh Loi. The number 997 train will depart Hualumphong at 6.45 am and arrive at Pattaya at 9.13 am, and Plutaluang at Satthahip at 9.59am. The train will stop at Makkasan, Klongtan, Hua Mark, Lat Krabang, Hua Takhe, Chachoengsao junction, Chon Buri, Sri Racha, Pattaya, Pattaya Floating Market), Yan Sangvararam, Nong Nooch Pattaya Garden, and Plutaluang. The return trip will see train number 998 depart Plutaluang at 3.50pm, and arrive at Bangkok station at 6.55pm. The train fare will be 170 baht from Bangkok to Plutaluang. At the Pattaya station, there will be pickup truck and Tuk Tuk service from the station to Pattaya beach and Balihai Bay for tourists wanting to take boat service to Koh Larn Island, the floating market and Nong Nooch garden. Reservation for seats on the Sprinter train from Bangkok to Plutaluang station can be made 60 days in advance, while from Bangkok to Chachoengsao junction, reservation is allowed only two days in advance.
The Cabinet approved a proposal to turn a stretch of the west coast around Hua Hin into the “Thai Riviera” and will cover Petchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong. The government plans on developing tourist destinations in these provinces for high-end tourists. here were 13.92 million visitors to the region, generating 52.22 billion baht in revenue in 2017. There were 6 million visitors to Phetchaburi in 2017, 5 million to Hua Hin, 4.2 million to Prachuap Khiri Khan, 1.29 million to Chumphon and 908 visitors to Ranong with most visitors making Hua Hin their hub. The construction of the double-track rail route from Nakhon Pathom-Hua Hin-Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon has already started and infrastructure projects will be developed to connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea.
The Customs chief weighed in on the latest announcement in regards to declaring phones, laptops and other electronic items when leaving the country noting that it was not compulsory and that the 20,000 baht exemption, which was put in place a few years ago to replace the 10,000 baht exemption, had been in force in the Thai Customs Act. The new notification was simply because a new customs law was passed in 2017 that replaced the old 1926 Customs Act, but the regulation was still the same one. The Customs Chief added that Customs is generally flexible and only prosecutes if it appears the goods are for re-sale and not for personal use.