One of Thailand’s tentative infrastructure projects that I am closely watching with interest is the East to West ferry service.
While airlift is easily the best indicator for the burgeoning tourism boom in the country, getting closer to the ground with rail links and high-speed marine vessels tend to have a more prolific impact on the real estate sector.
What’s on the table is a sea link connecting Pattaya and Hua Hin. Currently access by driving to bridge the Gulf of Thailand from West to East or vice versa could be four, five or more hours depending on traffic.
The estimated travel time would see the time cut in half, which would create an entire new business corridor between the two popular property markets. Looking at a map the connection between the two is remarkably close and makes you wonder why this was never done before.
A proposed timeline for the project would see completion by 2020. As for the location of the Western port, the government is looking at Pranburi which is South of Hua Hin as a suitable location.
Looking at how the real estate push is affecting Hua Hin, the shift out of town and to the South could create a considerably larger impact on the Pranburi area. Currently the area North of Hua Hin, namely Cha Am is pushing forward on large scale condominium and mixed-use projects at high velocity.
Viewing the Hua Hin market itself there is a defined push South presently which will be magnified by the opening of the Bluport mega-mall development. Over the past few years the success of the Vana Nava water park has spurred demand and the high-profile luxury Mahasamutr villa estate and country club is gaining international attention.
Real estate cycles tend to favor location-driven movement and the East-West link in the Gulf of Thailand is one project worth keeping an eye on.