Distance alone to travel by road between Bangkok and the Royal Coast may not be a deterrent to travellers, but the lack of fast motorways or other ways to avoid traffic congestion en route continues to make that journey arduous and time consuming.
Now the Department of Rural Roads has released plans for The Thailand Riviera as a 1,500 kilometre roadway which aims to better connect our region. This is a part of The Department of Rural Roads launch projects of upgrades to routes across the country to stimulate the tourism industry and local economy.
Pathom Chaloeywaret, the department’s director-general, said on Wednesday the projects include a 1,500 kilometre route along the Gulf of Thailand from Samut Prakan to Narathiwat.
Adittionally a 750km route along the Mekong River from Loei to Ubon Ratchathani and a 175km route in the Khao Yai mountains in Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri and Sa Kaeo are on the drawing boards.
Mr Pathom said the project has been initiated to improve road networks to promote tourism as part of the 20-year strategic plan. Under the project, landscapes and communities will be developed as tourist attractions.
According to Mr Pathom, the 1,500km route from Samut Prakan, 25 kilometres south of Bangkok and heading south through the Royal Coast has been named “Thailand’s Riviera” and has been divided into four phases.
- Upgrade the Samut Prakan to Samut Songkhram route; 144km in distance upgrade is planned to start in 2023 and it will connect to the Samut Sakhon-Chumphon scenic route.
- Upgrading of a 659km route from Samut Songkhram to Chumphon is 80% complete. The route’s upgrading will be finished by 2023, said Mr Pathom.
- Upgrading of a 555km route from Chumphon to Songkhla. The upgrading began this year and is projected to be complete by 2026, he said.
- A 190km route from Songkhla to Narathiwat will begin its survey in 2023.
The department is also surveying trails along Tenasserim Hills, including Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, to plan more projects, he said.
If the described Thailand Riviera Route can be a seamless motorway, especially as Samut Prakan is in the vicinity of Suvarnabhumi Airport, then driving to our region should be breeze for international traveller; just like the recently opened motorway to Pattaya. However these reports are short of detail and short of any assurances of achieving that convenience.