Aug 3, 2014

Thailands Military Junta plans two Highspeed Railway Lines - serving as Connection with Southern China

The plans for highspeed railway lines in Thailand are back on track: Thailand military junta, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), first put on hold the projects, when it took power in May. Now it has approved two high-speed train projects at a total cost of 741.4 billion baht according to Bangkok Post. The two routes will serve as a transport link between Thailand and southern China.

One route would travel 655km from the border town of Chiang Khong to Ban Phachi in Ayutthaya province in central Thailand. Another would see freight carried 737km from Nong Khai, across the Mekong River from Vientiane prefecture, to the Thai port and industrial estate of Map Ta Phut, as The Nation reports. The former project of the Shinawatra government included lines from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Rayong, Bangkok to Nong Khai and Bangkok to Padang Besar.

Map by Bangkok Post

The NCPO intends to bring down the costs of the projects from 500-600 million baht per km to a range of 350-400 million baht per km. Therefore the railways are planned for a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour instead of 200 kilometres per hour, announced permanent secretary for transport Soithip Traisuth according to Bangkok Post. This was to allow a possible shift to a higher speed train system in the future after more investment were put in,she said.

The construction of the two routes should begin in 2015 and be completed by 2021, said Soithip.

Also endorsed by the NCPO were six more metre gauge dual-track rail routes for a construction budget of 117.4 billion baht with construction to begin next year. These routes are from Chira junction to Khon Kaen (185 kms), from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon (167 kms), from Nakhon Pathom to Hua Hin (165 kms), from Mab Kabao to Nakhon Ratchasima (132 kms), from Lopburi to Pak Nam Pho (148 kms) and from Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan ( 90 kms ), as Thai PBS reports.

Read older stories:
Chinas Railway for Laos: Waiting for Thailand
Chinese money brings big change: A railway from the North of Laos to Vientiane and Thailand

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Aug 2, 2014

Tuk-Tuks, Songthaews and Buses in Chiang Mai - what you should know

See the locations on Chiang Mai Songthaew and Bus Google Map

Picture by Connie Ma

Chiang Mai city has no buses. You use Tuk-Tuks, Songthaews (Pickups with seatbanks) or taxis. The buses are for travels to other provinces. Since August 2014 only red songthaews are allowed to travel inside the city centre. All other songthaews and buses start from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal or Arcade Bus Terminal.

Learn the colours of the Songthaews: Differend colours mean different directions:

Picture by Dennis Jarvis

Red Songthaews: They roam around without a fixed route. Just stop one - by extending your arm in a downward motion - and ask for your destination. If the driver doesn't go to this destination take the next one.
Orange Songthaews: They travel to Fang in the north. Depart from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal.
White Songthaews: They travel to the eastern suburbs, to San Kampaeng. Depart from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal.
Yellow Songthaews: They travel to Mae Rim in the north and Hang Dong. Depart from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal.
Blue Songthaews: They travel to Sarapi and Lamphun in the south. Depart from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal.
Green Songthaews: They travel to Mae Jo in the northeast. Depart from Chang Phuak Bus Terminal.
The fare for the fixed routes is 20 Bath within Chiang Mai town. The price for longer distances has to be negotiated.

Tuk-Tuks: Fares are usually 40-50 Bath for a short way and 50-100 Bath for longer distances. Tuk-tuks parked near train- or busstations will ask for a higher price.

Buses to other provinces: These buses leave from Arcade Bus Terminal. There are buses from state and private companies.
Green Bus: See Green Bus Timetable. For a reservation you call their Call Center 0-5326-6480. They will give you a reservation number. Then you have 2 hours to get to a Seven Eleven shop, where you can pay with the reservation number and get your ticket.
. Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai
. Chiang Mai - Golden Triangle
. Chiang Mai - Mae Sai
. Chiang Mai - Mae Sot
. Chiang Rai - Fang
. Chiang Mai - Phayao
. Chiang Mai - Chiang Khong
. Chiang Mai - Thoeng
. Chiang Mai - Nan
. Chiang Mai - Chiang Muan
. Chiang Mai - Phrae - Nan
. Chiang Mai - Phrae
. Chiang Mai – Phrae – Nan – Thung Chang
. Lampang – Phrae
. Chiang Mai - Phuket

The Transport Co.: The state bus company. See their routes and numbers in Thai. See their timetable in Thai and English. You can translate with Google Translate.
. Chiang Mai-Bangkok
. More buses Chiang Mai - Bangkok by other companies.

Prempracha Transport Co.: See their routes.
. Chiang Mai - Pai - Mae Hong Son
. Chiang Mai - Mae Sariang -Mae Hongson
. Chiang Mai - Chiangdao - Prao
. Chiang Mai - Sansai - Prao

Nakhonchai Tour Bus Company:
. Chiang Mai - Nakhon Ratchasima

Sombat Tour:
. Chiang Mai - Hua Hin, See timetable. Read an experience by Four Letter Nerd.
. Chiang Mai - Khon Kaen

Chakrapong Tour:
. Chiang Mai - Udon Thani via Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Loei and Nong Bua Lamphu

Bus Schedules and Fares from Chiang Mai: Read more here.

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