A quick day trip from Bangkok to Thailand’s resort town of Pattaya has always been an impossibility for visitors. Anyone who wanted to visit the popular seaside town 150km south-east of the capital, had to get one of few weekday trains and spend the night.

“The timing makes it impossible for a one-day trip. Hardly any tourists get on it,” says Oratai Suwannatas, tourism marketing executive at the State Railway of Thailand. Currently, the morning train from Bangkok reaches Pattaya at 11.20am, while the only train from Pattaya to Bangkok leaves at 1.35pm.

But a new Bangkok-Pattaya train line is now set to begin in mid-to-late March to boost Thailand’s tourism, a railway official confirmed.

On a six-month trial run, the new train will be in service twice a day only on weekends, departing from Bangkok at 6.30am and reaching Pattaya at 9am, and leaving the resort city at 3.50pm and arriving back in the capital at 6.50pm.

Unlike the train currently in operation, the new train will be air-conditioned and reach the destination about one hour faster than regular trains. If the trial run is successful, the train will operate on a permanent basis, the railway official said.

Thailand’s booming tourism industry saw 35 million visitors last year, with the number expected to continue to rise. As many as 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand during its Lunar New Year between Feb 15 and 21, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said. – dpa