Catamarans lined up for Chao Phraya

Catamarans lined up for Chao Phraya

The Marine Department plans to introduce catamaran tourist boats on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok in the middle of this year to boost tourism.

The goal is to increase the number of passengers, including tourists, who use modes of water transport on the river from 40,000 a day at present to 200,000, department chief Somsak Hommuang said on Thursday.

Catamarans are often used at sea as recreational boats.

As Thailand assumes the chair of Asean throughout 2019, Mr Somsak said he saw it as a golden opportunity to promote tourism businesses and draw more foreign visitors.

Catamarans, with their two hulls joined by a frame or deck, are believed to have caught the attention of foreign visitors who want to take in riverside views in the section of the Chao Phraya that passes through Bangkok's old areas.

"It will be a kind of cultural tourism," Mr Somsak said.

This section of the river is considered a part of Rattanakosin Island, which is surrounded by the river and canals. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are nearby.

Officials are now working on an appropriate fare operators can charge passengers.

His department also plans to upgrade piers along the river, equipping them with facilities and new technologies. Some will be linked to electric railway stations.

A single ticketing system will also be used for the convenience of passengers who depend on multiple modes of transport.

One pier near Phra Nangklao Bridge will connect to the Purple Line, a 23-kilometre route linking Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district and Bangkok's Tao Poon.

The Blue Line extension, a 13km elevated track linking Bang Sue and Tha Phra, will connect with Bang Pho Pier.

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