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A rear view of the Big Buddha, on top of Nakkerd Hill

Phuket Patong to Big Buddha Sky Cable Proposed

Thursday, August 21, 2008
Thursday TRENDS

A PROPOSAL for a cable car to run between Patong and the Big Buddha will be discussed by the Governor next week, Phuketwan has learned.

The suggestion for a cable car is being made by the same company that would like to build a fast light-rail service between Phuket International Airport and Phuket City.

Planning for both projects remains in the early development phase.

The company putting both proposals was reluctant to discuss either project with Phuketwan until after the meeting with the Governor next week.

However, the Governor, Niran Kalayanamit, has already made it known that he supports the concept of a fast-rail service between the airport and Phuket City.

The cable car and the fast-rail fall into the same category as the Patong Hill tunnel.

All three concepts would require large construction budgets, with the Phuket administration unable to meet costs without private funding or financial support from the national government.

The Mayor of Patong, Pian Keesin, is the best-known advocate for the tunnel. His Rak Patong (Love Patong) swept to control in the mayoral poll and tessaban election on July 27.

However, because the results have been challenged, Khun Pian is unable to comment on island affairs until 30 days after the poll.

Thirty days is the set period for the official investigation of the challenge.

For the cable car idea to get the go-ahead, approval of the Forestry Department would also be necessary.

That said, it seems in many ways to be the most promotable concept of the three projects in terms of boosting tourism, and probably the one that would most easily find investment backing.

While the Patong Hill tunnel and the Phuket City-airport link are both seen by many as essential infrastructure projects, the cable car is the one that could bring more tourists to Phuket.

The island is in need of more year-round attractions that add to the existing natural assets: the beaches and the coral reefs.

Already, with construction still underway, the Big Buddha probably ranks with yachting and golf in terms of its appeal to tourists.

Hundreds of visitors travel up Nakkerd Hill each day to the island's most prominent religious monument, the tallest sitting buddha in Thailand.

Views from the top of the 380 metre hill to both sides of the island are spectacular.

At 45 metres, the Big Buddha is among the tallest sitting Buddhas in Asia, and it towers above the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong.

However, the Hong Kong buddha may be a role model. It is claimed to draw a million tourists each year following the addition of access via a gondola lift.

Phuket's Big Buddha was allowed to go ahead despite the reservations of environmentalists and the 80 metre height limit on construction.

As with most large projects, the budget for the Big Buddha has blown out from 60 million baht to 100 million baht.

However, unlike the proposed cable car, the tunnel or the fast-rail, public donations have accounted for the Big Buddha construction costs.

Other plans for year-round attractions on Phuket, including a Ripley's branded aquarium, have been slow to leave the drawing board.

A prominent economist suggested last week that Phuket needs to impose a tax on tourists to pay for the projects it clearly needs.

Look for
every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading. To tell us your news, email or telephone 081 6513489.

from Phuketwan:

August 19
Patong's best-value dining area has closed for a 12 million baht remake. When Loma Park reopens, will the prices still be low and the food tasty?; Sex tourism criticism, and Gary Glitter's big day out.

Patong Wins 12 Million Baht Dining Centre

August 18
Construction cranes dot the skyline as Phuket sprouts a brace of new resorts. One of the most prominent has the rare advantage of being on the beach at Karon; Sunshine Coast seeks tourists; Telling all about tips.

Centara's 1.8 Billion Baht Phuket Grand Grows

August 15
Volunteers working with police to control traffic and crime, plus bicycles, helicopters and cameras: that's the making of the police plan for Phuket's security and safety; a record triathlon; Amari man moves on.

Phuket's Volunteer Police Plan to Fight Crime

August 14
Phuket wants more money than the national government can spare, so a noted economist recommends a tax on tourists. Going it alone could be Phuket's only option; The Russian holiday system explained

Phuket Tourist Tax What The Island Needs

August 13
The only turtles seen at Patong recently have been the plastic ones in the beachfront park. But that could change before long. The Royal Thai Navy reports the remarkable revival of the region's turtle population.

Phuket's Turtles Are Coming Back At Last

August 11
Funding for tourism in Thailand is more about take than give, a promising new Andaman destination discovers; Thaksin leaves spare seats for lucky tourists; Firefly soars on turbo; a motto for the masses

Budget Cuts Hurt New Andaman Destination

August 8
A meeting on Racha saves the island's coral, delivering an eight million baht artificial reef, a zoning system to keep divers and fishing trawlers apart, bans aimed at protecting the natural environment, and hope for other endangered reefs and islands.

Money Dispute Brings Change At Chalong Pier

August 7
More Australians than ever are heading overseas, latest statistics reveal. And that's great for Phuket right now; Nok Air returns but Thai budget lines do it tough; Buffalo festival this weekend.

Money Dispute Brings Change At Chalong Pier

August 6
A row about income from fees at Chalong Pier has led to action by the Phuket authority in charge; Coming soon, yet another luxury five-star for Phuket; Guess how many homes are empty in the US?

Money Dispute Brings Change At Chalong Pier

Look for
every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading. To tell us your news, email or telephone 081 6513489.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Sawatdee all
I have now spent 1 year in Thailand, all be it over a six year period two months at a time. And still love it as much now if not more.

I have been through this web site and enjoyed all the articles immensely.

Keeping me in touch with some where that I regard as my second home.

Keep up the good work and keep it real and up to date and you won't go wrong. "good luck to all"

Posted by chris on April 4, 2010 17:11

Wednesday July 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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