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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
TRENDS
every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading. To tell us your news, email bigislandmedia@gmail.com or telephone 081 6513489.

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

Comments

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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 October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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