Dawn of new era for southern Thailand gateway
Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport in southern Thailand is set to open its new $40 million international terminal next month.
The new eight-gate facility covers 30,000sqm and is said to boast state-of-the-art facilities that will boost the airport’s capacity to four million passengers per annum.
Three airlines – Nok Air, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air – currently fly between Nakhon Si Thammarat and Bangkok, but all that will change next month when the opening of the new international terminal is expected to prove the catalyst for the launch of direct, scheduled flights to the city from Asian markets such as Singapore, China, Taiwan and Malaysia.
“It is a significant moment in the history of one of Thailand’s most compelling destinations,” said Ravi Chandran, former CEO of Laguna Phuket and executive director of Urasaya, a luxury beachfront development in the nearby beach resort of Sichon.
“With the new terminal geared for international travellers offering direct access, it not only reaffirms the existing domestic access from Bangkok, just like better known destinations such as Phuket and Chiang Mai, but a future that will see an increase in tourism investment and higher visitor numbers.”
The beachfront project is a central component of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s strategy to attract a new generation of experience-seeking international travellers.
Famed for its unspoiled beaches, forests, soaring mountains and pure, unpolluted air, this province is described as “a paradise for nature lovers”. In the spirit of sustainability, it is appropriate that eco-conscious visitors will fly into a terminal that is highly energy-efficient, with a wide range of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.
Ecotourism is a key sector for the province, which is home to 200km of mountain ranges and 200km of beaches, while adventurous explorers can immerse themselves in the lush landscapes of Khao Luang National Park, which is home to one of Thailand’s highest peaks, the 1,780-metre Khao Luang Mountain, plus the 19-tier Karom Waterfall, 1.7km-long Hong Cave and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The coastal environment is just as vibrant; Sichon, named as one of Thailand’s 10 best beaches by Lonely Planet recently, is home to a powder-soft sandy shore, crystal-clear seas and diverse marine wildlife – including pods of pink dolphins – and has active conservation programmes in place to ensure the marine-biosphere continues to flourish.