Thailand-Lao open Chiang Mai-Luang Pabang bus route

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CHIANG MAI, Jan 19 – A second class air-conditioned bus route opened Thursday from Chiang Mai to Luang Pabang as the 8th route linking Thailand with the Lao PDR.

The route opening ceremony was presided over at this northern province’s 3rd Chiang Mai bus terminal (Arcade 2) by Silpachai Jarukasemratana, Transport Ministry’s Deputy Permanent-Secretary acting as permanent-secretary.

The journey takes 18 hours and the fare is Bt1,200.

Once the fourth bridge across the Mekong River from Thailand, linking Chiang Khong with the Lao PDR’s Huay Xai, is finished next year, first class air-conditioned buses will replace the second  services with a fare of Bt1,500.

The new route is intended to boost tourism, investment and economy between the two nations.

Meanwhile, Mr Silpachai said the high-speed train project from Bangkok-Chiang Mai, as earlier approved by the cabinet, should be ready for service in 2017.

He said currently it is the study process which must be done within one year in order to indicate which route is to start first. Apart from the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, two other preliminary routes are in the project –Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok-Hua Hin– according to the deputy permanent-secretary.

The transport ministry official added that the main obstacle for such a project is the construction of new railroads, and that its impact on the environment needs to be studied thoroughly.

The high-speed rail journeys are expected to link the entire country within 3-4 hours, Mr Silpacha said.