A $60 million airport is about to open bringing a new region of a popular destination into reach for Aussie travellers.
The state-of-the-art international passenger terminal will give access to a coastal destination renowned for its pristine beaches, mountainous areas and cultural authenticity.
Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport in southern Thailand will officially open in December with test flights currently taking place.
The airport opens up the province for travellers to explore formerly off-the-beaten track destinations such as Sichon Beach and Khao Luang National Park.
Once at full capacity, the eight-gate facility will boost its passenger capacity to four million passengers a year.
At present, three airlines – Nok Air, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air – fly to Nakhon Si Thammarat, all from Bangkok.
The opening of the new international terminal will begin a roll out of direct, scheduled flights 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 Mr. Ravi Chandran, former CEO of Laguna Phuket and executive director of Urasaya, a luxury beachfront development in 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.”
Ecotourism is a key sector for the province, which is home to 200km of mountain ranges and 200km of beaches. Khao Luang National Park is home to one of Thailand’s highest peaks, the 1,780-metre Khao Luang Mountain, plus the 19-tier Karom Waterfall, Hong Cave and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Sichon, named as one of Thailand’s 10 best beaches by Lonely Planet recently, is home to diverse marine wildlife – including pods of pink dolphins – and has active conservation programs in place to ensure the marine-biosphere continues to flourish.
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