Pattaya and Hua Hin are the two major costal resorts within a relatively easy drive from Bangkok (1 ½ to 2 ½ hours). Both are very different in their characters and both are highly recommended to visit. Until recently the only way to enjoy both resorts was a relatively long and tedious road journey almost back to Bangkok to catch the respective main roads. Recently the Royal Passenger Liner Company started a fast ferry service between the two cities presenting an opportunity for a ‘triangular trip’ encompassing Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin.
The high-speed catamarans of the Pattaya to Huan Hin ferry operate a daily service from the Bali Hai pier in Pattaya to the Khao Ta Kiab Pier in Huan Hin, with the comfortable crossing taking just over 2 hours for the 116 km distance. The current daily schedule is Pattaya-Hua Hin 13:00 to 15:00 and Hua Hin to Pattaya 16:00-18:00. Tickets can be purchased at Ticket offices at either end or on line. Tickets currently cost THB.1,250 in Economy and THB.1,550 in Business.
In Pattaya, the ferries depart from the busy Bali Hai pier. Despite the daunting number of people at the pier, the procedure to the Pattaya-Hua Hin is relatively simple. If you have not bought tickets these can be purchased from the office in the rear of the main building (see photo). If you have bought on line (recommended) you proceed directly out onto the busy pier. Most of the hoards will be for the Pattaya Koh Larn ferries, turn left and you will find yourself in the relative quiet of the Royal Passenger Liner Pier
The comfortable, modern, purpose built ferries offer two classes of ticket Economy and Business for 346 passengers. The large Economy Class cabin offers seating in comfortable but fixed seats with a 3, 6, 6, 3 configuration in the wide cabin. Seats are quite comfortable with adequate leg room but taller passengers will find the comfort factor a little challenging. A bottle of lukewarm water is offered and a limited range of snacks and drinks are available at reasonable prices. The crossing is smooth however if there is a little swell that may cause the ferry to sway slightly. If you don’t like sea crossings you may well want to take a tablet before departure!
For a THB.300 surcharge you can opt for Business Class which is a smaller cabin on the upper deck with a 3,2,2,3 configuration with around 60 seats. The seats are more comfortable but, surprisingly leg room is slightly less. Seats do recline in Business offering a more comfortable journey and a better view. You also receive a small chocolate snack and a cold drink!
Boarding is un-complicated at both ends. You will need to have your Passport with you when checking in. Your seat number is indicated on the ticket. Many taxis are to be found on the Hua Hin end and whilst the Pattaya Pier is chaotic, taxis and motorbike taxis are also easily to be found.
To surmise a comfortable and effortless way to travel the 116 km from Pattaya to Hua Hin rather than the 335 km, 5-hour road journey. Slightly expensive but it does cut the journey time in half!