Nakhon Si Thammarat, a province in Thailand, is on the cusp of a tourism revolution as it prepares to inaugurate a state-of-the-art international airport terminal with an estimated cost of approximately USD 40.4 million.
This significant development is poised to open up new horizons for the region, especially the emerging beach destination, Sichon. With this modern facility, international travellers will have the convenience of flying directly to a coastal haven renowned for its pristine beaches, mountainous landscapes, and cultural authenticity.
Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport – A Gateway to Paradise
The new international terminal, spanning an impressive 30,600 square meters with eight gates, is scheduled to celebrate its grand opening next month. Upon reaching full operational capacity, it will accommodate up to four million passengers annually.
Presently, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, and Thai Lion Air are the airlines operating flights to Nakhon Si Thammarat, all originating from Bangkok. However, the launch of this international terminal marks the beginning of a new era, bringing direct, scheduled flights from Asian markets such as Singapore, China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Mr. Ravi Chandran, former CEO of Laguna Phuket and executive director of Urasaya, a luxury beachfront development in Sichon, acknowledges the significance of this development. He states, “It is a significant moment in the history of one of Thailand’s most compelling destinations. 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.”
Promoting Sustainable Tourism
The inauguration of this international airport terminal aligns seamlessly with Nakhon Si Thammarat’s strategy to attract a new generation of experience-seeking international travellers. The province is celebrated for its unspoiled beaches, lush forests, towering mountains, and unpolluted air – a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
In line with sustainability principles, eco-conscious travellers will find solace in the fact that they are flying into an energy-efficient terminal, equipped with various initiatives to minimize its carbon footprint.
Ecotourism is a pivotal sector of the province, boasting 200 kilometres of mountain ranges and 200 kilometres of pristine beaches. Adventurous explorers can immerse themselves in the lush landscapes of Khao Luang National Park, home to one of Thailand’s highest peaks, the 1,780-meter Khao Luang Mountain. The park also boasts the 19-tier Karom Waterfall, the 1.7-kilometer-long Hong Cave, and a diverse array of flora and fauna.
The coastal environment is equally vibrant; Sichon, recently named one of Thailand’s top 10 beaches by Lonely Planet, is home to a powder-soft sandy shore, crystal-clear seas, and diverse marine wildlife, including pods of pink dolphins. Conservation efforts are actively in place to ensure the marine biosphere continues to flourish.
Heritage and Culture
For those with an affinity for heritage, Nakhon Si Thammarat is one of Thailand’s oldest cities, with a history dating back over 1,200 years. The province is home to Thailand’s most ancient Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Mahathat, which dates from the early 13th century. Additionally, the province celebrates its artistic traditions, where craftsmen employ generations-old techniques for silversmithing and batik making.
Benjapop Benjathammatorn, owner of Sichon Cabana Resort and a native of Sichon, expresses his excitement about the airport’s opening, noting that it will significantly improve access and offer international travellers the opportunity to explore the active, healthy lifestyle the destination has to offer.
A Catalyst for Regional Development
The launch of Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport is part of the Thai government’s Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) project, which seeks to transform Thailand’s southern provinces into a major economic hub. Moreover, the new airport could soon be complemented by a road bridge connecting to the popular island of Koh Samui, situated just a short distance offshore.
However, it’s important to note that Nakhon Si Thammarat’s authorities are not aiming for mass tourism. Instead, they are committed to promoting authentic, sustainable, and locally inspired travel experiences. Private developments, such as Urasaya, a new residential and hospitality project in Sichon, will exemplify luxurious yet eco-conscious travel options for discerning travellers.
In conclusion, the opening of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s international airport represents a transformative milestone for the region, promising increased tourism, sustainable practices, and access to the province’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. As international travellers discover this hidden gem, Nakhon Si Thammarat is poised to shine brightly on the global tourism map.