Invest in Chiang Mai

Thailand’s hottest real estate market means high capital appreciation.

*Shortage of quality housing projects means rental yields of 8 to 10%.

*Large population of new resident influx, foreign retirees, professional managers and university students.

*Affordable living costs makes for an ideal retirement destination.

For the first decade of the 21st Century, Chiang Mai was mostly overlooked by property buyers and investors, who concentrated mainly on the capital, Bangkok, and the coastal resort cities such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya. This is situation started to change in 2013, however, as buyers – both domestically from other parts of Thailand and internationally started to see the huge potential of Thailand’s second-largest city.

Prices are now increasing rapidly – faster than anywhere else in the country as the real estate market in Chiang Mai makes up for lost time, with prices having increased at a rate of 10-20% per annum every year since 2010. Chiang Mai is constantly benefiting from new, modern facilities and infrastructure, including a large selection of shopping malls. The large amount of investment in Chiang Mai is not likely to end any time soon. Planned over the next few years are a THB 1000 million expansion to the city’s airport, a high-speed railway link which will pass through the city connecting Singapore, Bangkok, Chiang Mai to China, plus a new motorway link to the China National Highway 108, Kunming to Beijing expressway.

Chiang Mai is well-positioned to become a major business centre upon the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, where the city will serve as a major gateway for neighbouring countries.  It is easy to reach Chiang Mai by air, as many budget airlines fly to the city, including Nok Air, AirAsia, Thai Lion, Kan Air and Thai Smile which offer domestic flights inside Thailand, with other international carriers flying direct to the city’s airport, including Air China, Air KBZ, Beijing Capital Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Cathay Dragon, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, HK Express, Juneyao Airlines, Korean Air, Lao Airlines, Myanmar Nationnal Airlines, Qatar Airways, Shandong Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Silkair, Spring Airlines, Thai Vietjet, Tigerair plus major US and European airlines.

The net result of all this interest is that Chiang Mai is now one of the fastest-moving real estate markets in Thailand, if not the entire world.  So whether you are looking for a holiday or second home in a peaceful, green location – an ideal spot to retire to, or simply an excellent investment opportunity that offers both exceptionally high rental incomes and capital appreciation, Chiang Mai is a location which is going to be very hard to beat. We are happy to extend our hospitality to you in Chiang Mai.




Way clear for joint rail project

Erich Parpart – The Nation

BANGKOK: — The Cabinet yesterday approved a draft memorandum of cooperation (MoC) between Thailand and Japan on the joint development of a high-speed railway from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and a feasibility study for the Mae Sot-Mukdahan railway to connect the eastern and the western economic corridors. Newly appointed Deputy Government Spokesman Colonel Weerachon Sukhondha-patipak said that under the agreement, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency would work with their Thai counterparts to develop and upgrade the railway system and connectivity within the Southern Economic Corridor linking Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The MLIT has also expressed its intention to develop the Bangkok-Rayong railway jointly with Thailand, an offer that is under the study of this country’s Transport Ministry. “There was no mention at the meeting about the cost of the construction or how long the railways would be,” Weerachon said, adding that the MoC would be signed by today in Tokyo. Transport Minister Prajin Juntong told the Nation Multimedia Group this month that the high-speed railway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai would be 715 kilometres long and was scheduled to open in 2019. He also said trains on the route were expected to be capable of 250km/h and the project’s value was estimated at Bt400 billion, thanks to a low-interest loan from Japan. The government hopes that the interest rate will not exceed 1.5 per cent. The railway project is part of Thailand’s strategic transport connectivity plan, linking the mass-transit systems of big cities to small towns and neighbouring countries.

News : Japan agrees to press ahead with rail links


Bangkok Post  12 May 2015

Thailand and Japan will sign an agreement to press ahead with the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed train and Kanchanburi-Sa Kaeo double-track railway later this month. The signing ceremony of the memorandum of cooperation (MoC) for the projects will be held in Tokyo on May 26-27, said Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith after a meeting with Hiroto Izumi, the Japanese prime minister’s special adviser on economic affairs, in Bangkok yesterday. The new railway development, which is part of Tokyo’s move to form an economic partnership with the Thai government, covers the construction of a new 670-km rail route for high-speed trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and 574km of double-track rail routes covering the western province of Kanchanburi-Bangkok-Chachoengsao-Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district, which borders Cambodia in the East. The latter project also links the capital with Chachoengsao and Laem Chabang, the country’s key industrial zone, in the eastern province of Chon Buri. After the signing ceremony, Japanese experts will visit Thailand next month and work with Thai authorities to carry out surveys of the routes and designs, which will take about six months. Other issues such as financing are expected to be finalised by the end of this year, Mr Arkhom said. Financing the project will not be a problem because Tokyo can rely on the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), he said. Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said the construction of the two projects should start next year because the project’s feasibility study was finished in 2012. “We use the term MoC because we’ve already gone beyond the MoU (memorandum of understanding) stage,” ACM Prajin said. “Now it’s time to put the projects into practice,” he said. Mr Izumi yesterday also met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss the progress of the two railway projects and to confirm Japan’s cooperation with Thailand will continue. Tokyo views the Bangkok-Chiang Mai rail route as the most important one out of both projects, government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp quoted Mr Izumi as saying. Mr Izumi said Japan is ready to bring its technology and decades of experience in handling long rail routes, according to Mr Yongyuth.

The Japanese government’s goodwill pleased Gen Prayut and he promised to step up measures to boost links between the nations over the two projects. The premier is scheduled to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a summit of country leaders from the Mekong river region and Japan in July, Mr Yongyuth added. In another development, the ongoing work to survey and design another double-track rail route, which will connect Thailand with Laos and Kunming in southern China, is expected to be finished this August with construction to begin later this year, ACM Prajin said.

Japan has proposed jointly developing a high-speed train project linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong says.

The proposal has been put to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who has ordered the Transport Ministry to discuss with its Japanese counterpart the project details and report the results to the cabinet later this month. Speaking yesterday after a cabinet meeting, ACM Prajin said Japan is looking at two joint double-track rail projects. They are the Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai route and the Kanchanaburi to Aranyaprathet line which splits in the capital to link Sa Kaeo and Laem Chabang in Chon Buri.

For the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route, Japan proposed a high-speed link since this route would cover 700km, ACM Prajin said.

The second project involves a link to the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar. Both routes will be 1.435-metre standard-gauge, he added.

Gen Prayut has instructed Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to discuss the details of both projects with Japanese officials during his visit to Japan from April 23-27.

“Japan wants to invest in the Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai high-speed project because the project feasibility study was very favourable. However, construction of this kind of project will be expensive because of the technology involved,” ACM Prajin said.

Japan on Monday reaffirmed Tokyo’s commitment to railway and infrastructure development in Thailand even while pressing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for an early return to democracy.

Gen Prayut, who began a three-day visit to Japan Sunday, signed a memorandum of intent with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for Tokyo to cooperate in building train routes in Thailand, including one between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, according to Kyodo News. The two leaders also agreed to enhance the two countries’ “strategic partnership” and confirmed Thailand’s commitment to an early restoration of democracy, with Gen Prayut saying a general election for a new government is possible by the end of this year or early next year.

“Prime Minister Prayut is putting all his power into restoring democracy,” Bloomberg News quoted Mr Abe as saying. “Japan has strong expectations for reconciliation among the Thai people and a return to democracy as soon as possible.” But talk of democracy was largely overshadowed by economic interests in a day full of bilateral commitments.

Japan’s commitment to developing railway infrastructure, the two sides said in their pact, “has immense significance for further development of the Thai economy and the enhancement of connectivity within the region.” Gen Prayut is scheduled to take a “shinkansen” high-speed train ride from Tokyo to Osaka on Tuesday before heading home from Osaka. It was not immediately known whether the two leaders discussed a possible introduction of the shinkansen bullet-train technology to Thailand.

In other topics, Mr Abe also requested that Thailand promptly lift its restrictions on Japanese food imports imposed after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima over concerns about radioactive contamination. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (left) speaks to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their meeting at Mr Abe’s official residence in Tokyo on Monday. (AFP photo)

He also reaffirmed Japan’s cooperation in development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone in southern Myanmar, a joint project between Thailand and Myanmar, according to an official. Finally, in a joint press statement issued after the meeting, the two governments said they recognised that “the international community must stand united in not giving in to terrorism and work to maintain international peace and security.” Before meeting the Japanese premier, Gen Prayut held separate talks with executives of the Japan Business Federation, better known as Keidanren, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, the Japan External Trade Organisation, the Japan-Thailand Business Forum, Mitsubishi Motors, Honda Motor and Marubeni.

Chairman of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp Teisuke Kitayama sought support from Gen Prayut on Japanese investment in the energy sector, while the prime minister hoped Japan’s position on using Thailand was an investment hub in Southeast Asia remained firm. Jetro chairman Hiroyuki Ishige affirmed that Japan would continue investment in the kingdom and called for the Thai government to ease regulations that obstructed investment in the auto industry in Thailand. In talks with Kaidenren chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara, Gen Prayut asked the federation to promote more technological support and investment by Japanese companies to bolster the Southeast Asian country’s economic growth. Gen Prayut called for confidence from Japanese investors on Thailand, which will move forward after undertaking the comprehensive reform.

Japan is likely to get Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s approval to its plan to build two double-track rail routes running from Kanchanaburi to Sa Kaeo and from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Transport Minister…  to its plan to build two double-track rail routes running from Kanchanaburi to Sa Kaeo and from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said. The routes, which will be joint Japanese-Thai…© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.

China’s Juneyao Airlines will start service to Chiang Mai tomorrow to cash in on the northern capital’s emerging popularity among Chinese travellers, driven partly by the hit Lost In Thailand film. Juneyao…

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KUNMING – Thai AirAsia (TAA) is resuming its expansion into China after a one-year break to consolidate its position over the Thailand-China skies. TAA chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld shows a fare…

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Northern Exposure Singaporean developer settles in Chiang Mai and plans unique high-end properties for a niche market. 23 Nov 2012 at 00:00 2,507 viewed1 comments NEWSPAPER…Please credit and share this article with others using this link: © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.

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Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong has set a March 31 deadline to pave the way for Japanese-Thai development of a new double-track railroad, expected to link with the Dawei deep seaport project in Myanmar. He…Please credit and share this article with others using this link: © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.

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High-speed rail network to link Asean countries

Nophakhun Limsamarnphun – August 18, 2012 1:00 am


The projects are part of the government’s Bt2.2 trillion infrastructure investment programme covering the next several years, with the four high-speed train projects earmarked for completion in 2018. The proposed high-speed routes are Bangkok-Pattaya, Bangkok-Phitsanulok, Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, and Bangkok-Hua Hin.  In the second stage of these projects, slated for completion by 2022, the high-speed lines will be further extended to Bangkok-Rayong, Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nong Khai, and Bangkok-Hat Yai, thus covering all the major regions of Thailand. Most importantly, the Bangkok-Nong Khai route to the Northeast is expected to link with high-speed trains from Laos and southern China.

Construction of the China-Laos section of the high-speed line is expected to commence soon, following a brief delay. During the tenure of the previous Democrat government, China and Thailand reached a preliminary agreement to cooperate on the high-speed train project, as China aims to link its southern region with the mainland Asean countries. The Asean Economic Community (AEC), which will become effective in 2015, is a key driver in the government’s bid to revive the four high-speed train routes, as Thailand has the potential to be a hub in the mainland AEC for both cargo and tourist traffic. According to Pansak, Thailand will invite companies from China, South Korea, Japan and France to bid for the high-speed train projects here. These projects will also lead to a better link with Myanmar’s proposed Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate development schemes, which are close to the Thai province of Kanchanaburi. For instance, the distance between the planned Dawei port and Thailand’s Laem Chabang deep-sea port on the Eastern Seaboard is only 450-500 kilometres.

Besides China, India is also keen to connect with Asean countries via its border with Myanmar. The Indian government has offered a US$500 million credit line to Myanmar, of which $100 million is earmarked for construction of a trilateral highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand. The route will be 3,200 kilometres in total length, and development work includes improvement of existing roads in India and Myanmar, which will be linked with Thailand via the northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, as well as via a route for the planned Dawei port. This will complete the Asean east-west economic corridor running from India, Myanmar and Thailand to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. For the Asean north-south economic corridor, the route starts in southern China and connect through Myanmar, Laos and Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam, and then all the way down to Malaysia and Singapore. By assigning Pansak to spearhead the Bt400-billion high-speed train schemes in Thailand, the government is playing a crucial role in pushing for fast-track implementation of Asean connectivity schemes, which cover highways, railways and other modes of transportation. It is hoped that the transport infrastructure will eventually be designed to cover the entire 10-country regional grouping, which has a combined population of 600 million. Besides Asean itself, the grouping has another six partner countries, namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, whose combined population accounts for half of the world’s total.

High Speed Train Thailand

In January 2013, the Sino Thai Engineering and Construction Public Company Limited and the Unique Engineering and Construction Public Company Limited, were awarded a multi-billion Thai Baht project, to build the High Speed Train network in Thailand. Bang Sue Junction Station in Bangkok is the proposed new main train station in Bangkok and will replace Hua Lamphong Station, which will eventually be closed. It will be a 12 platform train station and the terminal station for all trains heading to Bangkok.

It will also be the main terminal for all routes of the new High-Speed Rail (at least 250Kmph) which will reduce the travelling time in between Bangkok and Chiang Mai from around 15 hours nowadays to just 3.5 hours! The High-Speed services will use the same kind of Chinese high-speed trains already in use by China Railways, known as CRH.

It will run on 5 routes and it will connect Thailand to Laos and the People’ s Republic of China in the North and to Malaysia and Singapore in the South:

•Bangkok – Chiang Mai

•Bangkok – Nong Khai

•Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani

•Bangkok – Rayong

•Bangkok – Padang Besar

High-speed railway route map


Map of the planned routes of the High-speed railway network in SE Asia

From Nong Khai the High-Speed Train will be going to Vientiane in Laos and then all the way North to the Beijing South Railway Station in The People’s Republic of China and from Padang Besar the it will be going all the way South to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This way it will help connect and integrate the whole South East Asia region to China. The State Railway of Thailand also plans to add more commuter trains from the new station. There are also many projects going on that will improve the connection of the new train station:

– the actual MRT Blue Line that stops at Bang Sue is being extended and it will be connected by an interchange to the new MRT Purple Line that will link Bang Sue to Bang Bua Thong in Nonthaburi.

– two SRT Lines (Commuter Rail) known as the Light Red Line and the Dark Red Line are also being built and both will have an interchange station at Bang Sue.

– the Airport Rail Link which is being extended to link Bangkok two airports, Don Muang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport, will also stops at Bang Sue.

After the completion of all these different projects the new Bangkok Train Station and Depot will really be a huge local and international transport hub. This new railway station was set to be finished by 2015 but it will most probably not be completed on time and it should take many more years to become a reality.

For more information regarding the High Speed Train in Thailand go to:

Bangkok-Chiang Mai high speed rail ready by 2018

By Nora Chapman on May 22, 2012 in Property News

The Transport Minister has expressed confidence that the first high speed railway connecting Bangkok and Chiang Mai will be ready for service by 2018.

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan has disclosed that Thailand and China have agreed to conduct a feasibility study on the country’s first high-speed rail project. With Chinese experts surveying the planned route of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high speed rail construction, which spans over 745 km, it has been suggested that the railway should be constructed to support a velocity of 250-300 km/hour while focusing on passenger transportation.

The feasibility study of the project will take a year to finalize before construction can commence. The Bangkok-Chiang Mai high speed rail is expected to be ready in service by 2018. The source of fund remains to be determined based on public interest whether it should solely come from the Thai government’s budget or a government-to-government cooperation. Under a total budget of 983.47 billion baht, the Transport Ministry has plans to construct 5 high-speed rail routes, including Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Ubon Ratchathani, Bangkok-Rayong, and Bangkok-Padang Besar.

Source : National News Bureau of Thailand, Public Relations Department 22 May 2012

Thailand Approves Kunming-Singapore Rail Line

This story appears in the November 2014 issue of Forbes Asia. By Ron Gluckman



Rail lines running north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai have become so decrepit that derailments occur regularly. But plans to upgrade are also sidetracked with high frequency. So Asian transportation experts, and railway buffs everywhere, were surprised by the Thai military government’s sudden approval in July of a $23 billion plan to upgrade and expand rail lines and other infrastructure. Included were two lines that could revolutionize the region’s freight service, linking ports around Bangkok and in Singapore with China and onward to Europe.

Such a pan-Asian rail network has been on the drawing board for decades and is promised in several recent regional pacts. Some routes were mapped out more than a century ago as the British and French carved tracks through the jungle in an ambitious Great Game of Trains that was meant to boost trade among their colonial holdings in Asia and counter Russia’s Trans-Siberian railway.Now a new game is under way, and China is the key player. “China has been eyeing routes from Yunnan to the coast for a long, long time,” says Chalongphob Sussangkarn, who has studied various freight and passenger routes for decades as an advisor to the Thai government. Ports in Singapore and Bangkok, he notes, are closer to China’s vast southwest region than China’s own eastern ports.

Southeast Asian ports also offer access to strategic shipping lines where much of the world’s oil is transported, as well as service to many of the world’s fastest-developing nations. Various routes from China have been pitched over the years, with the main options via reticent Laos or the more difficult terrain of Myanmar, which has a keener government. China has pledged to finance either route. Last month China took the first step by approving an $11.4 billion plan to build two rail lines–one from near Yunnan’s provincial capital, Kunming, to the Laos border and the other from Dali in western Yunnan to the Myanmar border. No matter the alternative, after Laos or Myanmar the tracks must run through Thailand, the sole land bridge to Singapore. Malaysia and Singapore have already approved a high-speed line to be finished by 2020. The last domino could be Thailand.

The plan approved by Thailand’s new rulers recalls a proposal by the elected government they dispatched in a coup in May. As before, major questions involve not only the route, equipment and whether the gauge of the track will match the Chinese lines. There is also concern about the massive investment and the ever looming shadow of China. The courts killed the last plan over questionable “rice for rails” funding–the Yingluck government allegedly planned to swap surplus rice for Chinese trains. “China is eager to move forward and is offering financing as well as technology and its own equipment,” says one industry official close to the discussions. “But resistance is also high. There is a huge fear about a kind of new Chinese colonization.”


Chalongphob concedes that China’s participation, both as a rail partner and a competitor for potential business, is on everybody’s mind. “But if you don’t have a link to southern China in the next 20 years, this will really be an enormous lost opportunity.”

Thailand has ample experience with lost railway opportunities. It was among Asia’s earliest exponents of rail: Its industry began rolling in 1890 with the formation of the Royal State Railways of Siam. Within 15 years lines were running north and south, and it became the State Railway of Thailand in 1951.

But typical of government-owned enterprises, modernization and maintenance failed to keep pace. Instead investment shifted to roads and the boom in private automobiles. The northern route from Bangkok to Nong Khai, on the Lao border, is one candidate for being extended to China; it’s among the more recent main lines but still over half a century old. The other main option north–Bangkok-Chiang Mai–dates to the 1920s; likewise the tracks running south to Malaysia.

With the government steadfastly refusing to raise the low passenger fares or divert more money from the budget, the system is starved of investment. Practically all trains run late and at a loss. Studies show that freight costs nearly twice as much to move in Thailand as in nearby countries, but cargo long ago shifted to faster, more dependable trucks. Thai trains carry passengers in mainly grungy third-class compartments. “Without aggressive and sustained support and restructuring, the Thailand railway system is likely to become irrelevant within ten years,” said the Asian Development Bank in a report last year.

The infrastructure package approved in July could halt the decline. Details have been sparse, though in the original announcement the government estimated that work would begin next year, with completion in six to eight years. Equipment-makers and transportation experts report that there have been no consultations, but officials were promising new details this month.

Many view the big infrastructure package as the type of prestige project typically mounted by new governments. It’s also the kind of grand scheme that suits an authoritarian regime. China has ramped up its railways in just a few decades, becoming a genuine global powerhouse, exporting its own high-speed technology and boasting innovations such as a link to remote Tibet that pushed the limits of construction as the highest-altitude line in the world. “We’re definitely watching. This would be huge, if it happens,” says Kevin Smith, who has covered Thai trains for the industry magazine International Railway Journal and has seen previous proposals go nowhere. “We’ll believe it when we see it.”

Like many others, he scoffs at the enormous breadth of the transportation plan and its apparent contradictions. As announced the package has something for everyone: express trains to China and Singapore for exporters, urban rail expansion for traffic-weary Bangkok commuters and improvements of national highways for all. Besides the major lines to China that have gotten most of the attention, several other routes are mentioned, including tracks to neighboring Cambodia.

Experts say a viable blueprint should focus on an individual sector, such as passenger or freight service. The plan touts extensive electrification and double-tracking of rail lines. This would be huge; Thailand has 4,500 kilometers of rail, the vast majority of them single track. Adding dual carriages would boost speed and efficiency, but it’s expensive and more practical when the market is high-paying passenger lines in urban corridors.

For trains to China, cargo will be the priority, and upgrading existing tracks would seem to be the more logical plan. The government has already downplayed hopes of high-speed passenger lines, saying safety concerns will limit trains to speeds of 160 kilometers an hour, about half the norm of China’s high-speed trains. “The line will likely come down the corridor from Kunming toward Chiang Rai and then down through Chiang Mai to Bangkok, if it comes,” says railway consultant Greg Wood, who worked on the ADB’s 2013 train plan. “But in my view it will be very expensive, carry limited traffic and cost a lot to keep working. It will mainly serve the geopolitical interests of the Chinese government to link to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.”

Worries over procurement procedures are widespread, especially with China involved in discussions about the route as well as being potentially a supplier and financer. Both Lao and Myanmar officials have questioned China’s desire to fund lines through their countries, citing issues of repayment and land grants, among numerous concerns.

Thailand’s history of problems with projects of this scope is almost as ragged as its run-down trains. Corruption scandals have brought down many governments, and battling corruption is a major theme of the military junta that is now running the country. Hence, some see a discussion by the government last month about creating an agency to oversee the transportation plan as a good development. “The establishment of a railway department within the Ministry of Transport was one of my recommendations to take over control of the railway infrastructure,” says Wood. “That now seems to be happening. So it will be a useful first step.”

Chalongphob adds: “These railway projects are going to happen someday, there is no question about that. The question isn’t just when but how, and how it benefits not just Thailand but the other countries involved.”

Thailand Border Trade


During April-May, exports through border crossings with Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand increased by $116.97 … [Read more…]

Filed Under: Latest News Tagged With: Bangladesh, Border Trade, China, DCCA, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Exports, Imports, India, Myanmar, Neighbour, Thailand

Myanmar-Thailand border trade earns nearly US$ 700 million—mostly in imports

March 26, 2014 by thiha

Myanmar-Thailand border trade has reached nearly US$ 700 million (Ks 676.19 billion), with the Myawady border trade camp and others accounting for the majority of this volume, according to the Commerce and Customer Affairs Department of the Ministry of Economics and Commerce. Myanmar-Thailand border trading from April 1 last year through the second week of March for the 2013-14 fiscal year has reached US$ 679.2 million, with most of the volume consumed by imports from Thailand, the department … [Read more…]

Filed Under: Latest News Tagged With: Border Trade, China, Commerce and Custmer Affairs Department, India, Kaw Thong, Maila, Maw Taung, Ministry of Economics and Commerce, Muse, Myanmar, Myawady Border Trade Camp, Myeik, Tachilek Border, Thailand

Trade volume hit US$21 bn one month ahead of budget closing

February 17, 2014 by thiha

Latest release of the Ministry of Commerce shows that the total trade volume of Myanmar has reached over US$21.33 billion as at February 7. The figure indicates that Myanmar needs to strive for another US$3.7 billion trade in the remaining one and a half months to meet its target of US$25 billion by the budget year end in March. Normal overseas trade amounted to US$17.2 billion between while border trade totaled US$4.13 billion April 1, 2013 and February 7, 2014. The country exported … [Read more…]


Myanmar’s border trade with Thailand just 11% of total

Myanmar Eleven September 17, 2014 7:12 pm

Border trade with Thailand accounted for about 11 per cent of total border trade of Myanmar in the first five months of this fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Total trade via the seven border checkpoints with Thailand reached was US$277 million from April 1 to the end of August, while total border trade was $2.458 billion, the ministry said.

Myanmar has a total of 15 trade checkpoints along its borders with Thailand, China, India and Bangladesh. The seven border checkpoints with Thailand are: Tachileik, Kengtung, Myawaddy, Kawthaung, Myeik, Nabulal/Htee Khee and Mawtaung.

Three – Myawaddy, Tachileik and Kawthaung – handle the lion’s share of trade. Myawaddy saw $127 million worth of trade in the five-month period; Tachileik saw $42 million and Kawthaung $42 million. Myanmar has signed border-trade agreements with India, Thailand, China and Bangladesh and plans to open more trade checkpoints in geographically strategic areas.

Burma’s Cross-Border Trade: US$ 3.3 Billion in 8 Months

(Translated articles and photos from the Eleven Media Group on December 13, 2013.)


Maesai-Tarchileik border crossing point on Thai border.

According to Burma’s Commerce and Consumer Affairs Department the cross-border trade with her neighbour nations through official border trading points has reached more than US$ 3 billion in the period from April-1 to December-6, which is just over a half of this 2013-2014 financial year.  Great news for Burma is that the cross-border export is much more than cross-border imports from her 4 neighbouring nations Thailand, China, India, and Bangladesh. There are 15 official border trading posts on Burma’s 5,000 miles-long border.

According to the Commerce Department the total value of official cross-border trade from April-1, 2013 to December-6, 2013 was US$ 3,284.301 million compared to US$ 2,284.209 million in same period last financial year of 2012-13.

More Border Trade Stations With Thailand and China

At present there are 4 official border trading stations namely Muse, Lwejel, Kanpaiktee, and Chinshwehaw on Burma-China border, 7 stations namely Tarchilate, Myawaddy, Kawtthaung, Myeik (Mergui), Nabulel, Htikhee, and Mawtaung on Thai border, 2 stations namely Tamu and Reed on India border, and 2 stations namely Sittwe and Maungdaw on Bangladesh border.

The largest cross-border trade volume — more than half of total border-trade volume — is on China border while the second largest is from the border trade with Thailand. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Department has plans to establish more trading stations on China and Thailand borders.  The new cross-border trade station earmarked for Chinese border is Minelar Station and the new ones on Thai border are Melselt, Phayathonezu (Three-pagoda-pass), and Poneparkyin stations.

Burma’s Cross-Border Trade Surplus With China

Muse 105-mile trade station on China border.

According to the Commerce Department the total value of official cross-border trade from April-1 to December-6, 2013 between Burma and China was nearly two billion US$. The official trade figures collected at Muse 105-mile trade zone are indicating that export from Burma side was more than imports into Burma from China.  Following was what Yan Naing Htun the Burmese Director of Muse 105-mile Trade Zone said on the fluctuations of trade volume and nature of trade between Burma and China.

“At present our official exports to China is more than our official imports from China. This trade surplus at our favour is not happening every financial year. Some years we import more, but in some other years like this year we export more than import.  Especially when big Chinese investment projects are being implemented in our country. For example big hydro-electric projects need to bring in a lot of heavy machinery and construction materials from China. And the cross-country gas and oil pipelines require a lot of materials and machinery from China. Then our imports went up more than our exports.

Another factor is the unofficial trade or smuggling between our side and China side. Officially our imports are now less than our export. But if we can count the unofficial trade, I’m so sure our imports are much more than our exports. There are so many other ways from Chian into our country. Ways like through Lwejel, thorugh Namkhan,  or even through Kunlone just to avoid import duties and taxes.”  According to the trade statistics issued by Chinese border control authorities more than 17 million US$ worth of forestry and timer products from Burma enter China every month through unofficial routes. Jades and other precious gemstones from Burma also enter China in large quantities through smuggling routes.

Burma’s Overall Trade Deficit of More Than A Billion US$

Even though the overall trade volume has been drastically increasing over the years the increasing volume of imports is causing Burma international trade deficit to rise steadily. And from April-1 to December-6 2013 this 2013-14 financial year the trade deficit is now more than a billion US$, according to the Commerce and Trade Ministry from Naypyidaw.  So far in this financial year Burma’s export volume by sea was US$ 5,169. 058 million and by border routes was US$ 2,039.798 million bringing the total exports to US$ 7,208.856 million. In the same period Burma’s import volume by sea was US$ 7,468.977 million and by border routes was US$ 1,244.503 million bringing the total imports to US$ 8,713.480 million.

For last 8 months of this 2013-14 financial year Burma’s overall trade was more than 15 billion dollars with a trade deficit of US$ 1,504.624 million.

Ten major exports from Burma by value (2011-12).

In foreign trade Burma mainly exports agricultural products, mineral products, forestry outputs, and finished industrial outputs like garments. Burma mainly imports consumer goods, raw material inputs for her factories, automobiles, and the machineries as part of foreign investment projects.  Burma is expecting and has planned accordingly to achieve more than 25 billion US$ of foreign trade volume in 2013-14 financial year, and 80% of that trade is by sea routes and 20% through border trading routes.

Thailand Mekong River Ports


Commercial Transportation on the Mekong River

The Mekong River has provided a means of transportation for thousands of years. Recent efforts have focused on improving the commercial navigability of the water course, led to a large extent by China in the river’s upper reaches, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the lower Mekong. The ADB-backed Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program, the China-Thai FTA and the proposed ASEAN-China FTA are all major factors contributing to efforts aimed at increasing navigability. Modern transportation infrastructure is essential for economic growth, yet incredibly precarious if hastily implemented.

Transportation on the river is presently segmented by natural barriers. Shipments entering from the South China Sea can only travel slightly upriver from Phnom Penh with the Sambor Rapids and Khone Falls hindering travel upstream into Laos. Navigation of the Lancang Jiang, as the Mekong is known in China, began in 1990 when China deployed five barges on a mission to chart the river downstream to Vientiane, Laos.

The Economic Quadrangle Plan involving China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand has further spurred development of the river as a commercial opportunity. China has initiated a program of dredging and removal of rapids, reefs and shoals in conjunction with plans for construction of a cascade of hydroelectric dams in Yunnan Province, several of which are already in operation. The stated goal is to eventually enable vessels of 500 DWT to ply the route between Simao Port in Yunnan and Luangprabang, Laos, with some twelve other ports in between.

Xiaowan, Manwan and other Lancang dams first and foremost aim to provide a cheap source of energy to fuel industry in Yunnan and elsewhere. In addition, officials maintain they will stabilize downstream water levels, decrease currents and increase depth of the river which will all improve navigability. These projects initially had a negative impact on water levels and decreased currents to the degree that silt accumulations blocked river channels, though China contends conditions will improve as the reservoirs reach capacity.

Campaigns to destroy natural rapids, reefs and shoals will have more lasting negative effects. The Mekong River boasts over 1300 fish species, many of which depend on these habitats for essential parts of their lifecycles. Plans to canalize the route will only further destroy the natural hydrology of the river. Critics also charge that very little concern has been extended towards greater pollution from increased traffic.

Thailand has responded to increased river trade by improving facilities at Chiang Khong and construction of a new port at Chiang Saen, now known as Chiang Saen 2. The original Chiang Saen Port was located in an area that constrained growth and its cultural and historic importance prevented drastic renovations, therefore an entirely new facility was constructed. Thai manufactured products are generally considered to be of better quality than those made in China, but as consumers around the globe understand, Chinese goods carry a powerful price point incentive. In China, Thailand has found an outstanding market for its wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables. However, Thai farmers have already felt the impact of cheap garlic arriving from Yunnan, and they will continue to feel pressure until the markets equalize.

The long oil supply lines feeding the Chinese economy from Africa and the Middle East are viewed in Beijing as a strategic weakness. The majority of Chinese oil imports currently must pass through the Malacca Straits, a traditional trade choke point and favorite of modern pirates. In an effort to address these concerns, China has considered building pipelines across Myanmar and Thailand. The Thai project, which would have bisected the Kra Isthmus, now appears to be defunct, but the Myanmar option remains viable. In the meantime, China has utilized Thailand as a source of refined oil products for shipment up the Mekong to Yunnan.

Refined oil products shipped via the Mekong arrive at Yunnan’s Guanlei Terminal of Jinghong Port. It is then distributed throughout the province via an onshore pipeline. Further efforts to secure petroleum supply lines are reflected in a recent agreement to develop a massive new port on the Burmese island of Ramree. In addition to serving as a traditional deep-water outlet for Yunnan’s manufactured goods, it will work in tandem with a proposed oil pipeline connecting the province to the Indian Ocean.

Myanmar and Laos have also ramped up efforts to benefit from increased river trade. Myanmar’s Wan Seng and Wan Pong ports are already entry points for cheap Chinese goods. China’s Xishuangbanna Petroleum Company recently signed an MOU with a Lao company to import diesel and gasoline via Laos. This has spurred speculation that the sleepy Mekong village of Xiengkok will be transformed into a modern port. Although China already imports oil products from Thailand, shipping diesel and gasoline via Laos is attractive due to lower costs.

China has provided considerable funding for upgrading Cambodian river ports as well as dredging operations in the Lower Mekong, and even for blasting a channel in the Sambor rapids to increase draft. These operations come in addition to Chinese offers for financial backing of future hydropower projects in Cambodia, several of which are already undergoing feasibility studies.

The main obstacle to river transport between Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta has been a lack of proper all-weather and nighttime navigation aids. This situation is now being rectified by the Mekong River Commission’s Navigation Programme (NAP). Channel markers, buoys, beacons and shore marks have been installed to aid navigation and increase efficiency of river transportation from Phnom Penh to the South China Sea. Plans are also under consideration to dredge and widen the Hau River (Bassac) in the Mekong Delta to allow 10,000 to 20,000 ton ships to transit Tra Vinh Province. The Hau/Bassac splits from the Mekong mainstream at Phnom Penh and is a second major outlet to the South China Sea.

Economic growth is undeniably the driving force behind developments on the Mekong River. The implementation of modern transportation networks is clearly a necessary means by which to increase economic opportunity. There are however, a number of concerns regarding how this process has unfolded to date. The Mekong stands out for its incredible biodiversity and the massive population whose livelihoods depend on it. These factors make equitable development of this unique resource incredibly complex. There have been very few serious environmental or socioeconomic impact studies regarding Mekong navigation improvement.

Chiang Khong Port

Moo 3, Baan Hoa Vieng,  Vieng Sub-district,  Chiang Khong District,

Chiang Rai Province, 57140

Tel/Fax 0-5377-7455

e-mail  : 

Office of Regional Port

Port Authority of Thailand, 444 Tarua Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110

Tel/Fax 0-2269-5500

e-mail :

On March 25, 2003, the Cabinet resolved to authorize the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) to manage and operate Chiang Khong port, which was officially put into service on December 1, 2003

It  appointed to facilitate and promote import – export border trade between 4 countries consist of China, Myanmar, Laos and Thai.) Chiang Khong Port is situated on the bank of Mekong River, Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province. The berth is width 24 meters and length 180 meters.

The front of the port is adjacent to the Mekong River opposite of Moueng Houy Sai, Bor Kaew District, People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. On the back is the road linking Chiang Saen and Chiang Kong Districts. Chiang Khong Port is a small river port, mostly service for small ships from Laos about 90% of  ship call.  Transfer, loading and discharging mainly counts on labors employed by cargo owners.  Documentation procedures are proceed as Chiang Saen Port.  Customers are able to precede customs clearance, immigration, quarantine, and other services conveniently at their office within the same area of Chiang Khong Port.

Capacities for vessel service and truck parking area : The concrete quayside terminal with a width of 24 meters and length of 108 meters was constructed to accommodate 3 – 5 motor vessels each of 80-150 gross tonnage, at a time. 10 wheel truck parking area is able to accommodate 5-10 ten wheel trucks, at a time.  One Stop Service includes the services of other agencies concern i.e. the Customs Department, the Excise Department, Marine Department, Immigration Office, Public Health Office and Animals and Plants Restriction Office, etc. has been set up.

Rendering 24-Hour Services.  Chiang Khong Port, situated at Chiang Khong Sub-District, Chiangrai Province. The port aims to upgrade the efficiency of import- export services and promote border trade among People’s Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Laos, the Union of Myanmar and Thailand. The port can handle 15,000 tonnes per year.

Chiang Saen Port

oo 3, Baan Hoa Vieng,  Vieng Sub-district,  Chiang Khong District,

Chiang Rai Province, 57140

Tel/Fax 0-5377-7455

e-mail  :

Office of Regional Port

Port Authority of Thailand, 444 Tarua Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110

Tel: 0-2269-5421, 0-2269-5422, 0-2269-5325 Fax: 0-2269-5500

e-mail :

Chiang Saen Port has been built to serve the government’s policy on improving international transport network for the convenience of tourism, trade and investment.

It is part of the government’s efforts to promote the country as a gateway for the development of Indochina and the Greater Mekong Sub-Region under the cooperation of six countries including Thailand, China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

On March 25, 2003, the Cabinet resolved to authorize the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) to manage and operate the port, which was officially put into service on October 1, 2003.

Chiang Saen Port is in an area of around 9 rais situated on the bank of Mekong River, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai Province. The is adjacent to the Mekong River and opposite People’s Democratic Republic of Laos.  Behind the port is the road linking Chiang Saen and Chiang Kong. The terminal at Chiang Saen Port is two pontoons with bridges linking with the quayside. Trucks can to load and transfer cargoes on the ship’s side on all the time

Berth capacity can accommodate ship less than 200 Gross tonnage, 50 meters in length and 2 meters in depth.  However, ship with 300 Gross tonnage can berth if the side of the berth is renovated. A bouy can accommodate two more ships or two bouys and side of the berth is improved to maximum 5 ships.  Loading by gangway with roof along the bridge can be done.  Link bridge with 6 meters in width and 30 meters in length, has capacity of 800 Kg./square meter.  Fork lift and small truck can be used for load through the bridge with slope 12 degree following the agreement between Thai and Laos technicians.  Truck park for 50 trucks with 8 -10 wheels. 1 mobile crane with capacity of 50 tonnes and a set of conveyor belt is available.

The route from the Chiang Saen Port to the Kuan Lei Port in China is around 265 kilometers with draught of 1.5 – 7 meters varying on seasons.

China has improved the channel and built dam to generate electric power and control the water supply for cargo ships throughout the year.  The inland cargo transport by road can be made from Highway No. 1, turning to Highway No. 1016 at Mae Chan District and it take around 30 kilometers to the port. The road transport network between the East-West Economic Corridor linking Pacific Ocean with Indian Ocean and the North-South Corridor linking China with Malaysia have also been developed. Since the crossroads is located in Pisanulok Province, it is more convenient for the cargo transport from different regions to the port and vice versa.

The air- borne transport can be made through the international airport at Chiang Rai Province. A rail system will be also linked to the province in the future.

Given these factors, Chiang Saen Port is considered a connection point for trade with southern provinces of China, Myanmar and Laos. It can also serve cargo transport to other countries in the east via the Bangkok Port and Laem Chabang Port as well as countries in the west via Ranong Port to form a triangle transport network in the future.

Chiang Saen Port, situated alongside the Mekong River at Chiang Saen District, Chiangrai Province, covers an area of around 3.6 acres (9 rais), facing the Mekong River, opposite the Democratic People’s Republic of Laos and adjacent to highway No. 1290 (Rimkong Road) connecting Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong Districts. The port can handle 120,000 tonnes per year.

Chiang Saen is located on the Mekong River across from Laos in Chiang Rai Province in the very north of Thailand. Its role as a trade connection with Myanmar, Laos and the southern provinces of China is expanding and new facilities are being planned 10 km away at the Mae Nam Kok estuary of the Mekong River.

The new location of Chiang Saen Port

Due to the location of the present Port is too small, Maritime Department has been assigned for feasibility study  of  the new location for  Chiang Saen Port.  The primary study shows that the port will be moved to the south about 10 Km. with area around 400 rai, bigger than present about 40 times.  The location is in Mae Nam Kok estuary, not adjacent to the bank of Mekong River.  The construction is designing.  The new Chiang Saen Port will consist of:

1.6 berths which are loaded by manpower

2.9 berths which are loaded by conveyer belt

3.6 container terminal

4.1 petroleum berth

5.6 passenger berth

The new Chiang Saen Port will be a important port for trading in this region between Thai and China.  The new Chiang Saen Port will be the gateway for import-export from South China and  a linkage for modal transport from China – Bangkok – Laem Chabang Port.

1. Two 50-meter long pontoons that can serve four cargo ships simultaneously. Each pontoon is capable to accommodate 6-9 trucks.

2. 250-meter long quayside that can accommodate three cargo ships. It is convenient for the loading and discharging of heavy cargoes that need a mobile crane to lift. Since the tide of the Mekong River is high during July-December, ships at the quayside can count on a sliding board to load cargoes boxes on board conveniently.

1. Two mobile cranes with a capacity of 10 metric tons and 50 metric tons

2. Two forklifts with a capacity of 5 metric tons and 10 metric tons

3. A set of 3 conveyor belts

As Chiang Saen Port is a river port that accommodates ships of 250-300 metric tons, the loading and discharging mainly counts on labors employed by cargo owners. So as to enhance convenience and safety of cargo handling, PAT has installed conveyor belts at the port and a mobile crane is also available to handle heavy cargo or container. PAT has also adopted a one-stop service system to facilitate documentation procedures. Customers are able to precede customs clearance, immigration, quarantine, and other services conveniently at the ports service center.

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