PMUC and TSRI collaborate with Railway of Thailand in promoting research on train tourism, introducing first new routes in the Northern region, aiming to elevate creative economy.

From 18th thru 20th November, State Railway of Thailand organized a special train tour on creative tourism routes thru the historic Lanna provinces. The route has been named “Lanna Modernization Railroad Travel” The trip included traveling through the old town of Lampang, Lamphun, Chiang Mai, paying homage to the Lanna pagodas. This is a pilot trip organized under an MOU between the State Railway of Thailand and Rajabhat University, Lampang Province. It is supported by the Program Management Unit for Competitiveness or PMUC, Office of Thailand Science, Research and Innovation, or TSRI, with an approved budget from the Science, Research and Innovation Promotion Fund.

Assistant Professor Supawadee Phothiyarat, a senior expert at TSRI and chairman of the Tourism and Creative Economy Subcommittee, PMUC, revealed that the research team for this project was made up of history experts that have brought the valuable Lanna culture, including the food culture from the 7 river basins to be applied in order to present and create a breakfast menu for passengers on the train. In the first phase, the route has been tested with a special procession from Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Lampang provinces, which included the media and entrepreneurs including the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) who also participated. Then the State Railway of Thailand saw that this route had the potential to be promoted and recommended it as part of the tourism program of the State Railway of Thailand. That was the origin of the trip on creative tourism route thru the histotic Lanna provinces.

In addition, “The State Railway of Thailand has realized the importance of tourism and is interested in adding routes in the southern region, focusing on group travel, which would help to reduce carbon emissions. It is an important principle that PMUC is emphasizing and inviting more travel arrangements that help to reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, there may be subsidy in the future to provide incentive for more creative tourism projects like this. The trips will feature academics and local historian onboard to explain in detail about each place along the routes. Thus the SRT asked the PMUC to help support the research by giving Rajabhat University, Songkhla, to conduct a study on the connection between Hat Yai Junction Railway Station and Thung Song Junction, ultimately ending at Kantang Station with a focus on integration and collaboration between the Northern Railway and the Southern Railway. It is expected that the State Railway of Thailand is preparing to propose these good routes by citing research work from the Science, Research and Innovation funds.” Asst. Prof. Supawadee concluded.

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While the director of the public relations center, State Railway of Thailand, Mr. Ekarat Sri arayanpong said cooperation in this activity was organized in order to develop cooperation between each other to promote domestic tourism. The end goal was to encourage the distribution of income to local and low-income economies, as well as encouraging Thai people to reduce the use of private cars and travel more by train, in line with the government’s energy reduction policy. This effort brought together the strengths of the two agencies to create novel tourism, which has never happened on any other route before in the Northern region. The scenery on both sides of the route is beautiful and unique, combining luxury service, serving luxury food in a special bogy called the VIP Gourmet Car, with a British breakfast menu, such as organic vegetable salads with vinaigrette dressing, assorted bread, British style vegetable soup, egg Benedict served with grilled vegetables and crispy bacon, etc. Also, on the last day of the return trip from Chiang Mai, there is also a VIP Gourmet Car dinner service with a menu dating back to the British-India-Lanna trade route, such as Hang Lay curry served with roti and Indian-style side dishes, Lanna candied bananas with caramelized salt sauce served with ice cream.

On the train trip with express train No. 51, Bangkok – Lampang on November 18, 2022, leaving Bangkok at 10:00 p.m., arriving at Silaath Station, enjoy a 5-course English Chef’s Table breakfast, getting off at Lampang station. Visit the Lampang Museum, then take the horse-drawn carriage to explore the city, taste local food, shop for ceramics, worship 3 pagodas in Lampang – Lamphun, stay overnight in Chiang Mai, worship 2 pagodas in Chiang Mai, shop for souvenirs, have dinner on the bus in Chef’s Table style 5 course meal in European, Indian, and Lanna style, reaching Bangkok safely the next morning.

The research project was conducted under the research initiative to study the development of creative tourism by train on the path of the Lanna Era, led by Asst. Prof. Natthanan Thitiyapramote, Ph.D., and Dr. Panthat Kalaya, Rajabhat University, Lampang Province, The project received support via research funding from the PMUC, with the budget coming from the Science, Research and Innovation Fund. The objective was to exchange knowledge on the development of railway tourism routes and the old town of Lampang, Lamphun, Chiang Mai, as well as to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology in order to ultimately benefit the country in many dimensions.

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