Navigating your way to a dream destination like Koh Chang Island can be as exciting as it is daunting. With its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and a plethora of activities, Koh Chang is a must-visit for any traveler. But before you can dip your toes in the sand or explore the island’s hidden gems, you need to get there first. That’s where this guide comes in. We understand that the journey is just as important as the destination, and choosing the right mode of transport can make all the difference in your travel experience.
Whether you’re a budget traveler looking for the most economical options or someone who prefers the quickest, most convenient methods, we’ve got you covered. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the transportation options available, from flying into Trat Airport to catching a bus from Bangkok, and even options for those coming from other parts of Thailand or neighboring countries. So buckle up and read on to find the best way to kickstart your Koh Chang adventure.
All Your Options Getting to Koh Chang
If you’re planning your trip to Koh Chang Island, knowing your transportation options is crucial for a smooth journey. Here’s a quick rundown of the various ways to get to this tropical paradise:
- Flying to Trat Airport: The quickest way to get close to Koh Chang, with multiple daily flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Once you land, you can take a minibus directly to your accommodation on the island.
- Private Transfer by Car or Minibus: Ideal for those who value comfort and convenience. You can be picked up from your hotel or airport and taken directly to Koh Chang.
- Shared Minibus from Suvarnabhumi Airport or Hotels in Bangkok: A more budget-friendly private transfer option. Tickets can be bought after landing or arranged in advance online.
- Bangkok to Koh Chang by Bus: The most economical option, with buses departing from various terminals in Bangkok. It’s a longer journey but easy on the wallet.
- Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Chang by Bus or Minibus: Two services are available, including the ‘Lonely Beach Express’ that takes you directly to the west coast of Koh Chang.
- Getting to Koh Chang from Elsewhere: Options are available for those coming from places like Koh Samet, Pattaya, or even the Cambodian border crossings.
- Catching the Ferry to Koh Chang: The final leg of your journey, with two main piers to choose from, each with its own schedule and pricing.
Each of these options has its own set of pros and cons, and the best choice largely depends on your travel style, budget, and schedule. Stay tuned for a detailed breakdown of each to help you make an informed decision.
Pier Drop-off vs. Direct Transfer to Your Final Destination
When planning your trip to Koh Chang, one detail that might seem minor but can significantly impact your experience is where your chosen mode of transport drops you off. You essentially have two options: being dropped at the pier or being taken directly to your final destination on the island. Let’s break down the differences between the two:
Dropped at the Pier
If your transportation option leaves you at the pier, you’ll need to arrange for another mode of transport to get to your accommodation or other final destination on the island. This usually means hailing a taxi or a local songthaew (a shared taxi-like vehicle). While this gives you a bit of flexibility and might be a touch cheaper upfront, it also means dealing with the logistics of finding and negotiating with local transport. After a long journey, this could add an extra layer of stress or fatigue that you’d probably rather avoid. Additionally, you’ll have to account for the extra time and potential waiting involved in this last leg of your trip.
Direct Transfer to Final Destination
On the other hand, some services offer a direct transfer right to your doorstep, whether it’s a hotel, resort, or another place you’re staying. This option is incredibly convenient, as it eliminates the need to find additional transport upon arrival. You can simply relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that you’ll be taken care of from point A to point B. This is especially beneficial if you’re new to the area, traveling with a lot of luggage, or simply want to streamline your journey as much as possible. The downside? It might cost you a bit more than piecing together the trip yourself.
The Bottom Line
The best option depends on your travel style, budget, and how much you value convenience over cost. If you’re the adventurous type who doesn’t mind navigating local transport, being dropped at the pier might suit you just fine. But if you’re looking for a hassle-free experience, especially after a long flight or bus ride, a direct transfer to your final destination is likely worth the extra expense.
Flying from Bangkok to Koh Chang: The Quickest Way to Paradise
If time is of the essence and you’re looking to get to Koh Chang as quickly as possible, flying is your best bet. The nearest airport to Koh Chang is Trat Airport, and it’s well-connected with multiple daily flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airline that operates these flights is Bangkok Airways.
Booking Your Flight
You can book your tickets directly through the Bangkok Airways website. The flights are quite frequent, with daily options departing in the morning and one in the afternoon. The duration of the flight is exactly one hour, making it a quick and convenient option.
From Trat Airport to Koh Chang
Once you land at Trat Airport, you’re only about 30 minutes away from the ferry terminals that will take you to Koh Chang. But here’s the best part: Bangkok Airways offers a connected minibus service that can take you directly to your accommodation on the island. This service is designed to coincide with the flight and ferry schedules, ensuring a seamless transition from air to land to sea.
How to Book the Minibus
You can purchase minibus tickets at Trat Airport upon arrival, or you can book them in advance online through the Bangkok Airways website. Booking online can save you some money, and it guarantees your spot, giving you peace of mind. The cost for this service ranges from 650 to 750 Baht, which also includes your ferry crossing.
Why Choose This Option?
Opting for the flight plus minibus combo offers the ultimate convenience. Not only do you get to Koh Chang quickly, but you also don’t have to worry about navigating multiple modes of transport. Everything is taken care of, from your flight to your ferry to your final drop-off at your accommodation.
Flying from Bangkok and taking advantage of the connected minibus service is a hassle-free way to start your Koh Chang adventure. It might be a bit pricier than other options, but the convenience and time saved often make it well worth the investment.
Starting from Bangkok’s Airport: Minibus vs. Private Car
If your flight’s timing doesn’t align well with the available connections to Trat Airport, or if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, taking a minibus from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Chang is a viable alternative. Now, let’s delve into the two primary options you have: taking a minibus or booking a private car.
Minibus from Suvarnabhumi Airport
Minibuses are a budget-friendly and popular way to travel from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Chang. These are shared services, meaning you’ll be traveling with other passengers headed in the same direction.
How to Book
Tickets for the minibus can be purchased at the Suvarnabhumi Burupha ticket counter located on level 1 of the main terminal building. Unfortunately, you can’t book these in advance online.
Costs and Inclusions
A one-way ticket costs around 600 Baht and includes the cost of the ferry ticket to Koh Chang.
Pros and Cons
The minibus is a cost-effective option, but it may make multiple stops to pick up or drop off other passengers, which could extend your travel time. Also, you may have to wait for the minibus to fill up before departing.
Private Car or Minivan Transfer
If you’re looking for a more personalized and comfortable experience, a private car or minivan transfer might be the way to go. This service offers door-to-door convenience, taking you directly from the airport to your accommodation in Koh Chang.
How to Book
You can book a private transfer online through various companies, some of which have been arranging these services for over a decade. Prices vary depending on the number of passengers and the type of vehicle you choose.
Costs and Inclusions
The cost of a private car or minivan transfer is for the entire vehicle, not per person. Prices generally start around 3,500 Baht for the entire car, and this typically includes the ferry ticket to Koh Chang.
Pros and Cons
While more expensive, a private car offers a seamless and stress-free experience. You won’t have to wait for other passengers, and you can depart as soon as you’re ready. It’s the ultimate in convenience but comes at a premium price.
Starting from Bangkok City: Your Options Unveiled
If you find yourself in the heart of Bangkok and are looking to make your way to Koh Chang, you have a variety of options at your disposal. Whether you’re coming from the city center or other parts of Bangkok, the transportation methods are similar to those available from Suvarnabhumi Airport, with the added option of public buses.
Minibus from Bangkok City
Just like from the airport, minibuses are a popular and budget-friendly option. These shared services usually depart from various points in the city, such as Khao San Road or Victory Monument.
How to Book
Tickets can often be purchased from travel agents around the city or directly at the departure point.
Costs and Inclusions
Expect to pay around 600-900 Baht for a one-way ticket, which usually includes the cost of the ferry to Koh Chang.
Pros and Cons
Minibuses are cost-effective but may make multiple stops, extending your travel time. They are a good option if you’re on a budget and don’t mind a longer journey.
Private Car or Minivan Transfer from Bangkok City
If you prefer a more comfortable and direct journey, you can book a private car or minivan transfer, just like you would from the airport.
How to Book
Online booking is available through various companies, and you can choose your pickup location within Bangkok.
Costs and Inclusions
The cost is for the entire vehicle, not per person, and prices generally start around 3,500 Baht. This usually includes the ferry ticket to Koh Chang.
Pros and Cons
While pricier, a private car offers a seamless and stress-free experience, taking you directly from your location in Bangkok to your accommodation in Koh Chang.
Public Bus and Minibus from Bangkok City to Koh Chang
If you’re starting your journey to Koh Chang from Bangkok city and are looking for an economical way to get there, you have two great options: the Express 99 buses and minibuses. Both services operate from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal, conveniently located on Sukhumvit Road at Soi Ekkamai (Sukhumvit Soi 63). The easiest way to reach the terminal is via the BTS Skytrain; just get off at the Ekkamai BTS Skytrain Station (station code E7) and it’s a short 5-minute walk to the bus terminal.
Express 99 Bus
How to Book and Costs
The Express 99 bus departs twice daily at 7:45 am and 9:45 am and takes around 6 hours to reach the piers near Laem Ngop. Tickets cost 275 Baht and can be purchased at the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Station. This service also has pickup points at the Suvarnabhumi Bus Station, with departures at 8:20 am and 10:20 am.
The bus goes directly to Ao Thammachat (only the 7:45 am bus) and Centrepoint Piers near Laem Ngop, making it a convenient option if you’re heading to Koh Chang.
How to Book and Costs
Minibuses run multiple times a day from the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Station to Trat. Departure times are at 5:00 am, 6:00 am, 9:30 am, 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. Tickets cost 265 Baht and can be purchased at the ticket booth located on the right as you enter the bus station.
Route and Stops
The journey to Trat takes around 5 hours. Make sure to inform the driver that you’re heading to Koh Chang, and they will drop you off just before reaching Trat. From there, you can catch a songthaew to the pier. Note that minibuses do make one or two stops during the journey for restroom breaks and quick shopping.
Schedules and Prices
While schedules are generally consistent, it’s worth noting that they can change. Always double-check the latest departure times when you arrive at the Ekkamai terminal. Be prepared for changes in prices as well.
Arriving from Other Destinations: Your Gateway to Koh Chang
If you’re coming to Koh Chang from places other than Bangkok or its airport, don’t worry; you still have plenty of options to get to this island paradise. Whether you’re arriving from tourist hotspots like Pattaya, Chiang Mai, or even neighboring countries like Cambodia, you can easily find your way to Koh Chang.
Starting Points Mentioned Earlier
If you find yourself in a location that’s relatively close to either Bangkok or its Suvarnabhumi Airport, you might consider traveling to one of these hubs first. From there, you can take advantage of the detailed transportation options we’ve previously discussed, such as minibuses, private cars, or public buses. These are well-established routes with multiple daily options, making them convenient and reliable choices.
Local Shops for Custom Arrangements
Alternatively, if you’re in a location that doesn’t easily connect to Bangkok or its airport, your best bet might be to consult local travel shops or agencies. These establishments often offer custom arrangements that can include various modes of transportation like buses, minibuses, or even private transfers, tailored to get you to Koh Chang from your specific location.
The Universal Starting Point
Regardless of where you’re coming from, remember that all roads to Koh Chang eventually lead to a ferry crossing. Whether you opt for a well-trodden path from Bangkok or a custom arrangement from a local shop, you’ll end up at one of the piers ready to board a ferry to Koh Chang.
Koh Chang Ferry Information: What You Need to Know
If you’re planning a trip to Koh Chang, it’s essential to know your ferry options. Ferries operate daily from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, ensuring you have plenty of opportunities to make the crossing. Two main companies provide this service: ‘Ferry Koh Chang’ and ‘Trat Ferry.’
Frequency and Timing
- Ferry Koh Chang: Departs about every 20-30 minutes to minimize waiting times. During high season, this schedule is often ignored to accommodate more frequent departures.
- Trat Ferry: Currently offers just four services a day in each direction.
Departure and Arrival Points
Both companies operate from piers located near the village of Laem Ngop in Trat, approximately 5 km apart.
- Ferry Koh Chang: Docks at Ao Sapporot pier on the northeast coast of Koh Chang.
- Trat Ferry: Moors at their pier in Dan Kao, a couple of kilometers to the south.
Amenities and Driving
Both ports offer restaurants, minimarts, public toilets, and car parking. If you’re driving, there’s no need to leave your car on the mainland. Koh Chang’s roads are mostly paved and in good condition, although they can be steep and winding in places, particularly in the north and southwest of the island.
Ticketing and Recommendations
Ticket prices are roughly the same for both services. However, for foot passengers, Ferry Koh Chang is generally more convenient and has better connections for trips back to Bangkok. As such, it’s not recommended to purchase a return ticket, as this could limit your options when heading back to the capital.
Ferries operate 365 days a year, including holidays. Cancellations are extremely rare, even during the rainy season, as the sea between Koh Chang and the mainland is generally sheltered from tropical storms. However, the strait can get choppy in November and December due to strong northerly winds, which may slow down the crossing time.
Frequently Asked Question about getting there
Getting to Koh Chang
While it’s possible to purchase your ferry ticket upon arrival at the pier, it’s often more convenient to book it in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Some transportation options like private cars and certain minibus services include the ferry ticket in their pricing, offering a seamless travel experience.
To get the best deal, it’s advisable to compare prices and options across different modes of transportation. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you might find cheaper rates during non-peak seasons. Booking round-trip tickets can sometimes also offer savings. Additionally, local travel shops can often bundle transportation with other services like accommodation or tours, providing a more cost-effective package.
The ferry trip to Koh Chang typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the specific ferry service you choose and the weather conditions. Ferries usually operate at regular intervals throughout the day, making it convenient to catch one even if you miss the scheduled departure.
Yes, traveling to Koh Chang is generally both easy and safe. The island is a popular tourist destination, and the various modes of transportation available are well-regulated and reliable. Whether you opt for a minibus, a private car, or a public bus, these services are used by thousands of travelers each year without any significant issues.
Your choice between a minibus and a private car will depend on your budget, travel style, and time constraints. Minibuses are more budget-friendly but may make multiple stops, extending your travel time. Private cars offer a more comfortable and direct journey but come at a higher cost. Consider what’s most important for you—cost, comfort, or time—when making your decision.
The best place to book your transportation largely depends on your starting point and preferred mode of travel. If you’re in Bangkok, you can book minibuses and public buses directly at the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal. For private car transfers, it’s best to book online through reputable companies. If you’re coming from other locations, local travel shops can often provide custom arrangements tailored to your needs.
About the Author
Maurice van den Heuvel
With 15 years of expertise as a scuba diving instructor, I've guided countless individuals through the aquatic wonders of our world. An entrepreneur with successful business ventures across Europe, I also channel my passion into web creation — including this site. My journey has taken me from the south of the Netherlands to the serene waters of Koh Chang. Dive with me and benefit from a legacy of trust, experience, and unwavering passion.