If the allure of turquoise waters and powdery soft white sand is tempting you away from the bustling streets of Bangkok, you might like to consider traveling down to Koh Chang. This beautiful island is Thailand’s second largest and it’s set on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Thailand. It’s filled with lush forests and small villages and is not as well developed as place like Koh Samui or Phuket if you’re looking for the quieter Thai beach experience.
One reason why Koh Chang has not developed as much is because it’s not the easiest place to get to: being an island has its challenges. There’s no airport on the island so access is only by boat though there are several different options to get you from Bangkok down to the ferry terminal. Read on to find out the different ways to travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang.
Take a Flight from Bangkok to Koh Chang
As mentioned above, there’s no airport on the island but you can catch a flight from Bangkok that will take you all the way down to Trat, on the mainland. As of now, there is only one airline that flies this route and that’s Bangkok Airways. They offer flights three times per day: in the morning, late morning, and afternoon, and the flight takes exactly one hour, departing from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. As Bangkok Airways is one of Thailand’s premier airlines their ticket prices can be a shock if you’re trying to travel on a budget, but the convenience and speed of flying most of the way from Bangkok to Koh Chang does mean that this will always cost more than the other travel options.
Once you arrive at the compact Trat Airport there are a couple of options for travel from the airport over to Koh Chang. You can opt for a shared minibus which includes the ferry ticket within the price (around 500bt per person). The great thing with these shared minibuses is that the minibus travels over to the island and can drop you right at your hotel. This is convenient, but, remember that you’re going to be sharing with a number of other passengers and it’s possible you’ll have a long wait to reach your own hotel once on the island.
You can also arrange for a private transfer which can be cost effective if you’re traveling with a group. Hotels on Koh Chang also offer private transfers and will come to Trat Airport to meet you. This is the most convenient if you’ve already booked your hotel, with a door-to-door service, but you’re going to end up paying over the odds for this option.
Finally, you could make your own way to the ferry terminal at Trat from the airport, however, there are never usually any taxis waiting at the airport so you would need to walk out to the main road and hope you can hitch. This isn’t really a good idea considering it’s about a half hour drive from the airport to the ferry terminal, so we wouldn’t recommend this option.
Private Transfers from Bangkok to Koh Chang
A private transfer may sound like an expensive option but in reality it’s really quite cost effective. A great advantage with private transfers is that they are entirely door-to-door, with the option to be picked up from your hotel in the center of Bangkok, or from the airport, and you will be driven right to the door of your hotel on Koh Chang. Another advantage of traveling on a private transfer from Bangkok to Koh Chang is that you only have to pay once and you don’t have to think about transferring from one vehicle to another. Just dump your bags in the trunk and leave everything else to the driver! Of course, the only downside is the time it takes. Driving from Bangkok Airport down to Trat (to catch the ferry) can take somewhere between 4 and 4.5 hours, and if you’re coming from a Bangkok hotel this will add about another 45 minutes to the journey time. Then you have the ferry crossing (approximately 40 minutes), and finally the drive to your hotel.
Public Bus and Minibus from Bangkok to Koh Chang
The final two options we’re going to recommend you consider are by public bus and by minibus. These two have the advantage of being the cheapest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang, but for a low price you will be substituting a certain amount of comfort and these two options are usually the slowest way of getting to the island.
Public buses cost about half the price of a shared minibus, and the price includes the ferry ticket. You can depart from Khao San Road for convenience, or catch a bus from one of the bus terminals or from Victory Monument.
The shared minibus may be double the price but it’s certainly more convenient, traveling from hotel door-to-door so, as with private transfers, you don’t have to worry about changing from one vehicle to another. The other nice thing about these shared minibuses is that they’re more sociable. You’ll be sitting in your minibus for many hours but it’s a great opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers!
As you can see, however you choose to travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang your journey is always going to include a ferry crossing of around 40 minutes, so the only thing you need to decide on is how quickly and how expensively you’d like to get down to Trat.