Bangkok to Koh Chang: An Easy Island Getaway

Feeling the need for some sea air? It’s a relatively simple trip from Bangkok to Ko Chang, making it a great choice if you are looking for a brief island escape. Today we share your options for reaching Ko Chang with bus, ferry, and flight options to choose from.

After a couple of days amidst the humid hustle and bustle of Bangkok, many travelers start to dream of feeling a fresh sea breeze on their faces and sand between their toes. But fear not; in Thailand, there’s always an idyllic tropical island within reach.

One of the closest options to Bangkok is Koh Chang, just 350km from the capital. It is Thailand’s third largest island after Phuket and Koh Samui.

In the northeast corner of the Gulf of Thailand, close to Cambodian waters, Koh Chang offers a lush, mountainous terrain with some excellent white-sand beaches along its coastline—perfect for relaxing and shaking off the stresses of the city. 

Koh Chang, which translates as ‘Elephant Island, belongs to the province of Trat.

The province, famed for its ruby mining, lies around three hundred kilometers to the southeast of Bangkok. Getting to Koh Chang itself from Bangkok is relatively straightforward, but as we are heading to an island, we will need to use a couple of different modes of transport to reach our final destination.

Ko Chang ferry pier, Ko Chang, Trat

And as always in Thailand, there are options, so let’s look at the various travel options that we have available to us to take us to the island retreat of Koh Chang. 

How to get from Bangkok to Ko Chang

Comparing the options:

Mode of TransportTime Cost
Big Bus 12-1 4 hrs$20
Shuttle Bus or Mini Van 8 hrs$15-20
Private Transfer / Taxi 5-6 hrs$150-250
Fly – Only Bangkok Airways fly to Trat5 hrs$100 approx

The quickest way from Bangkok to Koh Chang – Fly

If time is of the essence, the quickest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang involves a flight. You can hop on a short, sixty-minute flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Trat, the main city in Trat province.

Flying is also the best option if you are travelling with children. Trat Airport is one of three Thai airports which are owned and operated by Bangkok Airways, and as such, Bangkok Airways is the only airline operating flights in and out of Trat Airport.

There are usually 3-4 flights a day. Once you’ve decided on and booked a flight, the next step is to get to Bangkok Airport – but be aware that Bangkok has two airports.

  • Don Muang International Airport – Once the major airport in Thailand’s capital, this accolade now belongs to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. These days, they mainly used Don Muang for domestic flights and cargo.
  • Suvarnabhumi Airport – However, unlike most domestic airlines operating in Thailand, Bangkok Airways operates its domestic flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Check your booking carefully and make sure you end up at the correct airport for your flight to Trat.

Flight prices to Trat are usually around 2,500 baht per person. 

Getting To Suvarnabhumi Airport

If you are in the centre of Bangkok already, it’s pretty straightforward to get out to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thai Airlines Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport’s main terminal.

Depending on your location in Bangkok, you may simply board the Airport Rail Link (ARL) at Phaya Thai Station in central Bangkok, close to the Victory Monument.

Phaya Thai Station is also linked to the BTS Skytrain, so if you are traveling light, this is a convenient, cheap option.

Bangkok Airport Train
Bangkok Airport Train

If you are more laden with luggage or too far from Phaya Thai Station, perhaps a metered-taxi ride would be a better option. Taxi drivers in Bangkok are usually very honest, but if you speak a little Thai, this can help the journey go a little smoother.

See our Bangkok Transport guide for beginners for detailed advice

Local tip: When telling the taxi driver where you would like to go, you can use the Thai word ‘bai’ (pronounced ‘buy’) for ‘go’ and then the name of the airport—Thais don’t pronounce the ‘i’ at the end of Suvarnabhumi. So, in simple phonetics, you just need to say ‘buy Sue-van-a-boom’ and then add the customary ‘khap’ (pronounced ‘cap’) or ‘kaa’ (pronounced ‘car’) at the end – ‘khap’ is used by males, ‘kaa’ is used by females. 

Getting to Koh Chang from Trat Airport

Once you touch down in Trat, there’s just one more short leg of the journey before you can enjoy Koh Chang’s sand between your toes. The airport is 17km from the ferry pier. There is no way to avoid the Koh Chang Ferry Pier.

Ferries to Koh Chang

All travelers will need to catch a ferry across from Laem Ngop, on the mainland, to Koh Chang Island.

There are two different Koh Chang ferry piers, depending on which company you have booked with or plan to use.

Ko chang Ferry Map
Ko Chang Ferry Map

On the mainland

  • Ferry Koh Chang operates from Ao Thammachat Pier
  • Centrepoint Ferry operates from its own ferry pier nearby

Arriving on Ko Chang both ferry companies will dock at piers in the north of Koh Chang:

  • Ferry Koh Chang will arrive at Ao Sapporot Pier
  • Centrepoint Ferries uses a pier a couple of kilometers to the east in Dan Kao.

From here, it’s a short transfer by taxi or minibus service to your hotel.

Tourists from Koh Chang go ashore at ferry boat quay on October, 2013 in Trat, Thailand. Koh Chang
The Koh Change car ferry

Check out the ferry schedules (affiilate link to 12go asia), there will be one scheduled to coincide with any Bangkok flights. You can book your ticket online if you prefer.

Seating on the Koh Chang Ferry
Seating on the Koh Chang ferry

Both Ferry Koh Chang and Centrepoint Ferry offer a car ferry service if you want to take your vehicle with you. If taking your car, it’s best to book your ferry tickets in advance, as there are limited spots for vehicles.

By Minivan to Koh Chang

If flying is not your bag, and you prefer to hit the tarmac, then the minivan option is easy and convenient and will give you some insight into everyday Thai life as the rural landscape drifts past the window en route.

Minivans are a common form of transport in Thailand
Minivans are a common form of transport in Thailand

Throughout Thailand, there is a network of minivan companies set up as an easy way for travelers to get around the country. Usually, the best bet for booking private transfers by minivan is to talk to your hotel, and they can give you the ticket prices and make the booking for you.

This avoids any language issues with the booking and ensures your driver will know exactly where to pick you up. Pick-up will be from your hotel, and you will be dropped at the door of your hotel in Koh Chang – a super-convenient door-to-door service with this combined ticket costing around 900 baht. 

The main companies selling trips from Bangkok to Koh Change include Triple T, Boonsiri, Mama Travel & Tour, and Travel mart. The services are similar, with Triple T offering the most frequent and the latest departure (noon).

Getting to Koh Chang from Khao San Road

If you are looking into minibus options, Boonsiri High-Speed Ferry Company is a good option to scope out.

Their departure point in Bangkok is close to Khao San Road, so it might be a great choice if you’re staying in a backpacker hostel in this area of the Thai capital. 

Khao San Road Bangkok
Khao San Road Bangkok

The company is based in Trat and operates ferries that run between the mainland, Koh Chang, and its island neighbors – Koh Kood and Koh Mak.

The Boonsiri high-speed ferries depart from their own pier in Laem Sok, and they operate air-conditioned catamarans across to Koh Kood.

They will drop you off at the main ticket office and then, once you have your ferry ticket, you will be transferred down to the pier.

Note: this service usually has an early morning departure, so make sure you don’t have a big night beforehand.

The Cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang

The cheapest way to travel between Bangkok and Koh Chang is via public bus.

Bus services from Ekkamai Bus Terminal

For the more budget-conscious, there is also the public bus service. This is the way many Thais travel around the country, and it is the cheapest mode of transport to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok.

It’s also slightly less convenient than the minivan option, as you will first need to take yourself to the bus station. From Ekkamai bus station in Bangkok, bus service #999 will take you directly to the Centerpoint Pier at Laem Ngop, and then it’s just a 60-minute ferry ride across the water to Koh Chang.

Prices for this bus service are around 275 baht per person. Travel time is between five and six hours, and there will be a couple of stops along the way for refreshments and food. Make sure you charge all your devices for the trip, as the journey time will be around six hours to the piers in Laem Ngop. 

Bus services from Mo Chit Bus Station

If your hotel in Bangkok is far from the Ekkamai bus terminal, there is also the option of using Bangkok’s northern bus terminal, Mo Chit.

The “new” Mo Chit bus terminal at Chatuchak

From the Mo Chit bus terminal, you can get a bus directly to the Trat bus terminal.

From here, you then also need to make the short trip down to the ferry piers at Laem Ngop. There will be plenty of taxis and songthaews (pick-up truck taxis) waiting for you at the bus terminal to make the short, twenty-minute hop. 

Private Transfer to Koh Chang from Bangkok

Another option to reach Koh Chang from Bangkok is to book a private vehicle and driver for your journey. This is a great option if you are traveling in a group, and there are different-sized vehicles available to suit the size of your party.

  • For one or two passengers, you can hire a private car with a driver. The price for a car is around 4,000 baht,
  • For groups of up to five people, you can travel in a larger SUV-style vehicle.
  • And for larger groups, you can also book yourselves a private minivan. The price for a minivan is around 5,000 baht.

So, if you are in a group of five or six people, this is a viable option, even for those who are being mindful of their budgets.

Of the road-travel options, this will be the most expedient way to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang—expect a travel time of around 4 to 5 hours to the mainland ferry piers.

The other enormous advantage of the private transfer over the other road transport methods is the added convenience: you will be picked up from your hotel in Bangkok, and they will drop you off at the doorstep of your new hotel in Koh Chang. No need to faff around getting yourself and your luggage to the bus terminal in the Bangkok heat. 

Travelling Around Thailand

When travelling around Thailand, please be aware that there can often be slight delays to departure times and a perceived lack of communication. Please be patient–you will arrive at your destination.

The inability to understand bus station tannoy announcements or your driver, and the heat and humidity, can sometimes make the journey a little frustrating, especially when making connections along the way.

A common Thai phrase to keep in mind whilst moving around the country is ‘jai yen’—literally ‘cool heart’. This isn’t just an idiom, it’s a way of life for many Thais, and it just means ‘keep calm.’  

The shared minibus services can sometimes be a little late to arrive, but please don’t get angry with the driver – often the delay was caused by a passenger earlier on the pickup list oversleeping, and not the driver himself. But he may not be able to explain this to you in English.

Your Final Destination

So, now we know the various options for travelling between Bangkok and Koh Chang. Once you have successfully navigated the three hundred or so kilometers, you are free to explore the delights of Koh Chang.

Welcome sign at Ao Sapparot Pier (Pineapple Pier) on Koh Chang, Thailand.
Welcome sign at Ao Sapparot Pier (Pineapple Pier) on Koh Chang, Thailand.

There’s a myriad of beaches to explore if you’re looking for relaxation, as well as plenty of activities to keep the more intrepid travelers engaged—scuba diving, jungle treks, waterfalls, and Thai cooking classes. Why not give Thai boxing – Muay Thai – a try? Followed by a relaxing massage or yoga on the beach…

Koh Chang has something for everyone and is a great place to chill and regain your strength after that impromptu shopping marathon in Bangkok’s massive malls. Enjoy your tropical island escape and Koh Chang’s ‘sabai, sabai’ vibes. 

About the author: Richard (Rich) Reardon is a freelance writer and scuba diving instructor from England and now lives in Southern Thailand. “I have spent the last twenty years travelling and working throughout South East Asia. For around half of that time, I’ve been based in Thailand. Thailand stole my heart, and I hope my writing will encourage you to find out why!”