A Guide to getting to Ko Chang
Ko Chang is situated in the Trat province in Eastern Thailand. ‘Ko Chang’ (also called Koh Chang) translates to ‘Elephant island’. The island is named for the shape of its landmass, which resembles the head of an elephant. Also referred to as the ‘Maldives’ of Thailand, Ko Chang is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands. It is known for its sandy beaches and wildlife. Prior to World War II, Ko Chang was relatively unknown in the Western world and was largely uninhabited. The island remains a peaceful and quiet location to this day, despite its growing appeal to tourists.
Why visit Ko Chang?
Unlike Phuket or Ko Samui, the other popular island destinations in Thailand, which tend to be bustling year round, Ko Chang tends to be largely tranquil, even in peak season. If you wish to bask in the sun with a cool drink in the lap of nature, Ko Chang might be the place for you!
Ko Chang is renowned for its jungles. Just some of the things you can do in Ko Chang include diving, fishing, tree climbing, sailing, jungle trekking and snorkeling. Ever wanted to swim with an elephant? You can do that in Ko Chang! If you prefer your holidays a tad more educational, you can take a class to learn Thai cooking or traditional massage. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak and paddle through the canals in the mangroves into the magnificent Salakkok Bay.
Ko Chang has a large number of waterfalls and beaches you can relax at. Speaking of relaxing, there are several spas and resorts that provide soothing massages.
You can experience delicious and authentic Thai food at Ko Chang’s many resorts and at its many villages.
A Guide to getting to Ko Chang
How do I get to Ko Chang?
Ko Chang has no airport, so you’ll need to catch a ferry from Laem Ngob. There are three piers in Laem Ngob which offer ferries to Ko Chang. It is recommended that you travel to the Ao Thammachat pier(Ko Chang ferry) since it is the easiest to get to.
Alternatively you can take the Centrepoint ferry from the Dan Kao pier. The Ko Chang ferry costs 80 baht for a one way trip or 120 baht for a round trip. The Centrepoint ferry charges 70 baht one way, and 100 baht for a round trip. Ferries run to and from Ko Chang every hour from 6 am till 7 pm. The journey by ferry is pleasant and takes around 30 minutes. Snacks and beverages are available at all piers.
You have several options for travelling to Laem Ngob –
Bangkok Airways flies two or three times daily from Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok to Trat airport. A round trip costs anywhere from 3200-4000 baht, depending on the season. Trat airport is a bare-bones facility with a few conveniences and some taxis outside. The flight takes around an hour to reach Trat airport from Bangkok. This is the fastest means to reach Ko Chang, but isn’t very economical. This may be your only option if you wish to avoid a five hour drive or bus trip.
Laem Ngob is situated around 20 km away from Trat airport. You can get there via songthaew for around 300 baht or 50 baht per person. A songthaew is a vehicle similar to a mini-truck used for public transport in Thailand. They run at regular intervals. Once you reach Laem Ngob, you can ride the ferry to Ko Chang. Your hotel or resort may provide a pick up service from the pier. Otherwise you may take a songthaew to your destination.
Two first-class express buses travel to Ao Thammachat pier in Laem Ngob from Bangkok’s eastern bus terminal, one at 7:45 am and another at 9:45 am. The journey takes about 5 hours and costs 275 baht. A bus returning to Bangkok’s eastern bus terminal from Ao Thammachat is available at 2 pm.
Alternatively, buses run between Suvarnanbhumi airport and Ao Thammachat at regular intervals from 6:30 am till 6 pm. A round trip will cost you around 400 baht.
If you are going to be travelling later in the day, you can also elect to travel to Trat. Buses run from Bangkok’s eastern bus terminal to Trat every hour between 5 am till 11:30 pm. Buses to Trat are also available from Ko Samet, Rayong, Nakhon Ratchasima and Pattaya. From Trat, you can take a songthaew to Ao Thammachat.
Minibuses to Survarnabhumi airport, Bangkok are available from Khlong Son on Ko Chang. They leave from the island at 7 am and 5 pm. Another minibus connects to a large first-class bus in Laem Ngop, which you can catch from Ko Chang at 1 pm. All of these cost 400 baht, and hotel pick-up services may be offered for 50 to 100 baht, depending on your hotel.
Getting around in Ko Chang
White songthaews are available on the island’s main roads most of the time. They are by far the easiest means of travelling within Ko Chang. Songthaews can cost anywhere between 50-200 baht per person depending on your destination, although you can attempt to negotiate prices. Please note that most songthaews operate on a shared basis and may not leave until full.
Vehicles are available for rent. Motorbikes, in particular are readily available and are a wonderful way to experience Ko Chang. Note that part of the roads in Ko Chang are poorly developed. In addition, some stretches of the road are quite steep and windy. So, we recommend against travelling via motorbike unless you are an experienced rider. A motorbike can be rented for around 200 baht per day. Mountain bikes and scooters may also be rented for around 100 baht per day. Please make sure you are provided a helmet with the two wheeled vehicles, since you may be fined by a policeman otherwise.
Please note that both of the piers that handle most of the ferry crossing traffic are on the east side of Ko Chang.
You can also rent a car or jeep for around 1500 to 2000 baht for one day, depending on the vehicle. Kayaks can be rented for 80 baht per hour or 400 baht per day. Most resorts or hotels in Ko Chang provide some sort of vehicle rental service.
Enjoy your trip to Ko Chang!