You have several possibilities ranging from very cheap, long and uncomfortable with public bus or fast and comfortable with the plane. Chose according to your budget and your preference. Whatever your choice, you should book in advance.
We tried all the options listed below. The first time we went to Koh Chang, we used the public bus. I had to use breathing exercises with a meditation app for several hours to avoid a panic attack. The driver was driving like a mad man, I thought we would never make it alive. François is tall, he had barely space for his legs and his feet. He refused to get on a public bus a second time.
Our tips before the day of your departure:
Download the local Google map on your mobile phone by navigating to the area of interest and typing OK Maps in the Google Maps’ search bar.
You need to arrive early enough to be able to take the last ferry. Otherwise you will have to spend the night in Trat. We found the city very depressing.
From Bangkok to Koh Chang with public bus 🚐
From Ekamai Station, public buses depart to Koh Chang. If you depart from Ekamai station early enough, the minibus drops you at the ferry station in Trat. You can take a ferry for Koh Chang on the same day you left Bangkok. If you depart later from Ekamai station, the minibus drops you at Trat bus station. You take the ferry on the next day and you’ll need to find accommodation in Trat.
At the ferry station, you buy your ferry ticket. Once you crossed the channel, you find a taxi that will drop everyone at his hotel from north to south.
It took us two days to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang. Because of traffic, we were delayed. The driver drove as fast as possible to catch up with the delay without success. He successfully frightened us 😱 and dropped at Trat bus station 😞.
Trat bus station at night is sad. We spent the night and left as quickly as possible the next day.
We will not take public mini-bus another time. It took too long and it was too uncomfortable. We also had to pay an extra seat for our 2 bags.
Pros: cheap, cultural experience of travelling the way Thai people travel
Cons: long (it takes you 1 to 2 days) and uncomfortable (the taller you are, the more uncomfortable it is), you need to pay a place for your backpack if you don’t want to have it on your knees the whole way. It felt unsafe.
From Bangkok to Koh Chang with a taxi 🚕
We can’t honestly recommend you to ask a taxi driver to drive you to Koh Chang. It makes no sense. First of all, the taxi driver most probably never went to Koh Chang. He has no idea of the roads and the duration. You will have to check the way on Google map. Most probably, the driver will drop you off at the pier. You will need to take the ferry and find another taxi once you arrive in Koh Chang. The driver might also think that you are rich and charge you extra (I mean who goes to Koh Chang with a Taxi from Bangkok?)
All in all, it will cost you more than any other bus option.
From Bangkok to Koh Chang with private bus 🚌
Private companies operate buses. They are not minibus but coaches, which means you have acceptable space for your legs and toilets inside. Bonus: if you seat in the back, you won’t see the road and get frightened 😉.
We took a private bus on our way back from Trat ferry station to Bangkok’s train station. You need to organise another bus or a taxi that drives you from your hotel to the ferry and then from your drop-off location in Bangkok. The private coach buses usually stop at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Bangkok Train station in the centre and then to the tourist hot spot of the capital Khao San Road.
Only tourists travel with private bus. You don’t need to pay an extra seat for your bag.
Pros: relatively cheap and comfortable
Cons: long (it takes you 1 day)
From Bangkok to Koh Chang with an airplane 🛫
Bangkok Airline is flying from Trat Airport and lands in Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. It is perfect if you want to catch an international plane.
Last time we were in Koh Chang, we took a plane to go back to Bangkok. The experience was incredibly smooth and agreeable. Trat’s airport is simply adorable, with trees shaped in the form of Elephants and a single landing strip where the plane makes a U-Turn at the end to come back and stop near the Airport’s buildings. We felt like king and queen. We booked a bus that picked us up at our hotel. As it is a small plane, the check-in took no time. We enjoyed free coffee and tea waiting for the plane to land.
When we arrived in Bangkok, we were fresh and ready to visit the city. We dropped our bag at the hotel and enjoyed our day. It felt like we received an extra day of holidays.
We booked the transfer from Trat Airport to our hotel with iamkohchang.
Pros: comfortable, very fast and a sure way to get your connection to
Cons: expensive, (shamefully) unsustainable