Why take a private transfer to Koh Chang?
Good question, the main ‘Getting to Koh Chang‘ page, which you have probably already seen, details the ways in which you can get to the island. Koh Chang is easily accessible by bus from Bangkok or the Cambodian border. But spending most of the day on a crowded bus which stops at half a dozen small towns isn’t everyone’s idea of the ideal way to travel.
For anyone flying into Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, or who’s staying a couple of nights in Bangkok first, and wanting to head direct to Koh Chang, the options are limited. If you want to get here as quickly as possible, you fly. If you want to go as cheaply as possible, you take the bus. There are now direct public minibus services from Bangkok Airport to Koh Chang but a maximum of four per day so they can fill up quickly.
Coming from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Cambodia to Koh Chang there are even fewer possibilities – especially if you want to avoid all the scams that you will have read about in your guidebook or on travel discussion boards. You either fly out to Bangkok and then head back to Koh Chang either by plane or bus (very inconvenient and can be expensive if you’re travelling with your family.) Or buy a ticket for a shared minibus – this will be cheap, and the reason it’s cheap is because this overland route is notorious for rip-offs & scams along the way, although to be fair most of these occur when you are going into Cambodia rather than coming out of the country. It will also take quite a long time – figure on 12 hours all in.
So if you’re either simply looking for a convenient compromise on both cost, comfort and time or are arriving late night and don’t want to spend a night in Bangkok before heading to Koh Chang there is a reliable alternative in the form of a private transfer.
Who provides the private transfer service?
In the past I limited myself to using the services of one very reliable Koh Chang based tour agency. However, since October 2011 I have been offering services run by a group of drivers based on Koh Chang who have proved to be both reliable and careful drivers. All drivers and vehicles are properly licensed in accordance with Thai regulations.
By dealing direct with the drivers I have been able to reduce prices by 10-20% for transfers. I am still not using the absolute cheapest service I can find as I know I will be the one getting the blame for promoting services offered by teenagers in rusty vehicles. So you may well find prices a couple of hundred Baht cheaper elsewhere but I prefer to deal with drivers who I know are honest, reliable and will ensure that any arrangements that are confirmed will stay confirmed and won’t change at a later date.
Since 2005, I’ve arranged, I reckon, well over 4,000 transfers for visitors to this site, including dozens for people staying at our guesthouse. Of course, it would be great if I could give a 100% guarantee that there won’t be any problems with your transfer but I can’t. The best I can do is to say that there is always going to be the occasional time when a vehicle breaks down; the air-conditioning stops working; some unforeseen anti-government protest in Bangkok leads to traffic jams that leads to a long delay etc etc. I’ll try to resolve any problems / disputes as quickly as possible and to everyone’s satisfaction. One thing I have been pretty successful at ensuring is making sure the drivers keep the speed down. They now realise that passengers are happy 100-120Km/H on the highway from Bangkok and that driving at 140+ greatly reduces both their chances of getting more business from me and any tip from the passengers.
If I am recommending something on this site then I know that it will be me, not the service provider who customers blame, if it turns out to be crap or not what was expected or agreed upon.
How long does it take?
For most of the High Season it’s usually possible to give a pretty good estimate of travelling times from a specific on Koh Chang to hotel in Bangkok, or the airport, to a hotel once I know where you are staying. Total time for most transfers will be around 6 and a half to 7 hours. This includes time to stop on the way for coffee, snack etc.
Koh Chang is a pretty big island so if you are on the south coast it will take an hour to get to the ferry pier, whereas if you are on White Sand beach it’ll only take 10 minutes or so. Likewise, if you are staying around Khao San Road in Bangkok, compared to somewhere like Sathorn Rd, then it will take 30 mins or so longer to get onto the overhead expressway and out of the city centre.
Also need to bear in mind that Koh Chang is getting increasingly popular, but the number of ferry services isn’t increasing. Therefore at Thai holidays and weekends there can be very long queues at the piers and there is nothing the driver can do about that. So, if you are heading from Koh Chang to Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang, I might give you a pick up time that’s earlier than you want. This is just in case there are delays at the piers. It’s better to have to wait an extra hour at the airport than miss your flight.
The minivans used will be new model Toyota Commuter minivans, the one above is . For transfers by car, in the majority of cases the vehicles will be either new model Toyota Camry ( shown above ), Wish, Innova, Altis or Honda CRV – these are suitable for 2 adults plus luggage. For couples with loads of luggage, families or ‘large’ or ‘tall’ ( i.e big & fat ) people the minivan is the best option as there’s far more space.
NEW! Tickets for shared transfers from hotels in Bangkok to hotels on Koh Chang can now be booked online. Prices from 900 – 1,100 Baht/per person. No advance payment or credit card is required. Payment is to the driver.
How to enquire about availability or book a transfer?
Simply complete the booking form on the following page. When I receive your details I’ll confirm whether a private transfer is available and will also confirm the price. At busy periods (from mid December to mid February ) you should book well in advance if you can. But apart from New Year, last minute bookings are usually possible.
Then, if you decide to go ahead with your booking, just let me know and I’ll then make the necessary arrangements and email you to confirm the details. Simple. :-)
For all transfers, except those to Cambodia, you won’t be asked for any deposit or advance payment. The booking is done on trust and you pay the driver when you reach our destination.