Bangkok to Koh Chang by Public Bus
The 999 bus from Ekkamai (The Eastern Bus Station), Bangkok to Laem Ngop, Trat is a great way to get to Koh Chang easily, safely and cheaply. 999 buses are operated by ‘Transport Co. Ltd’ – the government bus company. They are modern, have seat belts, an onboard toilet and good air-conditioning. A drink and snack is also included in the ticket price and is served to passengers during the journey.
This page covers everything you need to know about using this 999 bus service to travel from Bangkok to your hotel on Koh Chang for under 500 Baht per person. In fact, if you were staying on White Sand beach, Koh Chang then you’re total travel expenses would be 292 Baht for the bus ticket + 80 Baht for the ferry ticket + 50 Baht for the pick up truck taxi to your hotel = 422 Baht. ( Around 13 USD , 12 Euro or 10 GBP.
999 Bus Route
The bus from Bangkok heads out of the city on the overhead expressway and motorway to Suvarnabhumi Airport where it makes a brief stop at the Airport Transportation terminal. It then continues on Highway 7, then turns off onto Highway 344 to Klaeng and then along Highway 3 to Chanthaburi bus station. En-route there will be a 20 minute stop for fuel, and passengers can disembark, stretch their legs or grab a quick snack or coffee.
From Chanthaburi the bus continues to Saen Tung where it will turn off the main highway and begin the last leg of the trip to the mainland ferry piers before terminating in Laem Ngop village. Centrepoint Ferry stopped running in mid 2022 but resumed services with a new owner and a new name, Trat Ferry, in April 2023. Note that services are infrequent, only four per day. So ideally get off the bus at Ao Thammachat pier.
The return trip follows the exact same route but in reverse.
Getting to Ekkamai Bus Station
First, let’s look at how to get to the bus station in Bangkok. Fortunately Ekkamai Bus Station is under 100 metres walk from Exit 2 at Ekkamai BTS (skytrain) station. And trains aren’t so busy very early in the morning, so if you are staying near a BTS station in central Bangkok taking the BTS might be the easiest option for you.
However, if you’re a family, aren’t staying in location near a BTS line or have a lot of luggage then taking a public taxi to the bus station is probably the best option.
999 Bus Timetable and Ticket Prices
Before covid there were two buses a day. These departed Ekkamai at 07:45 and 09:00 with the return trips being at 14:30 and 16:00 from Laem Ngop.
At present, early 2023, only the 07:45 and 14:30 services are operating.
The 07:45 bus also stops to pick up passengers at Suvarnabhumi Airport Transportation Terminal around 08:20. There is a free shuttle bus every 10-15 minutes from outside Entrance 3 on the Arrivals level of the main airport terminal building to the Transport Terminal.
Ticket prices are 292 Baht one way or 552 Baht return. The ticket office is open from 06:30 onwards and tickets can also be bought in advance. So, ideally get to the bus station early to secure your place or buy tickets the day before, especially if you are traveling during high season or Thai public holidays when the bus will be full. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to easily buy tickets online. Tickets will be checked when you board the bus.
Where to Buy Tickets
Ekkamai Bus Station is fairly compact, it is one large building set back about 50 metres from Sukhumvit Road, directly opposite Sukhumvit Soi 63 and only a minute’s walk from Ekkamai BTS (skytrain) station.
The ticket office for the 999 buses is very easy to find. It is on the left side of the building, under a huge digital advertising hoarding. It’s easily visible in Google Streetview (see below). Your ticket will show which bay the bus will park in and you can then go and take a seat and wait in the shade for boarding to begin.
From Laem Ngop to Koh Chang
As mentioned above the bus will stop at Ao Thammachat pier where you can take a ferry to Koh Chang. Now that Trat Ferry (formerly Centrepoint ) has resumed operations it will also stop there. However, the boats from Ao Thamamachat are faster and more frequent.
The boats to Koh Chang are all large vehicle ferries. foot passengers will always get on the first boat to leave after they arrive at the pier. Ticket price – at both Ao Thammachat and Trat Ferry (Centrepoint) – is 80 Baht per person.
When you arrive on Koh Chang you can take a shared pick up truck taxi to your hotel. The price varies from 50 – 200 Baht per person depending on where you are staying on the island. With White Sand beach being the cheapest and Klong Kloi beach, way down in the south of the island, being the most expensive. Taxis will leave when they are full, i.e. have 12 passengers.
Figure on around 15 minutes drive to White Sand beach (50 Baht); 25 minutes to Klong Prao (70 Baht); 30 minutes to Kai Bai (80 Baht) which are the three main beaches on the island. Lonely beach is around 45 minutes from the pier (100 Baht) and Bangbao nearer and hour (150 Baht). Klong Kloi beach is only a few minutes from Bangbao pier (200 Baht).
( If you are coming from Trat ferry pier on Koh Chang, add 10 minutes driving time onto the above.)
From Laem Ngop to Koh Mak
The 999 bus terminates in Laem Ngop which is close to Krom Luang pier, where speedboats to Koh Mak depart. Travellers can take a songtaew (pick up truck taxi) from Laem Ngop to the pier or, from Trat Ferry (Centrepoint) pier.
If you are on the 07:45 bus then you should be able to get to Krom Luang pier in time for the 14:00 speedboat. But if there are any delays then you still have boats at 15:00 and 16:00. When the 09:00 bus from Bangkok resumes operations, you’ll get to the pier in time for the last boat of the day at 16:00. this is operated by Panan speedboat and it is best to book in advance. Or face the prospect of having a night on the mainland if it is full. Your resort on Koh Mak should be able to reserve tickets for you. Tickets price for all speedboats from Laem Ngop to Koh Mak is 450 Baht / person.
All speedboats cost 450bt per person and take an hour but you should always check the timetables ahead of time, especially in low season (May to October).
What if the 999 Bus if Full?
So you get to the bus station and find that the 999 Bus is already full. Don’t worry.
There is another bus company, Cherdchai Tour, which has regular departures from Ekkamai to Trat town from early morning onwards. This bus doesn’t stop at the mainland ferry piers, it goes direct to Trat. However, if you let the driver know you are going to Koh Chang then he will drop you off at a songtaew taxi station in Saen Tung (a small town about 20km before you reach Trat) from where you can go to the ferry pier for Koh Chang or Koh Mak. The orange songtaews to the pier are in the Google Streetview image below.
The downsides of using the Cherdchai Tour bus is that although the ticket price is similar, buses tend to be older and make far more stops. So the journey will take an hour or two longer.
There are also minibuses doing the trip. However, they sacrifice luggage space in exchange for getting more passengers inside. So expect very little legroom and having to buy an extra ticket for your suitcase or backpack, so they can go on a seat beside you. On the plus side they will get you here quickly, probably quicker than you would like them to be. On the downside, if they crash they turn into a fireball. So, I’d stick with the big bus.
The Return Trip from Koh Chang to Bangkok
From Koh Chang, you will need to catch the 11:45 or 12:45 ferry from Ao Thammachat pier for the 14.30 bus. Note that although there is a timetable ferries rarely run according to it during high season. They are timetabled for every hour but are usually more frequent. So if a you are at the pier between 12:00 – 13:00 you’ll be able to get to the mainland in plenty of time to buy a ticket and catch the bus.
You can buy bus tickets at the building at the rear of the car park. It is marked on Googlemaps: https://goo.gl/maps/pFTStnENNZNqUenK7
WARNING – Pay the correct price
When it comes to buy your bus ticket you will notice that there are two desks. At one there is a very silent ticket agent, adjacent, at another desk sits a very insistent and convincing lady who also sells tickets. The very insistent one sells the 292 Baht tickets for 350 Baht. If you buy one of these you aren’t immediately given a ticket. You have a sticker put on your shirt. Only when you are on the bus will a bus employee take the sticker and give you the correct ticket.
The persistent agent takes 350 Baht from you, buys the 292 Baht ticket from the silent agent next to her and pockets the 58 Baht difference. (This doesnt sound like a lot of money but if she sold 20 tickets a day it would add up to around US$1,000 / month.)
This is just to advise travelers to only buy from the silent ticket agent who, on her desk, displays small rectangular tickets whose total value should be 292 Baht. ( There will be a few tickets stapled together whose total value adds up to 292 Baht – it’s not one single ticket.)
(Thanks to Roberto for the information.)
To get to pier you need to flag down one of the songtaews that is going to the pier. However, not all of them will be going there. They operate on a rota system and drivers can only go to the pier once or twice a day. (This is to avoid drivers fighting over passengers at the pier.)
So don’t dismay if one drives past or stops but the driver says he can’t take you to the pier. Just wait a little longer. But ideally ask your resort or guesthouse to call and arrange for the songtaew to stop at your accommodation and pick you up. This may cost a little more, but it takes the stress out of waiting in the sun roadside and is far more convenient.
During the return trip the bus will also stop at Chanthaburi bus station and at Suvarnabhumi Airport Transport terminal. It should reach the airport around 19:30 – 19:45 and then terminate at Ekkamai Bus Station around 45 minutes to an hour later.