Although Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, there is no direct transfer in any form to Koh Chang. You have to go to Bangkok first and then onto Koh Chang.
There are multiple airlines connecting Chiang Mai (CNX) with Bangkok such as Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smiles or Lion Air, among several others. However, these budget carriers all fly into Don Meuang Airport. And that’s a hassle as there aren’t any onward flights or buses from Don Meuang to Koh Chang.
So, the first thing to do, if you want to make getting here from Chiang Mai as simple and as quick as possible, is to fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport. This means flying with either:
Thai Smile Airlines ( Thai Airways budget Carrier )
There aren’t any direct Chiang Mai to Koh Chang flights on Bangkok Airwauys, but if you get the connections right then you can do Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Trat in under 3 and a half hours. From Bangkok to Trat Airport, Bangkok Airways have three flights per day in both directions:
|Bangkok to Trat||Depart||Arrive|
|Bangkok to Trat||Depart||Arrive|
And finally, to get from Trat Airport to your hotel on Koh Chang you can take the airport minibus which is run for passengers on Bangkok Airways flights. A one way ticket is 500 Baht, return ticket is 900 Baht. Buy tickets when you land in Trat or in advance.
If you decide to fly from Chiang Mai to Suvarnabhumi and then want to keep costs down, it’s possible to take a minibus from Suvarnabhumi to your hotel on Koh Chang. Ticket price is 600 Baht including ferry ticket. The main downside is that there are only three services a day – 07:50, 11:00 and 14:00. So when you land go to Entrance 8 on Level 1 of the main terminal building. There you will see the Suvarnabhumi Burupha bus counter. Buy tickets there.
|Suvarnabhumi Airport - Koh Chang ฿600 – ฿650 7h 10m|
Prices and booking for minibus tickets from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Chang.
It’s also possible to take the free shuttle bus to the airport bus station and then take a bus to Trat. From Trat, take a local pick up truck taxi to the ferry pier.
Or if you want more comfort or are travelling with a group, the it’s easy to arrange a private transfer from Suvarnabhumi Airport to your hotel on Koh Chang. More details here.
The main thing to bear in mind is that you want to be out of the airport and on the road before 14:00 if you want to get to Koh Chang the same day
You will save a few hundred Baht by flying into Don Meuang, but the extra hassle and inconvenience of getting from Don Meuang usually outweighs the saving on the plane ticket. There aren’t any buses or minibuses from Don Meaung, so to get here cheaply, you’ll need to take a shuttle bus from the airport to either Morchit Bus Station or Victory Monument. Then take a public minibus – 300 Baht – to Trat or Laem Ngop.
Or take the shuttle bus to Suvarnabhumi Airport, a 60 minute drive, and then take one of the three daily services mentioned above.
Or, there always a private transfer, which is the recommended option if you are landing after around lunchtime and want to get here the same day.
Flying into Don Meuang Airport? Book tickets for a public minibus from Morchit to Koh Chang.
If you opt for the bus you first have to go to Bangkok. All buses from Chiang Mai depart at Arcade Bus Station and drive straight to Bangkok’s main bus hub, Mo Chit Bus Terminal. Only some buses will stop at Ekkamai Bus Terminal, make sure to ask at the counter before. If you arrive at Mo Chit you can take the BTS Skytrain (5 minutes by taxi from the bus terminal) and drive to Ekkamai (20 minutes).
The costs for the bus ticket range between 450-600 THB, depending on the class and comfort you choose. Taking the bus bus from Chiang Mai to Ko Chang is probably the toughest journey as you will sit 15-16 hours combined.
Tip: Book the VIP bus from Bangkok Bus Lines or Sombat Tours. They both have large reclining seats with individual TVs.
From Ekkamai you can opt to take either one of the numerous buses to Trat or , ideally, the 0745 or 0945 direct bus to Laem Ngop, run by the government ‘Transport Co’. These drop you off at one of the ferry piers.
|Chiang Mai - Bangkok ฿438 – ฿1,056 11h|
|Bangkok - Trat ฿248 – ฿600 4h 10m|
|Suvarnabhumi Airport - Trat ฿339 5h 40m|
By far one of the most popular ways to travel between Bangkok and Northern Thailand is by train. Tickets for the 13+ hour journey are around 750 – 1,000 Baht / person for a 2nd Class Aircon sleeper. You can splash out for first class if you want more privacy, but for most people the 2nd class AC sleeper does the job. Sleeping arrangements are usually in quartered off open cabins with bunk beds either side. The cheapest option on these trains is the third class seats – basically a wooden bench on which to sit upright the entire journey. Not really worth it unless you want to suffer in the name of backpacking and give yourself some content for a blog post entitled ‘Why I’ll never take a 3rd Class train again‘
There are daylight trains but by far the most popular options for people coming from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang are the three overnight trains, numbers 52, 14 and 2. These all leave Chiang Mai late afternoon / early evening and arrive in Bangkok at the crack of dawn. Thus saving you the price of a hotel room for the night and also allowing you to get to Koh Chang the same day without any difficulty.
|Chiang Mai - Bangkok ฿641 – ฿2,253 14h 40m|
Check the Schedule and Reserve a Seat for a Chiang Mai to Bangkok train.