How to Get from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang

Travel from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang by bus, train or plane.

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. This also applies if you are heading here from any other location in the north of Thailand eg Chiang Rai, Pai, Udon, Khon Kaen etc

From Chiang Mai to Koh Chang by Airplane:

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 )

Thai Airways

Bangkok Airways

There aren’t any direct Chiang Mai to Koh Chang flights on Bangkok Airways, 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 four flights per day in both directions:

** Please note that these are the pre-covid schedules.  At present ( mid 2022) only one flight per day is operating.  This is PG305 / PG306. From 1 November 2022 onwards a second flight PG307/PG308 will resume operations.  However

Bangkok to Trat Depart Arrive
Flight PG301 08:40 09:40
Flight PG305 11:40 12:40
Flight PG309 14:45 15:45
Flight PG307 16:55 17:55
Trat to Bangkok  Depart Arrive
Flight PG302  10:10  11:10
Flight PG306  13:10  14:10
Flight PG310 16:25 17:25
Flight PG308  18:40  19:40

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 currently 650 Baht, return ticket is 1,200 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 bus from Suvarnabhumi to your hotel on Koh Chang.  Ticket price is 650 Baht including ferry ticket.  The main downside is that there are only two services a day – 07:00 and 11:00

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.

 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 public 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 by minibus 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 Airport, 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 Morchit Bus Station.  From there take a public minibus – 300 Baht – to Trat or Laem Ngop.

Or take a taxi to Suvarnabhumi Airport, a 60 minute drive, and then take one of the Bangkok Airways 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.

From Chiang Mai to Koh Chang by Bus:

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 0900 direct bus to Laem Ngop, run by the government ‘Transport Co’.  These drop you off at one of the ferry piers.

Bus Timetables from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Trat

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Chiang Mai to Koh Chang by Train and Bus:

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.  They aren’t 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.

When you arrive at Hualampong Station you can either take a taxi to Ekkamai bus station or take the MRT ( subway ) to Asoke station and then change to the BTS ( overhead railway ) and get off at Ekamai.  If your train is on time then you’ll have no problem catching  the 0745 or 0900 direct bus to Laem Ngop.

Train Timetables

Check the Schedule and Reserve a Seat for a Chiang Mai to Bangkok train.

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  • Utapao to the mainland pier is around 4 hours drive. The last ferry is at 18:30. If you are confident the flight won’t be late and you’ll be able to get your luggage and be out of the airport and in a taxi by 14:30, then book it. But personally I would take an earlier flight, have less stress and be sure of getting to Koh Chang the same evening.

  • Hi Ian,
    is there any reason not to take the flight from Chiang Mai to UTP Rayong? E. g. found one at 12:25 – 13:55 on Sunday, 12th November with Thai Lion Air. I think it’s a little bit faster than from Suvarnabhubi …
    What’s your opinion?
    Best regards

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Koh Chang Island Guide For Independent Travellers