As stated above, the boat ride from Trat to Koh Chang is a short 50 minutes long and is very cheap. We missed the last ferry across (6:00pm) to Koh Chang, but we were able to make arrangements to travel the next morning (see tip on Pop Bungalows on my Trat page). We bought our tickets for 140bht each return, and this also included a taxi ride from the pier to our bungalows. The tickets were also open-ended, so we could return any day or time after we got to the island. The boats run every hour starting at 8:00am, so this left us with plenty of time to decide on our own when we wanted to leave.
The boat was quite empty when we travelled the next morning, and other then a little rain, it was a nice ride. As you near the island the view from a distance is beautiful, the jungle covered hills and blue-green water are great for snapping a few pics.
When you compare this to getting to some of the other popular islands; it is a very inexpensive, short trip from Bangkok to Koh Chang.
The bus part of the ride is about 5 hours long and we decided to catch the late night one. The bus left Bangkok toward Trat at about 11:30pm and it was a pretty good ride, when I compare it to the 14-16 hour marathon to Samui from my first trip. There was a little wait in Trat for our boat, but it was a very short 45 min-1 hour journey to the island.
The whole cost for bus and boat ride was 170bht per person, very cheap compared to what I was thinking.
It's easier for you to explore the island with a motorcycle instead of waiting for "Song Taew" taxi. It safe your time for waiting "Song Taew" and might cost less if you rent a motorcycle.
There are plenty of motorcycle to rent in the island. The price is around 150 baht (manual) and 200 baht (auto) for 24 hours.
But you need to be extra becareful when riding the motorcycle at the northern and soutern part of the island because there are a lot of sharp bent along the way.
During night time, there might be a lot of insects flying to your motorcycle's headlight making you much more difficult to ride.
There are a few piers for you to take a boat ride to Ko Chang. But the main ones are
1 From Center-Point-Pier to Dan-Kao-Pier
2 From Laem-Ngop-Pier to Dan-Kao-Pier
There is a boat every 2 hours, from 6.30am till 5pm, for both piers.
Take a song taew taxi to either pier and buy a ticket there. It takes almost an hour to the island and then when off the boat, take a song taew taxi to your own selected beach.
Check out the website for detailed info.
You can go to Ko Chang from Ekkamai Station. There is a bus going there every 1 or 2 hours. The price is about 190 THB. It will drop you off at a bus terminal in Trat and then you should take a "song taew" taxi to one of the 3 piers. From there you buy a boat ride ticket to the island. The bus ride from BKK - Trat is 5 hours, the taxi to pier takes about 30 mins and the boat ride to Ko Chang is about an hour. The boat leaves hourly and the last one is at 5pm.
Check the timetable of the bus to match the boat schedule. Spare some time left in case the bus is late.. cos you dont want to miss the last boat.
Its easy to go to Ko Chang without buying a package from Khao San. When you get to a bus terminal in Trat, there will be a taxi waiting for people to go to one of the piers. And its easy to get a boat ride to Ko Chang.
You can buy a package tour on Khao San Road from BKK - Ko Chang. There are one way deal and a rounp trip. The price is around 200-300THB for one way, and 400-470THB for round trip. Both includes a boat ride from the mainland to the island. The price is different , depending on which tour company and whether you will take a minibus(van) or a coach. Also, it depends on the season. I think the price is higher than this during the peak season, around Nov - May.
The bus leaves Khao San around 8am and normally, it should take 5 hours to get to Trat, Laem Ngob pier. However, this is on condition that IF the bus doesn't stop often on the way, and IF it doesn't go round to drop people off to Rayong for Ko Samet first...
Anyway, once you get to the pier, then you dont need to do anything but wait for the boat.
To get around Ko Chang, you can take a "Song Taew" taxi. Simply just tell them where you want to go, like which beach you're heading to.
Sometimes the taxi wont pick you up when its actually empty. That's cos its not his round to pick up people. Wait for a while, see a taxi with people, then hop in.
The daily ferry to Ko Chang leaves from Laem Ngop, about 80km (50 miles) southeast of Chanthaburi and 8km (5 miles) south of the coastal Highway 3.
We bought a ticket in Bangkok for transportation to the ferry. It turned out to be a bad deal, although we saved money, we had to wait for hours for a connection. Shop around a little and ask other travelers what their experiences are regarding the transport. Also check prices, because there are major differences!
There is also the possibility of doing the trip by yourself, but it won't save you any money. It will be more expensive and more work for planning.
A very pleasant way to explore the island is by motorbike. You can rent them all over the island and around $5 a day. The roads can be a little bit tricky, because they are not so wide and there are many unexpected turns. Which makes is sometime impossible to see if there is traffic coming from the opposite side.
The good thing about going around on the motorbike is open air. In one day you can explore the whole island.
There are many ways to get to Koh Chnag, but they are all very similar. The cheapest way to do it is by taking the public bus from Bangkok to Trat and from there take the ferry to Koh Chang. However, it is more comfortable to take a van, booked off of Khao San Road, or a tourist bus, also booked from a travel agency on Khao San Road. I took a 10-seater van right from Khao San Road to the ferry pier in Trat. Note that if you book from an agency on Khao San Road ask if the ferry ticket is included. A seat on a van shouldn't cost more than 300 Baht. The ferry ride takes about forty minutes, and is interesting. You pass many islands and old colorful boats, traveling on the aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. On the ferry there is an ice-cream/drink stand. When you arrive in Koh Chang you can either take a taxi to your guest house/beach or transportation provided by your hotel (set up before hand).
TRAT is the main gateway from Bangkok to Koh Chang.
TRAT is easily accessible by bus, car, rail. There are flights to trat as well.
By Bus, leave from eastern terminal (Ekamai Station) heading from Trat.
Once in Trat, connect by ferry to Koh Chang from one of the three piers: Ao Thammachat (found this one to be the fastest / closest), Center Point, or Koh Chang Ferry pier. Ferries also transfer vehicles.
All ferries leave the terminal on an hourly basis from both ends: 1st run at 7am and last run at 7pm. (time may change depending on the season)
Upon ariving on Koh Chang, some minibus are available to take you to your destinations.
While on the islands, one can rent bikes and motorcycles.... please see my tourist trap info. for rentals.
Buses from Bkk leave from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai terminal). A quick way to get there is by skytrain - get off at the Ekamai stop and you are practically in front of the bus station.
You have your choice of A/c or non-A/C buses.
You are going to Trat province. It is about a 5 hour trip.
From there, it is easy to find your way to Koh Chang, as 99 percent of the tourists going to Trat town are on there way to Koh Chang. Getting to the ferry is easy. Laem Ngop, the pier town, is about 15 km from Trat town.
There are seven trips a day leaving the pier between 7 am and 5:30 pm. The cost per person is 30 baht and the trip takes 20 minutes.