How to get from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang by public transport in one day

Attention lazy readers, long post alert! 🙂 if you only have a few minutes to spare but still would like to know how we went from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang in 24 hours and how much we paid just scroll to the end of this post where we’ll list all the costs again!

Tourist Visa Extension in Chiang Mai

Extending our tourist visa in Chiang Mai

Okay, we totally loved our time here in Chiang Mai! in fact we loved it so much that we even decided to stay a whole month and got ourselves a cute little apartment in the Nimmanheamian area as well as extending our tourist visa at the Chiang Mai immigration office for another 30 days! Click here for the full report on how and where to extend your tourist visa in Chiang Mai.

There was simply sooo much to do: From getting to know everything this digital nomad hot-spot has to offer to exploring Chiang Mai’s beautiful and stunning surroundings on various scooter adventures – it surely was never boring!


Beautiful nature around Chiang Mai

If you want to read more about our time in Chiang Mai and our scooter adventures please check out our other blog posts about our first Thai cooking course experience as well as our super fun scooter trips to Mon Cham and Mae Sa Waterfalls, Doi Suthep Mountain and temple as well as our trip to Huay Tung Tao Reservoir for our lazy chilled Sunday afternoon session by the lake.

We even once did a scooter trip to the city of Pai which is even further up North and spend a lovely long weekend there.

However if you are a real beach addict as we are, you’ll understand that there is only so much countryside you can take in and enjoy before your heart is craving WATER again and at some point the hotel pool, the waterfalls or the lake will eventually not be enough for you anymore. You need more. You need: ISLAND TIME!!!

Luckily in Thailand, you have plenty of choice when it comes to picking your tropical island getaway! As we had already explored quite a bit of the southern islands we chose KO CHANG as the place to spend our last week here in Thailand. The pressure was on: “Island of the elephants” – you better not disappoint! 🙂


First off, flying is not really an option if you are planning on going all the way from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang. Yes, there is an airport in Chiang Mai and Yes, there is also an airport near Koh Chang. However, there are NO direct flights from Chiang Mai to Koh Chang meaning you will have to go via Bangkok anyway.

So that leaves you with having to book either 2 flights or 1 flight and still being left with taking the bus for the other half of your trip which makes it not really the most value-for-money option.

So we looked for alternatives and as we really enjoyed taking the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai we decided to do it like this again as it offered a lot of advantages for our trip to Koh Chang compared with flying or taking the bus:

  • It’s much cheaper than taking a flight to Bangkok
  • You will save the costs for your accommodation for 1 night – saving even more $$$ compared to taking a flight
  • It’s much more comfortable on the overnight train than on the bus. Even the best bus cannot compete with a the sleeper train where you’ll have your own little bed with blanket and pillow! (If you’ve ever been on an overnight bus or taking a longer trip on a bus you surely understand the luxury of stretching your legs and making yourself comfortable)
  • You arrive early in the morning into Hualamphong station which allows you to continue your journey to Koh Chang the same day

So we got our tickets for the overnight train directly at the train station in Chiang Mai about 4 days in advance but had to be flexible already as there was NONE of the 4 overnight trains available anymore for the day that we wanted. ALL TICKETS SOLD AREALDY!

Tickets for the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Tickets for the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Luckily they still had a few tickets left for the last train leaving Chiang Mai to Bangkok one day after (6pm) so we quickly secured us two seats on this one before having to delay our trip to Koh Chang for another 2 days!
(nightmarish thoughts as we were getting super desperate for the beach 🙂 )

So here is our advice to you – make sure you’ll get your tickets way in advance as the trains really fill up quickly, especially in high season! So if you are not flexible than really keep this in mind and rather get them sooner than later!


Leaving Chiang Mai with the 6:00pm overnight train meant we could really take our time on our last day in Chiang Mai. So after packing our bag packs and checking-out of our apartment (super sad as we got really used to having our own little place!) we treated us for a great big breakfast/brunch and did one final tour of Chiang Mai’s Old Town before it was time to really say goodbye and head to the train station.

As Tuk-Tuks charge at least 120 – 150 THB for this trip we decided to book us an UBER taxi and only paid 80 THB. Ideal! We used them a lot in Chiang Mai and although we had heard some other stories we were always happy with the service & drivers.

We arrived at the train station shortly past 5pm. Little tip, head to the restaurant right next to the station and have them prepare you some snacks and dinner for take away. The food is much better than on the train and super cheap. We ordered us two sandwiches and a salad for less than 200THB. There is also a 7-Eleven just outside the train station where you can pick up some drinks and snacks for the ride.


After getting our snacks sorted we boarded the train and couldn’t believe it – this was not like the one we took from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. This was SO MUCH BETTER!

Turns out the 6pm train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is one of the brand-new trains which Thai Railway recently bought from China. Clean modern toilet facilities, nice and compfy beds, more space to sit, a head lamp and electricity plugs where just a few of the features that THIS train had which the old ones DIDN’T! We were in Overnight-train-heaven.

Taking the new overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok travel in style

The new overnight train cars are much more advanced then the old ones

With the sunset happening right outside our window we were leaving Chiang Mai…Bangkok here we come again!!!

Dinner time on the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Dinner time on board the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

We enjoyed our dinner and when it got dark outside they prepared our beds and we snuggled into the lower bed together and watched a movie (yes- you can even sit together on one side – that’s how much space you have!!) before it was time to sleep.

It could have been perfect if there wasn’t this one child which started playing right by our beds at 3:30 AM (!!!!!!!!!!!!) ! He was having a great time, laughing and running up and down the corridor! Good for him! For us, not so much as this was the end to our good night’s rest.

So we eventually got up and watched the sunrise as we got closer to Bangkok. We were supposed to arrive at 6:50am at Hualamphong station however only actually got into train station at 7:50am – an hour late! Usually we wouldn’t mind but not that day when we wanted to catch a bus from the other side of town at 9:00 am! Oh – oh…we were screwed…

We looked for the next free Wi-Fi spot to book us a ride with UBER to the Ekamai Bus Terminal as we were not really in the mood for metro and skytrain so early in the morning – especially not with all the luggage that we had with us.

Luckily there is a True Wi-Fi for international tourists that you can login from Hualamphong station – yay! So after a few minutes we got our taxi sorted still hoping we could make our 9:00am bus, little did we know that it was full on rush hour and it would take us AGES to get through the city.


When we did some research some days before about our options for getting from Bangkok to Koh Chang the following 4 main alternatives came up: Private Transfer, Semi-private Minivan Service, Big Bus from the Ekamai Bus Terminal and Minivan from the Ekamai Bus terminal

1) Private transfer:
Certainly the most comfortable option but definitely at a rocking 4600THB also the most expensive one so a total NO-GO.

2) Semi-private transfer – Minivan:
Actually our preferred option as it was at 900THB p.P. much more affordable than the private taxi transfer but still had all the “luxuries” of picking you up at your hotel, taking you directly to the pier, getting you on the ferry as well as to your hotel on Koh Chang. So basically a door-to-door service, just with a few other peeps.

When we however enquired, and asked them to pick us up at the train station in Bangkok they told us they could only pick us up from a hotel in Bangkok where we were staying. So that was it. No private minivan service for us then.

3) Big Bus from the Bus Terminal:
So we did a bit more research and found the cheapest option which was to take the Big Bus from the Ekamai Bus Terminal. There are a few busses that stop close to the Pier but most of them will go all the way to Trat (which is approx…25 km further) so you would need to organise your transfer from Trat back to the Pier. So we were aiming for the 9:00am service with the Government Bus 999. However as we only arrived at the train station at 7:50am we knew we wouldn’t make it.

Once we got to the Ekamai Bus Terminal at 9:20am we checked what our options were to get to Koh Chang from here. Bus 999 had obviously already left and the next service to Trat was scheduled for 10:00am (Cherdchai Tour) and would cost 230THB p.P.

Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok

Ekamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok

4) Minivan from the Bus Terminal:
So we also checked with the Minivan operator right across and they also had a service at 10:00am and quoted 320THB p.P. to the Pier directly. As this seemed fair we decided to go with the minivan as this would at least safe us some time and we really wanted to make up some of the time we lost due to our train being delayed.

Again there are many snack stalls directly within the Bus station where you can stock up on some food for the ride as well as a 7-eleven right outside the terminal building. I got us some toasties, cookies and tea and we were ready to hit the road – again! 🙂

Riding the Minivan from Ekamai Bus Terminal to the ferry Pier for Koh Chang

Minivan from Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok to Koh Chang

As usual they fill up the minivans until you hardly have room to breathe which again reminded us, why we wanted to take the big bus! But it was too late and off we were for a snuggly 5 hour ride to the ferry pier.

We only stopped once after 3 ½ hours (!) for 10 minutes at a gas station. So you better don’t need a toilet break before that! 🙂 >/p>

The gas station however was a real surprise. In a positive way! Super clean and modern toilet facilities (when does this ever happen on a bus stop in Thailand???) as well as a nice coffee shop and of course a 7-eleven. I don’t know if all the minivans heading to Koh chang from the Ekamai bus terminal stop here but I hope so for the sake of our fellow travellers in urgent need of a toilet! 🙂

Pitstop on our Minivan journey from Bangkok Ekkamai to Koh Chang

Pitstop on our Minivan journey from Bangkok to Koh Chang

So we got us some ice-cream from the 7-eleven, streched our legs and off we were again. From here it was just a bit over an hour until the bus stopped again and kicked us out. Are we at the Pier? No answer. It surely didn’t look like it – we were right at the main road. However the driver insisted that all people heading from Koh Chang would need to get off here so we obliged.

End of Minivan Journey to Koh Chang to change for ferry transfer

Ferry ticked counter and shuttle to ferry Pier

There was a little ticket office and they wanted another 80THB p.P. for the transfer to the ferry – or at least we thought and were super annoyed as we were promised a direct minivan service to the Pier. However as it turned out later this was already including our ticket for the ferry to Koh Chang so aaaaaaall good! 🙂

We all hopped then on a red songtew and drove another 20 minutes to the ferry pier. Once there we exchanged our tickets for a ferry ticket and waited for the next ferry service to Koh Chang.

Ferry Pier to Koh Chang Island

Ferry Pier to Koh Chang Island


After only 10 minutes waiting we were ready to board the ferry to Koh Chang. It only takes about 30 minutes to cross, so find a nice spot to sit and enjoy the views when approaching the island. As it was late afternoon the sun was really burning but it was still so nice to see the crystal blue waters and the island in the distance. We were close!!

scenic Ferry ride to Koh Chang Island

Scenic ferry ride to Koh Chang Island

On the ferry they sell some snacks as well as some super delicious fruit shake for just 40THB.

on the ferry to Koh Chang Island_scenic views and smoothie time

Smoothie time and panoramic views on our ferry to Koh Chang

With shake in hand and sun on our face we enjoyed the ride – happy to have made it – almost!

Getting from Koh Chang ferry pier to our hotel – Island Taxi time!

Once you arrive at the ferry pier in Koh Chang everything is perfectly organised.

Once you’ll get off the ferry and leave the ferry terminal there’ll be enough taxis waiting on the other side of the road already. There is a little price list of the main areas on every Taxi so you just tell them where you want to go and they will point you to the right taxi.

So for us our destination was a hotel at the very end of White Sand Beach which cost 50THB p.P.

Arrival by ferry on Koh Chang and taxi ride to hotel

Arrival at Koh Chang ferry Pier and Island Taxis

The ride was just 15 minutes but super fun as you have to pass this very steep hill to get to the other side with all the beaches. But you’ll also get a first glimpse of the island as you see the lush green jungle covering the hills and mountains on the one side as well as the crystal blue ocean to the other side – it looked picture-perfect and you can’t help but smile!

We arrived at 5pm at our hotel on White Sand Beach exactly 24 hours after we had left our hotel in Chiang Mai. What a trip! But we made it and even just in time for our first sunset session of many!

Welcome to KOH CHANG! 🙂

Koh Chang White Sand Beach Sunset

Koh Chang White Sand Beach Sunset


  1. Overnight Train Chiang Mai – Bangkok
    Costs: 881THB lower cabin, 791THB upper cabin
  2. Uber taxi from train station Bangkok to Ekaimai Bus Terminal Bangkok
    Costs: 300THB
  3. Koh Chang Minivan service from Ekamai Bus Terminal to the Center Point Ferry Pier
    Costs: 320THB p.P.
  4. Ferry to Koh Chang
    Costs: 80THB p.P.
  5. Taxi Koh Chang ferry pier – hotel White Sand Beach
    Costs: 50THB p.P.


beach scooter tour Koh Chang
Scooter tour around Koh Tao_beaches and viewpoints of koh tao

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