What a mistake it is to take a bus on Sukhumvit on a weekday… You really don’t want to be perspirating on a bus, 80 % of the time slowly crawling past truckloads of Burmese and Cambodian workers, and for the other 20 % defying the laws of physics and flying through time and space… until the next junction.
We got used to starting our weekend mini journeys with a nice coffee on a bus, quick and easy ride to the station with no traffic whatsoever. So we got our sandwiches and coffees at 7-11… just to remember it was a Thursday!
Since downing a hot coffee on a sidewalk isn’t an appealing option, we were faced with a dilemma: discard our 35 Baht drinks, or smuggle them through the BTS gatekeeper (bag check point)…. With the drinks gently packed into the pockets of the camera bag and a big smile to the security guy, we avoided the utmost important flashlight-pointing-at-the-bag operation and got on the skytrain.
How to get to Koh Chang? There are no trains 😦
From Ekkamai we got the government (999) bus to Laem Ngop. We got our tickets in advance (450 baht return, per person), but there were empty seats on the bus and there are other bus operators, too. Although on a weekend during tourist season it might be a different story. Stiff legs? We reached the ferry pier in just over 5 hours. Yes. Toilet? There was a functioning toilet onboard, and a pit-stop. It also stopped at Chanthaburi, so don’t get off too early!
The bus supposedly stops at both piers, but when we reached Koh Chang ferry pier, everyone got off and so did we. Once at the pier, a tiny kiosk sells ferry tickets for 80 baht per person, and the ladies working at the hut on the left sell packaged services such as ferry-and-transfer, tours, ferries to other islands, etc. Another lady at the barrier collects your ticket and you board the ferry. At this time (10 March) they seemed frequent enough, with a tight schedule of “once every hour or so”.
If you’re thinking of visiting Koh Chang check out iamKohChang website, it will likely have most of the information you’ll need to plan your trip.
The ferry docked at Ao Sapparot, and everyone rushed either into resort vans, or white songthaew taxis. Apart from lazy drivers, there was nothing but a couple of Thai restaurants… where the drivers were hanging around. There is another, kind of unfunctioning pier, about 200 metres to the right. Bear in mind that to rent a motorbike you have to either get a songthaew for 50 baht pp, or walk up a steep hill to the nearest 7-11 in Klong Son. And by nearest I mean a couple of kilometres – which may not sound that far, but add the steep road and the midday sun and you will soon feel rivers running down your back, your arms, your forehead… So don’t do what we did – walked to the taxis, walked to the pier, walked back to the taxis, started walking up to the hill and then took a taxi…
Koh Chang is big. We underestimated its size. Our motorbike drive to the south peninsula took us half an hour going up and down the steep windy hills, but now our timetable is as flexible as the ferry’s schedule!
Read part 2 HERE.