How to get from Koh Samet to Koh Chang

I looked into many different ways of doing this journey, including getting a bus to Rayong from Ban Phe, then catching government buses to take us to Trat, and then somehow getting to the pier for Koh Chang from there. It turned out government buses only ran once a day, so we opted for a much simpler journey instead. By minibus!

It was very easy to book. You'll see adverts for transport to Koh Chang in various shops and restaurants in Koh Samet village. In the end, we decided to book through the guesthouse we were staying at (Runa Runa 'The Best Guesthouse'...I'm not sure it was 'the best', but it was pretty good budget accommodation!). Turned out it was best to book through our guesthouse, as we'd be leaving early in the morning before their office opened, meaning that we had to get our deposit back from them the night before. They were very trusting with this; we got our deposit back with no problems, and we left our key in the room on departure.

The minibus cost 250 Baht each (not including the ferry to Nuanthip pier in Ban Phe, but we'd bought our ticket already so that was fine). Buying the tickets was really easy; the guy explained that we'd have to get the first ferry of the day (8am) and drew us a little map on our tickets, explaining where the bus departed from in Ban Phe.

We bought the tickets a couple of days in advance, but I think you could get away with buying one on the day (unless it's high season, in which case I would recommend booking in advance). On the day, we left our room at Runa Runa Guesthouse at 7am and headed to the 7 Eleven in Koh Samet village to buy some ham and cheese toasties for breakfast (always a fail-safe!).

Then we walked over to Nadan Pier (only a 7 minute walk from Runa Runa Guesthouse) and were instantly confused (we feel confused about 70% of the time in Thailand). There didn't seem to be any ferries obviously taking passengers and the ferry ticket office was closed...There was one ticket office open for the speedboat leaving at 8.15am, however. We asked the lady at the desk if there was a ferry departing at 8am to Nuanthip pier in Ban Phe and she answered, 'no, 9am.'

Uh-oh... This would mean we would definitely miss our minibus which was leaving at 9.30am. What should we do? Speed boat tickets were 200 Baht each, which was almost the same price as our bus! There was no way we were going to buy one of those. Feeling a bit hopeless, we wandered aimlessly down the pier checking out all the boats. There was one guy by a wooden boat, so we asked him if he was leaving and showed him our yellow ferry tickets. He gestured to his watch and then to us with what seemed like a gesture for 'two'. We didn't really know what he meant. Two minutes, perhaps? Hmmm...we weren't really feeling confident about this.

However, the guy came back and we were able to board the wooden boat. It was now at least 8.10am...perhaps this was the 9am boat? We sat down and hoped for the best. We waited 5 more minutes and then we set off at 8.15. Not exactly 8am but not 9am either! Either the speedboat woman wanted to sell us speedboat tickets, or she didn't know what time the ferry went and just made something up. Fortunately, we're a little wiser to this sort of tactic now. When in doubt, trust yourself and hunt around for more info, as there's a chance what you've been told isn't correct.

We made it to Ban Phe with an hour to spare and were greeted by this very welcoming sign:

Hooray, we were going to make our bus after all! We went to the 7 Eleven in Ban Phe for more toasties and an iced mocha to celebrate.

We were travelling with Suriya tours and the departure point was on the road to the side of the 7 Eleven. How convenient! We went to the Suriya tours office, handed in the ticket and waited around, watching the ticket guy fall asleep, and getting to know their friendly cat.

We watched other people boarding various minibuses that went past us and wondered if we should be getting on them. It was getting close to 9.30am and there was no sign of our bus. However, the guy who had been smoking next to the Suriya tour shop got up of his chair and ambled over to a bus parked across the road. I think this was ours, and I think we were going to be the only passengers! We handed our luggage to the guy, and he put our bags in the back of the bus. We had all our valuables and anything a bit fragile in small backpacks we carried with us (a tactic we'd recommend when travelling in Thailand). Shortly after 9.30 we hit the road. It was funny being the only ones on the bus! At least there was lots of room.

I slept for most of the way, but it felt like our driver was driving very fast. At least we'd get there quickly. We stopped at a petrol station for 10 minutes, our driver left us with the van for a while (presumably to have a cigarette), and an attendant from the petrol station came up to the van to ask us something. We didn't have a clue what was going on! Luckily, our driver came back and we were on our way again. We arrived at Laem Ngop Centrepoint pier at around 11.30am. The journey was just under two and a half hours.

At the pier we were instantly approached by people wanting us to buy tickets, but we waited to get our bearings first. Didn't want to be ripped off, of course! Turns out the people were selling the right ticket for our ferry- at a price of 80 Baht per person. We bought these tickets, and then we were shown to a waiting area, as the next ferry was at 12.00pm. There were toilets and a little shop where you could buy soft drinks and crisps, if feeling a bit peckish.

We waited for ages and again wondered what would happen next. We couldn't see any water, let alone a ferry! Were we in the right place after all? After what seemed like forever, someone came to show us where to go. We had to board a funny little wagon thing, which took us and our bags to the pier where the ferry was waiting. Hooray! All was good.

We went upstairs to find lots of empty seats; hardly any one was going to Koh Chang it seemed. Downstairs there were lots of cars and trucks bringing supplies to the island (one truck was full of palm leaves and pineapples!). The crossing took about 40 minutes and it was pretty smooth.

When we arrived we were all herded into various songthaews (pronounced songtaow), the island's 'public' transport. We got into one and then there was some confusion, so we got out again. Some people were having a dispute about the price. Apparently the journey was supposed to be 70-100 Baht depending on where you were going, but the driver was charging 30 Baht extra because the songthaew wasn't full (there weren't many people arriving from the boat). Apparently some people had waited an hour to try and get a cheaper price (hoping more people would arrive) and were pretty annoyed. We just paid the extra 30 Baht (after all, it's only 75p). We just wanted to get to our destination after many hours travelling.

We were staying at Blue Sky Resort in Lonely Beach, one of the furthest destinations from the pier on Koh Chang. It was one bumpy ride! The roads on Koh Chang are full of steep inclines, declines and switchbacks. If you don't fly out of the back of the truck, you get to see all sorts of things on the way, including monkeys! There was a sign in the sonthaew warning not to feed the monkeys. Uh oh, scary monkeys! We were dropped off at Lonely Beach and used Maps Me (great offline maps service) to navigate to our accommodation. Happy days. After around 8 hours of travelling, we had arrived.

Have you made the journey from Koh Samet to Koh Chang?
How did you get there?
We'd love to hear your story in the comments!

Watch the vlog of our trip from Koh Samet to Koh Chang here:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Very useful. Thanks for sharing.

      I'll add a link to this page from the Getting Here page on my site as I get a few people asking about the quickest and cheapest way to get here from Koh Samet.

      Enjoy your time on Koh Chang

    2. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comment, I'm so glad the info is useful. Thanks too for adding a link to the post on your site, hopefully other people will find it useful too. I've found all the content on your site really helpful for exploring Koh Chang and beyond, so thank you too for all your helpful tips :).


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